Monthly Archives: July 2015

It’s up to you

17, 2015, 10:41 am

Cathy - Buckle

Cathy – Buckle

This article is from a blogger And Writer Cathy buckle .you can find more letters from her at this link &
Dear Family and Friends,

The sunsets over Zimbabwe at this time of year are breathtaking: burnt orange, caramel, golden, glowing. Each evening as the sun slips towards the horizon you can’t help but look out on the majestic colours and listen to the clear, haunting songs of the Heuglin’s Robin. The books describe the call as a rising crescendo which says again and again: “it’s up to you, it’s up to you.” Apparently it’s the dust at this time of year that makes the sunsets so spectacular but you know that as soon as the sun sinks into the horizon the temperatures will drop dramatically into single digits and soon after the Robin will fall silent too.

Fifteen years into Zimbabwe’s upheaval there are no shortage of big questions, moral issues and matters of conscience and principle which leave us trying to decide what to do. Uppermost at the moment are the evictions of vendors from city streets, the eviction of farmers from agricultural land and the four month long disappearance of journalist/activist Itai Dzamara. To these and so many other issues we ask: Do we stay quiet or speak out? Do we give a bribe or stand firm? Do we compromise on right and wrong so as to have a peaceful ‘normal’ life? The questions go on and on as does the Robin’s litany: it’s up to you!

Since the December purging by Zanu PF of some of their most senior and long-standing officials, we have been a country in turmoil. Every day politics dominates the front pages of the news. Faction fighting, succession fighting, power struggles and positioning are the order of the day. As each ousted Zanu PF official has been removed from office, their successors have moved in and begun flexing their muscles. District by district the newcomers are positioning themselves and removing all traces of their predecessors influence and support.

In towns the vendors are the victims of evictions while in country areas it’s the farmers again. For the many thousands of vendors the battle is ongoing but for the farmers it’s a different matter. Fifteen years into land seizures it’s very hard to understand how any farmers have managed to keep going. Some have gone into strange and very one- sided partnerships with political heavyweights; some are renting their own land back from the very people who seized it from them; some have managed to be ‘given the nod’ from people in high political office.

That all changed after the December upheavals in Zanu PF and farmers are being evicted by the new political figures in affected areas. With little or no notice they are being ordered off farms, regardless of previous arrangements, deals, agreements or bits of paper. Relief should come from court orders and the police but it doesn’t, so farmers scramble to try and get meetings with people in high office, the higher the better.

This week front page headlines declared: “VP sucked into bribes scandal. ” An official in the CFU (Commercial Farmers Union) described how he tried to arrange a meeting with Vice President Mnangagwa to discuss farm invasions and officials openly demanded a ‘brown envelope’ containing at least US$500 in order to enable the meeting. Once the story hit the press there was a rash of denials and claims of ignorance along with the usual underlying threats.

In another report this week, after years of trying to save his Beitbridge game farm, a farmer told how countless meetings and court orders had achieved nothing: political interference continually blocked police intervention on the property. The farmer said that there was undoubtedly one “political heavyweight in the district” who was driving the whole issue. “What the actual motivation behind this man’s agenda is, is a mystery to me,” the farmer said. “If it is because I have not obsequiously ingratiated myself with him as some people do, then so be it, as I was not brought up in that mould.”

As political figures jostle for position and ordinary people lose their livelihoods in the scramble, it’s hard to see how we’ll ever find a way out of the mess? Surely the call of the Heuglin’s Robin holds our answer? Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.


US Citizenship Rights Denied in Zimbabwe

US Citizenship Rights Denied in Zimbabwe
By Trista34 | Posted July 21, 2015 | Harara, Zimbabwe 0
LINK to article

My name is Trista J Humiston. My husband Chris L Humiston traveled to Harare Zimbabwe for the demonetization process. We are US citizens, a long term investment in the Zimbabwean dollar was made prior to the deletion of the ten zeros of the currency on the XE international forex. I and my husband had reviewed the demonetization process and had phoned the RBZ several times and confirmed exchange rates of z$35,000 to every $1 USD. The RBZ itself had confirmed this exchange rate for the U.S. Citizens as did the IMF. We arrived in Harare Zimbabwe on June 24th 2015 leaving our two year old son at home with Family. We had been instructed by the RBZ to go into any local international bank to make our exchange. We had also expressed extreme desire to invest in the country through charitable foundations and organize our own as we have been tracking the suffering of Zimbabwe’s people and came to see this was a Country truly unconcerned with its citizens and land. Once arriving to Stanbic bank we had Full confirmation of the exchange rate of z$35,000 to $1 USD and they had already begun the process when the RBZ stepped in. We where then escorted to the reserved bank of Zimbabwe and where sat down by the head officials of the RBZ and told we had no rights to our U.S. Exchange rate and ONLY continued to PUSH Zimbabwean rates at us. We however knew this was a violation of our rights as US citizens and began the crusade to see justice. The Governor of the RBZ soon saw we where not just going to flee and phoned us in our personal hotel room at the Meilkes resort in Harare where we had checked in on the 24th of June 2015. We expressed great concern for the people of Zimbabwe and the desire to invest in the country. He then sent two officials from the reserve to our personal
Hotel room in beliefs we would finally see some justice we allowed his representatives into our room person hotel room. One man was the same that had pushed us away on our first encounter with the reserve. The other is still unknown as to what his true position was. They then began a two hour interrogation that was illegal on levels that we as Citizens of the U.S. Can barely believe.
We expressed desire to help this country through our exchange of this investment time and time again. To be told over and over the people of Zimbabwe do not need Charity and that we had misunderstood the communication made prior to our departure and that the reserve was not to blame for this miscommunication.. Despite the legal documented rates despite the words of Madam Lagarde herself. They pushed and pushed and pushed till it was coming to a all out screaming match as to why they where refusing the help of US citizens for their own countries benefit and that we as US citizens knew our rights knew our exchange rates of the ZIM dollar and knew they where illegally interrogating US citizens in the privacy of our own Hotel room.
They left disgruntled and unhappy that I would not allow them to stomp on our rights due to the fact that we where non “elites” here representing the investments of US citizens.. They REFUSED us! We then made an appointment with the economic advisor at the U.S. Embassy the very next day. We had hoped for their help and arrived to find Governor John Mangudya’s person finical advisor waiting with Rachel Myers in a room with the Zimbabwean rates yet again set before him. The embassy could not fight for us due to the scare tactics these men where going to in order to get us out of the country quietly. She then handed us a list of Civil rights lawyers which at that point seemed to be our only other option. The Govenors advisor did not say a word through this meeting and the only time he responded was when I spoke out as to legal action being taken and that it was VERY plain they have no intention on increasing the investors in the Country of Zimbabwe and to help its people which may I say are in poverty on levels the U.S. Scarcely sees and are policed all day long by the Corrupt Police commissioner that has made certain these people can NOT speak out in any way on the circumstances of their lives and what the government continues to force apon them. His advisor gave us a conceded look then stood up to try and prevent us from doing so. However we left the Embassy without saying a word.
We still remain in Harare at the Meilkes hotel. It is now July 8th 2015. We have obtained a civil rights lawyer by the name of Godwin Nyengedza representing Scanland and Holderness. We have spent our life saving and have been Bullied, Stomped on Shoved around and told we have NO rights..
Our long term speculative investment was legal and confirmed exchangeable during this demonization process of the ZIM dollar yet again confirmed at z$35,000 to every $1 USD on the news reports as by the RBZ itself.
The International monetary forex rates z$1
To USD $0.002.
They have denied U.S. Citizens of their rights they have denied their people the chance for other Citizens to help improve the Bilateral relations for future investors..
They blame the U.S. For what the call Sanctions on their country and the repression of their people. However we Trista J Humiston and Chris L Humiston will not stop until we see Justice for our Citizens of the U.S. And for the country of Zimbabwe to Finally allow their people to see that the U.S. Is NOT responsible for their poverty or the injustice of the people… Please take this Urgently! We aware they are stalling as MUCH as Possible and will stop at nothing to drive us out of the country by burning through any and all resources possible to us. This is corrupt and unjust on many levels NOT only for the people of Zimbabwe but for the ordinary Citizens of US that have and will come to help increase charitable contributions and trade.. We have been forced to now wait for a Zimbabwean lawyer to receive payment for his services of $1000. USD in what yet again seems like another stall tactic by the Governor John Mangudya. My husband and I where asked to sign a legal binding contract through the law firm Scanlen and Holderness and excepting payment without confirmation of their believe that there is even a violation of civil rights case. We are CRYING out for Justice and Help from the U.S. To stop the corruption and abuse to our Citizens, that truly have legitimate concern and interest in the people of Zimbabwe and creating justice and prosperity and increasing peace between our two nations.
Please take this URGENTLY! For we are quickly running out of resources while they stall this process.
The list of attorneys given proved to be a corrupt list of the Governor corrupt law firms that meet his purpose. Anything Godwin Nyengendza of Scanlen and holdeness stood to make off of the fraudulent case which he took without a blink on day one. After nearly 4 business days his toon quickly went from, “Our country owes you this”, to a hour interrogation on what physical proof we had of words spoken by the RBZ when those are knowledgeably recorded conversations.. Our embassy has proven to be corrupt or at least easily intimidated as Rachel Mayers did confirm the U.S. Exchange rate prior to our meeting at the embassy where we found the Governors personal financial advisor waiting next to her with a list of civil rights lawyers one being Scanlen and holdeness. We found the article about us being US spies a little coincidental after acquiring their sevices, and brought that to our attention as well by Mr. Nyengedza the day after it had been posted in the Sunday Mail newspaper. These are people that can not speak out and the only way they could possibly believe we where here to spy for the Obama administration was due to knowledge that they where defending themselves against allegations of illegal sanctions being put on the Country of Zimbabwe and not entites that are in FACT very corrupt! And has proven this themselves in every possible the U.S. Government and now simple citizens that are witnessing the horrors of being a Zimbabwean citizen. We came here for a simple transaction that was promised to us by the resever as we had a legitimate investment. We are now actively seeking a U.S. Civil rights attorney as we have dismissed Mr. Nyengedza services. We are fighting for our right as US citizens and NOT Zimabwean citizens for our given exchange rate and now we are defending the allegations against the U.S. And Obama administration for the supposed “illegal” sanctions against the country of Zimbabwe. Please help us in our crusade for justice we are running out of time and rapidly being depleted of funds, due to the three weeks spent fighting for our sovereign rights! Thank you for your attention.
We Want answers:
1. Why have they insisted on giving different rates for different series if they where truly demonizing their currency why are they insisting that every country applies to what is OBVIOUSLY a Zimbabwean policy when we as the U.S. No longer even operate under the same banking policy?
2. If the notes are truly “worthless” why are they BUYING them back in sieries and now giving 3 times as much for 2009 notes then any other series if not more?
Why would they not just announce the currency as demonitized like every other country in the world has?
3. Why have they pushed the demonization process back twice already and why dose the policy have two exchange rates for Zimbabwean account holders which is either 35 quadrillion to $1 or $35,000 to $1 USD? And what is the deciding factor on what rates they give for the 2008 VS 2009 notes? Why dose that matter if they are ALL being demonitized?
4. Why are they so HELL bound to get U.S citizens with a valid investment out of the country so badly “IF” what they are doing is entirely legal?
5. Is the Governor using the policy to scare prospective investors away?
6. Why have citizens that have nothing to do with the banking system of Zimbabwe considered the walk in “Public” when as U.S citizens we have rights to foreign investments, is the Governor using this to camaflauge the prospect of the 2009 series coming back into circulation?
7. Has the U.S. Embassy been party to this and driving away prospective citizens of the U.S. To invest in Zimbabwe using a legitimate and legal investment?
8. Why won’t the Civil rights lawyer Godwin Nyengedza who has been hired for our cause or the reserve bank of Zimbabwe contact the IMF to check the laws in regards to the protection of a U.S. Citizens rights to their investments? And why have they continued to harass and bully citizens of the U.S. Into a very obvious provision for Zimbabwean citizens ONLY?
9. Why will the RBZ insist the international XE forex rates that include a SDR with South Africa Rand and the conversion of the ZIM dollar into a SDR rate viable?
These are all questions posed to the reserve bank of Zimbabwe and for the IMF to now come into play and flex the muscles of our U.S. Citizens?

In conclusion we can only assume these are very corrupt people working for a corrupt government and the possibility that the they have NEVER intended to use this policy to “Officially” demonetize the Zimbabwe dollar and to drive away investors in the ZIM dollar seems very likely. We as U.S. Citizens have seen our fair share of injustice in the world. However they BUY back process is fishy at best. The FACTS that they continue to ignore when it comes to the citizens of Zimbabwe and to foreign investors who made legitimate investments PRIOR to the deletion of the 10 zeros on the XE forex, even tho that is the standard used for the years of the notes they continue to push that aside when it comes to payments that are rightfully gained by U.S investors…
Zimbabwean account holders as of dec. 2008 should not have different rates for different series, as if they are truly “worthless” and no longer going to be used the year 2008 applies to ANY Zimbabwean investor despite the year of the printed note. Since this was well before Sept. 2014 when Zimbabwe dropped the 10 zeros from its currency.

Citizens with legitimate investments are encouraged to come to Harare to fight this injustice and obtain the rights to their investments and helping the country return to a democratic status. The people may not have a voice. We as US citizens do and MUST speak out against this injustice done to the country its citizens and OUR legal
Investments in the prospect of the ZIM dollars.. Despite the Zimbabwean policy and rates.
Which we will LOBBY DO NOT APPLY to the U.S. As we are NOT “public” we are NOT “citizens of Zimbabwe” we are legitimate foreign currency investors that have the ability to use this process as much as Bill Gates and Rihanna ( pop start celebrity) including some of her friends, all had the opportunity to do.
I spoke with a Zimbabwean citizen and learned 6 banks closed 2008 leaving citizens with no prospect.. So account holder can’t USE this policy because no one has z$35 quad of ZIM in their accounts!
They have to PAY for everything children do not have to go to school as most are on the streets. They live off barely nothing and must pre pay for ANY medical help! If a child is sick and the parents do not have the money they do NOT care. The child dies because they MUST pay first to see a doctor then pay for scrips. No medical insurance… They pay for a little bus to get to work IF they have work.. It’s $1.50 a day. Then they must pre pay for water $80 for a month of contaminated water… They don’t take showers because it to expensive so they use the water from a well that is contaminated and use tub to sponge bath.
This list goes ON and ON and we are fighting for these people.. The police will arrest anyone for speaking out but IF they pay them off then they will release them..
It’s corrupt it’s sickening and I’m not giving up, I will NOT stop fighting for this cause.
One live off of $400 a month paying $700 for each child to attend school.
If they can not pay electricity they use fire wood to Hearst the home. Leaving no lights or any way any other appliances that require electricity! Even the ability to use a toilet.
These are conditions that NO ONE knows about and have continued to tell the WORLD they are BROKE! Yet buying back notes and selling them off to other countries to make a TON of money on currency they call “worthless”. This a crime and FRAUD! I
Have my network tampered with so I can not send this information out to the WORLD which seems to turn a blind eye to these conditions.. I have chosen to start a case that will go down in HISTORY due to all the criminal acts against me and NOW the citizens of the U.S. The RBZ has blocked from seeing these letters. The embassy of Zimbabwe had ALSO chosen to Ignore my CRY for the help these people MUST see.. As I’ve said there is PLENTY of proof and documentation on what WE have seen and been through. And now network tampering for the citizens 20+ and MUCH more that are trying to get through to these people. We are HERE and I have been underestimated on every level! The calls have gone out to Washington the prayers are STRONG and God all mighty is on our side no matter what! These people believe they are ABOVE the LAW and that this dose NOT apply to them in any way.
A spy was sent from the reserve bank to find out the information that I have and what I know and how I know it! I am FED up and they have been given Chance after Chance to do the RIGHT thing for the people. They have chosen to ignore us, but that WILL
NOT STOP ME from seeing justice for the PEOPLE!!
I am documenting what has taken place in recent events. We have been approached by the CBZ and have began to see help will not come to these poor people until the Corruption of the government begins to change from the inside out. We see the struggles of these people and know they are in such great need. I have recorded the street and the way these poor souls must live with no choice. I began working with a man that is working toward democratic change. Since this time I was lead to a man by the name of Dr. Cecil Madondo of Tudor House Consultants.. I met with him on July 16th 2015. He listened to this horrific story of lies. Interrogation harassment, bullying and seemed genuinely interested in helping us fight for our U.S. Confirmed exchange rate confirmed my Governor Mangudya of z$35,000 to every $1USD.. We had offered a 10% commission as was the usual rate for attorneys in the U.S. We showed him the exchange rate on printed Gazette then the exchange rate on for the conversion of the SDR into ZIM on the XE international forex that only happens every 5 years. He seemed to know what I was saying and that it indeed was a applied rate for US citizens. He seemed confident he would be the man to get to the job done.. We left the office satisfied he was on our side.. He then phones us at our hotel and told My husband and I that we would be meeting with the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe the Central bank of Zimbabwe and that we would be offered an amount as of July 18th 2015.. At 2pm. We had booked a conference room in believes a team on bankers and lawyers would be present and a NDA was required.. Apon his arrival he was dressed very casually and came alone.. The man representing the movement in which we have generously offered half of the proceeds for the movement was present as well! We did not understand what was going on till we sat down in lounge area and the Dr. Made a phone call and and then handed me the phone. The man on the phone, apparently a banker then tried to buy us off with $100,000,00.00 giving half to charity and 10% to Dr. Cecil leaving us with 40k! We could not believe we had walked into another trap set up by the Governor yet again! Another attempt to bribe us into a exchange rate that was FAR off from the exchange rate that is confirmed Z$35,000 to every $1 USD. We are out of time out of money and in need of REAL assistance. We can’t scarcely believe the levels this has gone to in Oder to stall us Brake us and deny us the right to the SDR forex rates and the confirmed rate of 35,000 to $1.. We have spoke to Charles Camp and he seems to be the man for this kind of case. Which now criminal charges apply to against my husband and I. We have been fighting for dear life and Zimbabwe has slammed all doors possible. Including blocking our calls to Washington for help and calling out to any friends or family. They have blocked all my personal emails sent to the RBZ and now the Zimbabwean embassy.
We are only seeing what we confirmed from many sources including the RBZ itself. Yet calling Madam Lagarde a Liar.. Which did not sit well with me by any means..
Pleas help us and help stop the injustice and criminal acts that continue to take place here on a daily basis… We depart this Tuesday! Pleas pleas help us. We have fought like none others… We would like to obtain Mr. Camps he has a very high price for his services even as cut and dry as this is. However we can not and will not just cave in after we have gone so far we are asking for the assistance to stop this and begin to truly help this country and see our rights without the harassment of the Governor’s people and police and now bribery that has begun. We have been here for one month and have used every resource there is to use in Zimbabwe and have found NOT a single one will make a case on a U.S. Citizens behalf. Instead of going through the proper channels they continue to push Zimbabwean laws and continue the harassment the interrogations the propaganda used through their Media outlets. Now they have resorted to bribery.. We have come to here to fight for a movement that will bring democracy back into the country. There are very few in power that want to see this become a reality for these poor souls with no voice. I have documented all of our experiences here and recorded the horror that has taken place and been done.
We can ONLY PRAY that this nightmare ends soon. I do believe if it where up to the RBZ and CBZ they would prefer us dead before we leave here and speak of the horror myself and husband have experienced.
It is time for the U.S. Citizens and officials to stop the lies the harassment the scare tactics and the idea that Obama is responsible for their poverty levels.. They Must know just how corrupt this Government truly is. That all proceeds from charitable foundations go through them first and they pocket it ALL. That there is NOT a single cent put into the country.. There can NOT be inflation when there are no consumers.. These people are living off of The profits of South Africa not Zimbabwe.. The Government is BEYOND any corruption the U.S. Could imagine and even our President needs to be defended as to the allegation’s of sanctions that they continue to tell the people in order for them to remain in these
The inflation dose NOT exist the money goes into the Zimbabwe Government pockets leaving the streets of the city in completely unsanitary condition to the point of disgust! The people sleep in the parks on the ground and the police just walk on by ignoring the hundreds of homeless buggers sleeping on the hard ground. Some with very small children laying on concrete and having nothing but the dirty cloths on their backs..
I’m SHOCKED I’m DISGUSTED and we are fearing for our lives now. We have been
Followed by the police and others that are told what to do by the RBZ..
May this reach you quickly!!!

Thank you ever so much may God Bless,
This article is just to people know they are not alone in experiencing corruption in Zimbabwe ,this American couple had been through a process considered normal by most Zimbabweans so used to corruption

Yamamoto: Six areas of misplaced hope in Zim

via Yamamoto: Six areas of misplaced hope in Zim – New Zimbabwe 20/07/2015
LINK to Article

If you want to be corrupt in Zimbabwe, and get away with it, just mention that whatever you are doing has the blessing of the godfather.
So for example, you can just say you are collecting the shakedown for “Dr Amai”, which is a euphemism for – it’s for Mugabe and his wife.

Dakota wisdom and riding a dead horse k2

AS THEY say, the tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. In Zimbabwe however, a whole range of far more advanced strategies are often employed. These include:

Buying a stronger whip.
Changing riders.
Threatening the horse with termination.
Appointing a committee to study the horse.
Visiting other sites to see how others ride dead horses.
Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
Re-classifying the dead horse as “living, impaired”.
Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
Harnessing several dead horses together to increase the speed.
Attempting to mount multiple dead horses in hopes that one of them will spring to life.
Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.
Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.
Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it’s less costly, carries lower overhead, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than some other horses.
Re-writing the expected performance requirements for all horses.
Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.
Clearly, Dakota wisdom does seem to be common sense, but not for some, especially in Zimbabwe. Here are the top five dead horses Zimbabweans have been riding. As a reader, you are free to add yours.

1) Hope that China will provide a bailout package.

Deng Xiaoping is a legend in the history of modern China. A pragmatist, Deng in 1961 uttered the famous refrain; “No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat; as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat.” Even though this did not endear him to Mao Tse Tung, he understood that China had to be more pragmatic than communist. He led and championed the China we know today.

However, there is something about China that old school leaders of Zimbabwe don’t get. China is capitalistic and ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch’! Robert Mugabe visited China from 24 to 28 August 2014, cap in hand literally. He naively thought that with over 3 trillion in foreign reserves, China was not going to worry about dishing out a paltry $20 billion dollars, a mere pittance by comparison.

Mugabe’s visit was exactly a year from the time he ‘won’ the 2014 elections, which precipitated rapid economic decline, leaving Zimbabwe leaking like a sieve, which still continues to this day. Despite coming back empty-handed, Zimbabwe’s state-controlled media went to town touting what they called ‘nine mega deals’. Needless to say Mugabe never got the money that he thought would be used to fund the so-called ZIMASSET program, itself a damp squib.

Exactly two years after Mugabe ‘won’ the elections in 2013, and almost a year after the so-called mega deals, little has come out of it. In fact, other than a poorly structured vendor-backed loan through which state-owned NetOne has to import everything from China from switches to steel towers, there is no bailout from China. So last week, Mugabe dispatched his deputy to China to prod more on the bailout package that never was. This is what Mnangagwa said during an interview on the Talk Africa program on CCTV:

“The question is what is China doing to assist us. China is ready. The burden is now on Zimbabwe to produce bankable projects. It could be infrastructure. It could be in IT, China is ready to support.”

Therein, right there, lies the catch – bankable projects – what he and his president don’t seem to get is that the reason so much money left Zimbabwe is because the projects available are not bankable. He seems to get it yet he doesn’t quite get it.

He and his boss are kuuki yomenai – which means they can’t read the air. They are flogging a dead horse when the best strategy is to dismount. So are many Zimbabweans. There is no bailout coming from China. The Chinese are not idiots. They learnt decades ago from Deng that ‘no matter if it is a white cat or a black cat; as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat.’ But then the Zimbabwean cat will not catch mice for them, so it’s not a good cat. They (the Chinese) also learnt from their mistake in South Sudan which is costing them a lot in protecting their investments in that country.

2) Hope that Mugabe will retire

You don’t have to be a Nobel prize-winning scientist to know that Mr Mugabe actually wants to die a president. Any hope that he wants to retire is misplaced, and tantamount to riding a dead horse. Why is it so clear that he does not want to retire? Read between the lines.

Visionary leaders that want to retire put in place a succession plan. For example, back in April 2014 at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in Washington DC, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, who plans to retire after elections in October 2015 stated;

“After 10 years, you need to move on. It’s been 10 years since I came to this high profile office. I was very young, just 55. But what I can tell you about this job is that it is stressful and thankless.”

This month, Kikwete’s party chose John Magufuli as Kikwete’s successor, going into elections. Kikwete realizes that Chama Cha Mapinduzi as a party and Tanzania have to have a life of their own without him.

Mugabe on the other hand has stifled every bid to have a succession plan. He is very uncomfortable with any succession talk. You don’t have to go far to read the signs. A few weeks ago, he warned party youths,

“If you are choosing between my two vice-presidents, you are beginning your own Gamatox [fired faction],”

That’s enough of a reminder for those who may forget what happened to a former Vice President. Last year Mugabe rubbished his two senior party members Joyce Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa during a birthday interview;

“But why should it (succession) be discussed when it is not due? Is it due? … The leadership still exists that runs the country. In other words, I am still there.”

The Journal of Southern African Studies (Volume 39, Issue 4, 2013) carries a paper entitled the “Ideology, Civilian Authority and the Zimbabwean Military” which suggests that there have been several covert but failed negotiated attempts to get Mugabe to retire. A retired colonel Lionel Dyck, working with then General Vitalis Zvinavashe and others back in 2002 tried to get Mugabe to retire, planning to replace him with Mnangagwa who was then a speaker of Parliament.

Then Zimbabwe would have tested its first government of national unity as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was included in the plan. After foiling the plan and the dust had settled, Mugabe later described these maneuvers as counter-revolutionary and foolhardy. The mere thought of anyone replacing him is foolhardy, meaning it’s idiotic. In other words, every aspiring leader in Zimbabwe is an idiot in Mr Mugabe’s head.

So if you keep your fingers crossed, thinking Robert Mugabe will retire, and things will get better, dream on. You are flogging a dead horse. If you want him to leave office, you have to drive him out, kicking and screaming.

3) Hope that Mugabe will fight corruption – hope that a thief will return the loot
I have said in my past contributions, thieves are rarely gracious enough to return their loot. The logic is simple – if they had ‘grace’ (no pun intended), they would not have stolen in the first place. Zimbabwe has become a mini-version of Nigeria with a generous mix of both grandiose corruption at high levels and petty bribery at the lower levels of society. The police shamelessly set up road blocks at 10 km intervals across town and highways, engaging in mass scale shakedowns. Ruling party scoundrels go around town like warlords in Somalia, taking over bus termini, hijacking city council buildings and collecting rent and protection fees, as well as collecting ‘rentals’ from desperate street vendors.

But there is a catch. If you want to be corrupt in Zimbabwe, and get away with it, just mention that whatever you are doing has the blessing of the godfather. So for example, you can just say you are collecting the shakedown for “Dr Amai”, which is a euphemism for – it’s for Mugabe and his wife. One youngster from the ruling party who made the mistake of exceeding his authority was recently arrested for shaking down over $200,000 from desperate households trying to build homes. Perhaps he hadn’t paid all his dues to the Godfather.

If you don’t get the message here, let me spell it in black and white. Robert Mugabe is the Al “Scarface” Capone of Zimbabwe. He is the Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán of the troubled southern African country, albeit a better one because he is a sitting president, and will never have trouble from the law because he is the law.

Mugabe has been involved in sleazy stuff within and outside Zimbabwe (in the DRC, Equatorial Guinea, etc), and has allowed his subordinates just as much slack. Last year, I made a detailed submission where I argued that Mugabe has always been at the core of corruption and bribery well from the time Zimbabwe got independent in 1980 and detailed his involvement in big money scandals found here . Among other scandals, this quote aptly captures it;

‘The first official confirmation of Mugabe’s fingers in the corruption jar came out in a 1992 report published by the US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations. Then, senators John Kerry and Hank Brown led thorough investigations into the operations of the large Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). BCCI was an elaborate criminal corporate spider-web set up and led by sleek Pakistani banker named Agha Hasan Abedi, with significant funding from the ruler of Abu Dhabi and then President and founder of United Arab Emirates – Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed al Nahyan.

… BCCI would make direct payments to key officials, … Nazir Chinoy, a BCCI official told the committee that Abedi paid both Robert Mugabe who was then the Prime Minister, to fast track setting up the joint venture that became BCCI in Zimbabwe. He also paid Joshua Nkomo who was Mugabe’s opposing number across the Zimbabwean political aisle. … To the uninitiated, BCCI is the predecessor of present day CBZ Bank from which the previous central bank governor, Gideon Gono, and the just appointed central bank governor John Mangudya hailed. Readers may also not be aware that BCCI was very much at the centre of the Willowgate scandal. BCCI manager Ashrat Aktar issued the bank certified cheques to employees of Naran, a sleazy businessman, who was acting in cahoots with Calistus Ndlovu, then Minister of Industry and Technology. It was a refund from one of these cheques that was misdirected to Obert Mpofu, leading to a public spill of the corruption scandal.”

So if you think the Robert Mugabe will fight corruption, you are no better than someone riding a dead horse, strategizing about how to lower the standards so that more dead horses can also be included. The best you can do is dismount this dead horse and think about how to clean Zimbabwe up and drive the Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán of Zimbabwe out of office. It is important to note that the best way to deal with Zimbabwe’s level of corruption is via what I call the Rwanda-style antidote. It will take a Kagame-kind of person to instill discipline and remove the cancer quickly. This anecdote will be a matter for another day.

4) That Zimbabwe is a normal republic

It’s common in Harare to see youths across town with push carts full of bananas. Poor, corrupt, politically wobbly, agrarian and largely dependent on the export of a few resources, Zimbabwe now generally meets most people’s definition of a banana republic. American author William Porter who coined the term ‘banana republic’ used the phrase to depict a country with a huge but impoverished working class, presided upon by a small ruling elite made up of political, business and military class. The ruling class is interconnected with one influencing, feeding and operating the other, but more importantly, controlling the primary sector the economy is dependent upon.

Zimbabwe, among other countries, is one of the countries that evolved from colonialism and chose a rotten path towards becoming a banana republic. If you want to understand this better, explore the whole web of Zimbabwe’s ruling class, the military included, and how their involvement in the agricultural and mining sectors especially the country’s diamond mines.

5) Hope of improvement in your lifetime

A better future life is possible for the Zimbabwean generation born in the last ten years – they have a fair chance of seeing a good Zimbabwe in their lifetime. But for anybody born after 1980 and before the year 2005, a good lifestyle for the generality of the population is a mirage. The majority of the university graduates in Zimbabwe today will not get employment in their prime years, which means that they miss out on gaining critical formal skills necessary for a productive economy. Some will cross borders to go and labor in foreign lands.

If you want to see why a month can easily turn into a year and a year into decades while your life is wasting away with your chances to change the world fading away into the horizon, here is the evidence. As noted above, a few people in Zanu PF saw that Mugabe was a risk to the nation more than a decade ago. The late army general Vitalis Zvinavashe through proxies approached Morgan Tsvangirai to arrange what would have been Zimbabwe’s first government of national unity way back in 2002.

The late army general, according to reports at the time, was working with Emmerson Mnangagwa on this plan because they realized that Robert Mugabe “is the main stumbling block”. They said Mugabe must step down before we can find solutions to our economic decline and the hunger, among many other problems,” Tsvangirai said at the time.

Clearly Mugabe is still there thirteen years later. He is still a stumbling block, and will remain one. True to Zvinavashe’s view, Mugabe still has to step down before Zimbabwe can find solutions to its economic quagmire. Hunger has increased. More people have since died from archaic diseases like cholera since 2002. More children have dropped out of school, a whole generation is ruined and generally everybody in Zimbabwe is now more impoverished than back then.

While we are at it, Robert Mugabe has declared his interest, covertly and overtly, to run for President of Zimbabwe in 2018. So before you think your woes will soon be over, hang on and buckle our seatbelts. For that reason, international capital will skirt Zimbabwe and go to other countries with a better value proposition, because international capital is a coward.

6) Hope that the land problem will go away

This is one problem that will not go away. He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. Robert Mugabe got his chance to correct the land issue in Zimbabwe and he messed it up. Few people get the chance he had to actually properly plan how the land as an economic resource can be managed and utilized. It is for this reason that fifteen years after the so-called land reform, Zimbabwe still experiences land invasions, repossession of farms and all the other nonsense that comes with it.

So why will it remain a thorny issue? There are a number of reasons. Many former farm land-owners still have lawful title-deeds to their farms. The goal to decongest rural areas was a very unwise move as rural areas are sparsely populated anyway, and it should never be a goal to decongest them. The goal should be to make rural folks more productive.

Greedy elites will always want to accumulate more in a banana republic, so like one Walter Mzembi, they will wake up one day and decide they don’t want one farm, but they like another, so they can, at their whims and caprices, swap one piece of land for another and so forth. For the next several decades, the land issue will remain a thorny one until a leader with the stomach to take on the issue is chosen by the people.

We had the same feudal challenge in Japan. However, Japan after World War II has long been considered one of the most successful agrarian reform projects in the world. This must be seen in the context of the reality that before this reform, a lot of land pre-WWII was owned by feudal landlords. Japan’s reform experience offers precious lessons to developing countries now intent on implementing agrarian reform.

Land reform in Japan demolished a class structure based on landholding. Landlords were no longer supreme and rural society was restructured. Driven by Wolf Ladejinsky, an American agricultural economist, and Hiro Wada, a former Minister of Agriculture, they led a land reform that dismantled a power structure dominated by wealthy landlords, empowering peasants to become productive landowners.

On the contrary, Zimbabwe’s land reform simply transferred vast farms and tracts of land to elites who have very little knowledge and passion for farming. Officially opening an agricultural show in Harare in 2013, Mugabe attacked resettled farmers for being unproductive. He complained that: “Now people with A2 farms are practising just like my grandparents but they have the knowledge and so many degrees.” Such complaints are the consequence of unplanned land reform driven more by emotions and the pursuit for power than the desire to productively use land as an economic resource for national development.

In conclusion, as long as Robert Mugabe is where he is, there is little if any hope for the present generation in Zimbabwe. Hoping for the best when reality shows otherwise is tantamount to riding a dead horse, and the best strategy when you are riding a dead horse is to dismount. How you dismount is up to you.

Ken Yamamoto is a research fellow on Africa at an institute in Tokyo. He researches and travels frequently in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. You can contact Ken on


OPINION: Dear Sir Robert.
LINK to Article or
polit bur

(No that’s too formal. If you want to know a man, to get under his skin, to understand him, it doesn’t help to use a title. A title elevates him, makes him remote. And besides, he’s not Sir Robert any more. His honorary knighthood was annulled in 2008, the only wonder about that being that it was granted in the first place. But then again, hindsight is famously sharp. So…)

Dear President Mugabe

(No it still doesn’t strike the right note. A man and his office are not the same thing, even if he has held that office for 30 or so years (and the office of prime minister for seven years before that. “Zimbabwe,” he might well exclaim, “That’s me.” But I don’t want to talk to Zimbabwe. I want to talk to a man. I want to talk organism to organism. So…)

Dear Rob

(Yes, I think that’s right. It treats him as what he is, a scrap of flesh to which a name’s been pinned for identification. A frail and vulnerable mammal. A naked ape, like every one of us. Robert Gabriel Mugabe.)

You were born, Rob, in 1924. You’re 91 years old. The media are forbidden to show footage of you stumbling, but everyone knows you’re frail and that you’ve been to Singapore for medical treatment unavailable to your compatriots.

So, although you’ve made a habit of denying awkward truths, Rob, even you must acknowledge that you don’t have long to go now. Dusk is coming in across the fields.

And in view of that, old crocodile features, I’d just like to ask you one thing: are you happy? Are you pleased with the way things have gone? Or, if you had your time again, Rob, would you do things differently?

These are honest questions, Rob, because you puzzle me. You’ve become, you see, a textbook tyrant, a corrupt megalomaniac, a bastard.

And I’m curious how it happened. It’s not as if you’re some illiterate warlord who Uzied his way up the ladder and then set about plundering as much as possible before someone Uzied him back down. That story’s as old as our species.

Indeed it is close to being the main story of our species. But it isn’t your story, Rob. You’re no illiterate warlord.

You were, by all accounts, a studious child. Your best friends were books. You were given a good education.

And you clearly cherished it because you became a teacher. Few teachers are tyrants in embryo, whatever the kids might say. Most teachers just want to do good.

Of course you were born into injustice. The white minority governed the black majority. You stood up against that injustice and were imprisoned for a decade. Is that where you turned? Did that embitter you?

If so, it wouldn’t be surprising. It would even be forgivable.

But since you assumed power most of your crimes have not been committed against those who imprisoned you. They’ve been committed against your fellow citizens. You’re up to the elbows in blood, and nearly all of it’s black blood.

The blood of political opponents and their supporters. The blood of people who threatened your power.

Once you’d spilled blood, of course, there was no going back. And look at you now, in consequence.

At an age when you should be basking in affection you are reviled. And you are clinging desperately to office because you are afraid of what might happen if you lose it.

You trust no-one because you have forfeited any right to loyalty, or friendship or trust.

You are thus imprisoned by the paranoia that afflicts all tyrants. You never know who might be holding the dagger. It’s a nice ironic form of justice.

You’ve stashed millions of dollars overseas, dollars stolen from a country you’ve helped to impoverish. But you can’t enjoy those dollars. The end of your life is as hollow as a drum.

And my point, Rob, my puzzlement, is how did you let it happen?

You, a good bright kid. A kid who read books. Did you never read about the perils of power, Rob? Did you never read, say, Macbeth?

Seduced by power, Macbeth went from hero to tyrant, from loved to loathed, from good to bad. And you’ve followed his path exactly. Exactly.

Could you not see what was happening to you? And if you could, were you powerless to prevent it, even a clever and educated man like yourself?

Were the corny temptations of power just too great to resist? If so, it doesn’t say much for free will. It doesn’t bode well for the rest of us.

Or were you just a closet bastard from the outset? I’d love to know, Rob. Before you die. In office and unloved.police brutality attacking vendors


Mnangagwa set for Europe trade, investment trip
by Staff reporter
16 July 2015 | 1036 Views
VP Emmerson Mnangagwa is scheduled to travel to Europe tomorrow for a trade and investment promotion trip to lure investors long affected by the West’s economic sanctions regime.

Mnangagwa said the visit to Europe was part of government’s drive to attract investors.

Speaking soon after touring the Sunway City Integrated Park near Ruwa, Mnangagwa said his intended visit to Europe was part of government’s drive to attract investors into the country.

“I am also going to Europe on Friday to attract huge companies to come and invest? I will be able to speak with vigour (after touring the Sunway City Integrated Park) and clarity and attract major companies to come to Zimbabwe,” said Mnangagwa.

The Vice President commended efforts by Sunway City (Pvt) Ltd in developing a world class integrated industrial, commercial, residential and recreational park that provides relevant infrastructural development and economic growth.

He said he visited some industrial parks in China during his visit last week where he was informed by the Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha of a similar park in the country.

“Let me say- we saw many companies and addressed 86 global companies in China that are willing in here,” Mnangagwa said.

Mnangagwa said he had agreed with Bimha to hold an International Investment Conference in October where huge global companies are scheduled to attend and explore investment opportunities in the country.

The VP was recently in China for the same mission, as the country seek to attract more FDI inflows.

HERE is the link for more on the article

YET Another policy dead in child birth ,Look East policy yet to bear fruit

The policy was officially declared in 2003 following the imposition of targeted sanctions by the west against President Robert Mugabe and his top officials.

The Look East Policy simply describes Zimbabwe’s relationship with Eastern states such as China, Korea, Japan, India and oddly also Russia according to Zanu (PF).

Since then the government has entered into various deals with Eastern countries, particularly with China and Russia, all meant to revamp the economy. In 2014, Zimbabwe signed ‘mega deals’ – according to the state-controlled media – with Russian and Chinese governments. However the country is still waiting for these deals to bear fruit and to be translated into tangible projects. It has become te norm whereby the government enters into these ‘mega deals’ but nothing much takes place on the ground.


The deals were expected to create employment opportunities and complement the economic blue print ZIMASSET – aimed at fostering infrastructural development at various government departments, including the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) and ZESA Holdings.

In August 2011,the ESSAR Group, an Indian investment company, entered into a deal with the government to resuscitate the virtually dead Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO). In the same month the company was re-launched and renamed NewZim Private Limited. There was so much hype and enthusiasm that the project would be accelerated and begin to bear fruit in a short time.

Downward spiral

Actually, the experts had projected that the company would realise a 9, 3 % growth by the same year end (2011). The deal was meant to create over 3 000 new jobs and further retain about 3 500 workers who had been employed by the company before it collapsed. But alas – four years later, nothing meaningful has transpired to resuscitate the steel company.

The economy continues to spiral downwards despite government’s insistence that the Look East policy is paying dividends. This is pure propaganda. It seems the state has mortgaged critical resources in exchange for a handful of Chinese products of questionable quality.

The government is now in a Catch22 situation whereby the LEP is being preserved to save face. Admitting to its failure would be tantamount to treachery in Zanu (PF) quarters and would discredit President Mugabe who for years has championed the policy. On the other hand, its continued implementation would further damage the ailing economy and condemn the country to more isolation from the international community. The recent plans by the government to scrap civil servants’ bonuses, which were overturned by Mugabe after a public backlash, are all indicators that the LEP is a mere charade.

Trade deficit

There is massive trade deficit between the ‘East’ and Zimbabwe. We are importing more machinery, electrical items, motor parts, telecommunication products and military equipment while exporting mainly agricultural products. With a massive agricultural output decline expected this year, Zimbabwe will only be able to export insignificant quantities to China.

There has also been a marginal increase of Chinese tourists despite moves by both governments to make travel easier between the countries. The relationship is not reciprocal and China is the outright winner in this economic marriage.

Cheap Chinese products have flooded the local market. Interestingly, this has seen the decline in sales of locally produced goods, which cost more but are of much higher quality. The cheap Chinese products have choked the local textile and leather industry, with many producers being compelled to fold operations.


The local producers and manufactures cannot compete with Chinese prices. Retail trade continues to be one-sided in favour of China with local people failing to penetrate the Chinese retail industry. The Chinese now dominate the local construction industry, which is a positive development as it should enable house seekers to finally own their homes.

However, it should be categorically be made clear that the economy cannot be sustained by private construction enterprises. In fact it requires the construction of large projects such as roads, schools, dams for it to contribute meaningfully to the national wealth.

The major drawback of depending on LEP is that the benefits are short-lived. For example Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) several years ago acquired about 135 buses and 40 mini-buses. These vehicles were able to temporarily ease the transport woes. However the vehicles soon depleted due to their short life span and poor quality.

Wake-up call

The Zimbabwe government needs a wake-up call. The Look East Policy is retrogressive and the country needs to re-engage the West. The country needs to look in all directions; East, West, North and South, in order to revive the economy. Twelve years have elapsed since the adoption of the LEP, but few economic inroads have been made.
Yet again this government cannot make its mind up as they now turn to the west
this article ,, link
Explains EAST
The government should realise that China and other Eastern counties are motivated by the same things as the Western ones: by their own economic, political and diplomatic interests. They will never do anything for free for Zimbabwe.

The mortgaging of our national resources in return for a few paltry services is detrimental and will in future come back to bite the nation thus if it has not already started.

Paradoxically, the main enemy – according to Zanu (PF) – the United States of America still remains the leading provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.

It has provided over US $1.4 billion in assistance since 2001 despite the strained relations. – Mthandazo Nsingo is a Journalism student at the National University of Science and Technology. He can be contacted at

Not yet time to plan a return trip to Zimbabwe 19 APR 2013 09:08 CHENJERAI HOVE

It is with great sadness that i post this as the loss of CHENJERAI HOVE a Zimbabwean poet and author in the diaspora Zimbabwe has lost a son of the soil link


Not yet time to plan a return trip to Zim
19 APR 2013 09:08 CHENJERAI HOVE

Memories of a forced departure haunt Chenjerai Hove, who explains why he’s unlikely to return to his birthplace anytime soon.

“This land, my brother, my sister, so cruel, so gentle at times, but still beloved,” I wrote one day in my small diary. I was remembering the day I left Zimbabwe: the country I had never thought I would leave.

Home is supposed to be “sweet home”, but after many years in exile I wrote the book Homeless, Sweet Home to acknowledge my nomadic life, carrying the baggage of the fear of my country.

My mother did not cry when I left. She hugged me and said she would wait for me to return before she would succumb to death. And I promised not to not die in foreign lands. We shook hands, and for the first time in all my snuff-taking years, she asked for a pinch of the tobacco at the airport. She tapped my snuff horn on to her palm, sniffed a little bit and sprinkled the rest on the shiny floor of the airport lounge, her lips quivering in tense silence.

“Usakurumidza kudzoka, Dziva, unogugwa musoro, vanoda kukugura musoro (Don’t come back anytime soon, my son. They want to decapitate you),” she said.

I held back my tears as I heard the hidden music of the birds, the wild winds of home, the rough flow of the streams with whose language I first learnt to know the world.

Pain and tears: maybe I will not smell the leaves of home anytime soon, I felt.

The last pain was the sharpest. It made me view my country through unnameable wounds, endless, invisible, innumerable; and sad farewells of those who left before me and died in foreign lands without anybody to comfort their last breaths.

I would later cry at the anguish of my mother refusing to enter a hospital without medicines, dying of cancer in a village where even a painkiller was an endangered species.

Until her death on February 8 2010, she vowed to protest my return. The same torturers who threatened me daily were still alive. Nothing had changed, she agonised. Violence, the most primitive and vulgar of human behaviour, still engulfed the land, she said.

How did our beloved land become so cruel, expelling millions of citizens to seek freedom and dignity in strange lands? And how is it that the leadership and his colleagues in power never bother about citizens who choose to abandon their families, friends, landscapes, the skies of their birth, the beauty of their mountains, rivers and the music of the birds of their birth, to settle in strange lands?

I hear in my inner soul the voice of the pregnant woman who told me years back how the masters of violence had tried to force the tip of a Coca-Cola bottle into her privates.

Her tears and pain become mine. And the many friends and relatives, some murdered, others dead by natural causes, all those graves! It seems, upon my return, one day, I will spend months visiting the graves and hearing stories of those deaths, the voices of the pain of death at the hands of the dogs of war, the youth militias, the soldiers and others paid to kill.

Zimbabwe is such a wastefully cruel country. Its people wear the dark mask of peace-loving citizens. But they harbour a queer mixture of laughter and horrendous cruelty within their hearts and minds.

In a country enveloped by a thick blanket of fear, sleep is no longer soothing or refreshing for tomorrow’s hard work. Those who once thought violence was out there are soon shocked when one day it knocks on their own doors, with the bang of death. In my country, I learnt to know that the distance between sleep and death is short, depending on your political views. Difference is still a crime.

I fear to live in a country where I have to think about my death day and night.

Zimbabwean politics inherited the bones of colonial corruption without shame. There is not much difference between a critic and an enemy, persuasion and threat. The language of violence is like the language of shopping or fishing, so ordinary.

Corruption begins with the defilement of words, of language. After a day of writing vulgarities and indignities, government journalists sleep with a clear conscience. My country is one where the rulers are afraid of their own fear. It is a country of cheap deaths, solitary blood spilled without winking an eye.

I fear to live in a country where the imbecilisation of the population is a prime occupation of the state and its institutions. Our rulers are no longer ashamed of shame.

Plunged into a deep climate of fear, I used to work late into the night in case the kidnappers came for me. I would avoid the humiliation of being dragged away half-naked. I was afraid.

A country in which almost nothing can be done without corruption is the home of death. Citizens’ lives depend on how loud they parrot the name of the president. We have become the breeding house for specialists in political hypocrisy, parrotry, worthless flattery, charlatanism and praise-singing.

Those of us who know the real wounds inflicted on us in our search for freedom and dignity are not welcome at the national debate about our destiny. The pain of being tortured by your own brother is more devastating than the pain inflicted on you by a stranger.

Absence from my country has shown me the ominous side of friends and foes alike, our real face of nationhood. My departure made me cannon fodder for slander, gossip and malice from those who sought benefits by denouncing my name for their own personal and public glory. Deception is a huge part of Zimbabwean identity. In my beloved country, a smile is no sign of love. “Even a dog that bites you shows you its teeth,” my aunt once said. I now believe her.

In our cruel, beloved fiefdom, ordinary people are reduced to victims, objects rather than citizens. The ruling elite openly remind you of your eternal vulnerability. “I can make you disappear, you know,” they say, as if to canonise you.

In a country where everything is violence, what is there to love? Elections are violence. Public protests are violence. A street chat is violence. The degrees in violence are gained by practice, earned from the reality of the field of violence, the home, the street, the village and the forests. But still, we laugh and hope.

During colonial times, my late mother exiled my elder sister Agnes to Zambia. She had been offered to an elderly man as his young wife. In protest, my mother arranged and planned with her younger sister to smuggle the girl to Zambia, where she hid for more than 20 years.

And in my case, when she sensed the danger surrounding me, she did not hesitate to advise exile after she received some of my death threats. “Prepare for your son’s funeral,” they said to her. She hid her tearful eyes from me, retiring to bed early so she could cry alone.

“You must have friends where you travel. Go away, and don’t come back anytime soon. They will kill you,” she warned.

Still I hear my mother’s voice: “But don’t die in foreign lands.” And I tell her: “But you did not keep your promise to wait for me.

“Anyway, I will return, just to touch your grave, but not anytime soon,” I say to her, as if my country deserves to be reduced to a place where exiled citizens only return to die, to touch old graves, a country reduced to a cemetery by those who wield power without conscience.

In my long journey home, I will search for the voices that gave me the many colours of imagination and listen to the songs of the birds and rivers of my land. Nothing can take away this deep echo of desire from me.

Chenjerai Hove was a Zimbabwean writer based in the diaspora.