Zimbabwe: So Wrong Yet So Right.

As most of the world is aware now Zimbabwe finally got its freedom from Robert Mugabe. We look at the overall freedom of Zimbabwe and where it is at and where its going. Is it a bright future and what does it mean for the future of the living jewel of Africa.

But, first before I continue I want to explain my initial excitement to those who would have read the previous blog which may have caused some confusion,The Happiness of Being…Wrong (on Zimbabwean Political Analysis)– you see, I have never been a ZANU-PF man, nor a Mugabe supporter and as I said in the afore mentioned piece I had always believed and analysed that Emmerson Mnangagwa was going to take the presidency with hostility and bloodshed. However, when the time came it was done professionally with minor bloodshed. My analysis as to why Mnangagwa would take it with extreme violence was because of his history, especially that of the Gukurahundi between 1983 – 1984 (Click Here) and so when the coup happened on the morning of 14 November (Click Here) I analysed that it would go horribly wrong and that Mugabe’s allies would then regroup thus ensuing a full on civil war. But then what happened in the following days surprised me and made me one of the happiest self styled Zimbabwean political analysts ever, especially with the march of solidarity on the 18th of November (Click Here) where the people of Zimbabwe stood shoulder to shoulder with the Army to demand Robert Mugabe’s resignation. This ultimately made me extremely happy because never in the history of Zimbabwe had every single race, creed and religion come together with the Army, shoulder-to-shoulder. This, whichever way we want to look at is an unprecedented move and an incredible action. This then made me believe that the entire time of analysing Mnangagwa’s rise to power was wrong, this made me an extremely happy man. For once in all my years of analysing the situation back home I was wrong on and I held back tears of joy, the entire day after the march and seeing how well it went and seeing photos of civilians and ZNA soldiers standing as one I was holding back the tears – at the time it felt like accumulated tears over the years that had been suppressed and as I don’t cry easily any more (for various personal reasons) it felt like I needed to go somewhere and let them come out (as there has only ever been one person in my adult years that I am comfortable to let her see my tears). But I didn’t, I kept them in, I didn’t go anywhere and I found something else to put my mind on. At that point I genuinely believed and wanted to believe that Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa had changed. It was obvious that this was all him through his strongest ally, General Chiwenga, Head of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. This indeed was a time to celebrate, or…so I thought and so did many others and sadly, so do many others. The euphoria of Mugabe’s departure has not died for many Zimbabweans, across the globe – but not only Zimbabweans, those in the West. It is only the few that have been forced to see the reality of the situation.

Now reality has sunk in many of us have been able to see Mnangagwa in his true image, the real Emmerson Mnangagwa, His Excellency, President of Zimbabwe Emmerson D. Mnangagwa who has not changed whatsoever. A man who has the blood of over 20, 000 Ndebele women, men and children on his hands, lives snuffed out, massacred and pitted in mass graves stretching across the Matabeleland Province of Zimbabwe, lifeless bodies thrown down misused mine shafts. Now, thinking about that doesn’t really aspire much confidence does it? To me it originally did as I genuinely thought that despite that evil he had possibly changed, especially after all his positive speeches. I was naive and I was hoping for a better future, a better beginning for every Zimbabwean regardless of race, creed, religion, the same future dreamt of by the late Josiah Tongogara, one of Robert Mugabe’s commanders during the war against Rhodesia and white minority rule. A man who had no trust in Mugabe’s leadership of Zimbabwe and he himself is on record as having said that if Mugabe were to take over Zimbabwe he would ruin the country. I was hoping for a new Zimbabwe in which all could thrive, in which democracy would be born, in which there was inclusiveness and progression. But, sadly this has been a dream short lived, a dream we could all stand as one Zimbabwe; one people, once voice, one nation. A dream where we became the shining beacon of hope for not only the Southern African region but for the entire continent where tears of blood were all finally dried up, we were one people – No tribal division, no racial division – we were one. A perfect dream, a dream one would hope for…that is until we learn the truth of the situation and that nothing has actually changed. It is like public transport – change the conductor but the system remains in place

Josiah Tongogara’s dream was similar to mine and who I thought would now finally be able to rest in peace as the man who ordered his assassination was finally gone and the man who he fought side by side with was now in charge and seemed to have come around. Sadly though this has not been the case.

I have, from contacts, including in the ZNA military intelligence received word that all is not as well as should be, people are still going missing, people are still being tortured. Below is a screen shot of a message I received from a contact of mine back home and a political analyst. For his protection I have annotated his identity:

And then yesterday I found an interesting analysis (Click Here) of which brought home some home truths of how it was done, again…bringing another analysis of mine to bear. Mugabe, in a sick, twisted way was holding Zimbabwe together, despite the poverty, despite the political and racial tension. There is however no doubt in my mind though that when the Army took over that night that when they said they deemed it necessary or else it would lead to a bloody war they had it right. However, this now does lead us to the question, where does this leave us now?

Here we have a man who has an extremely bloody and evil history who now wields exceptional power of one of continents most powerful and professional armies (all we have to do to see how professional they are is to see how they carried out the coup and the message they sent to the world to see that)

Soooooo, now…where does this leave the current and future generation? Scarily in a more precarious situation than under Mugabe. After so much hope from Zimbabweans all across the world, those, who, like myself believed that he HAD changed. His succession to power will in the future bring more bloodshed to the table, this is clear and this is happening as we speak. He has already stated in his inauguration speech that ZANU PF is here to stay, there will be no change. War veterans with NO political qualifications or experience are being given top administrative posts.

So, all so wrong but so right, in the end. My analysis was originally wrong but is slowly and surely….and very sadly coming true. For once in my life before I get to my forties I would like to stop analysing the wrong thing right and finally analyse the right thing wrong. This is weighing heavy on my mind and my heart, other than other personal stuff. These are very much broken dreams which will lead to an even darker Zimbabwe whereas not too long ago it looked like it was finally stepping into the light. My ending question now is. What is to happen to the tears of blood I dreamt would dry up? What now for the future generations of Zimbabwe, what now for the thousands of Zimbabweans that were dreaming of a brighter future, a future without Mugabe – but now almost a future where Mugabism is operating with all clogs turning…

 

The Happiness of Being…Wrong (on Zimbabwean Political Analysis)

So anyone who knows me and has known me for some time knows that for years I have analysed the situation in my home country (Zimbabwe), I have been skeptical of every situation and whenever I have analysed a situation it has come true. Over time I have self-styled myself as an independent researcher (for think tank purposes) and a political analyst, due to the fact that I have, most of the time analysed the situation in Zim, correctly. A friend of mine in Zimbabwe, a political analyst by the name of Allan Wenyika and I were talking once and we both came to the conclusion that analysing situations rightly was a bit depressing. Its not a nice feeling when you analyse something of that magnitude and the analysis becomes right. Its always a kick in the gut to be honest, being an analyst can come with cost.

On the 15th of November the Army took unprecedented action and placed Robert Mugabe under arrest and took over the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. My analysis was that this was going to turn into a civil war and that Robert and Grace Mugabe’s allies would come to their assistance and there would be an ensuing upheaval. I was however, and rather pleasantly surprised and extremely excited when the ZNA and the people of Zimbabwe, regardless of race, creed, religion took to the streets in what was dubbed a solidarity march. For once in Zimbabwean history, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and the people stood shoulder to shoulder to demand Robert Mugabe’s resignation, which, at the time he said he would after being sacked by his party, ZANU PF, later that evening he unfortunately, and at the surprise of not only the people but also the Army, Mugabe refused to resign. His party then gave him an ultimatum, resign or be impeached. His deadline to walk out was yesterday. And so today the process to impeach him has begun where the Army has vowed to unseat him by force, should he not go. Of course, the Army thus far have been patient and generally professional and peaceful and there has only been one casualty throughout this whole process where a security guard, loyal to one of Mugabe’s cronies open fired on the Army who returned fire, killing the security guard in the exchange, whether this is true or not I am not sure but was part of the military brief I received from a trusted source.

What is my opinion on how it will go?

One thing I have come to realise is that we, as a country cannot afford to be fussy, we cannot get rid of Mugabe and then say its time for ZANU PF to go, which is what I have been seeing people saying. Let me just get things straight here before I start being accused of things. I have never been a ZANU PF supporter, I have never tolerated Mugabe. However, one thing I am thinking is that perhaps, for now we need to hold onto ZANU – it just requires new management, it requires management with maturity, the country needs a leader who can lead us back to prosperity, we need a leader who has charisma, we need a leader who has the people of Zimbabwe at heart. We need a leader who is energetic and wants a way forward. We want a leader who accepts that Zimbabwe’s unity stretches beyond tribes – Zimbabwe’s unity stretches across the divide to all those born and bred in Zimbabwe, no matter your creed, race, religion. I have, in another post posted Emmerson Mnangagwa’s latest press statement.

It needs to be mindful that we cannot start thinking about other things, we cannot afford to be distracted and we need to accept that this IS the way forward. The way forward is NOT the Movement for Democratic Change (not under its current administration anyway) or Morgan Tsvangirai. This is change that the country needs now.

I would like to wish every Zimbabwean the very best of luck, lets remain hopeful.

Cheers.

 

 

Zimbabwe: The Audacity of Hope.

When I created this blog it was a reformation from my previous blog which I had originally created as a hobby blog but unfortunately over time I corrupted it with political debate and opinion, and although politics is not who I am and what I created it for, the blog itself gained over a thousand followers so essentially a blog which did extremely well in terms of followers and popularity. It however came to a point one day where I became uncomfortable with who I was becoming, my political opinion was becoming one sided (my side) and I was becoming highly self opinionated, a trait that I do not like much in other people, so all in all I was letting myself down; and so when I stepped down and closed that blog I vowed to step away from politics for good as it is not who I am. However, the accounts in the following week in Zimbabwe and yesterday have been extraordinary and provided a basis of hope. And so it is these accounts in which this piece is attributed to and, in a way dedicated to not only my fellow countrymen and women but also to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, and to the soldiers of the Zimbabwe National Army who made this fresh start possible for all Zimbabweans, regardless of creed, race, religion – whatever our station in life, wherever we are. This is a fresh start for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans worldwide.

When I thought about this this morning, fighting back tears of relief I thought of one of my favourite reads by one of my most favourite people in the world, Barrack Obama and his book, The Audacity of Hope:

 

“Hope – Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope”. Barrack Obama

When I think about that quote I not only think about my personal circumstances and for how long I have been down and without, or low on hope but I am now also spurred to think about how Zimbabweans have kept going and how yesterday Zimbabweans took to the streets in their thousands to demand Robert Mugabe’s resignation from 37 year rule. All of this made possible by a very special group of people who stood on the side lines and remained patient. A group who quite honestly could have been an enemy of the people. However, their actions have proven me wrong this past week they have been strongly allied to the people of Zimbabwe and in the quest for freedom and independence eventually stood their ground and practiced their oath of allegiance to Zimbabwe, to the people of Zimbabwe and rightfully stood for what they are meant to stand for. Peace, equality, justice, unity. They have stood for the motto of Zimbabwe: “Unity, Freedom, Work”. Through the actions of General Chiwenga and his subordinates all that was not possible to be attained has finally been attained. A huge debt of gratitude should be given to the Zimbabwe National Army should granted for they have made the impossible possible. What I deemed impossible, possible. For what I deemed a recipe for civil war done in peace with a professionalism that I didn’t think existed. Today marks a day where my analysis has been wrong, for once in my life a situation has proven me wrong on every level and this I am extremely happy about.  The same oath of allegiance I swore in June 1998 was adhered to by the soldiers and officers of the Zimbabwe National Army and I could not be more proud and grateful. But my pride does not stop there. Well done to the people back home for sticking to it, well done for remaining hopeful and peaceful. Well done to all of those who have attended the Zimvigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London since October 2002 – you have all made this possible. Also to those who have carried on the fight despite all against them, risking their lives, those such as Acie Lumumba of Viva Zimbabwe, Evan Mawarire and Patson Dzamara. You are heroes, never forget that. Through adversity you led all Zimbabweans to this point. My thanks and deepest respect also go to those who fell in this quest for freedom, those such as Itai Dzamara who single handedly started the movement for freedom. We will never forget!

A big salute to the people of Zimbabwe, and a big salute to the ZDF  “2, 3 up – 2, 3 down” – thank you Sirs. You have made history, you have brought Zimbabwe together in one big, peaceful, final stand.

 

 

 

 

Kis For Your Dog

*MWAH* – who doesn’t fancy a good ol’ snog, though I have not had one in a very long time and do not see me doing so anytime in the foreseeable future due to decisions I have made, but even though romance is a big thing this post is not what that is about – so I have deliberately missed out the double “s” due to a concept I have come up with on basic training of your furry companion. K I S for your dog, “keep it simple”…in that I refer to training your best K9 companion, but not the more complicated ideal such as protection training…the simple little things like stop, heel, sit, stay, lie down, kennel and the ever important “come here” and no. Obedience training is inherently important. Like teaching your kid…unless you are unfortunately one of those kind of parents who believes in letting your child get away with blue murder??? Not literally.

Although the above photo is of an MWD (military working dog) and is either about to commence or has just completed his/her “Hot Sauce” (basically attack training for the unaware civi) training but that is for the more advanced training and for the dog owner/handler who wants to put their dog through protection training. Which, in this day in age is important, especially for a wife who is at home with kids and with the amount of…well, (how to keep this as entirely politically correct as possible without upsetting the insanely political correct?) crazies out there…how politically correct is that not? Anyway, protection training for your dog IS important and it should be considered by any husband who is at work or away from home a lot and his wife and kids are on their own, or even for a woman who is single. Take it under consideration. I know if I wanted to go down that route I would. Short of that buy your wife (or yourself if you’re a woman on your own) a small handgun and buy her (yourself) skill at arms training (provided you live in a country that allows you to own a personal firearm and have a carry concealed permit). Damn, I have gone off on a tangent on protection training…right, back on track…

Anyway, I am avoiding the more advanced training and sticking to the basic dog training. I do not consider myself a qualified dog handler or trainer but I have enough experience with dogs to know what I am doing when  it comes to basic dog training and this is important for anyone wanting to invest in their K9 buddy because that K9 buddy will turn out to be more loyal than most humans are.

In Zimbabwe my mother had a black Labrador puppy, an adorable chap known as Nero and because I had experience from teaching myself my own very basic methods to my own dogs in the past (a Great Dane and a German Shepherd cross…I have NO idea) she asked me to train him. Knowing that training also breeds loyalty I advised her that she train him with me so there was no confusion for him as to who he belonged to but she refused and because I had already fallen in love with Nero I took to training him knowing how it would turn out, it was inevitable and so I went around teaching him the basics…simply and sure enough, he became mine…and so, here I was. I had a dog called Nero, a cat that I got when I was nine years old that I named Bagheera, after the black panther in Jungle Book and a horse which I inherited called Beauty (a dark bay named by his previous owner and mentioned in this piece).

What I have noticed is the amount of people who invest in their trusty, adorable K9 buddy…that investment is however monetary but not time and then they have a hard time controlling their dog in later years when it is grown up. Sure, as it grows up it is super friendly, which kinda goes along with the territory but with that friendliness comes everything that it should not be doing which is jumping, not coming to you on command, humping every other dog it comes across, whether male or bitch. This though is not the dogs fault, it is the owners for not taking time to give their buddy time and I don’t say buddy lightly…I say it earnestly because that guy/gal will be one of the family and so deserves that time. As time will go on with training the dog will become even more loyal and adoring because they love that quality time. And for a lesson in that all you need to do is look at wolves with their pups in or outside a den, or any bitch or dog with their pups to see how that works. Training is good for the dogs future and your companionship…and of course passers by or other people with dogs. There is nothing worse than walking through a field with your best K9 companion when there is someone coming in the opposite direction with their dog which is out of control and starts jumping all over you and your dog and does not listen to their owner.

My Message to Dog Walkers.

This applies to dog walkers too though and in some aspects is a lot more important, especially for your safety and the dogs. If you cannot get a handle on your charge which you are entirely responsible for the moment you pick he/she up from your client then you either need training yourself or should pick another line of work, once it is another life it ceases to become more than your wallet or bank account – have confidence in your abilities and knowledge in your inabilities too, if that sounds unkind I am sorry but you are being entirely trusted with that dog which is a member of your client (s) family and so you should create a rapport with not only the dog but also with the family. And with that rapport you should find out what they do and don’t do with the dog so as to not upset the apple cart and confuse the living day light out of the dog and so you should identify which areas (if any) the dog needs training in and what really helps is having a charge which is already extremely obedient and easy to get along with but as a dog walker and being responsible for someone else family member it is inherently important that you know what you are doing. Also, the dog will pick up on your lack of confidence and knowledge and play on it. So you really do need to know what you are doing from the offset. So please, identify with your responsibilities there.

Training.

So at the end of the day vet bills, pet insurance, food and love are great investments but the greatest is time so if you don’t know what you are doing take a little time to look in book shops or on Amazon for dog training books, watch videos on YouTube, try and develop your own methods but which are kind and thoughtful for the dog. DO NOT use fear tactics to make the dog obedient. Take some time to train your dog, take some time to learn how to train your dog, watch your dog and learn from it. If you train your dog the companionship will be even greater.

Take time to KIS for your dog because at the end of it you will get a big kiss from them and you will be the greatest thing on its heart.