Thursday, May 28, 2009


A Zimbabwean magistrate has called in witchcraft experts after a Murehwa (Town 100kms out of Harare) woman found NAKED outside her brother-in-law’s house in Harare claimed she FLEW there in a winnowing basket with two others on a mission to kill him. The woman was seen by passers-by outside the house wearing “red headgear” and “some black strings around the waist” just after 6AM on Sunday.

Dozens of people soon gathered, some throwing stones at her until the brother-in-law she was on a mission to kill RESCUED her from the mob. After admitting to a charge of public indecency for public nudity, prosecutors recommended that the woman be given a non-custodial sentence. Prosecutors say the woman will now be a state witness in a future prosecution of her father-in-law and aunt whom she claims “flew her” to Harare on the mission to kill her brother-in-law.
The woman claims the trio “took off” from a cemetery in Murehwa in the dead of the night, but once they got to Harare, she balked when asked to carry out the killing. Her father-in-law and aunt then FLEW OFF in anger, leaving her stranded at the property. Refusing to take chances, a Harare magistrate said the woman should be remanded in custody just in case she “flies back to Murehwa”.

The magistrate then warned the prison officers: “If she escapes, the Prison Service should explain.” Experts from the Zimbabwe Traditional Healers Association (ZINATHA) were expected in court on Thursday to provide guidance on the bizarre case which is set to reignite a national debate on witchcraft. The magistrate said: "This narration is a bit of a novel situation and we need guidance from the experts to clarify certain issues. We cannot solve it on our own. She insists that she magically flew from Murehwa to Harare and if we release her on bail, she might fly back to Murehwa”.

The practice of witchcraft is illegal in Zimbabwe after witchcraft laws were changed in 2006. Under the colonial-era laws that existed before then, it was a crime to accuse anyone of practising witchcraft. New laws say anyone accusing another individual of witchcraft must show proof of their allegations. The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act 2004 says judicial officers can rely on expert evidence “as to whether the practice that forms the subject of a charge… is a practice that is commonly associated with witchcraft.” Prosecutors have vowed they are determined to charge the father-in-law and aunt with practising witchcraft in what would be a test case for the country’s witchcraft legislation.

Have you any views?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Branding the backside!

SWAZI residents were asked on Tuesday to debate a politician's call for HIV positive citizens to be branded on the buttocks, which has sparked an uproar in the country. The Times of Swaziland asked for feedback on best ways to combat HIV and rights to freedom of speech after Timothy Myeni told fellow politicians that all Swazis should be tested for HIV and their backsides marked if infected.

"I have a solution to this virus. The solution will come from a law that will make it compulsory to test for HIV. Once you test positive, you should be branded on the buttocks," the member of parliament said last week. "Before having sex with anyone, people will check the buttocks of their partners before proceeding," the newspaper reported him saying.

Landlocked Swaziland is one of the world's poorest nations with the highest HIV prevalence in the world under the rule of Africa's last absolute monarch King Mswati III.
Miyeni, who leads a popular gospel group, has stuck to his call for compulsory HIV testing but apologised for the buttocks branding suggestion. "I'm very sorry for saying HIV positive people should be branded. I did not know it would turn out like this."

"I have seen that the suggestion was very offensive and many think I was discriminating, so I withdraw my statement," he said last week.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stern test for Zim`s GNU!

The US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton has said the US will not resume aid to Zimbabwe for as long as there are no guarantees that it will reach the intended beneficiaries. She also added that it would be in the best interests of everyone if President Robert Mugabe leaves office. For a freshly inaugurated government that had pinned its hopes on the superpowers pumping in money into the economy, this is a hard blow. Mugabe and his cronies had hoped to pull the wool over the world by pretending to form a government of national unity. It is next to impossible for a leopard to change its spots.

Events in Zimbabwe are not getting much better. Political activists are still being hauled before courts under barbaric abductions and torture. Lawyers are wantonly being arrested for representing these political activists. The media is still gagged. Mugabe continues to hold on to the unilateral and unlawful appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney General. High court orders for release of political detainees are being flung out the windows. Prisoners are dying of hunger under inhuman conditions in custody. To make it worse, you could disappear for writting a piece like this one in Zimbabwe.

Hilary Clinton`s statements are a stern test to the existence of the newly formed Government of National unity (GNU). We know President Mugabe as having a very short fuse. He can easily snap with these statements and return to his tired mantra of the US plotting to invade Zimbabwe and some other gibberish about sovereighnity and sanctions. We also know that Mugabe`s cabal of Army, Police and Secret Police Generals who have so far stood by their word never to salute Morgan Tsvangirai as a national leader are frothing at the formation of the GNU. They want the slightest of excuses to bow out of the GNU. The regime that has ruled Zimbabwe over the last 3 decades had got so used to having it its way. They owned all the mining concessions, all the businesses, tourist attractions and related services. In 2000, they apportioned the whole country to themselves under the chaotic and often violent infamous land reform program.

Amazingly President Mugabe still commands unrivalled respect amongst the general populace of Africa. They see him as a hero, who has done what some (Especially South Africa) want to do but are unable to do. Speaking to a Zimbabwean journalist in London late last year, he told me that Africa was free to take Mugabe if they so wanted him. It seems Zimbabweans in general are fed up with the man.

Will he snap, or hold himself? The next few hours and days will tell. I will not be surprised if he snaps. His insatiable appetite to travel to Europe and the US has got him so angry that he has grown impatient over these countries for refusing him the chance to do so. Surely the owners of Harrods must be missing Grace Mugabe (Mugabes wife) as one of their most opulant, lavish and reckless spenders.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Is a Mercedes yet to be Zuma`s Achilles Tendon?

With less than two weeks into office, President Zuma`s government has been caught in a storm over yet another Mercedes. Zuma himself, who is not a stranger to controcersy, was fired from being V.P. because as part of the corruption charges against him, he had received a Mercedes ML from Thint, a French Arms Company which the SA government was purchasing weapons from. Now his newly appointed Minister of Transport has also just received a Mercedes from an assortment of transport contractors as a gift for his appointment to head the transport portfolio. These guys went further, they threw a lavish party at the hand over ceremony.

We have always suspected the Zuma administration would not be above board. I warned the South Africans before going to the polls to be very careful with their vote. I strongly feel, South Africans are yet to go through what most of us in Africa have gone through. They are still new to this game. And as such they still vote with emotion, rather than reason.

There is a pattern that most African nations have travelled. A country gets independence, and at that time it is endowed with all the instruments you can imagine, perfectly capable of cataputing the country into prosperity. Between ten and twenty years afterwards, people vote with their emotions, and dictatorships take root. It is only after a devastating downward spiral that African nations begin to realise that they need real leaders with vision rather than emotional personalities who they hope to use to spite their past with.

I wish "Shower Boy" very well. I just hope he will not take South Africa down the same route that we have all travelled. I dare him to prove me wrong!

Putting a cost to Democracy!

I heard one of the most horrific excuses why democracy cannot prevail today. Asked why the national broadcaster in Malawi was only covering the ruling party, the head of the corporation calmly told the AU Observer Mission chaired by Former Ghanaian Presdinet Kuffour that he simply had no money to cover all political parties.

You will recall that Malawi is not exactly your model of democracy, even by the low standards we deploy in Africa. But I find it harrowing for a national broadcaster to insult our conscience by putting across such a lame excuse.

Malawians go to the poll tomorrow. So far there has not been any notable violence. We hope it ends that way, and that the elections will really reflect the will of the people.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today, 30 years ago!

On the 15th of May 1979, the political landscape in Africa was introduced to a fresh player. His name was Jerry Rawlings. On this day, today, 30 years ago, there had been a mutiny by junior officers in the army in Ghana. On May 28, 1979, Rawlings, together with six others who were arrested earlier, appeared before a General Court Martial in Accra, charged with leading a mutiny of junior officers of the Ghanaian Armed Forces on May 15, 1979. There was strong public reaction, especially after his statement had been read in court, explaining the social injustices that had prompted him to act. The ranks of the Armed Forces, in particular, expressed deep sympathy with his stated aims.

When he was scheduled for another court appearance on 4 June 1979, Rawlings was sprung from custody. With the support of both the military and civilians, he led a bloody coup that ousted the Supreme Military Council (SMC) from office and brought the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) to power and he bacame the head of state. Six moths later, he relinguished power to a democratic civilian government.

On 31 December 1981, JJ as he had come to be affectionately known, deposed the same civilian government he had relinguished power to, and became chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). Composed of both military and civilian leaders, the PNDC oversaw some of the most remarkable free market laws and regulations in Ghana to date. This is despite the fact that the international community was citing human rights abuses. In 1992 JJ was elected Executive President of the 4th Republic of Ghana, and went on to be re-elected in 1996. In 2000, he handed over power to John Kuffour of the opposition NPP party who had pipped his preferred choice JEA Mills.

This is by no means a short history. The man has come of age. Two quick observations. He is one of the few military rulers who handed over power to a civilian government. He is also one of the few leaders in Africa who went on to hand over power to an opposition party at the expiry of their term without trying to re-write the constitution.

Today, 30 years ago, JJ entered the African political jungle. You can judge for yourself.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The World Must Stop Watching and Act!

It happened in Rwanda. It happened in Daffour. It happened in Zimbabwe, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, everywhere! It is happenening now in Sri lanka!

I was disgusted when the UN Secretary General last week said that the government of Sri Lanka must know that "the world is watching." Let me give you a background. The Sri Lanka government has declared war against the rebel Tamil Tigers. Tamil Tigers are a rag tag movement opposed to the government and have been in existence for over 20 years. It is good that the government must anhilate them, but how?

After having been driven off their strongholds last week, the rebels have been driven into a small part of the country. In order to repel the government offensive, they have marshalled between 50,000 and 100,000 civilians as human shields. The government insists it will not be detterred and will therefore attack the rebel held position. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians have already died. Yet Ban Ki Moon has the audacity to declare that the world is watching!

The world has watched one too many genocides. The UN must be accountable to us. The crime of genocide was not created to make people commit it, but rather for the world to take preventive measures. So the world will watch until tens of thousands are butchered before going in with little tents and small bottles of water and a few food hampers to the survivors. This system is not working. The UN must work as a preventive force rather than an after the fact body. The whole idea is to prevent the killings, rather than wait and want to charge some individuals after thousands are dead. We should take the UN to task.

In Iraq, when the coalition forces invaved, the UN was quick to withdraw its staff. The UN "runs away" from deadly situations. They watched in Rwanda, they watched in Daffour, they watched in Iraq, they watched in Zimbabwe, they watched in Somalia and they now want to watch in Sri Lanka. Cant they get tied of watching? This is death on defenceless civilians we are talking about. This is not an action packed movie! Its life! Its death!

Stop watching! Do something! NOW!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mystery Shops in a Jungle Mix

I have two short and sharp warnings. Do not get anything on internet advising you of any mystery shops, where you dine and wine at fine restaurants, get foot spa etc whilst receiving cheques of between USD4,000 to 8,000 a month. Life is not that easy. Are you Queen Victoria? If not, then dont expect such freebies from the internet without a catch!

To all my facebook using friends, beware of junlgemix. There is a programme that is redirecting facebook users to a fake facebook web site. I have previously had my laptop crushed by a virus I got from facebook. Be warned!