Sunday, December 17, 2006


Guess who is back? You are right, me.

I am sorry to you, faithful readers of this blog. I know I have been awol for far too long. It is all for a good reason, I assure you. I am in the middle of something so exciting that you will all love me for it. Well, I hope.

Keep watching this space for the big announcement coming in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, I may be lousy at predicting World Cup matches, but when it comes to Zimbabwean politics, I think I can crown myself a World Champion Predictor. Earlier this year I said Mugabe would not quit in 2008 and he would not call for elections.

Well, those of you who follow Zimbabwean news will know that Zanu PF completed its annual conference in Goromonzi with a resolution to postpone the presidential election, scheduled for 2008, to 2010.

They don't call him "Handiende" (I will not go) for nothing.


Saturday, December 02, 2006


Soul Influence, my favorite musical group in North America is going him. Yes, the boys and girls of that melodious septet are going to Africa on a tour to both entertain and serve.

The group, which is inspired by the members’ Christianity, will visit Kenya and Zambia where they are sponsoring humanitarian projects. They have also adopted a son in Kenya; his name is Haron Meboi, from Kilgoris. Haron should be elated at the prospecting of seeing his seven parents.

From December 5th to December 22nd 2006, Soul Influence will be visiting and working in four projects that they support both directly and indirectly, in Zambia. They will visit and take medical and general hospital supplies to the Arthur Davidson Children's Hospital. In Kenya they will visit the Mully Children's Family, a rehabilitation institution for street children, the Mathare Street Children Rescue Centre.

The African tour concludes a series of 10 concerts under the theme: A Child at a Time. The tour kicked off in Red Deer and Calgary AB, on November 17th to November 19th. Today the group performs at Forest Grove United Church on 43 Forest Grove Drive, Toronto, M2K 1Z4 at 7:30pm.

They leave for Africa on Monday.


Monday, November 27, 2006


You know, there is something so abominable about fat politicians in a five star hotel at a prime tourist resort in a country whose economy they have plunder, meeting to discuss how to squeeze more out of its poor people.

I am talking about this past weekend's meeting between South African and Zimbabwean security ministers in Victoria Falls where they agreed to charge the thousands of Zimbabweans crossing the Limpopo legally to seek employment and/or visit relatives and friends.

Zimbabwean travellers now have to pay a security deposit of between $108 000 and $148 000 depending on the destination, have traveller’s cheques amounting to 1 000 rand and produce a letter of invitation, among other requirements.

Now, politicians have always been known to be dumb, but I did not know they would be this dumb.

Hey, those people you are charging more have already been paying you. I would have thought the meeting would seek solutions to the decades-old problem of border jumping - you know, those guys who swim across the river or bribe the border guards.

They are the ones who are flooding South Africa by the millions and they do not do it because they are daredevil who just want to see if they can cross the limpopo without being killed by crocodiles and hippos or being shot by border guards.

These are people who are fleeing human rights violations and are seeking employment in South Africa. These are people who need a solution so they don't risk their lives jumping the border. These are the people for whom meetings are supposed to be called and decisions made.




It is now common knowledge that Canada will not indict President Robert Mugabe if he happens to come this side of ther world.

Federal Justice Minister, Vic Toews saw no compelling reason for parliament to pass a Bill to indict Mugabe under the crimes against humanity law. The reason? Whatever Mugabe's government is doing against the people of Zimbabwe is too remote for Canadians to lose sleep over.

This is despite that thousands of Zimbabweans have sought refuge here fleeing human rights atrocities back home. Early this month Zimbabwean human rights lawyer and torture victim, Gabriel Shumba was here to tell his story and lobby for the indictment. Another human rights lawyer, Arnold Tsunga was actually honoured here this month, for lobbying against the same human rights violations.

All those speeches, all those pleas, all those radio, televisions and newspaper interviews and graphic pictures, they produced nothing.

No, actually the decision by Canada saved the skin of Zimbabwean Ambassador to Canada, Florence Chideya, who welcomed the "obvious and expected outcome". She will be rewarded handsomely, I can assure you.

For the rest of us, I have a question that we should all answer: WHAT DO WE DO??


Monday, November 13, 2006


News from Zimbabwe continues getting bad for journalists.

According to Zimbabwe News Online, last week a government appointed media regulating body, the Media and Information Commission (MIC) issued a directive to officials at Harare Polytechnic, which houses the School of Journalism, to accept only students who passed through the controversial national youth service training programme.

Many countries have some form of national service for their youths and that in itself is not a problem. The youths are taught the virtues of nationhood; they learn to help the needy and to appreciate their country, its history and sovereignty.

However, the youth national service in Zimbabwe is basically a politicization and military boot camp. It is managed by President Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party, administered by sworn Zanu PF members of the army, the war veterans and bona fide zealots. The message taught to the youths is simply “Zanu PF – Excellent, Anything else – Very Bad”. There is no reasoning, not justification.

At completion of the training, the youths would have been transformed into a well-drilled brutal propaganda-enforcing machine called the “Green Bombers”. The name “Green Bombers” is derived from the huge green housefly common in tropical regions. It is such a menace.

The Green Bomber flies with a buzz that resembles a First World War bomber, stings like a bee and spreads disease at a fast and deadly rate. The Zanu PF youths wear green uniforms, attack opposition members with deadly ferocity and have contributed to more killing and maiming of innocent Zimbabweans than the army, police, war veterans and secret police combined. Imagine a bunch of journalists with such qualities.

What boggles the mind is that Professor Tafataona Mahoso, a former head of the journalism school, leads the MIC. He is the one who issued the directive for journalists to undergo the youth service training.

This follows immediately after a directive from the president for security details to invade Internet cafes in an effort to ferret out journalists who keep supplying foreign media with stories like this one which Mugabe and his government consider “falsehoods”.

Hundreds of Zimbabwean journalists have been killed, jailed, maimed or exiled for reporting truths about the Zanu PF government’s undemocratic rule, its atrocious human rights record and its plunder of what used to be one of Africa’s best managed economies.

When will it end?


Sunday, November 05, 2006


Last week reports from Harare said President Robert Mugabe had angrily instructed his security people to raid Internet cafes in the whole country to smoke out all the “traitors” allegedly using the Internet to spread “falsehoods” about Zimbabwe.

This is by no means news, it is just that what the Central Intelligency Organisation (CIO) was doing clandestinely now has the weight of presidential powers and is being done jojntly with the police, the army and other security agents.

Now, the real target of Mugabe's order are Zimbabwean journalists based in the country, who bravely defy all odds to tell the world of the atrocities being perpetrated by the Zanu PF government.

The government banned most foreign media organizations from operating in Zimbabwe; however, because of the nature of Internet technology, it cannot effectively ban journalists and other concerned citizens from sending out information by e-mail.

But this crackdown will not only affect journalists. Its real victims are ordinary Zimbabweans who find it cheaper to use e-mails to exchange information and pictures with their relatives in the Diaspora.

Now they will experience the indignity of having their mail opened and read by faceless people who will then use the information in the mail to keep tabs on them and, inevitably, harm them.

However, one thing Mugabe and his party did well despite everything, was to ensure a very high rate of education among Zimbabweans. Education necessitates innovation and soon Zimbabweans will come up with a way to beat the system, if they haven’t invented it already.

Just watch out for coded mail from Zimbabwe. It should be fun to read. Get this: Mother in rural Gokwe writing to son in Toronto;

"Oh, by the way, son, Gushungo's rogue oxen broke into our cattle pen the other night and gored all of my cows. I just hope you and your siblings will be able to do something to make sure Gushungo makes sure his oxen do not keep goring my cows."

Translation: "Oh, by the way, son, those good for nothing Zanu PF youths came to our village and beat up everyone. I hope you and your others out there can do something to rid us of Mugabe and his overzealous party."


Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I respect the adage "do not speak ill of the dead" but in the case of Pieter Willem Botha, the former apartheid president of South Africa, facts would seem like I do not wish his soul to rest in peace.

Those who know the history of Botha's rule in the 1980s will agree with me that the man simply known as "PW" by both his supporters and victims personified the evil of a racist regime.
During the peak of his rule, I was in high school in Zimbabwe. Due to colonial links between the two countries, what happened south of the Limpopo River affected us.

Zimbabwe had just won its independence from another white racist regime, that of of Ian Smith; however, because the new majority government of Robert Mugabe refused to kick the then jailed Nelson Mandela's African National Congress out of the country, Botha targeted
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, with a ferocity that could only be equated to that of a crocodile.

Fittingly, Botha was already known in Afrikaans as "Die Groot Krokodil" (The Great Crocodile). He is said to have liked the nickname, which was uttered in endearing ways by his supporters and in utter fear by the persecuted.

I was school in 1986 when Botha's ferocity was unleashed with staggering effects around the world. Sweden's anti-apartheid prime minister, Olof Palme, was assassinated and the plane carrying Mozambique's president, Samora Moises Machel, was shot down. Fingers were pointed at PW.

In Zimbabwe, ANC offices and safe houses in Harare and Bulawayo were bombed, killing the comrades of president Thabo Mbeki (who is now South Africa's president).

Fed up with seeing his backyard in Zimbabwe bombed at will by Botha's "birds of fire," Mugabe -- considered the toughest among all southern African leaders -- dared to challenge PW to a military duel along the Limpopo. It never happened.

Gossip making the rounds in Zimbabwe at the time was that Botha considered the invitation but was told by his generals that the Zimbabwe National Army was a small but mean machine, fired up by former guerrilla strategists who could beat the best conventional armies. I know the ZNA is mean, but that's all I know.

I also know "PW" was hated with a passion in Zimbabwe. Mugabe, ever the master of name-calling, got us all fired up with a daily dose of derogatory Shona names he gave Botha: "Chimbwasungata" (Mad Dog), "Chisveta Simba" (Blood Sucker) and "Mudzvanyiriri" (The Persecutor).

Musicians, too, took their best shot at the man with a permanent sneer. Zimbabwe's best known singer, Thomas Mapfumo (Canadians might remember him. He performed recently in Calgary and Toronto) produced one of his all-time hits whose main refrain was "Botha, Gandanga guru, ngaaurayiwe" (Botha, the biggest terrorist, must be killed).

Calypso king Eddie Grant mocked Botha with Johanna Gimme Hope, a worldwide hit that likened Botha to a mean woman who runs a country with such cruelty that her victims were forced to look up to her for salvation. Michael Jackson sang The Man in the Mirror.


Sunday, October 22, 2006


Friday night I went to hear one of my favourite writers, Nobel Winner Prof Wole Soyinka, arguably the best author to come out of Africa. He read from his latest book “You Must Set Forth at Dawn”.

Now, I have something to say about that. Not many people are multi-talented and much as Soyinka is an excellent writer, I did not enjoy his reading. His voice was flat; he missed certain words or phrases and had to go back several times.

It could have been his eyesight or lighting because he said so at some point anyway. Also, being the main attraction can become a disadvantage if you follow such immaculate under cards as the lovely Iranian Azar Nafisi (she of the internationally acclaimed bestseller, “Reading Lolita in Tehran”.

Be that as it may, I was really elated to be in the same room with my literary hero, Soyinka. I remember reading some of his earlier books when I was in school and wondering what he really looked like in person.

Then I saw his image on television a lot when he was being persecuted by the then dictator of Nigeria, Sani Abacha. So, it was fulfilling when I finally laid my eyes on that wispy white afro.



Zimbabwean journalism saw the return of two old generals this past week. My former boss and mentor at the real, but now defunct Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency (Ziana), Henry Muradzikwa was called back by the government to head the perennially unstable Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (now known as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings).

His old colleague at Zimbabwe Newspapers Group, former Daily News Editor-In-Chief, Geoffrey Nyarota started his own Internet newspaper also this past week.

I do not know how long Muradzikwa will last at ZBC, given that none of his predecessors have lasted long enough to mean anything at an organization that is really run from Munhumutapa House.

However, one thing I know is that Muradzikwa is not a pushover. He gives as much as he gets and I believed him when he said: “It will not be business as usual” at Pockets Hill.

Nyarota is known for kicking political backsides and now that his new venture,, is web-based (thus no bombs on his press and no Mahoso and his gang lurking around), I personally expect some serious kicking.

Good luck to you gentlemen. You led the way for us before; let’s see if you still have it. We will be watching.


Sunday, October 15, 2006


Last week I joined AfricaFiles, a network of people committed to Africa through its promotion of human rights, economic justice, African perspectives and alternative analyses.

AfricaFiles was launched in 2002. My volunteer job with the group is to post current reports on Zimbabwe, particularly those highlighting human rights concerns.

So, why don’t you visit to read all about Africa? It is such a very informative ride, let’s enjoy it together.



Recent events in the South African media may surprise many, not me. I knew a high profile gag on members of the press in a country considered a bastion of democracy in a continent fraught with dictatorships and tyranny was just but a matter of time.

For those slow to catch up with news from south of the Sahara, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has blacklisted a number of South African and Zimbabwean media personalities who had developed a habit of criticizing President Mbeki and his Zimbabwean mentor, President Robert Mugabe.

Among the blacklisted are independent political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi; the author of a book on Mbeki, William Gumede; and Business Day staff members Vukani Mde and Karima Brown. Others are Zimbabwe’s own media magnate Trevor Ncube and Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube.

These commentators have been criticizing the Mugabe regime and of late, they have been snipping at Mbeki’s conciliatory policies towards Harare.

This is a very serious matter. South Africa is a respected country in the whole world and so is Mbeki’s administration. It is, therefore, such a let down to hear that the government-controlled SABC is being muzzled like that. What a shame.

Thank God, the judiciary in South Africa still works. This morning Johannesburg High Court Judge Zukiswa Tshiqi dismissed with costs the SABC's application to have the Mail & Guardian Online remove a report on the blacklisting of the analysts and commentators by the broadcaster.

"I don't believe that it is okay to suppress information or to hide information written in the report," the judge told the court.

When I got this latest development, I almost jumped up with joy, but then, I checked myself quickly. In Zimbabwe it started like that. The government muzzling the press and the judiciary intervening until the muzzle was placed on the men with the Victorian wigs. I have a feeling SA is going down the same road.

But, like I said, it is not surprising. This is Africa after all and here is how it works in African politics. “Respect Thy Elders” is a term taken so seriously and then perverted to give a picture of holiness to those elders. There is also, Ziva kwawakabva “remember where you came from”.

So, following this norm, Mugabe must have called Mbeki and say: “Hey Thabo, what is this I hear that you allow some loud mouths to trash me in your backyard?”

Mbeki: “Well Mdala, I am sorry but there is not much I can do. There is what is called democracy and freedom of speech here. I am kinda helpless.”

Mugabe: “Is that the renaissance nonsense you have been preaching? I can tolerate trashing from Madiba because he is my elder. Where is your ubuntu? I am your elder and need I remind you of your time in exile here. How many fires did I extinguish when they were about to consume your corrupt ANC backside?”

Mbeki: “I am on it Mdala.” And within no time, orders are flying all over SABC to ban so and so, from saying anything anti-Mugabe.

It is not the first time this has happened in southern Africa. In Mozambique they do not say anything bad about Mugabe, lest Chissano and his successors will be reminded who propped them when rebel leader Alfonso Dhlakama was on the verge of taking Maputo.

In Tanzania, respected fellow journalist and former president, Benjamin Mkapa has it on record that he will not be seen criticizing Mugabe and following the “Respect Thy Elder” rule, neither will his successor Kikwete and their media.

Other countries are just in awe of Mugabe they would not dare say anything other than sing his praises and we wonder why Mugabe is not leaving his throne?


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


If anybody ever doubted reports of police brutality in Zimbabwe, here is visual and audio proof, courtesy of my homeboy Lance Guma and his colleagues at SWRadioAfrica.

I do not want to take credit for the sterling work done by Guma and others, but I am sure they won't mind me spreading this further. I do not know how they got the footage and smuggled it out of Zimbabwe. Frankly, in the interest of protecting the innocent, I don't want to know.

Before you click on the link (scroll down to the article: ZCTU demo video of beatings and interviews) to watch President Robert Mugabe's boys inaction, here is some background.

Leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and its allied worker and civic organizations, organized a peaceful demonstration, on August 13, to highlight the suffering of people under the corrupt economic regime of the Zanu PF government.

Well, go ahead and take a 15-minute break from whatever you are doing and see what our police department does well.


If the links fail to open please let me know. __._,_.___

Monday, October 09, 2006


Yes, one Evelyn Brown of the Global African Congress (GAC), some obscure Pan-African organization based in Canada, is said to have wept for her beloved Zimbabwe.

The story, as told by the Zanu PF government-controlled newspaper, The Herald, last week, is that, Ms Brown was part of a team that traveled to Zimbabwe to see for itself the reported human rights violations by the government of Zimbabwe.

Suspiciously though, the group was hosted by the same government whose persecution of the innocent it had come to investigate. The government officials took the group supposedly to see houses being built by the government under the so-called Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle.

The said operation is government’s feeble attempt to provide proper housing to more than 700 000 people it rendered homeless last year when it embarked on Operation Murambatsvina/Clear Filth, euphemism for ridding the urban centres of most of the opposition’s supporters.

So, we are told, Ms Brown openly wept after realizing that what she sees and reads in the western Press is totally different from what obtains on the ground."I am glad to be home. I am glad to be seeing all these good things," she said, according to The Herald.

Frankly, I want to believe that the reporter got it wrong. Ms Brown must have been crying that she had seen for herself how the western press actually down played the atrocious living conditions of the Zimbabweans, not the other way round.

I mean, the evidence was clearly there for her to see. She and her group were taken around by the enemy of the people who made efforts to show the group what it has done, which is nothing.

In Herald speak; Acting director of works for Harare City, James Chiyangwa said council organized people into cooperatives and sold them land on which to build. The cooperatives would build infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer reticulation. But because of economic problems, the city had decided people could service land on their own. In ordinary language; The group was shown bare land, which was intended to be sold to the displaced people (who have no jobs and no money) and then the people were supposed to develop that land on their own. Talk about giving a dead body a shovel to dig its own grave.

At this moment, Ms Brown, having realized that the people would remain poor and homeless for a long time if not forever, she broke down and cried.

The antics of Ms Brown and her group remind me of another group from Harlem called the 12th of December Movement. Those of my generation might remember Cde Chimurenga and sister Violet, the only two members of the group as far as I was concerned. A rather shifty two-some if you ask me. They always came to attend Zanu PF conferences and give solidarity speeches, on whose behalf I never got to know.

With thanks to my sister Eunice Mafundikwa.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


On my way to work this morning I was listening to CBC Radio One when none other than our Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube came on.

He was a special guest on the Current, a news magazine program and, of course, he was talking about the political and economic problems in Zimbabwe and, yes, he had strong words for President Robert Mugabe.

It has been more than six years since I last heard the Archbishop talk but I have always been up-to-date with his fiery attacks on Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies.

Now, here is a guy who has his facts right, is consistent with his message about the injustices being perpetrated on the people of Zimbabwe and does not make apologies for his “naked” hatred of Mugabe.

During the Current interview, which was taped recently in Ottawa, Archbishop Pius was asked if it was true that he once said he was praying for Mugabe to die.


Does he still feel that way and still pray that the president dies?


As a priest, is that the right thing to do, you know, pray for someone to die?

“In this case, yes.”

Okay, I was driving so I did not take down his answers and justifications word for word, but the answers above are a summary of what he said.

He likened Mugabe to the Biblical Egyptian Pharaoh who persecuted the Israelites or, closer to home, Hitler who killed millions of Jews. After all Mugabe’s nickname is Black Hitler.

Personally, I agree with the Archbishop that Mugabe has shamelessly presided over the killing, jailing, maiming, exiling and starving of Zimbabweans. Most likely a lot of us are praying for Mugabe’s death, but being so open about it may not be such a brave thing.

After all, in Zimbabwe, if you wish death on someone, whenever they do die (an 82-year-old man can demise any day) fingers will be pointed at you.

My solution? Just pray, pray and pray hard for God to guide our nation out of its quagmire. If that comes out of Mugabe’s death, well…


Monday, September 25, 2006


Regular readers of this blog will remember that I predicted that President Robert Mugabe will not relinguish power and that presidential elections due in 2008 would be pushed off to 2010.

Well, if anybody doubted me, news from Harare this week that infact that is what is going to happen vindicates me, as it were. Need I say more??



Reports that Zimbabwean white farmers are finding new homes and land to till in Ghana and Nigeria are not surprising but outright sad.

Look, I am a black Zimbabwean and I know too well the arrogance and oppressive nature of some of the white farmers I grew up seeing and sometimes interacting with.

But if the truth be told, they were the driving force behind Zimbabwe's robust economy. All anybody needed to do was just teach them some virtues of respecting human rights. Chasing them out of the country was the worst mistake.

Now Zimbabwe, a country once known as the bread basket of Southern Africa, is now the begging bowl of the region, all because our leaders decided to play up their own stupid arrogance on the expense of 12 million people.

As a result, our people are starving when our farmers are now filling the stomachs of Ghanaians, Nigerians, Mozambicans, South Africans and so on. Stupid, stupid, stupid I say.


Friday, September 15, 2006


The brief statement issued by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter Mackay, on Thursday to condemn the authoritarian government of President Robert Mugabe’s rampant human rights violations in Zimbabwe falls short in terms of its intended goal to show support for people in my home country.

MacKay’s statement followed this week’s arrest, detention and assault of dozens of Zimbabweans participating in a labour-organized peaceful demonstration against the government’s self-serving policies which have seen Zimbabwe’s economy plummet from being one of the top five in sub-Saharan Africa to be among the worst in just six years.

Six years in which hundreds have been killed, thousands have been tortured and jailed while millions have been forced into exile, including some Canadian-born white farmers whose properties were taken over or destroyed in an extra-constitutional land redistribution exercise authored and directed by Mugabe’s Zanu PF government.

And all Mr. MacKay can say is: "I am deeply troubled that the Government of Zimbabwehas once again denied its people their rights to freedom of expression and association as well as the right to peaceful assembly. Canada condemns the arrest of these peaceful demonstrators and calls for their immediate release. "Canada urges Zimbabwe to refrain from the use of intimidation, violence and repression and to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens, and we have conveyed our concerns to Harare," he said.

Canadians out there may wonder what the fuss is all about. The fuss is that Canada and Zimbabwe have a history of suffering together and supporting each other in politics and business, so much that a run of the mill statement like this becomes really pretentious.

Canada and Zimbabwe were both British colonies, once upon a time. Canada was one of Zimbabwe’s strongest western backers during its fight for independence and when self-rule came in 1980, Canada and Zimbabwe shared the brotherhood of Commonwealth countries.

Not only that. Canada became one of Zimbabwe’s biggest investment sources and it still is. Now, here lies the problem that Mr. MacKay and others in government may not see yet, but will soon.

Mugabe’s Zanu PF government is prepared to stay in power forever with the backing of a well-oiled machinery of the army, the police, former freedom fighters, a Hitler Youth-type militia and an overzealous support base backs it in this.

This machinery demonstrated its capability to plunder in 2000 when they invaded farms, destroying Zimbabwe’s primary economic sector, agriculture. The same machinery will not blink if an order is given to go after mines, industry and other sectors.

Then, the ripple effect, both in human and economic terms, will be felt in the neighborhoods of Toronto because Canadians own companies in Zimbabwe and some work there.

Canada and other leading democracies, Britain and the US particularly, have both national and international obligations to intervene in Zimbabwe more directly and urgently than just to issue out lame statements.

Canada has joined other western countries to impose travel sanctions on Mugabe and Liberal MP, Keith Martin has proposed a Bill to arrest Mugabe whenever he comes this way.

With all due respect, Mugabe is not a mouse that goes for a piece of cheese on a trap. He will never come here. He goes to countries that are more welcoming to him, like Cuba where he is visiting right now as I write.

Mugabe is an intelligent man who uses a strong arm to oppress the people of Zimbabwe and he needs the same strong-arm treatment applied on him. Mr. MacKay could start by engaging Zimbabweans directly to get the accurate picture, not to rely on news reports.


Monday, September 11, 2006


As September 11 gives way to September 12, 2006 and official 9/11 commemorations come to an end, I too mark another milestone in my life, I turned one year older.

I am one of thousands of people in the world who were and will be born on a day now so infamous that one has to make sure they assume the right demeanor and adjust their tone before uttering it or anything connected to it, lest listeners misconstrue you to be reveling in the loss of that day.

In fact, I have no problem with my birthday being eclipsed by all the solemn attributes to the 3 000 innocent people who lost their lives to terrorism on that fateful day in 2001 and those so killed in similar tragedies before and after that day. It is the least I can do to honour them.

The last time I had a full-fledged birthday party was in 2000. Then came September 11, 2001, a sunny Tuesday in Harare. I was running around preparing for my journey to Texas, USA.

Every now and I again I stopped to field calls from family and friends who wished me a happy birthday. Around 3 pm, Zimbabwean time, I fielded a different call. A colleague asked if I was near a television. I wasn’t. I was driving.

“Go home immediately and watch TV,” he said in an eerily quiet voice.

I rushed home and switched on the TV just before the first tower collapsed. The calls I made and received after that had nothing to do with my birthday. They were all about what was happening in the US, who was doing it, why, how would it end and whether I was going to be able to travel to the US.

I have no doubt my story was repeated a thousand times around the world in one form or another.

After that day, it never felt necessary for me to party. Well meant congratulations and presents have been treasurable enough, thank you.

Today became a measured exception though. Colleagues at work threw me a small do in the office. Two delicious cakes, some non-alcoholic wine and appropriate presents from special friends. It was befitting the day.

In the end, when others worry about whether they will get all excited and drunk and ruin their special day, I prayed that the day ends without some devilish commemoration from, you know who!



Can someone tell me what really is wrong with Zimbabwe’s information ministers? What do they really have against journalists? Do they understand our job at all?

Since the time of the professor from HELL, Jonathan Moyo, every information minister has been accusing journalists of all sorts of things.

Paul Mangwana -a learned lawyer, no less- accuses Zimbabwean journalists of working undercover to advance Western interests and denigrate President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Reports from Harare say Mangwana charges that some reporters have dedicated their careers to working with Zimbabwe's enemies to bring about regime change. Well, at least he knows there is need for regime change.

They are “willing soldiers in a war that is not theirs", he reportedly said.

Mangwana is holding the portfolio in an acting capacity following the death of substantive minister, Dr. Tichaona Jokonya who was on record threatening journalists with death for working for Western media. He called us “traitors”.

“The unfortunate thing about a traitor is that you are killed by both your own people and the person whom you are serving,” Jokonya warned us and we all shook with fear!!

It all started with Jokonya’s predecessor, Prof Moyo who came into the ministry in 2000 with such hatred of journalists that he literally drove many into jails and exile. Some have actually attributed some deaths of journalists to brutality authored and directed by the professor.

He actually made a public announcement that all journalists living Zimbabwe were spies and should be dealt with accordingly. Spies are almost always killed or at least jailed for long stretches of time.

I don’t know about my colleagues back home and elsewhere in the Diaspora, but I wouldn’t know how to spy even if I was offered the chance to.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I don’t know about y’all Zimbabweans out there, but I am really getting it up to my nose with Jonathan Moyo.

The professor keeps running his mouth (or is it his pen) about the flaws in the Zanu PF government policies and the persons of President Robert Mugabe and his officials, the latest victim being Zimbabwe Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono.

Now, hold it! Put those knives back in their sheaths before you stab me. I am not in anyway defending Mugabe and his cronies, far from it.

My beef with Jonono is that all that is happening in Zimbabwe may have its roots in Mugabe’s misguided economic (war veterans grants of 1997) and foreign (DRC war) policies and related cases of fiscal mismanagement.

However, when the professor got onboard the doomed Zanu PF train via the Constitutional Reform Exercise of 1999, he took the leadership of a propaganda machine that promised utopia to believers and condemned doubters to death, jail, and exile and never imagined suffering.

Talk about any aspect of the Zimbabwean society, Jonono had a hand in ruining it. In the five years that he was part of Mugabe’s government, he did more damage to the country than any of Bob’s other ministers combined.

Let me talk about the field I know best, journalism. Jonono single-handedly destroyed journalism in Zimbabwe. True, there was oppression and persecution of journalists during the times when Nathan Shamuyarira, Chen Chimutengwende, Mai Mujuru and others were at the helm of the Information ministry, but when the professor came along, oppression and persecution became simply HELL.

I will be surprised if any journalist in Zimbabwe can stand up and say they enjoyed professional freedom during Jonono’s time. The man was just terror, the bin Laden of Zimbabwean journalism.

If it were not for Jonathan Moyo I would not be here and I am sure I am not the only one who feels like this. Even those who may have been showered with favours by the good professor, I know for certain that they too were burdened by his attentions and demands and right now, a lot are embarrassed that they ever knew him.

Prof Moyo destroyed my beloved Ziana, ZBC, and Zimpapers and, even though they fought hard, he managed to extinguish all the fire in the independent and foreign press.

There is simply no more journalism worth talking about in Zimbabwe right now, all thanks to Jonono.

Prof, do not seek to be holier than thou. It doesn’t even suit you!!



Isn’t revenge so sweet? Those of you who watched the Euro 2008 Group B match between France and Italy will agree with me that the World Champions were outclassed by the runners-up.

It was total humiliation and there could never be any excuse. If the World Champions missed some key players like the villainous Metarazzi, France missed the retired inspirational captain, Zidane and Fabien Barthez among others.

Italy cannot even claim bad officiating because the referee today was perfect, making the right calls all the way. Italy was simply a Grade B team. Having seen their performance in their 1-1 draw with Lithuania, I knew they would not go far with France.

Les Bleus were just a class act. They took me back to 1998 when they won the championship. They were just so polished you could not fault any department and their goals were results of perfection by a team out to prove that they should be the world’s beaters.

Do I hear someone calling for a re-take of the World Cup final and crown the deserving team? I second.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Thomas Tafirenyika Mapfumo, aka Mukanya, should be happy.

Last Monday morning, just before sitting down to an interview with in Toronto, Canada, he received news from his Oregon base. He and his family’s political asylum application had been accepted by US authorities.

“That is great news,” I said.

“I should not have been forced to do it. No Zimbabwean should be forced to seek refugee protection abroad. It is humiliating,” Mukanya responded, betraying a controlled anger with President Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship.

“I fought for that country in my own way. We all fought for it, and yet some people are now claiming everything, including the right to oppress us, suppress our views and just burn our country,” added the typically defiant Mapfumo.

The man considered by many as Zimbabwe’s best known musical export is also hailed as one of the unsung heroes of Zimbabwe’s liberation war.

In the 1970s when others were crossing over into Mozambique and Zambia to participate in a guerrilla uprising that brought independence in 1980, Mapfumo used his music to fight the “people’s enemy on his turf”. He was thrown in jail for it.

After independence, Mapfumo was soon throwing salvos at the Zanu PF government which fast turned into a corrupt regime and slowly degenerated into the dictatorship it is today.

“I really feel sad about what is happening at home,” said Mukanya whose latest album, Rise Up was banned in Zimbabwe because it highlights the problems inflicted on the people of Zimbabwe by the government.

“Educated people are supposed to know better but they have degrees of destruction,” he said in reference to Mugabe and most of his ministers who are university graduates. “Yet, tikaisa sabhuku anotogona kutonga nyika zvirinani 'if we put a mere village headman in office in Zimbabwe, he may do a better job'.”

The aging music guru believes that Zimbabwe’s problems would best be solved through dialogue between Mugabe’s Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

However, he said on his last visit to Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai invited him for an exchange of views.

“For hours we talked with Tsvangirai and I believe he has very good and workable ideas which he is ready to share with Mugabe, but the old man does not want to share anything,” he said.

Mukanya also lamented that despite that there are an estimated 3-4 million Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, they are not doing anything to force change in Zimbabwe.

“There are enough of us out here to cause change in Zimbabwe through lobbying, advocacy and other means, but typically, we are not united,” he said.



If you were not at El Mocambo, Toronto on Friday night, I know you want to me to tell you what Mukanya was up to and I will tell you, of course.

For more than 2 hours, Thomas Mapfumo, the Lion of Zimbabwean music, did what he knows best. He took his sizeable (I mean really sizeable) audience back to the good old days with such yesteryear hits as “Chipatapata”, “Chiruzevha Chapera”, “Corruption” and many more until he fittingly closed with “Bhutsu Mutandarika”.

When I got to the El Mocambo Club -seeing the small crowd- I was fearful that Mukanya might do what those who claim to know him better accuse him of doing, that is, play just a few minutes and take off complaining that he was such a big name who only performs to big crowds.

Well, none of that happened, in fact Mukanya performed as if he was in front of 60 000 fans in The National Sports Stadium back in Harare.

I am not about to give excuses for Mukanya, but the small crowd could have been that he performed to a large non-paying crowd on Monday and the thrifty among us took advantage. After all most of us are still on social assistance!!

I have some advice though for Thomas Mapfumo: Mukanya, people do not like it or enjoy it when you crouch down, right to the floor to sing. Are you in agony, they want to know.

Also, audiences want to see you dance all the time, not shuffle a little and then stand up there and watch them with what most construe as a bemused or disapproving stare while Loveness, your backing singer and dancer, is literally killing herself with fancy footwork.

Just thought I should say this and hope that when you come next time there will be a more upright Mukanya to listen to, watch and dance with.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Zimbabwe’s Girl Child Network (GCN) has won the first ever United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Red Ribbon Award for addressing gender inequalities that fuel the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The award was presented to GCN founding director, Betty Makoni by Her Royal Highness, Princess Mette-Marit of Norway on Wednesday night at the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada.

AIDS is not something that one can raise a glass to in a toast, particularly when one considers how much it has devastated our country.

However, an award like this is a cause for some form of celebration, if only to congratulate Ms. Makoni and her staff and sponsors for assisting more than 20 000 girls most of who call the network and its members, home and family respectively.

The GCN oversees more than 300 clubs where girls are sheltered and shielded from imminent HIV infection and eventual death, usually as victims of their blood relatives like fathers and brothers.

Ms. Makoni, makorokoto, amhlope – rambai makashinga. The world is watching and applauding.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006


He is here, he is performing and you just don’t know what you are missing.

Yes, the Lion of Zimbabwe, Thomas Tafirenyika “Mukanya” Mapfumo is in Toronto (the meeting place). He is here on the invitation of the organizers of the International AIDS Conference but he will also perform independently on Friday at the El Mocambo on College and Spadina in downtown TO.

But that is in the future. On Monday night he headlined the Strength of Africa Concert, which is part of the AIDS Conference’s side shows. I am not much of a music critique, but I will tell you this; the man had the several hundreds of revelers crammed at the small Harbourfront Theatre all dancing and singing along.

I know that many people had dismissed Mapfumo as a washed up old man. Well, the old man went ol’skool on Monday night and it was just fantastic.

You should have been there to witness the frenzy that followed after he hit the note “Zvandaive ndiri mwana mudiki, Mai vachandida…” Zimbabweans, Canadians and other people at the concert were soon dancing chinungu.

And that dancing girl, Loveness, she is just something!

But for someone resident in Toronto, it would be outright shameful if I were to finish this story without mentioning Soul Influence, the locally based Zimbabwean acapella troupe.

The girls are beautiful, soulful and their melodious voices just melted my heart. Lead singer, Dorothy Gettuba, not only does she claim ownership of the stage, she engages the audience with her teasing animation. The boys! Well, that bass, the tenors, what a fitting way to start off a concert that was rocking all the way until it ended and we had to go home reluctantly.

While Mapfumo is an experienced performer reclaiming his position at the top of African music, especially with his new album, Rise Up, there is a great future in Soul Influence. And I am glad to here that they have a new album in the works and possibly a DVD.

I will definitely be at El Mocambo on Friday night and I have purchased my copies of Mapfumo’s Rise Up and Soul Influence’s first album. If you haven’t bought yours, what are you waiting for?


Thursday, August 10, 2006


Here is a big stinker forwarded to me by a sister, Eunice Mafundikwa, who seems to know how to make me laugh until I am hurting all over.

The story below is actually an abridged version of a news report in the Financial Gazette in Zimbabwe, written by Kumbirai Mafunda. If it were not for Eunice, I would have missed it, and in that order, if it were not for this blog, some of you would have missed it.

A typographical error that replaced a "v" with a "d" on a menu item during President Robert Mugabe and his family's flight to the Far East last Friday, left a (for lack of a better word) horrible taste in the mouth.

President Mugabe and family were on a flight to China when they were handed a menu card where an item should have read Chimukuyu and Dovi (dried beef in peanut butter source), which is one of Mugabe's favorite dishes.

But there was a disastrous typo when a 'd' replaced the 'v' on 'dovi' to read dodi (faeces). Yummy, huh!!

The typo was discovered by Mugabe's young son, Robert Jr. See what happens when you insist on children reading everything carefully?

The national airline on Tuesday reacted to the embarrassing stinker by suspending four employees, Masi Gambanga, the cabin services manager, Victoria Munzara, the acting flight services officer, Chipo Sikireta the secretary to the senior flight operations manager and an unnamed worker who is employed in the reservations section.

Was that really necessary? I don't really think this stinker of a job was deliberate and I am certain the meal did not actually have poop in it.

I read a lot of Mugabe's speeches and despite that they would have gone through a lot of editing by many staffers and the president himself, fellow journalists will agree with me that we would find a typo here and there, but were those staffers suspended? Of course not.

I think transport minister, Chris Mushowe just over-reacted when he ordered the suspensions. But, thats just me!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Some things we read about or see on television and we think, ah, they would never happen to us, or who ever was involved, deserved it.

I confess that I had thoughts like that when I saw Rodney King being beaten by four white police officers in Los Angeles more than a decade ago.

Well, I think differently now because a similar incident -not so much in scope and scale- happened closer to home.

Last month a Zimbabwean friend of mine found himself on the receiving end of two white Toronto police officers’ batons and booted feet, for trumped up charges, so he claims.

The case is now in court but my friend gave me permission to write about it as long as I do not reveal his name.

According to him, on the eve of Canada Day he received a call from his sister in the US about a family emergency back in Zimbabwe. He had to get in touch with the family rather urgently and he needed a long distance phone card to do that.

It was around midnight but he figured he could dash to the nearest convenience store and buy a card right then and so he went out, bought the card and started back to his apartment.

“I was walking along this lane when two people, a man and a woman, approached me rather aggressively. I tried to avoid them but they kept coming my way until I almost bumped into them. To avoid that I pushed the woman, who was closest to me, aside and passed them,” he said.

The couple turned to follow accusing him of assaulting the woman. Just then, a police car came round the corner and he flagged it down to seek protection from the increasingly aggressive couple.

The police car stopped and two officers got out. One came over to my friend while the other officer approached the couple.

“I was still explaining to the officer what had happened when the other one came towards us and informed me and his partner that the couple had accused me of demanding drugs from them,” my friend said.

He claimed that the officers, who had already released the couple before hearing his side of the story, started beating him up and kicking him. They looked at his identification papers and when they realized he was a refugee, they increased the beating.

‘What do you want in my country?’ one officer is said to have asked repeatedly as the other one added that they would make sure my friend was sent back to Zimbabwe.

When they were done, the officers called for an ambulance and the paramedics treated the guy right there but left him with the officers who then took him “downtown” for booking.

“At the station they claimed that I had resisted being arrested and they had to use force that was why I had cuts on my face and other places,” he told me.

He was charged with assault with intent to buy drugs and he spent the long Canada Day weekend in the slammer. He has a lawyer and his case is going through the court process.

Watch this space for updates to the case.



Torontoans love to have fun in the sun at the park. Among the most popular destinations are the islands on Lake Ontario. So, on Monday, my family and I and our dear long suffering friends, the Njobos and the Mlambos went off to wind down the long weekend on Centre Island.

As the kids frolicked in the sand and splashed in the numerous pools on the island, and our women shyly waded into knee-deep water, Njobo and I were wandering around looking for nothing in particular.

Our aimless walk-about was actually rewarded in a big way. We had a "stoney" surprise. We bumped into one of the several stone sculptures prominently positioned on the lush lawns.

“This looks very Zimbabwean,” said Njobo as we approached the magnificent figure of a beautiful African woman with a child made out of shiny black marble.

“Only those stone carvers back home can produce such an exquisite piece of art,” I agreed as we knelt down to read the small card nailed next to the sculpture.

And, lo behold, it was indeed a Zimbabwean work of art by one John Mutasa. What excitement that induced in us. All of a sudden what was beginning to look like a boring afternoon for the two of us was now exciting.

We searched around like kids on an Easter egg hunt and found at least two more sculptures by an M. Mamvura and there could be more. We were so proud to be Zimbabwean and we proudly showed our kids their heritage.

I don’t know about Njobo and others, but I have already declared to myself that I own part, no! parts of Centre Island on behalf of Zimbabwe, thanks to SaMutasa naVaMamvura and others.

Now, when anyone asks me where they can go and spend an afternoon, I direct them to "our" Centre Island and I make sure they undertake to marvel at our sculpture.


Sunday, July 30, 2006


The campaign for the Zimbabwe presidential election expected in early 2008 is on.

No, there was no formal announcement by anyone but events in Harare in the past week suggest the fight is on and, once again, it is going to be President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai, representing a coalition of the opposition parties.

Isn’t Mugabe supposed to retire in 2008, you may ask. And, oh, who chose Tsvangirai as the candidate for what opposition coalition?

It is no rocket science really.

Mugabe has been making the same moves he has made over the last 26 years to announce, indirectly, that he is not gonna let anyone or anything make him lose Zimbabwe house to any opposition leader, particularly Tsvangison.

He has put loyal army personnel in key positions in most strategic institutions, he has since announced an intention to pay war veterans more money and millions of taxpayers Zimkwachas have been allocated to strengthen the National Youth Service (Green Bombers) which we had been made to believe was being disbanded.

To top it all, the president has employed his oldest and most effective trick. Berate his ministers. Call them useless and corrupt and even initiate their arrest and trials. Remember the likes of Kumbirai Kangai in 2000, Chris Kuruneri in 2004 and now Brighton Matonga and possibly other ministers, are in the firing line.

The trick works wonders. Ministers get arrested, ambitious party cadres campaign hard in the hope to fill vacated positions and the masses say; “Ndiva Mugabe chete vanogona”. Before you know it, its another 6 years of Gushungo rule.

On the other hand, Tsvangirai is getting smart by the day. He knows that more than anything, his only chance at grabbing Zim House from Cde Handiende is to lead a united front of all opposition parties.

Contrary to earlier reports that he would boycott a church organized coalition building meeting, he turns up and once he got the chance to stand on the podium, he invites his biggest rival, Arthur Mutambara of the other MDC faction, for an embrace.

My God! It worked like magic. Mutambara was soon gushing that he would have no problem deferring to Tsvangirai. Anybody still thinks Tsvangirai is not intelligent?




So, here goes:

Something very disturbing is happening among us, the Zimbabwean community in Toronto. A fight of sorts between politicians and journalists, no less.

A fight that has a potential to damage personal reputations and community harmony in a foreign land.

The vice chairman for MDC Toronto, Mr. Andrew Mudzingwa is suing journalist Mrs. Mazvita Irene Mlambo for alleged damaging statements published on the MDC Toronto Yahoo Group.

According to a letter of intent to sue, sent to Mrs. Mlambo by Mr. Mudzingwa’s lawyers, Levine, Sherkin, Boussidan – Barristers, the MDC leader was particularly ticked off by Mrs. Mlambo’s assertions, on July 1st, 2006, that he was “involved in fistfights at parties” and “pilfering funds and benefiting himself”.

The letter stated that Mr. Mudzingwa will seek “general damages, special damages and aggravated damages together with interest and costs arising from your actions”. The journalist was given seven days from July 25th, 2006, to make “a clear and unequivocal apology and retraction” if she did not want the lawsuit to proceed.

Mrs. Mlambo is seeking legal advice.

Under normal circumstances, this matter would be stuff that makes interesting reading and the writer and readers alike would gleefully follow the whole saga as it unfolds. Except, this is really a sad example of how we, as a people excel at throwing pot shots at each other and rubbing each other with mud.

In fact, I am as much part of this saga as the two antagonists and I will explain how.

Sometime in January, in my capacity as a journalist, I asked a Mr. Cornellius Msimbe of MDC Dallas, what he thought of the split of the party in Zimbabwe. My idea was to find out how MDC members in the Diaspora were affected by the split and how they were reacting to it.

Mr. Msimbe contacted Mr. Andrew Manyevere, the chairman of the Toronto MDC to find out who I was. Despite that we lived as neighbours in Dallas and that my wife, was in his executive, Mr. Manyevere said he did not know me and he went on to call me such names as “prostitute”, “unclean” and “enemy of the people of Zimbabwe”. He went on to state, in the MDC Toronto Yahoo Group, that he was going to launch an inquiry into my activities.

A concerned MDC member forwarded Mr. Manyevere’s statement to me. I did the responsible thing, I e-mailed Mr. Manyevere seeking explanation – I never got it.

I also wrote to his executive, through vice chairman, Mr. Mudzingwa, seeking a clarification of my crime and why an Inquiry was being launched into my activities – I never got a response from him either.

Many, within MDC Toronto, urged me to sue for the same reasons that Mr. Mudzingwa is suing Mrs. Mlambo –defamation and possibly worse. I did not do that out of respect for Mr.Manyevere as an elder and also because I knew that I was far from being a “prostitute”, “unclean” or an “enemy” of anyone.

But then, sometime in June, Mr. Mudzingwa used the same MDC Toronto Yahoo Group to praise certain journalists at my expense. He implied that they knew journalism better than me because I wrote about faults in MDC Toronto.

Again I was urged to sue, but I did not even so much as react, again because of respect for Mr. Mudzingwa’s views and also because I know my trade and my work speaks for itself.

However, Mrs. Mlambo did not take kindly to Mr. Mudzingwa seeking to divide journalists and particularly for the MDC’s top leadership’s propensity to target me. She did not have to do this, but somebody had to defend our profession and she stood up for us.

Mr. Mudzingwa may feel that he has a right to sue Mrs. Mlambo and surely nobody can begrudge him that.

However, I just need to remind Mr. Mudzingwa that when he accepted his position in MDC, he should have known that all sorts of things will be thrown at him and a lot of his decisions and judgement willbe questioned, sometimes in not so charitable language. He, as a community leader should learn to accept some of these criticisms as a source of inspiration in his leadership role.

At stake, more than anything, is our reputation as Zimbabweans. We stand to lose more with this unnecessary fight than we can gain, individually or as a community.


Monday, July 24, 2006


So, the Toronto District School Board believes it has found a solution to the problem of black children lagging behind in schoolwork.

The "solution" is a program called Africentric Curriculum to be launched in November with 10 social study units that it's hoped will interest black children enough to do better in class.

Among the units will be lessons on Canada's first black politicians and prominent black artists.
The "gem" of them all is a math unit on racial profiling, where students will grapple with data on how and why Toronto police "treat black people more harshly than whites."

This exercise is "not to get students all worked up about racial profiling" says University of Windsor education professor, Andrew Allen.

It is "to allow them to use data about who gets stopped by police to come up with their own conclusions and develop a critical view of the world."

Really, professor? Further, is the aim here to help black students catch up with their schoolwork? I don't think so.

What I see in all this Africentric nonsense is institutionalized racial profiling.
Studying statistics on how many black people are arrested and how "badly" they are treated by the police as compared to white criminals does not make a black student understand and suddenly be able to balance a math equation.

What I get from all this, and no doubt many students will too, is a scare tactic, perhaps to vividly warn black children of how the system allows police to mistreat people like them.

Shouldn't the fact that some Toronto police officers, who are supposed to "serve and protect" all of us are known to treat black people harshly, make it necessary that they attend lessons to deal with the data showing how they are doing a disservice to the black community?

And how does learning about the first black Canadian politicians and leading artists, in a two-week "Africentric" (whatever that means) program, help a student solve a physics or chemistry problem, or write a legible English composition?

If the idea is to address the problem of non-inclusion of black achievers in the formal curriculum for all Canadian students, the solution is simple, rework the curriculum and include the kind of heroes and achievers that black children will identify with.

Why is there an assumption that white or Asian students will not or should not be inspired by black luminaries?
And why should we assume that black students will not be inspired by achievers of other races?

There are deeper problems in the black community that began a long time ago when some people had a "bright idea" to treat blacks as sub-human.
Over the years, remedies have been made to a large extent and continue to be made.

However, amid all the efforts made to ensure equal treatment of all people, there come others -- including black people who should know better -- who get carried away with the idea of pleasing us and end up harming us instead.

When white children fail or lag behind in school, does the TDSB send them to some Eurocentric program to inspire them?

Of course not. They get tutors. They go to summer school. They do extra lessons until they improve.

This is what should be recommended for black students.

Their parents should be notified to help, either by giving their child extra home schooling on the particular subject they are failing or engaging tutors to help out.

Granted, many black families cannot afford such services as tutors. Therein, you see, lies the real problem -- economic inequality.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Controversy with a potential to divide the Catholic Church is brewing in the most unlikely place, Africa, following the nomination of former Tanzanian president Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere for sainthood.

The late African statesman's nomination last year by bishops of the diocese of his native Musoma district is already causing a re-look at the Catholic Church's criteria of declaring someone a candidate for sainthood.

Catholic doctrine states that apart from living strictly by the tenets of the church's teachings, an individual has to have done outstanding faith-guided deeds for humanity when they were living and caused documentable miracles after their death.

It is these merits that Nyerere's supporters have to publish with testimonials to prove the late politician is worthy of joining the exclusive class of people holier than most mortals. That is going to be an uphill struggle.

Not because Nyerere was a politician, as some people are already implying. What will prove difficult is to follow the rules of the process of beatification and fulfil them as expected. Nyerere was known to have been attending Mass and following all the steps of Catholicism on a daily basis and he often fasted.

Fr. Michael Meunier, a Toronto priest who worked in East Africa in the 1990s and is a proponent of the beatification of the late president, recounted to me a story of how a few years before his death, Nyerere was being honoured for his work. Nyerere was said to have not touched the food he had been given because it was during Lent. One of his hosts suggested that when Nyerere meets with God in Heaven, he would confidently declare that he accomplished the work he was put on earth to do.

"Nyerere replied that only Jesus Christ has the right to stand before the Lord and say He accomplished His work. He said when he gets before the Lord, he would only say 'I tried,'" said Meunier. The question is what did he try and how did it turn out vis-à-vis his proposed beatification.

Compared to such candidates as the late Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Nyerere's case will be rather arduous to prove. He attended Mass every day, fasted and did other Christian things, but thousands more unknown people could have done that and even have surpassed him.

As a politician he is as revered as the likes of Nelson Mandela of South Africa and he led his people to self-rule as well as democracy by the time he retired in 1985. However, it is in that process of becoming a national leader and continental statesman that he made decisions and actions that would make his beatification controversial.

Upon leading Tanzania out of British colonial rule in the early 1960s, Nyerere introduced his own brand of socialism, Ujamaa (familyhood), a policy of communal agriculture modelled on Mao Zedong's collectivization in China — minus the brutality.

Ujamaa failed dismally and by the time Nyerere resigned from the presidency and declared "I failed" in 1985, Tanzania had been reduced from Africa's largest exporter of agricultural products to the largest importer of the same.

Tanzania still has not recovered from that disastrous policy and is now rated one of the world's poorest countries. Nyerere is considered father of Pan Africanism and is one of the leaders who came up with the idea to start the Organization of African Unity.

He was personally instrumental in the formation, funding and successful execution of the independence movement that swept east and southern Africa from the late 1960s right up to 1994 when South Africa became democratic. However, during all that time, Nyerere was suppressing the need for multiparty democracy in his own country.

He also took his country to war with Uganda to drive out the brutal dictator, Idi Amin, but in his place, he re-imposed another dictator, Milton Obote, whose authoritarian rule had caused Amin to come to power in the first place. He was also instrumental in the coup that brought France-Albert Rene to power in The Seychelles.

Of the freedom movement protégés he supported actively, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has turned out to be a dictatorial monster in the same mould as Idi Amin. Admittedly, Nyerere cannot be penalized for actions of the Obotes and Mugabes, but his own actions in it all will make his candidacy for beatification very hard to defend.

In my view, Nyerere was an African scholar-turned-politician who played his part to free the people of Africa admirably. He led his people with the compassion only a true Christian could do, but his desire to produce a perfect community in the region also caused him to make some mistakes. Will these mistakes stand the test of beatification? I doubt it.


Saturday, July 15, 2006


Little Simbarashe Edmore Jowa was laid to rest in Brampton on Saturday. As the last shovelful of dirt was thrown onto the mount that is to be the permanent mark of what was once a vivacious young boy, I felt renewed pain in my heart. The kind of pain all parents feel.

For Simba’s parents and others who have lost children, it is the pain of finally realizing that “my son, my daughter” is really gone.

For the rest of us, it is the pain of knowing that it could have happened to us. It is the kind of pain that comes because you want to take some of the pain off Edmore and Nyaradzo’s hearts, but you know you cannot.

I did not know Simba or his parents. In fact, when I first heard the sad news on CTV on Monday night, I was not paying attention, so all I heard was that two kids were rescued from some creek and one drowned. It was sad news but I was removed from it.

Then the following morning I bought the Toronto Sun newspaper and there his picture was, beaming like all kids of his age always are. The name “Simbarashe” hit me hard. He could only be Zimbabwean. As I read the story and recalled what I had half seen on TV the previous night, my heart sank.

I had just left my own seven-year-old son at home. He is as active as Simba must have been. I imagined someone calling me with the sad news that my son has been in an accident. Just the thought scared me and my heart went to the Jowas immediately.

Today, as I joined hundreds of other Zimbabweans, Canadians and other nationals celebrating Simba’s last day among us, I marveled at how Simba managed, in death, to bring us together.

My wife and I met a number of people we had last seen years ago in Zimbabwe, some of them relatives we did not even know were here in Canada. No doubt other people had similar experiences.

Simba’s departure even brought out the best of speakers to rally the Zimbabwe community together and urge more unity and full integration into the Canadian society, so Simba’s living peers could live longer and prosper, closer and around his final home than to move away.

Simba, to me you are a seed that we planted today here in Canada. God took you away from us for a purpose and that purpose is to unite us all the children of Zimbabwe.

Rest in Peace Big Guy and we shall always sing your song, “NdiJesu Chete.”


Sunday, July 09, 2006


I said it, didn't I? That it was totally irresponsible for Kofi Annan to let an openly pro-Mugabe former Tanzanian president, Benjamin Mkapa to mediate in Zimbabwe's crisis.

It made me believe rumours that Annan is actually coverting the presidency in his native Ghana. He, by the way, is leaving his United Nations Secretary-Generalship in December and may find himself without a position of influence, hence the idea that he may be eyeing John Kufour's throne and that he wants to stake the support of the Bad Boys of Africa Group (BBAG) for which Mugabe is an integral part.

Anyway, it was heartening this weekend to read that pressure is being applied on Annan's UN to be directly involved in efforts to talk sense into Mugabe to relinguish power in Zimbabwe.

Reports from Washington say diplomatic movers want UN Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari to be called on to help advance the mediation process. Gambari, the UN’s top political officer, actually has the backing of the United States, Britain, Denmark and Japan among other democracies.

Lets hope Mugabe allows Gambari to do his job.



Its all over till we meet again in Africa. Yes, God willing, I will be in South Africa in 2010 to cheer Zimbabwe this time around and so it should be.

They were not at this year's World Cup so I had the luxury of supporting any other team without feeling guilty and I chose England despite the political hatred between Tony Blair and Robert Mugabe. Well, they are the politicians, they can deal with it.

When England was booted out, I went for France but we all know they came out second best just a few minutes ago.

The just ended World Cup came a few months after I inagurated my blog and I just thought of trying my hand at soccer analysis/armchair coaching. I used my own brand of sports commentary, that is masking my inability to play by pretending, to those who don't know, that I am some kind of pro.

To my surprise, I attracted myself a little fan club, including some serious soccer followers who gave me tips and some of the wayward predictions I made.

Most importantly, my rather zany interest in the beautiful game rubbed onto some of my friends who otherwise did not even know or care about soccer. Patricia, an American, got so interested that she supported Ghana all the way.

I got feedback from a lot of readers of this blog some patting me on the back for coming up with a not so serious way to comment on sports yet others laughed at my lack of foresight.

But the best of all was that Saleem Samad, editor of Toronto-based South Asian newspaper, Durdesh, offered me a weekly column for my "unusual sports commentary". Mind you South Asia is not really a soccer region, so the gesture means a lot to me, thanks Saleem.

So, after all is said and done, I am happy with myself and I will be glad to keep bombarding you'll with my version of commentary on my favourite sports, soccer, tennis, athletics, swimming and basketball.

By the way, my Nadal lost to Roger Federer at Wimbledon. Venus Williams had already bowed out in the early rounds. I feel like I am betting on dead horses all the way, but i will not stop.

Canada is due to host the FIFA Under 20 World Cup next year. So, watch this space.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Those who read this blog regularly will know that I said it before. Mugabe is preparing to stay in power until he drops dead. And typical of any dictator, he is putting his trust in soldiers, men and women who take orders and ask no questions. Men and women he knows as long as he keeps them happy, they will not turn their guns on him.

Is it surprising then to hear from Harare that he intends to appoint one more army man, former Airforce of Zimbabwe commodore, Mike Karakadzai to run the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH). A media insitution of all organizations.

He now has almost all key economic institutions run by active or former soldiers, now information dissemination is going to be done at the point of a gun.

Remember that recently there was a call from the Zimbabwe government for all journalists to undergo national service (read Zanu PF indoctrination). Now, Karakadzai is likely to require that television and radio journalists undergo military training.

How will it all end?