Saturday, April 21, 2012

Robert Mugabe's Rule

Here is a look at Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, the 88-year-old who has ruled the southern African country for more than three decades.

1980 - Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party wins independence elections. He takes office as prime minister on April 18.

1982 - Mugabe deploys North Korean-trained troops to crush rebellion by ex-ZAPU guerrillas. Government forces are accused of killing thousands of civilians.

1987 - Mugabe and ZAPU's Joshua Nkomo sign a unity accord, leading to the integration of PF-ZAPU and ZANU-PF.

1990 - ZANU-PF and Mugabe win parliamentary and presidential elections.

1998 - An economic crisis marked by high interest rates and inflation provokes riots and increasing support for the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

-- The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is formed and Tsvangirai is appointed leader in 1999.

2000 - Thousands of independence war veterans and their allies, backed by the government, seize white-owned farms, saying the land was illegally appropriated by white settlers.

2002 - Mugabe wins election against Tsvangirai. Observers condemn the poll as flawed and unfair.

2005 - ZANU-PF wins parliamentary election, giving it the majority it needs to change the constitution.

2008 - Parliamentary election results show ZANU-PF losing its majority for the first time. MDC says Tsvangirai also won the presidential election and calls on Mugabe to concede.

-- Run-off goes ahead despite calls for a postponement as violence mounts. Mugabe is declared the winner with over 85 percent after Tsvangirai pulls out.

-- Economy is crushed by hyperinflation, reaching billions of percent, due what analysts blame on Mugabe's mismanagement.

-- Negotiators from the MDC and ZANU-PF hold talks to end the deadlock over Mugabe's re-election, eventually reaching a power-sharing deal in September.

2009 - Tsvangirai is sworn in as prime minister by Mugabe.

2012 - Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe's empowerment minister, says he expects to finalise the transfer of majority stakes in foreign mining companies to local blacks by the end of April.

Whites Not The Enemy?

It was high time the ANC reviewed the lyrics of struggle songs that depicted whites as enemies, President Jacob Zuma said.

Speaking at a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the fourth president of the ANC, Josiah Tshangana Gumede, who led the party from 1924 to 1930, Zuma said the singing of such songs in a democratic dispensation was "tantamount to making peace with a so-called enemy while waving a weapon".

This was after a struggle song, the lyrics of which, when loosely translated, are "We as the soldiers of Umkhonto we Sizwe are prepared to kill these Boers" was yesterday sung at Gumede's graveside, at Mountain Rise Cemetery, in Pietermaritzburg, with new lyrics.

The new line is "We as the soldiers of Umkhonto we Sizwe are prepared to reconcile with these Boers".

Zuma was in agreement with ANC national chairman Baleka Mbete, who had earlier called for a debate on certain songs' lyrics.

Mbete said that, when she first raised the issue, she was met with heated opposition from leaders and members of the party.

The lyrics of ANC struggle songs shot into the spotlight early last year when AfriForum raised a hate speech complaint after suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema sang the song Dubul'ibhunu (Shoot the Boer) at an ANC meeting.

In his ruling last year, Johannesburg High Court judge Colin Lamont said the song constituted hate speech. The judge prohibited Malema and the ANC from singing it, either in public or in private.

But ANC members and alliance partners said the ruling was destructive of the party's heritage.

After the judgment, Malema and some ANC members changed the lyrics to "Kiss the Boer".
Zuma said yesterday: "The debate on the songs with inflammatory lyrics is important. When we're moulding our country we need to say we unite all South Africans, even those we fought against [during the struggle].

"There's no need for certain people to feel unwelcome in their country. We need to include everyone in our country because the ANC will rule the country until those that are dead rise back to life."