Saturday, 25 August 2007

Zim: Drowning in front of Noah’s Ark?

Zim: Drowning in front of Noah’s Ark?

THIS professor called Jonathan Moyo. Is he not old enough to have been taught --- even indirectly — by the struggle? Granted he was on the nether side of the struggle, but surely the soaking communication from the two liberation movements could not have left him uninfluenced, whichever wrongful side he supported.

And Chakaodza? With all those years which his chubby, post-independence cheeks seek to hide? He may not have carried direct burdens of the struggle for our Independence.

But he is old enough to have heard its echoes, surely? You get these two men — both well bearded, both well nourished by big books — so laboriously arriving at an eminently trite conclusion to say any forward movement on Zimbabwe depends "primarily on Zimbabweans".

So many words, such tortuous perorations, only to arrive at so mundane a conclusion? As if the world they inhabit is a throwback to the politically insipid days of Southern Rhodesia African National Congress.

The lore of struggle

Have they forgotten that the punch-line of the liberation struggle was: "We are our won liberators through the barrel of the gun"? Admittedly both are not cadres of Zanu (PF) (whatever their pretensions in the past), but surely the politics of the seventies were so deep and suffusive to have left them unscathed?

Against the background of the history we have had in this country, it surely cannot be wonderful for a whole professor and a whole doctor to go on a flatulent intellectual odyssey only to finally hit an epiphany that says only Zimbabweans will determine their future.

Surely that is exactly the big lesson we culled from our long history of struggle, the edict President Mugabe is repeating tired? One takes no beef when a born-free like Dumisani Muleya sings hi ho after arriving at such a conclusion. For him the struggle was another country, another era, whose precepts have to reach him through recitals and folktales (he does not appear to want to read at all). But not this other lot, surely.

Zanu (PF)’s yesterday men

And then who are they writing for? Who has been hobnobbing with the British and Americans, eating their monies even? Who? Who has been toying with the idea of foreign intervention? Who has been accosting these cousin-empires to intervene in Zimbabwe, ostensibly to cause "change" here?

Is it not their constituencies? And you educate your followers through such public perorations and public platforms? These two characters have been cultivating thoughts of political manna from Blair and Bush, that is, promoting a mistaken view of imperialism as playing midwifery to national processes here, as if there is any part of humanity ever liberated by such dark forces. But where did the rains begin beating these forlorn souls, both of them Zanu (PF)’s yesterday men?

A pyre for Zanu (PF)?

Well, the source of these men’s evidently despondent trite treatise is the just concluded Lusaka SADC Summit. The Summit appears to have confounded their expectations and dashed their hopes. Or is it the hopes of their masters?

As I indicated last week, Zimbabwe received very firm and unambiguous support from SADC’s fourteen members states, much to the anger of the imperial West and its lackeys here who appear to include these two gentlemen.

Imperialism hoped the SADC Summit would "intervene" and prepare the pyre for liberation Zimbabwe’s cremation, to the wild, leaping dances of Blair and Bush. Just how SADC was supposed to "intervene" in itself — much like some self-fertilising, self-immolating monster — is something requiring a bit of good madness to encompass.

I mean why on this good earth would SADC "intervene" in itself for the sake of Britain and America? Just why? And you tell me such illogicality escapes the grasp of these two schooled men?

Wishing for a subaltern SADC

Why was there an expectation of a subaltern role for SADC? And to sub-serve imperialism one in respect of a part of its territory?

What is it that makes these two men brag so righteously about their disappointed that SADC did not play such a despicable, sellout role, refused to do what Michael Sata would term "playing harem to imperialism"? Is this as deep as national consciousness has plunged?

Then, cry the beloved country. Last week I indicated the West was very upset about Lusaka. It still is very upset, with one of its ambassadors concluding that the Lusaka Summit clearly showed "SADC does not work".

No, it does not work. It will never work for imperialism and it is only natural that there is such sizzling anger in the metropolis. That surprises no one. What is painfully surprising is why such death for the killer lion evokes sadness in the cow of slaughter? Surely a dead lion's mouth is more joyful days for the hunted cow? But then, the two men died a long time ago.

Pimpish political potpourri

Even more surprising is the perverse delight the Bornwells and Jonathans are getting from indications that SADC’s bail-out proposals may never see the light of day. And the arguments are all too familiar.

Zimbabwe, we are told, needs upward of US$15 billion dollars to recover. Exactly the same figure which think-tanks of imperialism have been touting.

That kind of money, we are again told, cannot be found in SADC. It can only come from donors who "will not come to the party" outside of political reforms — a euphemism for the ousting of the liberation project and its chief architect, President Mugabe, and his subsequent replacement a pimpish political potpourri, however sugar-coated.

A new front is thus being opened, and predictably in the coming weeks we will read ourselves numb this self-fulfilling thesis.

Atop Mugabe’s ark

Let me attempt to preempt it. Or even puncture its needless convolution whose beginnings we are already witnessing. Outside Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa and Angola, most SADC country budgets are hugely reliant on donor funding.

These are dependent economies facing stupendous social demands not a whit comparable to what the so-called "crisis Zimbabwe" will ever approximate, given another decade of persistent problems of the scale we face currently.

Zimbabwe is facing difficulties relative to its own potential and standards, never in relation to its peers in SADC, including South Africa.

In terms of the human development index, Zimbabwe is far, far ahead of the rest of SADC, whatever confusion Nyathi may have in respect of what development means. From the point of view of social and human capital, Zimbabwe is a net exporter, a net donor, albeit circumstantially. A good many of our SADC sister states have no brains to drain to other economies. Let that truth sink and inform.

What we consider declining welfare threshold is in its present form far, far above the lifestyles of our citizen peers in Southern Africa. On average, the so-called Zimbabwean itinerant vendor enjoys a lifestyle far above his or her peers in Soweto, indeed has greater buying power than his or her peer there.

It is a truth we have shied away from making, yet a striking fact of our region. Intellectually, Zimbabwe is a leader with hazy followers. It was ironic that as the imperial media harped hoarse on "the Zimbabwe crisis" in Lusaka, Zimbabwe’s citizens were collecting first and second trophies on the regional essay competition.

Indeed hugely ironic that both South Africa and Botswana were chafing about the dominance of Zimbabwean professionals in SADC.

The social demands on our neighbours are huge, very huge to a point of snuffing out their theoretically meteoric GDPs and advantage over Zimbabwe.

What is worse, just a day of the kind of sanctions Zimbabwe has gone through in the past seven years, is enough to fell and claim governments of most of our neighbours. These are highly dependent economies overseen by financially highly dependent governments.

That, to my mind, is the real crisis which SADC faces. It cannot be another European Union; it cannot create a Euro which terrorizes the US dollar against the background of such crippling dependency.

It is really amazing that Zimbabwe has been able to keep the company of all the fourteen SADC countries in such an environment. This says a lot about the lasting influence of the liberation politics, indeed says a lot about the depth of belief in Zimbabwe’s cause in the region.

Mortagaged growth

A greater part of the much vaunted growth against which Zimbabwe’s troubled circumstances are happily dramatized, does fly out of the region, indeed has no claimants in the region’s poor-citizenry-daily-made-poorer.

The average growth attributed to SADC is not SADC’s. It belongs to Europe; it belongs to America and hence the big fight for which Zimbabwe is only but the mighty storm’s eye. It is a mortagaged growth, one painfully wrenched from the social conditions and aspirations of SADC peoples.

You do not need an immanent interpreter to tell you that Dr Salamao’s proposals are, at the very best, a statement of solidarity, an articulation of the principle of Zimbabwe’s just cause and struggle against Britain’s neo-colonial project here.

Finish! And that is all Zimbabwe needs, namely a SADC that recognizes the principle of a radicalized state that does not shirk the challenges of completing the decolonisation process, indeed a State that keeps pushing the frontiers of resolving the social question in the region.

Zimbabwe needs a SADC which does not take an adverse posture against its struggles, exactly the same way Jonathan and Bornwell expected it to.

Rhodesia’s cousin capital

At no point has the establishment this side of the Limpopo ever expected a blank cheque bearing a SADC logo. Never at all. It would be foolish, in fact naïve, ever to hope so. Not even a bearer stamped "Suid Afrika". No. How does a toddler of 14, one only liberated in 1994, come to the rescue of Zimbabwe?

Let’s face it, the ANC is struggling to consolidate its power in an environment of a very powerful and turgid kind of capital, which is already meddling in our politics, right on the side of those we are seeking to dislodge. It is Rhodesia’s cousin capital.

In some respect it is direct capital which migrated to Rhodesia as a subsidiary. We are fighting Western capital whose main dock is South Africa, is it not? It is the same capital which is so reluctant to relinquish governmental power to the ANC, more so now after realizing from the Zimbabwe case by southern African liberation movements seek a broader agenda beyond the flag.

It retains powerful sentinels in Mbeki’s establishment; it continues to recruit and to turn coats within the ANC. Trevor Manuel was quite revealing when he told Parliament that the South African government would not waste "taxpayer’s money" on Zimbabwe.

And the main taxpayer is known, is he not? It is the colossal white businesses. How more explicit do you want the ANC government to be on post-apartheid real-politics?

Situating Mbeki’s contribution

Clearly what President Mbeki can and has been doing is to ensure that the State and Government of South Africa is not captured and deployed by this dominant taxpayer, to the detriment of Zimbabwe’s cause.

That is what has made a difference and that is what solidarity with Zimbabwe means. Mbeki could have allowed his Government to do the bidding of big businesses, so ubiquitous, so straddling. Nkrumah’s Ghana fell precisely because of such a posture by its neighbours.

Allende’s Chile fell similarly. Equally, Maurice Bishop’s Grenada fell that way. We should be thankful to have such a neighbour, thankful that he has been bold enough to adopt such a posture against acute pressure from powerful benefactors.

Equally, we should be grateful that Mwanawasa has been that bold, even sacrificing his maverick foreign minister for our sake. That is more than enough "aid" to Zimbabwe.

Not a dime

No aid cent will come from SADC countries. None should, if you ask me. What can come though, indeed what has been coming, is self-interested capital flowing into the Zimbabwe economy for joint ventures.

A classical example is the most recent one from Namibia which is funding the rehabilitation of Hwange, in anticipation of power exports to itself. I happen to know that something is afoot in respect of yet another SADC country in a sector I am not at liberty to disclose.

What can come, and should come is better, more just trade regimes allowing all SADC countries, including Zimbabwe, to trade with each other on clear lines of credit. Not the present one-sided, cash regime as if SADC is another censorious EU.

That calls for mere policy review, not aid. What matters, and will matter, is the blueprint on regional integration which in fact was the real agenda item of Lusaka, not the needlessly hyped Zimbabwe question, if a question it is (in which case you still have to ask yourself: whose question?).

Indeed, what matters is for SADC to adopt a harmonized position in its interface with countries of the North so its region is not reduced to a harem of imperialism. Clearly, the greater part requires policy adjustment, not aid, indeed require enlightened self-interest, not magnanimity.

What Zimbabwe does not need

After all, Zimbabwe does not need to be mortified through donations. Her needs should not be exaggerated. Nor should her incapacity. Far more important than what Zimbabwe needs is what it does not need. It does not need sanctions, which is where Dar got it so right.

It does not need imperial overlords, which is where both Dar and Lusaka went far enough. It does not need one-sided credit lines on trade, which is what bilateral efforts will have to resolve. At the core, the Zimbabwe economy is very sound and ticking, which is why Mwanawasa was correct to say Zimbabwe’s problems are exaggerated.

Even imperialism accepts this for a fact. If you doubt this read the Adam Smith’s First Hundred Days report.

You will not find anything remotely suggesting huge structural changes needed, and huge monies for them.

You will hear of abstracts like changing the mindset of the police, the army, the intelligence, of the civil service, etc, etc.

Mere focus on mores of governance than on substantive areas, in order to ensure Mugabe’s aftermath is suitably neo-colonial!

Our own liberators

Which all means what? Well, simply that we are our own liberators. We cannot be "intervened", turned around even! We can and will turn ourselves around, through our own ardour and ingenuity.

And that means recognizing that the ark does not belong to Noah, that it is not out there in Lusaka, still less in faraway and hostile Britain, which is what this donor crap is saying.

The ark’s continuum starts at the Reserve Bank, runs via through Bak Storage right up to your shamba (minda) — yours and mine. It is what we do this season, what we do with the new tractors and implements — not the regional finance ministers — that will make a difference. And my good friend Alexander Kanengoni is right: we need sensible decisions, a functional bureaucracy, a stable political environment.

All these are within grasp. So no need to cry, still less to despair Alexander. You saw dark days, darker ones even when you were bare bones stitched together nemarunda.

In 1975 when Chairman Chitepo was killed. Throughout the massacres which gave you visions that haunt and startle you to this day.

The activity along Bindura which lift your sagging self-belief, points to will happen. This year, Alexander, with you and me atop the new tractors, breaking the clod, inseminating the bounteous earth.

Then the earth will swell and explode green, all creepy crowlies in wild flutter, in hymnal tribute to a fecund territory. And the children shall eat, and eat until their cheeks bulge their stomachs shine, and with these our pride and self-worth.

You and me shall again sit under a musasa tree recalling the sagging hope that needed patches, happily relishing the seven years of plenty ever upon us, never to desert.

Our money and your soul?

By the way, I met an international citizen quite recently who cynically reminded me the donors are waiting for SADC to come to them, begging bowl in hand, on behalf of Zimbabwe.

At that point, he added, then SADC will realize that "it cannot have our money and its soul". One hopes that shameful day never comes to pass. And if it does, it will not be because Zimbabwe wills it.

It will be because our men of finance will not have had the political sense to know they should never step where even devils would dread treading. By this write-up, let them be acquitted of the ignominy of such a shameful trip. It is not necessary.

Zimbabwe does not expect it. SADC does not need it. After all, things are already happening here. Did I read correctly that the John Deere people are in the country, promising some role in the country’s mechanization programme?

Who let the dogs out? The Chinese, I suppose. They have heard obviously that China is set to give us a thousand tractors and their mortal fear is our getting used to mandarin technology. E-hee, that is exactly how you deal with imperialist capital. It is repelled by coquetry; it needs a fairly rough hand. So, the medicine is to sit it on its tenterhooks. Only then does it begin eating from your palms.

Gono and his lovely sin

Eh, ndekuno mukuwasha! I see you cannot go to Britain anymore. You will cause "community commotion", say the very sensible British who do not apparently mind getting your US dollars from the sell of Messey Ferguson tractors.

Money causes no commotion. So you are likely to cause commotion, the same way they would say I would cause rebellion in newsrooms! You are a greater danger to their society than their gangsters who kill children, a greater danger to their communities than their reckless leaders who deploy 19-year olds to their effortless slaughter in Basra.

Consider yourself lucky. You read your graveside speech in your time, before your eternal stillness. Not many have that privilege. And it’s a tribute too! One which history shall recount without a yawn. I hope you know the British expect you to be thoroughly buffeted.

A huge debate on your person by the lords (of bullflies!). Then Downer slapping the girls with deportation orders, ostensibly for your supposed heinous sins of defending your country. Oh what a lovely sin! Then boom, the big one.

You can’t come to London, that only-gate to the Kingdom-come! They believe the way to heaven is via Piccadilly Circus! You are supposed to feel very squeezed, very embattled, so disoriented to absolute paralysis, yes, so disinherited by the high heavens. That weakens "the regime", does it not? Again, most welcome to the roll of honour. Icho!

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