Tsvangirai crash: More questions than answers
Date: Saturday, March 14 @ 05:06:02 UTC
By Professor Jonathan Moyo, MP
Saturday, March 14, 2009
THE truism that people learn geology the day after an earthquake best explains why there is a growing list of troubling questions about probable criminal involvement of the American and British governments or their agents in the car accident that tragically claimed the life of the wife of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week.
Among the questions that cannot be fully or satisfactorily answered without an independent and competent international probe are the following:
l) Who really owns the Nissan diesel truck, with registration number 81TCE128, which caused the tragic accident on March 6, 2009?
2) If the registered owner of the truck is not the American Embassy in Harare or the United States Agency for International Development why does the truck have a registration number whose diplomatic configuration is reserved for the United States Embassy?
3) If the truck is registered to a foreign organisation, other than the United States Embassy or Usaid, with neither presence nor legal standing in Zimbabwe, when and how was the registration effected, by whom and under what authority?
4) Whose money was used to purchase the truck?
5) Who employed the driver of the truck, when was he employed, and what is the source of his salary, that is, where is the money that he is paid actually funded from?
6) Was there another truck that drove immediately behind the accident truck at the time of the accident? If there was, whose truck was that in terms of both registration and ownership, who drove it and why has there been between little or no mention of that truck and its possible role or about the possible involvement of its driver in the tragic accident?
7) Without any prejudice, how did the driver come to be represented by Atherstone and Cook Legal Practitioners? Who instructed these lawyers to represent the driver, when was the instruction made, and who is paying the lawyers for the driver's legal representation?
8) Why did the British Foreign Office in London issue an official statement so soon after accident describing the tragedy as a "genuine accident"? What was genuine about the accident and why was the statement issued with self-evident haste?
9) Who are, or what is, Crown Agents? Where is this entity based? What are its connections or relationships with the accident truck and/or its driver? What other activities does this entity do in Zimbabwe, with whom, for what purposes, since when and under what legal auspices?
10) Following the tragic accident, why or on what basis did the American-based and owned news network, CNN, run continuous and inflammatory bulletins on the accident claiming that it was a result of foul play by Zanu-PF or by Zimbabwean State organs? Why or on what basis did those bulletins which ran from March 6 to March 10 boldly allege that Prime Minister Tsvangirai had told an unnamed MDC official that "the accident was deliberate"? Which alleged MDC official gave this information to CNN?
11) Why did the State Department in Washington or the United States Embassy in Harare or Usaid itself not correct or comment on the CNN bulletins that openly and daringly put the blame for the tragic accident on Zimbabwean State organs or Zanu-PF without basing that blame on any evidence other than a suspicion allegedly based on the history of tragic car accidents in Zimbabwe involving some prominent personalities?
12) Is it a mere coincidence, or is there more than what meets the eye about the fact, that a few months ago a Usaid driver was implicated in the attempted assassination of Air Marshal Perrance Shiri and now another Usaid driver is involved in a murky accident that left Prime Minister Tsvangirai with neck and head injuries while claiming the life of his wife?
13) Exactly what sort of activities has Usaid been doing or supporting in Zimbabwe and since when? Who else in or outside Zimbabwe has been part of those activities? What has been the purpose of those activities, how have they been financed, what has been their total bill and are American taxpayers aware of those activities and their true cost?
14) What joint activities or programs are the American and British governments involved in Zimbabwe whether through Usaid and DfID (the Department for International Development in Britain)
The above 14 questions are by no means exhaustive but they are indicative of some of the dark issues that Zimbabweans and others around the world, especially taxpayers in the United States and Britain, would like to have clarified about the tragic accident that took away the life of the wife of our Prime Minister and nearly plunged our country into the abyss. These issues can only be objectively clarified by a competent international probe that should be set up as soon as possible. Any delays would risk a major international cover-up which might very well be already underway.
It is important for the British and American governments and their local and international media and NGO supporters who never see, hear or speak any evil on matters British or American, to understand that this is not trivia pursuit or rabble-rousing. As a national legislator, I believe this is a fundamental international issue about the peace and security of Zimbabweans and their national leadership as well as about the need to protect the laws of the country within the context of international law.
Based on the facts of this case, and keeping in mind the experiences of countries like Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Iran or Kwame Nkrumah's Ghana among many others, there is more than enough to suggest that the activities of the British and American governments in Zimbabwe today have become too daring, too entrenched and too dangerous to be left alone.
Following publication of an online story on Monday by NewZimbabwe.com which carried some concerns I expressed about probable criminal involvement of American and British governments or their agents in the tragic accident, I received a telephone call from a senior official in the United States Embassy, Glen Warren, who was apparently too keen to bring to my attention what he said was the fact that the driver of the accident truck was not an employee of Usaid. Furthermore, he told me that the American government was sure that there was no foul play behind the tragic accident based on what the embassy had been told in interviews they had held with a second truck driver whom he said had been driving behind the accident truck and had thus witnessed the accident. Warren also said the embassy had gotten more information from what he said was thorough briefing from the Prime Minister himself.
I then asked Warren why in that case the American government had not followed the example of its British counterparts to issue a statement clearly stating that the accident was genuine. To my surprise, he said the US government would not issue a statement unless and until there was an unequivocal statement from MDC-T indicating that the accident was just that.
This prompted me to ask Warren whether the US government was hiding behind or even fuelling the CNN bulletins that were continuously peddling innuendoes and even claiming outright that an alleged MDC official had told the news network that Prime Minister Tsvangirai believed the accident was deliberate with fingers pointing at Zanu-PF foul play. Warren's suspicious response which can only be believed by an alien from Mars was that CNN is a private news organisation entitled to its own opinions which have nothing to do with the US government.
Significantly though, Warren did not at any point in our telephone conversation which lasted for about 10 or so minutes deny that the truck belonged to Usaid not least because its registration spoke for itself. I have since found it not just shocking but also totally unacceptable that a day after Warren called me to say the accident truck was theirs but not the driver, the American Embassy issued a statement disowning both the ownership of the truck and the employment of its driver.
In any event, while agents of the American government seem to think that they can keep changing their story about the ownership of the accident truck and the employment of its driver and still remain credible when available facts tell a contrary story, the crucial part of the story in this sad saga which will be difficult if not impossible to change is the money trail.
Whose money was used to buy and register the accident truck? Whose money was used to recruit the accident driver and pay his salary? Whose money contracted Crown Agents? Indeed, whose money is paying the legal costs of the accident driver who is being represented by Atherstone and Cook?
And parenthetically, is there anybody out there including at CNN who really believes that Atherstone and Cook — and Chris Mhike in particular who — would countenance being the defence attorneys of record if the accident truck and accident driver had anything, even remotely, to do with Zanu-PF or organs of the State like the CIO, police or Zimbabwe Defence Forces? Who is fooling who here?
During the unravelling of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, the legendary FBI agent known as "Deep Throat" famously advised the two Washington Post journalists who investigated the scandal, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, to "follow the money". Since then, following the money has become the stuff of seasoned and competent international investigators.
There's a clear and present need to follow the money trail behind the tragic accident that claimed the life of Amai Susan Tsvangirai, and which almost shook the foundations of the inclusive Government upon which Zimbabweans across the political divide have pinned their hopes for the country's economic and political turnaround.
It is common cause that the British and American governments have not supported the inclusive Government and that some in these governments believe Tsvangirai sold out by signing the September 15, 2008 agreement and joining the inclusive Government as Prime Minister.
This clearly means that the American and British governments, or some of their agents dealing with Zimbabwe, have the motive, incentives and means to derail the inclusive Government through foul play. This can only be formally concluded one way or the other through an international commission of enquiry led by Sadc and the African Union, the two bodies that are the guarantors of the inter-party agreement that produced Zimbabwe's current inclusive Government. The sooner that commission of enquiry is established, the better for everyone concerned.