This post was in actual fact started yesterday - not very long after I posted for yesterday…
Foreign currency mid-rates updated…
But this article may not be earth shatteringly important, but it does show the terrible conditions that prisoners in Mugabe's prison are forced to live in…
Mann, a former Old Etonian and SAS officer, was last week revealed to be suffering multiple organ failure in his cell in the Zimbabwe capital, Harare.
He is also said to be going blind, and has a life-threatening intestinal condition caused by poor diet."
Now, I don't care what he has or hasn't done - no one deserves to be denied medical attention!
Think of it this way - when they execute someone in the United States with the lethal injection, the dosage, which will end the condemned person's life, is administer hygienically! Human rights until the end…
"Last night Amnesty International said it was monitoring Mann's condition and attempting to obtain further information.
Mann has admitted being involved in the arms trade in Africa, but always denied his alleged part in the foiled coup.
He has maintained that weapons found in his possession at Harare airport in 2004 were destined for a private company guarding diamond mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mercenary has also maintained that any confession he made was beaten out of him."
As a British citizen, is he not entitled to some representation from diplomats to argue his case for at least more humane treatment - his chances of survival are slim unless the Zimbabwe government allow him free access to not only medical help, but legal representation….
But I'm not holding my breath. Mugabe will hold this man for as long as it takes, knowing that his continued imprisonment irks the British government and that, to Mugabe, is just what he wants and enjoys.
"They started asking questions," he said. "Why are you active in an opposition party that is against the needs of the government? Don't you know you are part of a leadership that is leading to violence?" The officers rifled his pockets, he said, and took his cash, amounting to about $60. Then, for the next 20 minutes, they beat him.
"They used batons," he said. "My head, my chest, on my legs. I had a head injury." When the officers tried to tie him up with his own shirt, Charumbira said, he managed to slip out and run away, fleeing first to a relative's home, then to a Harare hospital. He spent six days there recovering."
But the opposition activists say that Mugabe may break their arms and legs, but they cannot break their determination. Determination to dislodge Mugabe from power and set up a government that recognises the people for who and what they are - the lifeblood of Zimbabwe.
"This is not a regime that is ensconced in the affections of the people," Iden Wetherell, an editor of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent, said in his central offices this week. "There's a real fear of popular mobilization. Look at the pattern of beating people up, of declaring Harare a zone where no demonstrations can be held, of breaking up news conferences. It's clearly an attempt to prevent the leadership of the opposition from communicating with its members."
Apart from his 'hand of reconciliation' speech in the early 1980's - which was a lie as events after the speech would show - Mugabe has always left his people licking their wounds. He stops at nothing to take out his frustration, his anger and what he sees as his God-given right to lead on the people.
He may have had a reasonable education, and may profess to be a Christian, Catholic, whatever… but I believe that he has become mentally unhinged.
I do not believe that a person with as much hate, paranoia and loathing can in actual fact be anything but mentally unhinged.
The man jumps at shadows and orders his police and army, together with the CIO, the youth militia and the war veterans to beat his own people - the very ones that voted him into power.
He vilifies the west and lies to the east.
He believes that silence is acceptance of his actions. But silence is something in Zimbabwe which is forced upon the populace.
And he openly admits to the oppression and suppression of his people.
"The regime does not any longer believe that there is a civil society that should participate in politics," said Tungamirai Madzokere, a ward leader for the Combined Harare Residents Association in Glenview. "They're now after everyone."
"The confrontation in our country has now reached a flash point," said the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference in a pastoral message pinned up Sunday at churches throughout the country.
"As the suffering population becomes more insistent, generating more and more pressure through boycotts, strikes, demonstrations and uprisings, the state responds with ever harsher oppression through arrests, detentions, banning orders, beatings and torture," the nine bishops said."
The sad thing here is that Mugabe will reject this call with some sort of comment that will say in essence that religion has no place in politics. Yet he has yet to recognise that politics grew out of religious differences.
The man will reject any call for his standing down, new elections, a new constitution, a halt to the political oppression - just about any call - as he does not want to be seen to weaken on any point. He may be firefighting on just about every front, but he has decided to stay the course and the hell with the consequences - literally…
"The majority of Zimbabwe's Christians - including Mugabe - are Roman Catholics. Several thousand worshippers who packed the cathedral in Harare - clustered around the notice boards to read the message after morning Mass on Sunday.
Although the Catholic bishops - especially Pius Ncube, the archbishop of the second city of Bulawayo, have criticized the government in the past, the tone of this year's pastoral message was the most strident since independence from Britain in 1980.
In his traditional Easter address from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI singled out Zimbabwe among other troubled countries.
"Zimbabwe is in the grip of a grievous crisis," he said.
The letter, entitled "God Hears the Cries of the Oppressed," likened human and democratic rights abuses under Mugabe to the oppression of biblical pharaohs and Egyptian slave masters.
"Oppression is sin and cannot be compromised with," it said."
Isn't there a saying: "if God is with us, who can be against us?"
Yesterday's article on this shooting said that he had been shot once. Today we discover that he was, in actual fact, shot three times. He is now fighting for his life.
"A Zimbabwean opposition activist was last night reportedly in critical condition in hospital after state security agents shot him under as yet unclear circumstances.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party spokesman Nelson Chamisa told ZimOnline that Philip Kastsande, a member of the opposition paty's Harare provincial executive had three bullets lodged in his body and was admitted at the government-run Parirenyatwa hospital under police guard."
What I question is, if the man were hiding in the ceiling space in his own house, is it deemed necessary to fire shots into the roof? He didn't have anywhere else to go! And why should it be deemed incorrect that he seeks refuge in the roof of his own house?
Did the security agents have a search warrant? Or a warrant of arrest?
I don't believe that this shooting has any legal precedent - it was illegal, and hence, should be treated as such. Simple attempted murder…
"He is still in a critical condition and that is why we are trying to have him released from Parirenyatwa so we can take him to private doctors," said Chamisa, who speaks for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction of the splintered MDC."
Last week state agents spirited away a number of people who were in hospital beds, and they turned up later in prison. This man has three bullets in him and it is deemed that he warrants a police guard. Do they really think that the MDC would attempt to remove their man with the correct authorities?
Or do they fear he may get up and walk out under his own steam?
I can relate to this story as I too am thousands of miles away from the country I call home. And my circumstances dictate that we live on the absolute minimum money - the internet being about the only 'luxury' we have.
But at least I live where I have an income and health facilities, food, fuel and freedom of speech - all things decided absent in Mugabe's 'democratic' Zimbabwe.
"I am better off here than I was in Zimbabwe. I can make more than N$100 a day (about Z$150000), which is way more than what I used to get in my country as a teacher.
"When I left Zimbabwe last year, I was earning Z$120000 a month," he says with a wide grin."
We may have all the support structures in place and all the amenities required to sustain life, and some of us may be very comfortable in our new lives scattered all around the world.
But it's not Zimbabwe. And that is where I, for one, belong.
I wish I knew why, but Mutambara gets a decidedly easier walk than Tsvangirai, considering they both head opposing factions of the MDC against Mugabe's ZANU PF.
Holding a passport 'briefly' is a 'crackdown' - I didn't see him have his head kicked in, did you? He was arrested, and after a suitable period, he was released - without a scratch…
"He had to wait for some time while the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) operatives at the airport went through his passport," a source said."
How hard must have the ordeal of waiting for his passport been for him?
Don't make me laugh!
Zimbabwe's 13 million people have the lowest life expectancy on earth - women can expect death at 34 and men by 37. Inflation is over 1000 percent and for some time currency has been used as toilet paper in many places, including the capital, Harare. Because trade stopped and shelves were empty, the money retained but one use. In May, a roll of toilet paper cost over 140,000 Zim dollars.
In July I was in Durban, South Africa, and I met people from Zimbabwe. Some were refugees, selling tomatoes and wooden souvenirs on the side of the road. Malcolm had come from Zim the prior year, and worked near my apartment. Every week or so, on my walk to work, we talked for a few minutes. When news surfaced that the country's President, Robert Mugabe, had recently completed a new 26-bedroom palace - while the rest of his country was starving - Malcolm said, "We suffer for his riches." Tom, another Zim man I met, gave me a 100,000 Zimbabwean dollar note. It had an expiration date printed six months from then - a signal of the currency's near-collapse."
For months we have seen article after article after article on the 'end of Zimbabwe' and whilst I believe that the end will happen and it will be sooner rather than later, to try and pre-empt the exact date of 'the end' - I think it would be better that the situation in Zimbabwe is reassessed on an almost daily basis.
If it collapsed, well then it does. That is when all the contingency plans kick in. Until then, forecasting its 'end' is a waste of breath and webspace.
"Mugabe has done much to destroy local health clinics and to ban media into his country. The BBC is barred, for instance, and most reports we get from Zim are filed from Johannesburg, 600 miles away. We already viewed Zimbabwe from a distance, but for the past six years our field of vision shrank further. Credible estimates, however, indicate that about 33 percent of the population carries HIV. Without a health infrastructure (nurses, clinics, doctors, pharmacies) and funding for adequate care, the virus rapidly becomes AIDS, and soon infections and ailments that can be cured inexpensively elsewhere kill Zimbabweans early.
Last May, Zim's National Pharmaceutical Company ran out of money. The anti-retroviral drugs that keep HIV from multiplying were administered to about 20,000 people in the country, out of an infected total of around 1/3 of the adult population, so roughly 3 million people. Zimbabwe is ravaged by HIV: more than one in 10 newborns are expected to die of an AIDS-related illness by five and 25 percent of the labor market will die by 2025. There are more orphans per capita there than anywhere else in the world. The amount of money needed to buy the next batch of drugs was $7.4 million American dollars, and the company only had $106,000."
Published today, parts of this article is written some time back - probably pre-2005.
Consider the comparison highlighted in this article.
Just what wanton damage and destruction has Mugabe's rule wrought?
Take care.