A vast human cull is under way in Zimbabwe
and the great majority of deaths
are a direct result of deliberate government policies.
Ignored by the United Nations, it is a genocide perhaps
10 times greater than Darfur's and
more than twice as large as Rwanda's.


An NGO devoted to democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe
called Mugabe's policies "smart genocide"
because they have taken place unnoticed by governments,
aid organizations, and the international press.

Killing them softly: The other African genocide
by James Kirchick, The New Republic, March 12, 2007

Less than 10 miles from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's mansion in Harare — the largest private residence on the African continent — Cleophus Masxigora digs for mice. On a good day, he told me, he can find 100 to 200. To capture the vermin, he burns brush to immobilize them, then kills them with several thumps of a shovel. This practice has become so widespread in Zimbabwe that, as a Zimbabwean journalist informed me, state-run television has broadcast warnings against citizens setting brush fires. Masxigora began hunting mice to support (and feed) his wife and three children soon after Mugabe began confiscating thousands of productive, white-owned farms in 2000, a policy that has since led to mass starvation. Not long ago, Zimbabwe, the "breadbasket of Africa," exported meat and produced what was widely considered to be Africa's finest livestock. Today, Masxigora tells me that each mouse nets $30 Zimbabwe dollars, about 12 cents, which makes him a wealthy man in Zimbabwe. "This is beef to us," he told me in August.

The conditions Mugabe rendered in Zimbabwe do not merely stem from idealistic economic and social policies gone awry. He has undertaken a campaign of violence and starvation against political opponents, the fallout of which is killing tens of thousands, if not more, every year. In 2005, there were roughly 4,000 more deaths each week than births, a rate that the famine has surely increased. This is worse than brutality. The United Nations says that "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part" constitutes genocide, and that is exactly what Robert Mugabe has wrought.

The genocide in Zimbabwe is not as stark as others. There are no cattle cars and gas chambers. There are no machete-wielding gangs roaming the countryside. There are no helicopter gunships or Janjaweed. The killing in Zimbabwe is slow, oftentimes indirect, and not particularly bloody. But Mugabe's campaign of mass murder against those who oppose him has been no less deliberate than any of the other genocides in human history.

It all began with Mugabe's land seizures in 2000, in which he booted white farmers from the property they owned and replaced them with political hacks who have no interest in agriculture. The results were disastrous. Zimbabwe annually requires 1.8-million metric tons of maize. Yet in 2006, for instance, it faced an 850,000 metric ton deficit — of which planned imports would cover just 60%, with only 28% of that delivered by December. The country also requires 400,000 tons of wheat annually, yet, last year, it produced only 218,000 tons by the government's count — meaning the true total was likely far less. As early as 2002, the BBC was reporting that people in Matabeleland, the southern region of the country where the minority Ndebele tribe lives, were starving. That same year, on the eve of a massive drought, the Minister of Zimbabwean State Security said, "We would be better off with only six million people--with our own who support the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra people." Today, according to the World Food Program, 38% of Zimbabweans are malnourished.

The fallout has rippled through society: Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate (1,600% annually, expected to hit 4,000 by the end of the year) and an HIV prevalence of at least 18%, and probably higher. It also has the lowest life expectancy, by far, in the world: 34 for women and 37 for men (it was 62 in 1990). Last year, 42,000 women died from childbirth; less than a decade ago, this figure was under 1,000. The weekly death rate exceeds Darfur's.

Meanwhile, Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF, is wielding the food shortage as a weapon against the opposition. The government's Grain Marketing Board frequently denies food aid to people in districts that voted against Mugabe in recent elections; only those with ZANU-PF membership cards are able to get rations. Several people I spoke with in Harare's poor township of Hatcliffe told me that the army and the police regularly interfere with food distribution from USAID, UNICEF, and other international aid groups. In 2002, USAID director Andrew Natsios publicly scolded Mugabe for manipulating American food aid, a practice that has continued unabated. And a 2004 Amnesty International report warned that "The government has used the food shortages for political purposes and to punish political opponents."

Then, as if starvation weren't bad enough, Mugabe unleashed more destruction in May, 2005. Operation Murambatsvina (Shona for "Drive out Filth") aimed to "re-ruralize" some 1-million Zimbabweans — mostly poor, urban shanty dwellers from areas that voted against Mugabe in parliamentary elections just weeks earlier. Mugabe's henchmen forcibly cleared the slums. A United Nations report filed by a special representative of the secretary-general, found that the operation was "carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering, and, in repeated cases, with disregard to several provisions of national and international legal frameworks." The Fourth Geneva Convention considers the "deportation or forcible transfer of population" to be a crime against humanity.

There is historic and legal precedent to warrant calling these policies genocide. In 1996, U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali declared that Rwandan Hutu refugees living in Zaire might be potential victims of "genocide by starvation." In December of 2006, the former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam (also known as the "African Pol Pot") was found guilty of genocide by a court in his own country after a twelve-year trial. His government was convicted of having "conspired to destroy a political group and kill people with impunity"--not only through actual murder, but by creating and prolonging the 1984 Tigray famine, in which some 1.5-million people died. In 1991, Mariam escaped from Ethiopia, finding asylum in, of all places, Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

Incidentally, the starvation and transfer of Mugabe's opponents isn't the first time he has has unleashed a genocidal campaign against his own people. Not long after taking power, in the mid-'80s, Mugabe's North Korean-trained ZANU-PF army killed an estimated 25,000 Ndebeles (the minority tribe to Mugabe's own Shona majority) in an operation known as the Gukurahundi (Shona for "the early rain which washes away the chaff"). The Matabeleland massacre ended, once and for all, any Ndebele challenge to Mugabe's power.

People are finally beginning to call it like they see it in Zimbabwe. R.W. Johnson, an Oxford-trained academic and for many years the London Sunday Times' southern Africa correspondent, declared in a recent dispatch that "A vast human cull is under way in Zimbabwe and the great majority of deaths are a direct result of deliberate government policies. Ignored by the United Nations, it is a genocide perhaps 10 times greater than Darfur's and more than twice as large as Rwanda's." (Johnson reported the widely published number of three million Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa and one million who have fled elsewhere, leaving a population of 14 million in Zimbabwe. But the government itself publishes an official figure of 12 million citizens, leaving 2 million people "missing.") And Arnold Tsunga, chairman of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (an NGO devoted to democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe), called Mugabe's policies "smart genocide," because they have taken place unnoticed by governments, aid organizations, and the international press.

Will anything come of it? This month, South Africa took over the rotating U.N. Security Council presidency. Although it's a perfect opportunity to publicize Mugabe's crimes, South Africa, the regional power, has emboldened Mugabe by endorsing every instance of his election-theft (flying in the face of international observer teams), supplying him with economic aid, and strengthening the countries' military alliance. So it's likely nothing will happen.

Last month, Mugabe and 10,000 of his supporters gathered in a soccer stadium to celebrate his eighty-third birthday — gorging on giant cakes, tons of corn meal, and 38 cattle slaughtered specifically for the event. "We are terribly disappointed," one man — who brought his wife and children to the event but was not allowed in — told the Guardian. "This was an opportunity for us to get a proper meal." So, while Mugabe feasts, men like Cleophus Masxigora continue to scour for mice.

African leaders backing Mugabe doing passive genocide. AP, Jan 26, 2009
Pretoria - Southern African leaders must stop supporting Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe or accept complicity in a “passive genocide,” Roman Catholic bishops from the region said Monday as the European Union increased sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and his supporters. Protesters calling for Mr. Mugabe to step down converged near the presidential guest house where the African leaders were holding an emergency summit on Zimbabwe's political crisis. They said police fired rubber bullets at them as they tried to gather in front of South Africa's capital building. Police could not immediately be reached for comment. Emily Wellman, a spokeswoman for one of the groups that organized the protest, said seven people were injured and an unknown number arrested. The bishops said in a message to the heads of state that Mr. Mugabe must step down immediately and southern African officials “must stop supporting and giving credibility to the illegitimate Mugabe regime with immediate effect.” “Failing this, SADC leaders accept complicity in creating the conditions that have resulted in starvation, displacement, disease and death for ordinary Zimbabweans. This is nothing short of passive genocide,” the bishops said. The European Union also tried to increase the pressure on Mr. Mugabe, adding 26 officials and 36 companies to a blacklist freezing assets and barring travel in Europe. The blacklist now totals 203 people and 40 entities – many of them also blacklisted in the United States. Seven African presidents, including Mr. Mugabe, gathered in Pretoria for talks to start Monday afternoon. The leaders are expected to press Mr. Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form a coalition government as they agreed in September. The two have failed to agree on how to share cabinet seats. Among leaders at the summit is Botswana's President Ian Khama, a lone voice against Mr. Mugabe, whose government has called for African nations to close their borders with landlocked Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has been virtually without a government since a presidential election last March in which Mr. Tsvangirai won the most votes. Mr. Tsvangirai pulled out of a subsequent runoff against Mr. Mugabe because of brutal attacks on opposition supporters. The regional Save Zimbabwe Now campaign also sent a statement to the summit warning that political violence was again on the increase in Zimbabwe, quoting witnesses who have fled the country in recent days reporting “the resurgence of familiar patterns of victimization by state forces and militias and revenge attacks on suspected activists and their families.” Only the southern African leaders and the African Union can act to end this “culture of fear and intimidation ... characteristic of an authority desperate to cling to power,” said the statement from the campaign by civil society and church groups. The political stalemate in Zimbabwe has distracted leaders from addressing a growing economic and humanitarian crisis, with millions of Zimbabweans dependent on international aid groups for food and medical care. The government has been unable to maintain its medical and sanitation infrastructure, leading to a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 3,000 people and spread to neighbouring countries.

Churches fear Zimbabwe 'genocide' (people tortured for voting 'wrong way') & China defends weapons to Zimbabwe (1,500 rocket grenades, 3,000 mortars, 3-million rounds of AK-47 ammo) & Durban dockworkers refuse Chinese cargo (77 tonnes of genocidal weaponry) & Tragedy if Mbeki 'do nothing' re Mugabe (ok's weapons from China to Zimbabwe; like China sent machetes to Rwanda). BBC/VOA/Guard/SA, Apr 18-22, 2008. Go to RWANDA ARMED FOR GENOCIDE

Nkunda army dying for peace in Congo (Hutu killers from Rwanda genocide killing Tutsis in Congo now). Guardian, Apr 21, 2008

Major lessons in Zimbabwe & Rwanda (genocide "Never Again" for all Africa). KenyaToday, Apr 9, 2008

Zimbabwe opposition slams 'deafening silence' of Africa. AFP, Apr 8, 2008

NOT FORGETTING RWANDA (as reader Kaguyure accuses)

Mugabe preparing war over Zimbabweans (violence will be the new weapon to reverse the people's will). Guardian, Apr 6, 2008

China Vows Zimbabwe Support. Harare Herald, Mar 7, 2008
The People's Republic of China will continue giving the Zimbabwe Defence Forces more technical support to boost the cordial relations between the two countries, head of the People's Liberation Army Instructors Training Team has said. Speaking at a welcome and farewell reception for PLAITT officers attached to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Senior Colonel Sun Xu hailed the friendship between the two countries. Col Xu said that his country would assist Zimbabwe in all aspects including agricultural development. "China will continue to work with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and we will continue to make contribution to build the friendship between the two countries. "We would also continue to offer technical assistance to Zimbabwe even in agriculture so that farmers can produce sufficient food for the people," he said. Snr Col Xu said Zimbabwe boasts of vast tracts of fertile lands that could be sufficiently utilised hence the need for technical assistance from other countries.

Protest at Mugabe $300,000 birthday party (while everybody starving & dying; no electricity-roads-jobs-medical-nothing). BBC, Feb 23, 2008

Mugabe was rotten from the start (Judith Todd, daughter of a former prime minister writes in book "Through Darkness: Life in Zimbabwe" that torture & corruption were Mugabe's tools from the day he took power). Times, Sep 24 2007


Pyongyang's man in Harare (for 30 years, Robert Mugabe has idolized north Korea's Stalinist leadership). National Post, Aug 11, 2007

Zimbabweans must "make a stand" (says 60-yr-old Catholic Archbishop whose name appears on death list of opponents of President Mugabe) & Mugabe critic in prophetic role ("Mugabe is mad for power & will cling even it means destroying Zimbabwe). Telegraph/BBC, Apr 17, 2007

Killing them softly: (the other African genocide; people eating mice or starve). New Republic, March 12, 2007

Severe hunger looms for Zimbabwe (world's lowest life expectancy & highest inflation rate). BBC, Jan 26, 2007

"Mugabe hates his own people" ("crawling mass of maggots" say police; priests told "don't aid filth"). Times, Jun 19, 2005


9.Keeping Masses Down and 7.Systems of Thought

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com