Sunday, April 30, 2006


Recently, in the course of my work, I got in contact with someone who was later diagnosed to have tuberculosis (TB). My colleagues and I had not suspected anything, I mean the person did not have visual symptoms. In my case, I met the person two or three times and they did not cough or spit and I can’t remember if we shook hands.

Anyway, soon after the diagnosis, the person was taken to an isolation centre for treatment. Letters from the City of Toronto’s Health Department were sent to all those who had been in contact with this person. The department’s instructions were for us all to be tested for the disease.

Now, those of us from Africa, Asia and such other places prone to all sorts of hard to cure diseases, were vaccinated with Bacillus of Calmette and Guérin (BCG), a vaccine against tuberculosis that is prepared from a strain of the attenuated (weakened) live bovine tuberculosis bacillus, Mycobacterium bovis that has lost its virulence in humans by specially culturing in artificial medium for years. The bacilli have retained enough strong antigenicity to become an effective vaccine for the prevention of human tuberculosis.

BCG causes the TB skin test to come out positive even if you do not have a single germ that causes the disease. So, aware of that, I told the doctor that the skin test would not work on me. Why not go straight to the chest X-Rays?

“Well, we still have to do it because that is what they (health department) want,” says the doctor. So we do the test and sure enough it is positive. I go for the chest X-Rays which come out normal, in other words - no TB.

“So, doc, now that I am clear of this thing, I guess I go on with my life, right?”

No, he says. “Because you tested positive on the skin test, they (health department) want you to take medicine.”

“But doc, you know that was because of BCG.”

“Yes, I know but they still want you to take this medicine because you still have a 10 percent chance of contracting TB and if that is the case this medicine will kill the germs, if not, it will prevent it anyway,” he says.

What the heck, I can take the silly medicine, what harm can it cause, so I think to myself but to the doc I ask: “What is this medicine and how do I take it?”

“It is called Isoniazid or INH. You take it with a vitamin once everyday for nine months.”


“Yes, that’s what it is.”

“Tell me doc,” I ask, “this kind of medicine would obviously have side effects. What are they?”

“Well, you could have hepatitis. Your liver and kidneys would be damaged.”

“And you say these people (health department) want me to take this medicine?”

“Yes. It is recommended to everyone in your situation (meaning a BCG positive, but TB negative).”

That didn’t make sense to me at all and it still doesn’t. I shudder to think what happens to those in my situation who have no presence of mind to ask the implications of taking this “treatment”.

Of course, I refused to take the medicine which had already been ordered for me. The doctor had to do the right thing (read cover his butt). He informed the health department that I had refused to take the pills. Calls were made back and forth and we reached a compromise.

I will go to the doctor whenever I have a fever, a chest raking cough and night sweats. (Who doesn’t go to a doctor when they have any of those?) Also, I should voluntarily go for chest X-Rays once each year for three years.

That to me sounds better than have my liver and kidneys damaged by medicine I clearly do not need.

However, if I had not asked, I could be taking it right? I feel a chill down my spine.



Thursday, April 20, 2006


A journalist friend attended an economic conference in New York recently. On her return, she told me something that excited me initially and then made me sad.

A resource person at the conference was talking about stock markets. Somewhere in her presentation (the resource person that is) mentioned something about the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) being the, currently, best performing in the world.

It was just said in passing but knowing that I am from Zimbabwe, my friend could not wait to tell me about it. The ZSE, performing better than the likes of the London Stock Exchange or the New York Stock Exchange? That could be a stretch, especially with the way the Zimbabwe economy is now. However, I would not dismiss that possibility completely.

Had a chat about it with a former bank manager back home. Her take? The runaway inflation which is officially pegged at 913 percent but is widely viewed in market circles to be beyond the 1 000 percent mark.

"The Zimbabwe stock is generally good and with constant hope that the political situation may change any day, there is a lot of speculation by investors.

I must say too, that the ZSE I know had always been viable anyway, even in the way it was run. I remember that in the late 1990s and around 2000 and 2001 when I used to cover the ZSE, it was a small but very viable market. Each day investors in such economic giants as London and Johannesburg waited impatiently for reports on trade on the ZSE.

In fact, guys at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange came to Zimbabwe twice to learn the ins and outs of the stock market from none other than the ZSE. Zimbabwe actually happens to have some of the world's best financial and economic minds.

Most of the companies that trade on the ZSE have links to British, American and South African companies, among such other strong economies, even now.

However, two things to note here: First, the good performance of the ZSE serves to show that Zimbabwe, with good economic management, can be the gem of Africa. Secondly, for any person who might have thought all is lost in Zimbabwe, there may still be a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel, we just need to reach out for it and we will fan it into brightness.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The grammar in messages posted daily by MDC Toronto's chairman, Mr. Andrew Manyevere, has improved quite noticeably. This is a good thing for all of us.

More still needs to be done, especially on the messages themselves. Many people, including myself, think that a message each day is a little annoying, especially if the message is a kind of an old song. Believe me, Mr. Manyevere, many people are deleting your messages before reading them. Hanzi nevakuru "Akuruma nzeve ndewako".

The point is: We know Mugabe and his cronies have ruined our country. We do not want to hear about that any more, unless it comes as background to solutions. We want you to come up with strategies and programs to solve the problem. We want to read about what you are doing or what we should all do to change the situation back home.

In his independence speech, Mugabe called on the 3 million Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to come back home and help him improve the country.

This is our chance to tell him why we left our beautiful home and tell him what we want him to do before we go back.

I suggest that for starters Zimbabweans in the Diaspora seek the right to vote. You, MDC executives in the Diaspora, should lead this campaign.

There are a million other things you could fight for actively and with great support from both Zimbabweans and sympathizers all over the world. With such programs underway, then you can bash Mugabe all you want.

Monday, April 17, 2006


One of the Toronto MDC executive members responded to my “fabrication” and you can read it in the comments section. But, I have also responded.

Owen, your response is, of course, predictable. There is no way you could agree with me when I am criticizing your executive.

However, the fact that you admit that membership of the party in Toronto numbers over 100 now and only a third of them turned out vindicates me. It shows that something was not done to make sure at least half of them came. Maybe it was bad timing – planning a protest on a holiday.

Let us all wait and see if your message, which I really did not understand, will bring a response or reaction, for the better, as it should.

Yes, there is something wrong with an executive of a branch of a serious political party, with the majority of its members being unemployed refugees from an impoverished country, getting into a habit of organizing barbecues.

It is one thing to have cookies and soft drinks during your meetings, and yet another, to collect money from each other and go on night-long get-togethers. It is simply wrong. As political leaders, what are you saying to those who want to follow your party, what are you saying to our hosts and benefactors? Think about it. You have not even started solving the problems that brought you together as a branch, so what exactly are you getting together for?

There are political groups from other countries in Toronto, do they do it like that? Even in Zimbabwe, we hosted Thabo Mbeki and his ANC comrades in the 1980s and 1990s. We also hosted the likes of the late John Garang of the SPLA. Did they celebrate their suffering? No.

The Zimbabwe national anthem is in the three main languages, English “Blessed Be The Land Of Zimbabwe”, Shona “Simudzai Mureza WeZimbabwe” and IsiNdebele “Kalibusiswe Ilizwe leZimbabwe”. There is no compromising about it. You cannot substitute a national anthem, no matter what.

My point, Owen, is simple; you and your executive are representing a nation of about 14 million people at the highest possible level of politics in exile. Everything you do or say, we as Zimbabweans, our hosts and others in the same situation as us, are watching and we all want you to do better.

We look at you as future leaders of Zimbabwe, act that way.


Sunday, April 16, 2006


Yes, the Toronto MDC branch held its protest on Saturday, April 15, 2006 and as far as I am concerned, it was a big flop.

Any protest is supposed to have a well articulated ( in words and action) message to a well defined audience which is forced to take notice and must react. Did this happen on Saturday? No, and here is why;

First, due to poor preparation, only about 40 Zimbabweans turned up at Queens Park. Of that number, about two-thirds were the Toronto executive and their Niagara counterparts.

Yet, there are thousands of Zimbabweans in Toronto, most of who are members of the party. They would have really loved to come and take part, if only they knew exactly what they would be taking part in, where, why and for what. Members were never let in on preparations for this protest.

In fact, I remember one dedicated MDC supporter who e-mailed the executive suggesting a few things that could make the protest a success. That member was dressed down. He was told the executive had checked the membership register and since his name was not in it, he was not welcome to the meetings and, subsequently, the protest. The e-mail circulated among Zimbabweans, and with the kind of rebuke the member received, other people simply shied away.

To set off the protest, the executive led the protesters in singing “Ishe Komborera Africa” (God Bless Africa), can you believe it? Zimbabwe discarded the continental anthem 11 years ago. It has its own anthem called “Simudzai Mureza WeZimbabwe.” (Lift Up The Zimbabwean Flag). What kind of patriotism is that?

Then came the message, well, I can only describe it as muddled. I could not tell whether it was a history lesson or what?

After all this sham, what does the Toronto executive do, host a barbecue. Yes, its the second time this has happened. What are you now Toronto MDC, a social club?

I see political immaturity in the Toronto MDC executive. There is a lot of self-serving and self-importance on the expense of a serious party which represents a lot of Zimbabweans.

What Mr. Manyevere and his colleagues need to realize is that you are representing us all and whatever you do at Queens Park, in the name of MDC reflects on us all as Zimbabweans. If we do not take ourselves seriously, nobody will.

Maybe you should learn from the enemy, Zanu PF itself. When Mugabe and others were leading their party in exile, they represented us all with dignity. It is now your turn, take a leaf from them.

I suggest again that you seek advisors, consultants and other people to help you.


Thursday, April 13, 2006


This Saturday the Movement for Democratic Change's Toronto chapter is "launching its first ever peaceful protest".

The organizers are calling for as much support as they can get from Zimbabweans and sympathizers in Toronto. Protesting is a good concept for anyone to draw attention to their problems; however, undertaking the protest successfully can be a challenge especially if the theme, message and preparation for the protest are not up to scratch.

I have tried to understand the theme and message of the MDC Toronto protest but I have since failed. There are so many issues the branch wants to bring to the world's attention, through badly written rantings of the branch's leaders.

We are in a part of the world where English is the first language and as Zimbabweans, we pride ourselves with our good command of the Queen's language. It is, therefore, a disgrace when people who claim to represent us at the highest level of politics in exile cannot string a single coherent sentence in long and winding streams of thought disguised as political messages. (See MDC messages attached below).

Toronto MDC, you need to do better than that. In fact, good leaders are those who acknowledge their weaknesses and/or limitations. Your weakness as a branch, or should I say the executive of the branch, is an inability to formulate a coherent message and to put it across in a language that is not only understood by your intended audience, but will attract even the uninterested.

There are advisors, consultants, spin doctors or wordsmiths, you need them badly. Back to the protest, the protestors would want Mugabe and his government to go.

Then they want the same government to stop or ensure a number of things, from stopping looting diamonds in the DRC to ensuring a free press and judiciary.

The question is: Do you want Mugabe and his cronies to go now or you want them to correct the anomalies you cited? Suppose they offer to be a truly democratic government and address all your concerns as you listed them, are you going to let them stay?

If it were me I would simply say, Mugabe has misruled Zimbabwe for a long time, he should just go and we will fix the problems ourselves.

Then there are other themes that really amount to demands that the EU, UN and others must intervene to ensure democracy in Zimbabwe through free elections, constitutional reforms and even peacekeeping - what peacekeeping?

What if these organizations all say we have actually intervened and here is what we have done on elections, constitutional reforms and other issues? My point here is that the MDC protesters' message is rather cluttered. There are too many issues to address.

They may all be important but you do not catch attention by overloading the message. I am also reliably informed that a petition will be handed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Governor-General, Michaëlle Jean. I really want to see this happen.

Lastly, it is really a bad idea to allow everyone to talk to the press, especially if you give them a shopping list of messages.



Last call on every Zimbabwean to turn up for our DEMO on April 15, 2006 which is an answer to the congress resoolution of March 2006 Congress when we have to seek change the none violent way through protests. Lets me emphasis that the protest is like a cry from and by Zimbabweans running down the meaninglessness of Zimbabwe independence. We all agree that Zimbabwe has probably seen its worst in the fall down of economy. If we remain quiet then our being under torture for political beliefs in the country, will mean nothing to the world too because it will appear as though what happens in Zimbabwe meet with the joy of those who have had temporary reprieve from terror of Mugabe. Is this true though? No! Never!!

But why keep silent? What ever explanation story you and I can can make, silence is a betrayal of a condition we did not approve of hence our being out of it, therefore it can only be regarded an excurse, which soon looses its hold on world opinion and therefore run down Zimbabwe Diaspora credibility. Yet our story only suffer from lack of a passionate witness from among ourselves victims of the system, otherwise publicity on Zimbabwe goes on as a troubled country. We as part of Zimbabwe Diaspora are changing the paradigms for the PROJECTION of our country political condition's deterioration and the lack of integrity from Zanu Pf government in their governance.

It is for this reason that we will stand before God to take our oaths that Zanu Pf government is a disaster to our country, our people, our culture and a betrayal of our human sacrificed struggle for our freedom. Its a prayer from those oppressed that the world watch our mother, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons and grand parents as they walk streets of our cities in protest against Mugabe and his regime.

Tell your friends in Canada, tell every Zimbabwean irrespective of political affiliation, because even though the Demo is led by MDC party structures in Canada, it is on the tragedy of Zimbabwe blinded by the admission that independence in such circumstances could be classified as WORTHY of celebrating at all. On the contrary it calls for LAMENTATIONS and REGRET.


Come join us, we from Zimbabwe and tell this story laudly.Ffirst PRESS RELEASE! PRESS RELEASE! PRESS RELEASE!
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
The Movement for Democratic Change of Zimbabwe, Toronto chapter, along its sister Diaspora districts in the UK, USA, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, launches its first ever peaceful protest in Toronto, Canada, on the 15th April 2006 a few days before Zimbabwe’s independence day celebrations due 18th April, 2006. The protest starts at 1:30PM. and the registered venue is Nathan Phillips Square on the City Hall grounds.
The protest demands:
1. That the corrupt Robert Gabriel Mugabe Zanu (PF)-led government: –
(a) Must go!
(b) Must stop illegal detentions from arbitrary arrests;
(c) Must stop torture, intimidation, terror and dehumanising women by the partisan security organs, CIO, PISI, ZRP, ZNA, youth militia, etc;
(d) Must stop corruption; seize illegal depleting mining of diamonds in the Republic of Congo;
(e) Must stop muzzling of the Press and Media;
(f) Must stop coercing, intimidating, patronising the judiciary

The Zanu (PF)-led government must:
(i) Allow peaceful protests; political gatherings; freedom of association; and free speech;
(ii) Guarantee security of everyone;

2. A free and fair election to restore meaningful independence in our country, Zimbabwe.

3. Intervention of the UN, EU, AU, the Commonwealth, and the Church to:
(a) Policing of the elections; Verifying of the voter’s roll;
(c) Peacekeeping well before, during and after elections for a reasonable time period.

4. A people-driven Constitutional reform.

5. Voting as a must by all citizens including those in the Diaspora.

6. The Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Governor-General Her Excellence Michaëlle Jean need to demand action from the United Nations, Commonwealth, European Union and the African Union on immediate solutions.
Contacts: Mr. Andrew Manyevere: (905-492-0490 or 647-839-6612); Johannes Mutyanda: (519-208-0117); Mr. Andrew Mudzingwa: (416-439-2781)

Dear party members,
See above the text of our press release which make up the focus of our demo.

The purpose of this communication is to guide any nature of media answers by members if approached by media personnel or you deem it necessary to entertain their question during the demo otherwise refer media to officials designated. See our cause for concern and follow the thought process without going off the mark. Mischief could have it from media personnel and they refer to ben manashe issue, as if it has anything to do with the demo or such issues as the home trouble of division etc, courtiously refer such to the chairman. Our success shall come from discipline, discipline of restraint, and to follow out text and refer when it is necessary. This is what is called organized party.

Obey our security personnel orders during the demo process and do not do anything that will betray the trust of the masses who devote thier everything including life to make sure that the party remains alive on the ground.

Call anybody including even those who are members of other political parties for this demo, because the demo has to do with CHANGE THROUGH DEMOCRACTIC PROCESSES and concern itself with devastation our society has endured through injustice promoted by poor leadership under Zanu Pf.

Come all in your big numbers and we share the making of History.

Manyevere M Andrew.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


We all followed with keen interest the case of an unnamed Zimbabwean asylum seeker winning a stay of removel from UK last October, a victory all of us in the Disapora celebrated.

It is with some kind of deja vu that we learn today that the celebration might have been premature and that our brothers and sisters in the UK may have their cases revisited and some might find themselves sent home.

I am, of course, referring to the story; "UK wins Zimbabwean asylum appeal".

Zimbabweans with some form of legal status in whatever country they are exiled, may just shrug, but those still going through the process of seeking asylum in UK, US, Canada, Australia and elsewhere, this is bound to have a big impact on their psych.

I know fellow Zimbabweans who were banking on brandishing news articles of the victory in October in front of immigration officers and judges, as authoritative proof that sending them back home would be a violation of human rights.

I am reliably informed that some here in Canada and the US were actually given stay of removal on the basis of the October decision in the UK.

Refugee judges in the UK, US and Canada, particularly, and other countries too, somehow tend to use cases in each other's courts as precedents and I will not be surprised if immediately an immigration judge in Toronto or Houston will use today's decision in the UK to order an unfortunate Zimbabwean sent back home.

Well, we have a number of representative organizations in all these countries, here is an opportunity to fight for what is right.

We all know that Mutasa and his CIOs are itching to lay their fingers on anybody who is deported to Zimbabwe. What will happen to those people, we all fear.

MDC branches in the Diaspora, this is a cause to fight for.

Friday, April 07, 2006


I welcome you all to my world. The world of a current affairs buff. I am a very opionionated guy and I will, from henceforth, publish what I think, believe and wish about people around me, particularly those who have positions of authority.

I am a journalist who has been all over the world and has had an opportunity to meet a lot of people and experienced a lot of cultures. I want to share my experiences with everybody who will have the chance and desire to tap into this blog to learn, share and criticize.

In this blog I will endeavour to be the voice of immigrants in Canada like me, particularly those from my home country of Zimbabwe, my home continent of Africa and my global village of the universe.

Without restraint I will comment, give opinion and suggest my own views and solutions to what happens to us in this whole world.

So, please watch this space and you will not be disappointed.