"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mengistu - the sinister power behind Mugabe's throne

Take a ruthless Dictator who was responsible for 500,000 (Amnesty International) deaths during a reign of “Red Terror.”

Take a Dictator whose regime was involved in unspeakable crimes and atrocities, and many of whose members now languish in jail. A regime whose soldiers would not release a victim's body for burial until the victim's family had paid back the cost of the bullet used in the killing.

Take a Dictator whose security forces systematically tortured political prisoners, dipping bodies in hot oil, raping and inserting bottles and heated metals in bodies of female prisoners,

Take this dictator and install him in a luxurious estate in Zimbabwe, let him have medical treatment in South Africa.

Who? Mengistu Haile Mariam 17 years the bloodthirsty quasi Marxist tyrannical ruler of Ethiopia whose fall followed Russian withdrawal of support.

Who organised his departure from Ethiopia ?

The United States embassy in Zimbabwe confirmed in 1999 the US was involved in obtaining a safe haven for the former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.

The embassy said in a statement that then Assistant Secretary of State Hank Cohen had been involved in negotiations which resulted in Mengistu arriving in Harare in 1991. … where he still is.

At the time President Mugabe proudly boasted,"Both the Americans and Canadians even offered to assist financially if we could not meet the expenses of looking after Mengistu," he said. "We have not received a cent because we have not requested their assistance. He (Mengistu) helped a lot of the continent's liberation movements."

In March 2001 Mengistu and seven male relatives, all of whom fled Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, when the regime was overthrown by pro-democracy forces in 1991, had become permanent residents on the orders of John Nkomo, the home affairs minister.

Gunhill luxury

In Harare, Ex President of Ethiopia Mengistu lives in the lap of luxury in the Gunhill suburbs, with 24-hour security from the police VIP protection unit and the CIO at the Zimbabwean taxpayers' expense.

The Mugabe government has allocated Mengistu two large farms, one in Mazowe and another in Norton. Mengistu owns a separate home in Bluffhill and more likely owns more.

He drives at least six luxury cars, including a Mercedes Benz, a Toyota Prado, a Toyota Avensis, a BMW and a twin-cab truck. Mengistu enjoys a special fuel scheme from the state's National Oil Company of Zimbabwe for personal use and for his farms, and his vehicles are serviced free of charge at the central mechanical equipment department.

In 1995, Mengistu survived an attempt on his life when an Eritrean, Solomon Ghebre Haile Michael, and Abraham Goletom Joseph tried to assassinate him at his Gunhill residence. The two were arrested and subsequently sentenced to 10 and five years' imprisonment respectively.

Mengistu was said to be concerned when the MDC nearly won the 2000 parliamentary elections and the 2002 presidential elections. Mengistu is said to have then made plans to relocate to either China or North Korea, but he knew very well that he would not get the same comforts as he did in Harare.

It is therefore in his interest that Zanu-PF and ideally, Mugabe rules forever. Mengistu is said to have been born in 1937, but like his parentage this is not certain.

Mengistu guilty of genocide.

An Ethiopian court on Tuesday December 12th 2006 found Mengistu guilty in his absence of genocide )plus for atrocities committed under his Marxist regime, after a 12-year trial.

At the time William Nhara, a spokesperson for President Robert Mugabe's government, said."As a comrade of our struggle, Comrade Mengistu and his government played a key and commendable role during our struggle for independence and no one can dispute that," William Nhara, a spokesperson for President Robert Mugabe's government, said.

"The judgment is an Ethiopian judgment and will not affect his status in Zimbabwe. As far as we know there is no extradiction treaty between Harare and Addis Ababa."

Nhara said Mengistu helped train Zimbabwean guerillas in Ethiopia and provided arms during the war against British colonial rule which culminated in the country's independence in 1980.

"After independence Comrade Mengistu's government provided training for our air force pilots and not many countries have shown such commitment to us."

Paul Mangwana, the government's acting information and publicity minister, told Reuters at the time "Mengistu applied for asylum and we granted him (it) ... the position remains the same."

Mangwana assumed the preposterously named office of Minister of Indigenisation and Empowerment in February 2007 and the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill, which provides for Zimbabweans to hold a majority share in all businesses, was passed in March 2008 and approved by President Mugabe on March 8th.

Mangwana said that the law did not mean expropriation would take place and that there was "no reason to panic". He noted that existing businesses would "need time to adjust" and said that "engagement and consultation" would take place within a timeframe of perhaps five or ten years. Defending the law, he said that "the revolution is not complete until indigenous Zimbabweans own the means of production".A phrase that betrays the hand of Mengistu and his Marxist Leninist oratory - who is said to be the architect of this expropriation by the state of private businesses.

Mangwana has been nominated by ZANU-PF as its candidate for the House of Assembly seat from Chivi Central constituency, in Masvingo Province, in the tpdays parliamentary elections.

Mengistu and Operation Murambatsvina

Sources claimed to be within Zimbabwe's feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) say that Mengistu, now acts as President Robert Mugabe's security adviser, warned the Zimbabwean leader that the swelling slum and backyard population in Zimbabwe was creating a fertile ground for a mass uprising.

Called very extravagantly Operation Murambatsvina, the controversial home-demolition exercise left at least 700 000 people homeless and affected another 2,4-million people, according to a report by United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka.

first suggested the slum clearance idea to Mugabe in February, at one of the regular meetings he holds with the president and other senior security chiefs from the army, the CIO and the police.

After Mugabe accepted the idea, it was followed by several weeks of meticulous planning. Operation Murambatsvina began in May, a few weeks after the ruling Zanu-PF party trounced the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a controversial parliamentary election.

Planning Operation Murambatsvina

The first meeting to plan the logistics of the operation was chaired by Mengistu himself at CIO headquarters in Harare, and was attended by defence forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army Commander Philip Valerio Sibanda, Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri, CIO director general Happyton Bonyongwe, his deputy, Menard Muzariri, and director of prisons Brigadier Zimondi. The police were represented by Deputy Commissioner Godwin Matanga.

Mengistu chaired other meetings , during which video clippings of Zimbabwe's 1998 food riots, with footage of mass uprisings in the Ukraine, Yugoslavia and Ethiopia, were shown to the group, which called itself Operation Murambatsvina's "high command".

After a series of meetings of the "high command", the group later met government ministers, mayors and administrators sympathetic to the government, such as Harare Commission chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara and Bindura mayor Martin Dinha, who endorsed the operation.

Mengistu then prepared a final document on the operation, which he submitted to Mugabe. The president endorsed it. Operation Murambatsvina, according to the plan, was to be implemented in phases, starting with flea markets suspected of fuelling economic crimes, mainly illegal foreign-currency trade

Operation Garikai / Hlalani Kuhle

A project to rebuild homes after Operation Murambatsvina was envisaged in Mengistu's plan, though the main objective would be to window-dress the main purpose of the slum-clearance exercise.

This project, later dubbed "Operation Garikai / Hlalani Kuhle ", would naturally not accommodate all the displaced people and would mainly benefit Zanu-PF supporters caught up in the destruction process.

Reducing the Zimbabwean population

These Mengistu planned operations were initially planned it appears to simply reduce the population of Zimbabwe. Continuing repression and economic implosion has resulted in an exodus of 25% of the population to Zambia, South Africa and beyond.

Meanwhile the Mengistu inspired and recently passed Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill is sold as giving black Zimbabweans the power to share in the wealth of their country.

Mr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told the BBC. "It is an historic economic empowerment bill that has been signed,"

It is of course merely another step in the rape of a beautiful country calculated to discourage inward investment.

Unable to feed the people

Didymus Mutasa the Minister of State for National Security, Land, Land Reform and Resettlement is reported portentously saying that while the country continues to import maize from Zambia, South Africa and Malawi, the Zim Government is considering alternative sources. As if.

Meanwhile in his increasingly crazy rallies across the country, President Mugabe tells supporters that no one will starve, as Government will import enough maize. He said 500 000 tonnes of maize had been paid for and Government was awaiting to take delivery of the grain.

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