ZIMBA APPOINTED SENIOR GOOGLE VP

Google tapped
James Manyika, the head of McKinsey Global Institute, to be the company’s first
SVP of Technology and Society, the company told Protocol. The position will
report to Sundar Pichai and focuses on how tech affects society.

“I’m thrilled
th…

Google tapped James Manyika, the head of McKinsey Global Institute, to be the company’s first SVP of Technology and Society, the company told Protocol. The position will report to Sundar Pichai and focuses on how tech affects society. “I’m thrilled that James Manyika will be joining Google’s leadership team,” Pichai said in a statement provided to Protocol. “He’s spent decades working at the

NGO sets up campaign platform for electoral candidates

Source: NGO sets up campaign platform for electoral candidates – NewsDay Zimbabwe BY BRENNA MATENDERE KWEKWE-BASED civic society organisation, the Zimbabwe Organisation for Youths in Politics (ZOYP), has launched a platform for candidates in the March 26 by-elections to publicly debate their party manifestos ahead of the plebiscite. During the public debate, candidates will be […]

The post NGO sets up campaign platform for electoral candidates appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: NGO sets up campaign platform for electoral candidates – NewsDay Zimbabwe

BY BRENNA MATENDERE

KWEKWE-BASED civic society organisation, the Zimbabwe Organisation for Youths in Politics (ZOYP), has launched a platform for candidates in the March 26 by-elections to publicly debate their party manifestos ahead of the plebiscite.

During the public debate, candidates will be expected to present their election manifestos and answer questions from both their rivals and ordinary citizens.

ZOYP director Emmanuel Nkosilathi Moyo yesterday told Southern Eye that his organisation held training sessions for aspiring candidates in Gokwe district with the aim of entrenching democracy in the Midlands province.

“We want to promote a culture of issue-based elections where the electorate votes for someone because of issues, not just that voters should sheepishly follow a candidate because they belong to a particular party,” he said.

Moyo reiterated that in the past, people had voted for candidates because they belonged to their preferred parties.

“In the past elections, a person would just enter into the polling booth and look say for a Zanu PF, or MDC Alliance symbol and then place their X there.

“Most of the time, we find that they do not even know their municipal candidates.

“This is what we want to end, hence the formation of the dialogue forum called Aspirant Forum. We will be impartial in our approach,” Moyo said.

During the 2008 and 2013 elections, ZOYP campaigned against politically-motivated violence in Kwekwe, which had become a hotbed of violence.

The organisation has also held training sessions in rural areas to encourage youths to participate in electoral processes.

The post NGO sets up campaign platform for electoral candidates appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Was Rhodesia safer for civilian activists than under a brutal blood-thirsty Zimbabwe regime? 

When I was a little boy, we loved listening to “Chimurenga”, or liberation struggle songs, that our gallant Zimbabwean musicians belted out, as a way of emboldening and encouraging the population to bravely stand up against colonial rule. Source: Was Rhodesia safer for civilian activists than under a brutal blood-thirsty Zimbabwe regime? – The Zimbabwean […]

The post Was Rhodesia safer for civilian activists than under a brutal blood-thirsty Zimbabwe regime?  appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

When I was a little boy, we loved listening to “Chimurenga”, or liberation struggle songs, that our gallant Zimbabwean musicians belted out, as a way of emboldening and encouraging the population to bravely stand up against colonial rule.

Source: Was Rhodesia safer for civilian activists than under a brutal blood-thirsty Zimbabwe regime? – The Zimbabwean

As someone who had been inculcated with a sense of social justice by my beloved late father – who himself strongly loathed oppression, and had suffered the wrath of the Rhodesia regime, as he was blacklisted from his teaching profession as a result of anti-colonial activism – I could feel the heart and soul of these songs, as they touched the very depths of my being.

There were the prominent catchy tunes, which we listened to every night – as we sat quietly surrounding the radio speaker, so as not to be heard by those who could rat us out to the authorities – that were aired on Voice of Zimbabwe (carried by Lourenço Marques Radio, later Maputo), usually featuring the ZANU choir’s “Maruza Imi”, “Nzira Dzemasoja”, “Afrika”, and so many more.

That is why I was so unbelievably excited when this same choir, led by the late Cde Chinx, were accommodated at my parents’ Redcliff home, when they came for a show at Torwood Hall, soon after the country’s independence – since my father was an active member of ZANU, and having even later risen to the provincial leadership.

Nonetheless, the country also had quite a number of civilian pro-independence activists, who used their phenomenal musical talents in fighting for Zimbabwean freedom, and the end to colonial rule – which had witnessed the subjugation of the majority by a minority.

We had vinyl records of some of these intrepid singers – who included, the recently deceased Zexie Manatsa, Thomas Mapfumo, Elijah Madzikatire, Oliver Mtukudzi, Harare Mambos, and numerous more.

Who can forget such tunes as “Kwaedza muZimbabwe”, “Munhu Mutema”, “Tozvireva Kupiko”, “Gwindingwi rine Shumba”, and “Chitima Cherusununguko” by Mapfumo; “Zimbabwe” by Mtukudzi; “Mbuya Nehanda” by Harare Mambos; “Very Sorry”, and “Madisinyongoro”, by Madzikatire; “Musango Mune Hangaiwa”, and “Handeyi Tinobaya Bere” by Manatsa?

I grew up loving and singing along to some of these major hits – as they blended perfectly well with my own childhood passion for the respect of every person’s rights, and a bitter disdain for any form of subjugation of one by another.

However, after the recent passing on of the legendary Manatsa, who succumbed to cancer on 20 January 2022, at the age of 78 years – I could not help wondering why it appeared safer for these revolutionary musicians to even utter these obviously inciteful and subversive songs under colonial rule, than it was to constitutionally speak out against repression in our so-called “independent” Zimbabwe?

This is not to say that is was not extremely dangerous to undertake such a perilous endeavor in Rhodesia – no wonder, most of these singers used metaphors in their lyrics – but, quite frankly there is a detectably huge difference between then and now.

Thomas Mapfumo is an excellent case study.

In spite of placing his life in grave danger with the amazingly powerful “Chimurenga” songs that he released in the 1970s, leading to his brief imprisonment without charge – his life, nonetheless, was never in any significant risk, such that he did not see the need to flee the country into exile.

Yet, in “independent” Zimbabwe, after penning songs against state-sponsored rampant corruption, economic mismanagement, and continued oppression of the majority – with hits as, “Disaster”, “Mamvemve”, and “Corruption” – he ended up seeking refuge in the US (United States of America) in 2000, as he feared for his life under the ZANU PF regime.

Furthermore, are we to assume that those other renowned musicians – who courageously stood up against colonial oppression, yet became deafeningly quiet during post-independence Zimbabwe – suddenly did not see anything wrong with clearly ruthless and barbaric subjugation of the majority by a minority ruling elite?

What made Mapfumo continue to speak out, or rather sing out, against oppression and corruption – but, his counterparts either went into hibernation, or deliberately opted for the much safer route of staying far away from politics?

If they genuinely did not see anything untoward about the Zimbabwe regime, why did they not continue on their political path by singing the praises and glory of the “post-independence” government?

Or, was something else the reason for their silence?

Can we not conclude that, these exceptional musicians – although their freedom was undoubtedly at risk under Rhodesian rule for their revolutionary songs, since they could face arrest – felt even in graver and more life-threatening danger in “independent” Zimbabwe?

Can we not safely say that, our “post-independence” rulers have proven themselves much more barbarous and blood-thirsty than the colonial regime – such that, most of those who used to bravely stand up, and speak out, against repression in Rhodesia, could not even dare do the same after 1980?

Why should they not be terrified of a regime that has no qualms brutally and cold-bloodedly massacring tens of thousands innocent civilians outside a war zone, butchering hundreds of opposition supporters in a supposed democracy, abducting many more (some, who have never been seen again, as Itai Dzamara), weaponizing the law to persecute social justice activists, and using state resources as a tool against dissent?

Yet, never did we witness such savagery before 1980!

No wonder my own dear father began having serious misgivings and reservations about his political party’s actions, and the direction the country was going!

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com

The post Was Rhodesia safer for civilian activists than under a brutal blood-thirsty Zimbabwe regime?  appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

From Algeria to Zimbabwe: how Africa’s autocratic elites cycle in and out of power

Leaders typically spread power among their ‘rival allies’ to keep it and co-opt enough of those elites in exchange for political support. Source: From Algeria to Zimbabwe: how Africa’s autocratic elites cycle in and out of power Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe greets supporters massed at his party headquarters shortly before his ouster in 2017. […]

The post From Algeria to Zimbabwe: how Africa’s autocratic elites cycle in and out of power appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Leaders typically spread power among their ‘rival allies’ to keep it and co-opt enough of those elites in exchange for political support.

Source: From Algeria to Zimbabwe: how Africa’s autocratic elites cycle in and out of power

Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe greets supporters massed at his party headquarters shortly before his ouster in 2017.
Jekesai Njikizana/AFP via Getty Images

Andrea CarboniUniversity of Sussex and Clionadh RaleighUniversity of Sussex

In 2021, coups d’état ousted four heads of state in sub-Saharan Africa. Army interventions in Chad, Mali, Guinea and Sudan halted a years-long decline in military takeovers. Some heralded this as the comeback of the army in African politics.

Elsewhere in Africa, elected leaders in TunisiaTanzania and Zimbabwe, among others, were accused of pivoting to authoritarian rule. Common authoritarian measures include suspending parliamentary assemblies, confining opposition leaders, extending term limits and violently repressing opposition and dissent.

Here lies an apparent paradox: despite decades in which democratic institutions have become prevalent across the continent, African states continue to be vulnerable to military takeovers and autocratic forms of power.

Multiple interpretations aim to explain this seeming contradiction. A popular explanation suggests that the world, and especially Africa, is entering a new phase of ‘democratic backsliding’. This follows a decades-long era during which several leaders were ousted by popular movements.

Nowhere was this more evident than in North Africa. Here, the democratic aspirations of the 2011 Arab Spring were overshadowed by a return to authoritarianism and conflict. Yet, in many of Africa’s competitive autocracies, the removal of leaders is not associated with revolutionary change. In fact, there is a remarkable stability of senior elites and institutional practices across regimes. This seems to point to their resilience in the face of a supposed trajectory towards democracy.

The literature on political survival provides a more compelling narrative to explain political change in competitive autocracies. A leader’s survival is conditioned on the support of senior elites. Leaders can typically spread power among their ‘rival allies’ to keep it and co-opt enough of those elites in exchange for political support.

These actors can in turn leverage their collective power to secure greater influence and rewards from the centre. The concept of a ‘political marketplace’ has aptly captured the transactional nature of regime strategies to determine association, loyalty and alliances with senior elites.

Drawing on these insights, our recently published paper seeks to explain political change in African competitive autocracies using the notion of ‘regime cycles’. This framework, which produced rich insights into the failed democratisation processes of the post-communist states during the 1990s, suggests that elites must act collectively if they are to challenge the leader, identifying four stages within a regime cycle.

Our research seeks to explain political change in African autocracies by looking at the role of political elites, focusing on cycles of power between a leader and their rivals which determine their survival. In doing so, we propose an alternative conceptual framework to interpret dynamics of change in African autocracies.

Four stages of the autocratic regime cycle

Each stage of the cycle is determined by the nature of contestation between the incumbent and senior elites. The balance of power between these actors varies in each stage, according to the level of fragmentation of authority within and across those groups.

The four stages are accommodation, consolidation, factionalisation and crisis. But they do not necessarily follow a chronological order.

During the accommodation phase, leaders build coalitions by distributing rents and authority among senior elites. The intention of this stage is to reward loyalists and co-opt prospective allies. The incentive is integration and inclusion.

The narrowing of competitive influences leads to the consolidation stage. The leader seeks to assert authority over a coalition of ‘rival allies’. This phase coincides with the height of a leader’s authority, where the threat of being removed is lowest.

At this stage, the leader may be perceived to be excessively centralising power. One sign is, for example, replacing security chiefs with loyalists. This may be a threat to other elites. Senior elites may organise along factional lines to create opposition within the regime. This creates factions.

Factions can consist of rival senior elites, who tactically join forces to get the leader to spread power. The intention is not to depose the leader or split the regime, but rather to bargain the terms of inclusion. Leaders also use disorder to try to prevent elite cooperation to lessen the strength of senior elite coalitions.

However, a crisis may occur when factions decide to take advantage of a critical juncture to forcibly reshuffle the ruling coalition. The jostling for power among senior elites typically leads to such crisis moments. This can result in military takeovers, forced resignations, constitutional coups or power-sharing agreements.

Regime crises reshape the existing power structures by disposing of the old leader. They also reshuffle senior elites into a narrow ruling coalition.

Culmination of ripened factionalism

In our paper, we apply these observations to the removal of three of the longest-serving heads of state in Africa.

Between 2017 and 2019, Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe were ousted after a combined 90 years in power. Our analysis shows that their removal was the culmination of ripened factionalism. In each case, this had blossomed after the leaders’ attempts to centralise power. It was not a direct consequence of mass protests and economic downturns.

Senior military and security elites took advantage of the crisis moment to dispose of the leaders and their loyalists and reshuffle the regime. Naturally, they were once regime insiders and allies of the ageing autocrats. Stages of accommodation, consolidation, factionalisation and crisis preceded and followed the removal according to a cyclical logic.

Our analysis emphasises elite dynamics over the role of mass protests and popular opposition. True popular demonstrations can spark crises within a regime. But leaders and senior elites are more likely to produce significant and durable changes.

Democratic breakthroughs cannot be ruled out. But they are typically the product of a political stalemate. They are not ideological preferences or public appeals for political change.

The forceful removals observed in 2021 seem to conform to this cyclical logic of political change. Senior elites took advantage of a crisis moment to seize power and reconfigure the regime to their own advantage.

This is a reedited version of this blog first posted on January 13, 2022.The Conversation

Andrea Carboni, Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Sussex and Clionadh Raleigh, Professor of Political Geography, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The post From Algeria to Zimbabwe: how Africa’s autocratic elites cycle in and out of power appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Farmer exhumes arms of war 

Source: Farmer exhumes arms of war – NewsDay Zimbabwe By BERNADETTE MUCHANYEREI A HURUNGWE farmer has unearthed arms of war believed to have been hidden in his field during the 1970s liberation struggle, NewsDay has learnt. National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said the matter was still under investigation. “I cannot say much on the […]

The post Farmer exhumes arms of war  appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.

Source: Farmer exhumes arms of war – NewsDay Zimbabwe

By BERNADETTE MUCHANYEREI

A HURUNGWE farmer has unearthed arms of war believed to have been hidden in his field during the 1970s liberation struggle, NewsDay has learnt.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said the matter was still under investigation.

“I cannot say much on the issue because it is still under investigation,” Nyathi said.

Police said the arms of war were discovered in Karenga village under Chief Dendera in Hurungwe.

“A 42-year-old Hurungwe farmer found a rusty box while he was working on his field with an ox-drawn plough. The box contained 507 rounds of a PKM machine gun measuring about 30x25x15cm in size,” the police statement read.

“The ammunition was taken to the Zimbabwe National Army 23 Combat Group in Magunje for further investigation.”

In a related matter, police last Wednesday arrested a 30-year-old man for negligence and failure to report loss of a firearm.

The suspect, Franklin Ncube, who is a security guard, reportedly lost his service Taurus revolver, Calibre 38 SPI while drunk, and did not report the matter to the police.

The post Farmer exhumes arms of war  appeared first on Zimbabwe Situation.