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."


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