Monday, January 19, 2009
Andrew Sanderson- International Spy or raving lunatic?
Yesterday’s Sunday Standard featured this picture on the front page and yet again inside its covers. This is Andrew Sanderson. According to Sanderson, these marks are from electrodes that were attached to his body by Botswana security agents during torture sessions where they wanted to extract information regarding his espionage activities in the country. Sanderson told the reporter that he had been arrested by the Botswana Police for staying in the country without proper documentation, but according to Sanderson he is a spy for the Zimbabwean government working under the Zimbabwean ambassador to Namibia, Chipo Zindonga, and that was the real reason he was arrested and allegedly tortured. His mission, according to the paper, was to search out the bases in Botswana where MDC is training a secret army to overthrow Mugabe. At the time the article went to press, Sanderson had escaped from police custody and was in hiding waiting for his contacts in the Zimbabwean High Commission in Botswana to get him out of the country.
The alleged life story of Sanderson reads like a Robert Ludlum book. He has apparently worked in the past for Botswana’s Diamond and Narcotics Squad and was double dealing with Military Intelligence. According to him, he knew much about the drug trade in the area from the time that he himself was a drug addict. He apparently inherited over a million British pounds from a dead aunt, after living on the streets of London eating from dust bins, and decided it was cheaper to live in Namibia where he could follow his preferred life of drugs, drinking, and games with prostitutes. This is where, according to him, he met a certain prostitute who hooked him up with the Namibian ambassador who gave him his latest gig as Zimbabwean Spy.
In the article, the reporter claims that during the interview Sanderson asked to use the phone and he apparently called his contact in the Zimbabwean High Commission in Botswana. They discussed his getting out of the country. According to the reporter, the ambassador hung up and called back on a ‘secure line’. Sanderson was instructed to get to Lanseria in South Africa and they would help him from there.
So that’s the story. For those outside of Southern Africa, there is much animosity between Mugabe and our President Khama who believes that Mugabe has taken power illegally and has spoken out clearly about this. Mugabe, in turn, has alleged that Botswana is allowing MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai free access to the country where he is putting together troops to get rid of the Old Man. This is from where Sanderson’s story emanates.
I’m not sure what to think. At the very least, if Sanderson is Mugabe’s spy, it is yet another indication of Mugabe’s deteriorating sensibilities. It’s obvious Mr Sanderson is a few pennies short of a dollar. Again, why would the Namibian ambassador be the Big Zimbabwean Spy’s main contact? It sounds suspect at best. The Botswana government has trashed Mugabe’s assertions that they are assisting in overthrowing his regime.
Sanderson ends the article saying, “If I fail to make it out of Botswana and they kill me, you will have an even better story.” According to the reporter, Sanderson then 'burst into laughter'.
Meanwhile- more than 2000 people have died in Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic, not because cholera is not treatable and preventable, but because Mugabe can’t manage the healthcare system and because the doctors and nurses cannot continue to work, for all practical purposes, without pay. The Zim dollar is nearly useless as most shops now accept only US dollars, Rands, or Pula so being a civil servant paid with a big pile of Zim dollars is like being paid with a roll of toilet paper. Schools have not opened for the new school year either. Mugabe clings to power while the people die- some fast and some agonizingly slowly. Makes me almost hope Sanderson is telling the truth and within my country a powerful army is being built; but I doubt it.