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Blogging in Zimbabwe

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Chris Vallance | 17:28 UK time, Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Troubling times in Zimbabwe. Zimpundit is a Zimbabwean blogger. Here's an email interview he was kind enough to grant Pods and Blogs.

Q - Tell me a little about yourself.
Zimpundit is a native Zimbabwean blogger. A born free (born after Zimbabwe's independence in 1980), I grew up during the bountiful days of this administrations early times and have been distraught to watch the bread literally be taken of the tops of our tables. I'm also a beneficiary of Zimbabwe's once venerable educational system.
Q - What's behind the latest crackdown?
It's fear. The last two weeks have been absolutely horrendous for this regime. They are now faced with a reality they never thought they'd face; people willingly walking into the paths of their vicious police. Now that they've tortured the MDC leadership this early in the game, the government has ironically upped the proverbial ante. Tsvangirai and Mutambara have nothing left to fear having been deep into the dredges of Zimbabwe's hellish torture system and come back from resolute to continue with their protest for a better Zimbabwe. In the past, people feared public demonstrations because they felt they were being used as political pawns by leaders who didn't want to endure the the wrath of the police on their own. Tsvangirai and Mutambara have, because of this incident gained more credibility with people. Look for this incident to spawn of more the same kind of protest.
Q - Have you noticed a change in the public mood lately?
The thing that I'm constantly hearing of is tension. There is a palatable unrelenting tension across the country. We're sitting on a knife's edge. Imagine waking up one day only to see police armed up to the teeth patrolling your neighborhood indiscreminantly assaulting people and then never going away. This what many poor, unarmed, peaceloving Zimbabweans are enduring.
Q -How do you think this situation will play out?
The MDC leadership have already announced that they will be going back on the streets to the people to ask for the people's help in hastening the process towards a better Zimbabwean. I'm of the opinion more people will come out and start working on a better Zimbabwe because the state of the nation is beyond deplorable. Even when this government isn't shooting at unarmed demonstrators or mourners at a funeral, innocent people are still dying. Almost 40 people were killed when a state owned train collided with a bus, don't you think someone in government could responsibility for some kind of role in this? As for the rest of the world, they will continue to ignore our plight because we don't have any oil to offer Western powerhouse and because Mugabe remains a demigod to many African leaders today.
Q - Why do you blog?I started blogging because the dominant western media have been insistently negligent of the plight and perspective of ordinary Zimbabewans. I felt had to put the perspective or ordinary people out there for those who are willing hear about the other side of the story. Thankfully, people are interested in hearing alternative voices.
Q - Do the authorities actively try and supress blogging?
They actively suppress anything that threatens their control of what is said about Zimbabwe. The interception of communications bill was written and targeted specifically towards online activists working to showcase the tragedy of our nation.

Also woth reading this post from Zimbabwean blog Kubatana

I’m feeling sorry for Tsvangirai. Because he’s been assaulted, together with many other comrades, but also because I wonder whether he’ll succeed with his most important challenge? Which is to persuade Zimbabweans to join him / in the flesh / in person and on the streets and present a unified rejection of the Mugabe regime. For the last 4 years it’s been a case of “you go first” (Tsvangirai to the people) or “you go first” (the people to Tsvangirai). This needs to change.

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