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Tuesday, 15 July 2008

'Interference' + Zimbabwe

Vitaly Churkin, the Russian Ambassador to the UN, was quoted as justifying their veto of the recent UN Resolution on these grounds: “This draft is nothing but the council’s attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of a member state.”

Now although I know there are strong arguments against sanctions (Simon Jenkins made some excellent points in the Guardian), 'interference' is already happening, only it's not being reported.

Quite apart from the opinion of (and attempts at securing 'interference of) a number of neighboring states, primarily Zambia and Botswana, today's Independent reports that foreign mercenaries are part of the terror campaign - the most ruthless part. Someone is allowing this or turning blind eyes.

Mugabe already hosts another dictator (Ethiopia's Mengistu). Now comes news that some of the Hutus who engaged in the Rwanda genocide are there too, such as Protais Mpiranya, the former head of the presidential guard during the 1994 genocide. He is on the wanted list of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, but is suspected to have strong business links with senior Zimbabwe army officers.

[The mercenaries] dress in army fatigues, carry Russian-made guns and are accompanied by interpreters when out with the militias.

Patrick Chitaka, the MDC chairman in Manicaland province in the east of the country, said the foreigners had been identified in the past two to three weeks supporting government-backed men.

Mr Chitaka said: "We have observed that some of the people leading the violence are foreigners because they speak a different language and they do not understand our local languages.

"Also the tactics they are using are not peculiar with Zimbabweans because they are cutting out the tongue, removing eyes and genital parts. We are not sure where they come from."

"There are between six and 10 foreigners in each base, and there are 20 Zanu bases in the two constituencies. They wear military uniform, carry guns especially shotguns which we think are Russian. They are cruel and brutal. Each unit has an interpreter who tells them what to do. People here live close to several borders and they know Portuguese from Mozambique and languages from Malawi and Zambia. [These people] don't speak any of those or English.
There have previously been reports of Chinese soldiers:

The Chinese, together with about 70 Zimbabwean senior army officers are staying at the Holiday Inn, in the city’s central business district.

There are about 10 Chinese soldiers. “We were shocked to see Chinese soldiers in their full military regalia and armed with pistols checking at the hotel,” said one worker.

“When they signed checking-in forms they did not indicate the nature of the business that they are doing and even their addresses.”

And news as well that in order to boost its jamming operations against the UK based SW Radio Africa and Voice of America's Studio 7, Mugabe's regime recently received another shipment of the latest in radio wave jamming equipment from China.
Landing records, shown to us at the Harare International Airport by port authorities, confirmed that the government received the equipment on May 17. The equipment was among several other items the Chinese delivered, including an assortment of sophisticated military surveillance hardware.
They are also looking to 'block' web news sources, whether they are using the Chinese expertise for that the article doesn't say.
“The independent media, has made our lives difficult,” one official, working in the ZANU-PF information department, said. “The strategic leaks into the independent media of our plans by enemies within ZANU-PF, has meant that the world knows everything we about to do, hours before we do it.”

"With the list at hand, the task of the CIO, with intelligence officials from the military, will indentify, and eliminate all journalists working for these pirate news organizations," officials privy to the details said.

More Zapiro

Meanwhile the Zimbabwean economy is hitting another technical brick wall:
The bigger problem is the mess in the banking computer systems, which can only handle a maximum payment of Z$999 999 999 999.00 per transaction.
'Interference' is already happening, China and Russia and South Africa and all the others who shout about it. Only it's on Mugabe's side. This is hardly surprising. The BBC has uncovered hard evidence that China is militarily backing Sudan in Darfur.


  1. If you've not already read it, you might want to pick up 'Blood River', by a journalist attempting to re-trace Stanley's journey along the Congo river - some interesting insights/thoughts/ observations on the incessant war & violence in the area. Not always pleasant, but from reading the book, it appears that it's not just Zimbabwe that has been abandoned by the outside world...

  2. Little Belgium has a lot to come to terms with.

    Yes to your point (I've discussed this, offline)

    .. and Equatorial Guinea and the CAR and many other parts of Africa which are overlooked.

    But Zim's important because if we can change the reality there, there's hope for changing the reality elsewhere. It's a test for any hope of a 'new Africa'.