As we slide deeper and deeper into dictatorship as in all totalitarian regimes, persecution for fictitious offenses and sometimes legal activity can reach the height of absurdity. I have compiled a list of 10 most dangerous occupations/activities in Zimbabwe right now
10) Army Officer - Is sitting at number 10 and this will surprise you but when Mugabe was away on Malaysia for Christmas together with his wife and his personal banker Gideon Gono, the elite presidential unit that guards him staged an mini insurrection, it was brutally crashed 6 junior soldiers failed to return to their homes they had been murdered. Its not even the first time, Roy Choto and Gordon Chavhunduka were tortured in 1997 after writing about the killing of 23 junior army officers who had also plotted a coup while serving in Democratic Republic of Congo to prop Kabila's regime. Earlier this year we read reports of a coup which was again brutally crashed. While members of the army are the most rewarded in Zimbabwe to guarantee Mugabe safety the recent crackdown shows its not entirely safe to be a soldier in Zimbabwe
9) At number 9 is Membership of Mutambara's faction - Yes even though they are part of Zanu PF and Mugabe's secret police (the CIO) they are continuously harassed and roughed up(don't worry nothing major)as a smokescreen to fool the world that all opposition members are under siege, an extension of Zanu PF's grand plans to pre-rig next year's elections by dividing the vote and cause confusion. Mutambara's band of opportunistic politicians belatedly withdrew a chance to come back home to the real MDC and fight a common enemy instead of pre-occupying themselves with attacking Tsvangirai.
8) At number 8 is a classic case of being at right place at the wrong time. While this is not an occupation, it actually very dangerous position to find yourself into - Occupying Office Space at Harvest House - When Mugabe was summoned to Tanzania by SADC in March, he was looking for excuses that he could present in order to justify his barbaric reaction to a peaceful prayer meeting called by The Save Zimbabwe Coalition in which President Tsvangirai and more than 60 opposition activists were brutally assaulted and left for dead. So Mugabe's goons arrived at Harvest House on Sunday March 28 looking to recover "weapons of war" which they said were hidden at the MDC headquarters. They ransacked the building I wrote about it earlier in March, breaking furniture, computers stealing cash and valuables they even broke toilet cisterns. Now The MDC Headquarters is six-storey building with the MDC occupying the 5th and the 6th floor, the other floors are occupied by private tenants. Everyone who was in the building was ordered to get into police vehicles that were parked outside Harvest House, including private tenants and their clients. More than a 100 people were arrested as Mugabe went into overdrive in order to suppress the people of Zimbabwe and justify Zimbabwe's 3/11. Say supposedly you have a 10 year lease and given the chronic harassment that MDC activists are exposed to then you can expect similar raids interruption to your business and the possibility of being arrested, tortured or even be killed just for occupying the same office as The MDC. My thoughts exactly it happens only in Zimbabwe!
7. At number 7 are Lawyers Violence and threats against Zimbabwean lawyers by police and other officials have grown more common since March 11. Many of the lawyers representing those arrested at the protest have been attacked or threatened with violence. Those targeted include Beatrice Mtetwa, who is President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe and a prominent human rights lawyer. Mtetwa and her assistant were violently manhandled and threatened by police officers while serving court papers. Harrison Nkomo was threatened with arrest by a police assistant commissioner when he tried to serve court processes and notices. He was also assaulted with a baton by officers at a police station after inquiring about the whereabouts of arrested opposition leaders. Andrew Makoni was threatened with “disappearance” when serving papers at Harare police station. Tafadzwa Mugabe was threatened with assault and arrest when trying to assert his clients’ rights to leave the country to access medical treatment. And Dzimbabwe Chimbga was threatened by officials at the airport when returning to Harare and told to stop taking up cases involving opposition members. The increasing attack by the Zimbabwean government on the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ)is manifested in a recent article published in Zimbabwe’s The Sunday Mail on 6 August 2006 and another in the Zimbabwean Herald on 12 August 2006 which make plain the Zimbabwean government’s intention to clamp down on the Law Society, an independent and self-regulating professional body of Zimbabwean lawyers. The first article written by Tafataona Mahoso, chairman of the government-controlled Media and Information Commission, and titled, "Lawyers’ body fights for return of Rhodesia", accuses the LSZ of being sponsored by foreign powers. Mahoso writes that "the LSZ has consistently encouraged and worked with external forces and organisations opposed to Zimbabwe’s African land reclamation movement." The article by Mahoso is particularly sinister for its exhortation that Zimbabwe must "figure out what it wants Government to do with the LSZ", suggesting that government action against the LSZ is imminent, despite the fact that the law society’s independence and self-regulation is ensured by statute. The second article, titled "A Lawless Society", was written under the byline "Nathanial Manheru", which is the pseudonym of Mugabe’s current spokesman, George Charamba, widely tipped to be the country’s next Minister of Information. You can read an extensive report by Beatrice Mtetwa on how dangerous it has become to practice law in Zimbabwe
6. At number 6 are Doctors. Just like lawyers above, harassment and threatening doctors gathered pace in March after the violent crackdown on opposition activists where three activists died. Douglas Gwatidzo, a shy general practitioner who specializes in emergency care at Avenues Clinic in Harare, has been at the forefront of Doctors targeted by Mugabe's government for treating MDC patients. Gwatidzo is also The Chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, he witnessed harassment of doctors first hand when he treated victims of Mugabe's crackdown on opposition in March this year. Each patient was guarded by two armed riot police officers, Gwatidzo said, and they insisted on entering the cubicle where Tsvangirai was being treated. "They were very aggressive and threatening, and demanded to be present during medical examination," Gwatidzo recalled. But the doctor said no. "I will not examine any patient under duress," he told them. "If you truly believe he can disappear, you can take me instead." The police relented, though tensions at the clinic remained high as more than 133 policemen carrying batons, pistols and shields packed an emergency room filled with the battered protesters. Doctors are finding it increasingly difficult to practice.
5)At number 5 is membership to WOZA Activists belonging Women of Zimbabwe Arise most of them mothers with babies strapped on their backs while they protest have been the arrested, beaten, tortured countless number of times. Recently some of the 19 members were arrested while playing netball. You can read extensively here about their numerous runs in with the Zimbabwe's bloodthirsty police.
4) At number 4 is being a Pastor The Zimbabwean government has made it illegal for more than three people to congregate without police consent. It should then not surprises being a Pastor has become so dangerous in Zimbabwe as any of your congregations can be arrested for holding a public meeting without police consent. Last week 15 church pastors were arrested in Zimbabwe for holding prayer meetings.
3. At number 3 is a Journalist - this the 3rd most dangerous occupation in Zimbabwe today. Being a Journalist is enemy number one to any dictatorship more so in Zimbabwe. Instead of seeing your name in print, the only print will probably be your name on charge sheet facing up to 20 years or even death, or the only print will be the epitaph on your grave as what happened to Edward Chikomba a freelance TV cameraman formerly employed by Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation who was murdered by the Zimbabwean government for allegedly leaking footage of President Tsvangirai's head injuries to CNN. In on the 13th of September 2006, Mike Saburi, a cameraman with Reuters Television, was assaulted by police officers and jailed after he filmed the police beating people involved in a banned trade union march in the capital city of Harare. There is the issue of Access To Information and Protection of Privacy act a discredited piece of legislature meant to curtail the spread of information in Zimbabwe, the recently passed bill that will allow government to monitor every communication in Zimbabwe from emails to telephone conversations. Even journalists based outside Zimbabwe cannot escape the long arm of Mugabe's law, Abel Mutsakani was shot and left for dead for no apparent reason outside his home in Johannesburg South Africa, he is the editor of Zim Online. Recently an award winning photo-journalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi was threatened by the deranged wife of an army general Jocelyn Chiwenga while he accompanied President Tsvangirai on fact finding mission after Mugabe had forced the reduction of prices in foolish defiance of the natural order of supply and demand which determines the price if commodities.
2. Knocking on the door for top honours is a Businessman With 8000 businessman and senior company executives arrested since June 26 when Mugabe ordered business to slash prices by 50%.Gertrude Nyabadza was sentenced to 8 months in prison for overcharging in her business in Zimbabwe.The price clampdown is part of efforts to tame rampant official inflation of 7000 percent, the highest in the world. Independent estimates put real inflation at closer to 40,000 percent on the few goods still available and the International Monetary Fund has forecast it will reach 100,000 percent by the end of the year. The clampdown has led to acute shortages of maize meal, meat, bread and other staples that have left store shelves bare across the country, with producers and store owners arguing they can not afford to sell goods below the cost of production just simple economics 101 but Mugabe does not get it. Nyabadza was sentenced to a year in jail with four months suspended on condition no further offenses were committed. She was convicted Aug. 10 for overcharging on unspecified goods. A very conducive environment for entrepreneurship!
At number 1 is being a member of MDC while the Zimbabwean constitution guarantees freedom for political association thats not the truth because almost every member of MDC has been subjecting to arbitrary arrests, torture, abductions, some have died at the hands of the murderous Zimbabwean police. You can read Luke Tamborinyoka 's testimony part 1 here and part 2 here to have a glimpse of how hard life has become in Zimbabwe for ordinary MDC members.