Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Christopher Dell goes back empty handed

Dell's Departure Boon for Zim

The Herald (Harare)
20 June 2007
Posted to the web 20 June 2007

AMONG Roman emperor and conqueror Julius Caesar's famous phrases is the dictum, "Veni, vidi, vici," Latin for "I came, I saw, I conquered" that he used whenever his armies delivered on his military objectives.

The phrase does not apply to outgoing United States ambassador Christopher Dell, who came here brimming with confidence that he would deliver Zimbabwe on a platter, as he had promised his bosses in Washington, but who now leaves with his tail between his legs.

Dell leaves Zimbabwe with his rabble-rousing legacy in tatters, his ego deflated and with the startling realisation that Zimbabwe is a different ball game altogether as indeed he admitted in his roundtable with journalists in Bulawayo.

The illegal regime change agenda has fallen flat on its face.

Progressive Zimbabweans can't wait to see Dell's back, because throughout his stay here, he never worked to fulfil his brief of enhancing relations between Harare and Washington, choosing instead to try and stir diplomatic rows at every opportunity.

We all remember his "absent-minded" wandering into restricted security zones at the Harare Botanical Gardens, his clandestine meetings with the MDC factions, and his undiplomatic opposition mouthing.

In fact, Dell's itinerary that covered Bulawayo and Harare per se confirms what we have been saying all along: that the US envoy behaved like Washington's ambassador to the MDC, and not to Zimbabwe.

Harare and Bulawayo are the two provinces that are exclusively in the hands of the MDC, with Zanu-PF, of course, holding sway in only one constituency, Harare South.

These are the provinces that Dell hoped would provide the turf for his envisaged Ukrainian-style "Orange revolution". But that was not to be.

If Dell had spent his tenure like other ambassadors, his farewell tour would cover development projects in various provinces, but alas, it was restricted to the MDC constituencies in Harare and Bulawayo, and probably the headquarters of the two-factions.

While we understand that as a representative, Dell had to be the public face of his boss George W Bush, he failed where it matters most, that is in informing Washington how badly misplaced its approach to Zimbabwe is.

As ambassador, he had the duty to inform his bosses to rethink their misguided policies on Zimbabwe.

His departure, however, is a boon for the ongoing spirit of engagement between Zanu-PF and the MDC, whose delegations were recently in South Africa trying to find common ground on how they can work together to clean the mess Dell and his bosses created with their supremacist policies.

As such, his departure, together with that of British Premier Tony Blair, could not have come at a better time.

We just hope Dell will have the decency to bid his nemesis, President Mugabe, farewell and not sneak out like Brian Donnelly, the British diplomat who also spent his tenure trying to do in Zimbabwe what he had done to Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic.

We also hope he will convey to his bosses the Presidents constant refrain: Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.

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