The Zimbabwean Progressive: Fearless, independent and evidence-based political journalism for a new Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean Progressive: Fearless, independent and evidence-based political journalism for a new Zimbabwe

By Obert Madondo |  | Published Jan 7, 2017, by The Zimbabwean Progressive

Obert Madondo, the publisher of the Zimbabwean Progressive, is an Ottawa-based political blogger, photographer, activist, digital rights addict, former international development administrator, and former aide to a prominent Zimbabwean opposition politician.

Welcome to the Zimbabwean Progressive, an independent publication dedicated to producing fearless, progressive, adversarial, unapologetic, activism-oriented, and evidence-based political journalism. Hope you’ll dig the publication.

The Zimbabwean Progressive is published by Obert Madondo, an Ottawa-based progressive political blogger, publisher, photographer, activist, digital rights addict, former international development administrator, and former political aide to a prominent Zimbabwean politician.

Obert also publishes Charity Files, a publication dedicated to journalism in the giving public’s interest, and The Canadian Progressive, a provocative and activism-oriented Canadian political blog . Visit his blog on The Canadian Progressive HERE.

The Zimbabwean Progressive aspires to become the first-read for progressive Zimbabwean insiders, grassroots activists, dissenters, narrative disrupters, thinkers, and other influentials.

Our hard-hitting opinion and analysis will be obsessed with issues such as truth and reconciliation, economic justice, equality, climate change, surveillance, racism, foreign aid, civil liberties, social justice, women’s rights, human rights, foreign policy, digital rights, fake news, and privacy rights. On these issues, we’ll drill deeply, right down to the truth.

On Zimbabwean politics, our main focus, we’ll provide you with hard-hitting, controversial, insightful, thoughtful, provocative, and evidence-based progressive ideas. We believe in Zimbabwean political journalism that’s unapologetic; a journalism that retains a critical gaze upon powerful individuals and corporate institutions.

Expect inconvenient truths from the Zimbabwean Progressive. We’ll challenge conventional wisdom. We’ll challenge the accepted narrative; we’ll disrupt it! The suppression of inconvenient truths that might upset certain powerful interests is unacceptable.

In line with our commitment to activism-oriented political journalism, we’ll implement the following “special projects”:

Zimbabwe Surveillance Self-Defense

The Zimbabwean Progressive’s special in-depth, comparative and evidence-based reporting on Robert Mugabe’s ever-evolving surveillance and digital authoritarianism.

In the past few years, the Mugabe regime has boosted its electronic surveillance capabilities. In 2017, the regime is set to add the Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill, Zimbabwe’s “Snooper’s Charter,” to its suite of existing information controls legislation, which already includes the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (2002) and Interception of Communications Act (2007).

A draft version of the draconian legislation confirms the regime’s plan to increase its attacks on human rights groups and pro-democracy activists during the 2018 election season. With Zimbabweans relying more and more on the Internet, social media and modern technologies, the proposed legislation seeks to criminalize on and offline activism, private conversations, and even accessing computer systems.

Marketed as an anti-hacking law, Mugabe’s Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill reminds us of the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act (pdf), which has been branded the “most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy” by rights groups.

Robert Mugabe’s Accomplices

The Zimbabwean Progressive’s in-depth, comparative and evidence-based reporting on individuals and institutions associated with Mugabe’s dictatorship, genocidal violence, and continuing decimation of the Zimbabwean economy.

Contrary to the emotive anti-Mugabe narrative, the Zimbabwean dictator has remained useful to foreign corporations. The report, “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013” (pdf), released by the Washington, D.C.-based Global Financial Integrity in December 2015, reveals that Zimbabwe lost a staggering US$2.76 billion to illicit financial flows between 2004 and 2013. Zimbabwe’s entire national budget is only US$4 billion.

With Mugabe’s departure imminent, we need to talk about the coming massive plunder of Zimbabwe’s resources. According to the “Illicit Financial Flows” report, Sub-Saharan Africa lost a staggering US$675 billion to illicit financial flows between 2004 and 2013.  South Africa, often cited as a model of “democracy” in Africa, lost US$209 billion.

A 2013 report from the African Development Bank Group stated, “For over 30 years (1980-2009), close to US $1.4 trillion were drained out of Africa. Most of those capital flights were illegal in nature and were due to corruption, kickbacks, tax evasion, criminal activities, transactions of certain contraband goods, and other illicit business activities across borders.”

The New Statesman‘s 2016 Christmas issue confirms that, after Mugabe’s defeat during the landmark 2018 elections, unfettered capitalism will continue to prioritize profits over the humanity of Zimbabweans. The issue included an in-depth piece on Zimbabwe entitled, Last Days of Mugabe. Turns out Zimbabwe, South African, Chinese and western businesses are willing to to embrace Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s vice-President and presumed successor. “The Crocodile” is complicit in Mugabe’s genocidal  massacre of 20,000 innocents in Matebeleland and the Midlands during the 1980s Gukurahundi campaign.

Would Mugabe’s defeat in 2018 change anything? No. Every major opposition party vying to dislodge Zanu PF from power proposes a post-Mugabe economy that favors unfettered global capitalism. While the election manifestos are still being crafted, no party currently guarantees that the imminent accelerated export of Zimbabwe’s natural resources will result in increased spending on social policies.

Global Development

The Zimbabwean Progressive’s in-depth, evidence-based and opinionated reporting on global development issues, with a special focus on official aid, Africa-focused international charities and non-profits, charity corruption, and humanity rights abuses linked to the extraction of African resources by multinational corporations.

Emerging evidence challenges the popular belief that Africans are the key beneficiaries of foreign aid and charitable donations from the west. The inconvenient truth is: For at least three decades now, Africans have been giving to the west more than they’ve been receiving through foreign direct investment (FDI), official aid, and charitable donations.

In 2014 report, the Guardian (UK) published an eye-opening report entitled, Aid to Africa: Donations from west mask ‘$60bn looting’ of continent. According to the publication, “western countries are using aid to Africa as a smokescreen to hide the ‘sustained looting’ of the continent as it loses nearly $60bn a year through tax evasion, climate change mitigation, and the flight of profits earned by foreign multinational companies, a group of NGOs has claimed.”

Behind every great fortune is a great crime, wrote 19th century novelist Honoré de Balzac. With Mugabe’s electoral defeat imminent, we need to talk about the human rights and environmental violations associated with the extraction of resources in so-called “democratic” African countries.

In a piece entitled, Canadian Companies Exploit African Resources, published by CounterPunch in June 2016, Canadian journalist Yves Engler wrote:

Active in 43 different African countries, Canadian mining firms have been responsible for dispossessing farmers, displacing communities, employing forced labour, devastating ecosystems and spurring human rights violations…

While Canadian companies loot (legally and illegally) African resources, government-funded “charities” (aka NGOs) and the dominant media call on Canadians to walk for “hope” in Africa.

Police recently killed 65 people and injured 270 at a controversial Tanzanian gold mine operated by the African subsidiary of Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp., according to Canada’s authoritative Globe and Mail newspaper.

With Mugabe’s electoral defeat imminent, we need to talk about the human rights and environmental violations that will accompany the rebuilding of Zimbabwe’s shuttered economy.

Meanwhile, for some reason, Zimbabweans are often expected to uncritically embrace “experts” and solutions from other countries. The Zimbabwean Progressive aspires to change all that. The publication will engage in unapologetic comparative analysis. Countries that often lecture Zimbabwe also have democracy and human rights deficits Zimbabweans must understand as they search for the final solution to the Mugabe problem.

We’ll demand more of ourselves and our elected, appointed and self-appointed leaders. We’ll insist on a Zimbabwe and world that strives for more equality, more democracy, more diversity, more rights, more freedoms, more transparency, more environmental protections, more justice, more security, and more values, for all.

So, what exactly does the Zimbabwean Progressive want:

  1. A Zimbabwe and world where all persons, be they indigenous, settlers, citizens, temporary residents, refugees, and otherwise, feel that they’re equal and are motivated to build a shared country.
  2. An evidence-based and emotion-free conversation on individuals and institutions associated with Mugabe’s dictatorship, genocidal violence, and continuing decimation of the Zimbabwean economy.
  3. A just and fair society where equality, security, and reciprocity are upheld through free will and cooperative action.
  4. Clean politics free of corporate and lobbyist influence, electoral fraud, voter suppression, propaganda, and undue manipulation of minority and ethnic voters.
  5. A sustainable economic policy that creates jobs, eradicates poverty, promotes economic equality, keeps neoliberalism in check, and protects the environment.
  6. A Zimbabwe built on social justice, where all live in dignity and have a fair shot at improving their lives.
  7. Democratic renewal through the reformation of Zimbabwean political institutions, enhancement of public participation, and empowerment of young people.
  8. Media integrity and rejection of biases created by undue authority and money.
  9. A multilateral foreign policy based on conflict resolution, and tackling of genocide, poverty, climate change, disease, arms and nuclear proliferation, and terrorism.

If you’re a fearless Zimbabwean progressive or ally of Zimbabweans, and have special knowledge or opinions, we and our readers would be delighted to hear from you. See our Write for Us page for Blogger/writer guidelines and your options.

Maybe you just want to connect with us on the social media:

We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you,

Obert Madondo, Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based blogger, activist, photographer, digital rights addict, and former international development administrator. He’s the founder and editor of these blogs: The Canadian ProgressiveZimbabwean Progressive, and Charity Files. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad

This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. No permission is required for non-commercial reuse and distribution. However, you’re strictly required to cite the original source in accordance with the terms of the license.