Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Welcome Home Son of McGee

Welcome Home Son of McGee

The Herald (Harare)

27 November 2007
Posted to the web 27 November 2007

By Caesar Zvayi

THERE is a new man at 172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue, Harare, the United States Embassy, and he is one of our own, at least as far as skin colour is concerned.

Dare -- not Gillian please, but dare as in presume -- dare we hope he will be different from the blundering Christopher Dell, the only diplomat to be put under 24 surveillance after becoming a de facto opposition activist?

I say "we" because I know progressive Zimbabweans share my sentiments. We hope James McGee's engagement will be more than skin deep. To this end Zimbabwe, welcomes the Son of McGee and hope he will not shame the ancestors in whose loins he crossed the Atlantic to his adopted home. McGee should never forget that he is descended from slave ancestors and those who enslaved his forebears are the same people trying to preserve ill-gotten colonial gains in Zimbabwe today.

As they say, a man is known by the company he keeps. I know back home in the impoverished ghettoes not many black brothers and sisters share McGee's regard for the Republicans on whose brief he was posted to Harare. Republicans, as exemplified by George W. Bush, are too rightwing, which is why many African-Americans have traditionally voted Democrats courtesy of the synergies struck during the tumultuous civil rights campaigns of the 1960s.

Which reminds me, McGee is African-American, meaning he is African first before he is American. I hope that realisation, particularly as there is no European-American but just American, will guide him as to how he can dispense his duties here.

I am, however, under no illusion that McGee is his own man since the post he holds was bestowed on him and he is answerable to those who sent him here.

I must hasten to add, McGee need not follow the destructive path that was pursued by his predecessor Dell, a man whose unbecoming behaviour saw him get demoted and posted to the conflagration in Kabul where he can't risk the "absent-minded" wandering he had become accustomed to here as the Taliban would make him mincemeat in no time.

If Dell was an honest man, he would have told McGee how free Zimbabwe is and then maybe McGee wouldn't have made those misguided utterances before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on September 19, where he described the Government as "undemocratic, authoritarian, repressive", among other epithets.

During his confirmation hearing, McGee sounded very much like the disgraced Dell down to the refrain "If confirmed, I would continue our government's efforts in assisting the people of Zimbabwe in their pursuit of a democratically elected government that respects human rights and the rule of law . . ."

However, when he presented his credentials to President Mugabe on November 22, McGee was singing a different tune saying, among other things, he wanted to work with the Government and people of Zimbabwe.

While the double-speak may have been part of the parochial understanding of diplomacy Western envoys seem to have a predilection for, McGee must remember that Zimbabwe will not suffer his double standards. By presenting credentials to President Mugabe, he recognised him as the legitimate Head of State and Government of Zimbabwe, any pretensions to the contrary will be just that, hot air.

I see McGee is a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he earned three "Distinguished Flying Crosses" during his six-year "tour of duty" bombing hapless villagers from 1968 to 1974. We all know, as fellow black brother Muhammad Ali aptly put it, that Nam was an unjust war which, as fate would have it, Uncle Sam lost, and lost dismally.

The same is happening in Zimbabwe where, true to his rabble-rousing tradition, Uncle Sam is engaged in another unjust war with Zimbabwe, albeit a cold one, and McGee has, just as was done with Vietnam, been sent to the frontline. I just hope he is not looking for any medals here. If he is, he might do well to ask his predecessor Dell, the "wisdom" of such pursuits. He is also free to get a second opinion from one Sir Brian Donnelly, a British "gentleman" who had to drop all pretences at the gentlemanly behaviour his honorific denotes by leaving Zimbabwe in a huff without bidding his hosts farewell. This followed his unsuccessful attempts at trying to abet the illegal regime change agenda.

During his Senate hearing McGee, like Dell before him, boasted of his "experience with pro-democracy groups in Swaziland, Madagascar and the Comoros".

He was in Madagascar just after the fight between current President Marc Ravalomanana and Didier Ratsiraka, and presided over disturbing skirmishes between the government and opposition. In Swaziland, McGee was brash, going to the extent of holding a meeting with the leader of the banned People's United Democratic Movement, one Mario Masuku, something no ambassador in Mbabane had ever done.

In his defence, McGee gushed: "This is normal diplomatic practice. Swaziland's ambassadors should be doing the same thing in the countries where they are posted." I wonder what would happen to the Swazi ambassador in Washington if he were to hold a meeting with representatives of Al-Qaeda, I just wonder.

That aside, as testimony of our democratic values, McGee will find there is no banned opposition group in Zimbabwe. In fact, anyone can wake up and proclaim to have formed a party. The party does not even have to be registered, which is why we have fly-by-night parties like Egypt Dzinemunhenzva's African National Party, as well as "Iron Lady" Isabel Madangure's Zimbabwe People's Democratic Party.

McGee's predecessor, however, ended up abusing that freedom by mistakenly thinking he was ambassador to Harvest House, which is why he only bade Tsvangirai goodbye.

As fate would have it, McGee joins us at a time we are heading for a crucial election in March next year, during which Zimbabweans will choose their representatives at all levels of government, and they would want to be left alone to choose leaders of their choice.

I have no doubt McGee will find that our elections do not produce contested outcomes as happened with the two that brought and retained George W. Bush in power.

Tsvangirai only makes noise to mollify his backers. If McGee has familiarised himself with developments on the ground, he will have realised by now that Zanu-PF and the two MDC factions or fractions are engaged in serious talks aimed at managing that process, and the message from the Sadc initiative is clear: only Zimbabweans can resolve their domestic problems. Westerners can help that process by removing their illegal sanctions and stopping meddling in our internal affairs.

I see McGee, just like Dell before him, loves to harp about US "humanitarian assistance" to Zimbabwe. Said McGee: "We must also continue our humanitarian assistance to the Zimbabwean people and ensure that it reaches the people in need. In fiscal year 2007, United States food aid amounted to over US$170 million. Today the United States is helping to feed nearly one-in-five Zimbabweans. Non-food aid humanitarian assistance is approximately US$5,1 million, and HIV and Aids programmes were increased to US$31 million in fiscal year 2007. This funding is helping to deliver anti-retroviral treatment to 40 000 Zimbabweans. These actions demonstrate the generosity and compassion of the American people."

No McGee, such duplicity demonstrates the hypocrisy of the racist administration in Washington. What Zimbabwe needs is not "humanitarian assistance"; it needs to be freed of the ruinous sanctions your country imposed; it wants Uncle Sam to stop meddling in its internal affairs; most importantly, it wants to be left alone as a sovereign nation to chart its own course.

The "humanitarian aid" you harp about is designed to serve and perpetuate one stereotype, the one espoused by that poet of British imperialism Rudyard Kipling in his 1899 book, "The White Man's Burden", in which he suggest the white man has a burden to "civilise" and look after the "primitive" races.

I hope you are not consciously perpetuating that stereotype, mukoma (brother). After all, you are black like me.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Morgan: Hurling the truant sleeper of Tarshish

Morgan: Hurling the truant sleeper of Tarshish

In the Great Book of Life is told the story of one Jonah, a Hebrew and the son of Amittai. To him, the Word of Jehovah began to occur, ordering him to go to Nineveh, the great bad city of godless permissiveness and libertinage. Jehovah wanted Nineveh warned of dire divine retribution, and Jonah was the carrier of that terrible message. Fully conscious of the consequences of bringing an unhappy message to an unrepentant community, Jonah did the reasonable thing for any mortal: he ran away, apparently forgetting Jehovah is omnipresent, is immanent.

Far down in his flight, at some place called Joppa, he found a ship about to leave for Tarshish; he promptly paid his fare before descending to the most secretive part of the ship, not just to "evade" Jehovah, but also to drown his troubled mind in the sound sleep of generations.

Against the internal peace soon to visit him through sleep, there was outward, traumatic discord which threatened to tear the ship apart, casting all on board into the fury and froth of raging waters. All, except the sleeper, prayed to their gods, hoping for saving divine clemency. The buffeted captain of the troubled ship soon got to where Jonah lay safe and well ensconced in folds of sound and indifferent sleep:

"What is the matter with you, sleeper? Get up and call out to your god!" he yelled, not terribly impressed.

Democracy in disaster

During which time the rest on the ship were casting lots to establish who in their midst had brought upon them this raging divine ire. The lots "caught" Jonah, surprisingly with all those on the ship still democratic enough to ask him: "What should we do to you, in order that the sea may become still for us?"

It was too generous a gesture for people menaced by such an overwhelming disaster.

Equally, Jonah reacted in a manner most baffling to laws of self-preservation: "Lift me up and hurl me into the sea, and the sea will become still for YOU; because I am aware that it is on my account that this great tempest is upon YOU."

The narrative goes on and on, including recounting how a big, benevolent fish ate the sinful Jonah, apparently to save him.

The ship is an abiding image in this great narrative we call the Bible. Equally, the notion of redemption through symbolic destruction, is prevalent. Such is the richness of Hebrew literature whose beginning is the Bible. I do not aver any doubts as to the holiness of this great book. Bishop Manhanga would kill me, having spared his precious Bible on hopes for my spiritual redemption. Besides, I consider myself religious, often admiring Jehovah’s rage. Or that of His Son who took a whip and tore the flesh of all those sinners who had turned His Father’s house into a Zimbabwe Stock Exchange! Enough of blasphemy.

Purge of MDC kulaks

For the MDC, time is long, very long. The Matibenga saga (or is it the Makone saga?) rages unabated, with each day that passes seeming like more fuel to a bad fire. Count me out; I bring no additional faggots to the MDC’s this Amaggeddon. Let me share with you the folds of this leaping blaze, which has left so dark a smoulder in this house all-party Britain built well before 1999. The entire leadership is afflicted by a giant seizure of paranoia, much of it fuelled by Ian Makone and his gracious wife, Theresa. There is a great tempest, a great purge afoot, as Tsvangirai’s erstwhile vananyachide, now passing for today’s kulaks of the new MDC with Tsvangirai nominally at the helm, Makone on the controls.

William Bango, the man who only last week misled The Standard into believing Tsvangirai had relented on the Matibenga saga, today stands accused of being a Zanu-PF mole. Or more accurately, a CIO mole. The boss is unhappy that he gave out that line, soon to be contradicted by an embarrassing flare-up right on the stoep! The accusation against Bango is shored up by verifiable facts: that he was detained on the side of Zanu-PF only to be released at Independence.

I confirm that this is, indeed, a fact. Bango was in detention, alongside the likes of the now incarcerated Dzvairo who helped him through his secondary school studies. His tormentors add he was at Ziana, and worked with the President’s Office on covering the President here at home and abroad. That is also true. They add he had(s) friends in the system. I am sure he does, as everyone else, including Theresa. They again add he, Sandra Nyaira and Nyakunu were deployed by the system to wreck the Daily News project. I have no view on that allegation. The charge sheet goes on and on.

The angry man from Chiurwi

Chamisa is out, has been for quite some days. Chamisa has very strong views on the Matibenga issue. He feels threatened by the waves of this great injustice authored by his leader under the spell and influence of the Makones. After all, his hold on leadership, alongside Mashakada and the likes of Chaibva and Sikhala, has always been tenuous, repeatedly challenged by the trade union wing within the MDC.

Fortunately, that student (not intellectuals, please) — trade unionist dialectic is no longer helpful as the formation continues to peel in ways that defy both rhyme and reason. But the insecurity is there, all the time reinforced by victimisation done on "the near other", too near even to be vicariously felt. The dismissal of Matibenga on frivolous grounds is keenly felt by all in comparable positions.

No one feels safe, least of all Chamisa. Not even the Chiurwi connection is near enough to strongly fasten him on Tsvangirai’s coattails. But beyond insecurity, Chamisa genuinely (and rightly) believes his boss has shown monumental leadership failures, all the time exposing to ridicule the very party he must uplift.

You blurt about CIO destabilisation of the MDC to Chamisa, most probably you walk away with a grievous limp, that is if you are that lucky. But the writing is clear. Tsvangirai is convening his Press brief through faraway Bennett, or through Luke Tambolinyoka. I could cite Pedzisayi Ruhanya, until now a Tsvangirai acolyte. Today he breathes fire against his erstwhile idol, urging his defeat in March 2008 so a defeated MDC is given chance to reorganise and grant itself a new leadership.

Upstaging Mbeki?

Presently Tsvangirai is shorn of all ramparts. His act at the Commonwealth people’s forum was pathetic. He could not answer crucial questions, including that on land. He had to be saved by the British convenors of the meeting from aggravated self-damage. It was bad. For a man who claims to wield keys to the MDC in his pocket, it was baddest. He had to run back home, hopefully to mollification by President Mbeki, the principal mediator.

Ill-prepared and ill-rested for the encounter, Tsvangirai walked into another disaster. The previous week he had met with President Mbeki, to exhort him to tell President Mugabe to stop politically-motivated violence. In the meantime, his thugs were descending upon women and journalists right on the "navel" of the capital, assaulting them for not being politically Y2Kompliant.

Kukataza chaiko nemabonza. Heads of State do not want lies given them, and I am sure President Mbeki is no exception. He may not have been terribly impressed by Tsvangirai’s bid to hide a big log lodged in his eye while drawing Mbeki’s attention to a speck in Mugabe’s eye. More blunders were to follow from this wielder of MDC keys.

The whole trip to Kampala -- what was it meant to do, or achieve? Well, to do many things. The British government, through the British Royal Society which carved the "People’s Forum", needed him there. He was there, as required. Secondly, the British government wanted him to influence the forum’s communiqué for the notice of Commonwealth Heads of Government and State whose agenda the British wanted to include Zimbabwe, a non-member of that useless colonial relic.

The British idea was to use Kampala to manage Lisbon which has been a spectacular failure in the much vaunted British diplomacy. More important, Tsvangirai was supposed to upstage President Thabo Mbeki who is expected to brief CHOGM on the situation in Zimbabwe from the perspective of his mediation. A Mbeki flying out of Harare to engage a CHOGM already poisoned by the man who bears "scars of Mugabe’s brutality", the British reasoned, would look absurd to proffer an optimistic prognosis. Given all this, Tsvangirai could not have come to a charitable Mbeki.

Hence the long MDC faces to emerge from the short meeting on Thursday, which the indefatigable Dumisani Muleya sought to perfume and repaint handsome. More than Mugabe can ever hope to do, desolate Tsvangirai is doing much to consolidate Zanu-PF’s image on the continent and abroad. And all these spectacular blunders indicate what remains of the faction which Chaibva declares has since become a fraction!

A faction that has become a fraction

More fractions. Mudzuri, oh Mudzuri, the boastful character! After a few hot ones (it does not have to be real beer), he is known to brag that only vaMugabe and he enjoy a national vote, he as mayor of Harare. Once upon a time, that is. Mudzuri is determined to add another boast in his brag. He wants to be leader of a new political party to take on Zanu-PF, born out of the rabble of the MDC.

He is decidedly irreverent in his description of Tsvangirai, and considers himself the focal point of the Matibenga effort which, by the way, enjoyed the backing of all democratic resistance committee "commanders", in this latest encounter with Tsvangirai’s thugs at Harvest House.

Mudzuri takes the likes of Mukonoweshuro; takes the likes of the irascible Kombayi, who would not be blocked in the ill-fated Saturday meeting. Back in Gweru, Kombayi controls all the structures against Tsvangirai, obliging the allegiance of all but one chairman. One needs to understand the migratory affinities between Masvingo and Midlands in Zimbabwe’s geopolitics. Matibenga has become a symbol of the Karanga factor in this faction which, unable to evolve a cause and an ideology, is woven around politics’ superfices.

And Biti?

For now, Biti stands seemingly close to the "president", but inwardly enjoying the accelerated destruction of his boss which leaves him with so many possibilities. After all, if the old MDC was a British creature, its successor — if ever there is going to be one — is going to be made by Zanu-PF. And Biti is close enough for notice.

One waits to see whether courtship with Mashakada, on the one hand, and Welshman Ncube, on the other, leads to conception and pregnancy. If it does, interesting things are in the offing. In the meantime, the British are threatening to put Zanu-PF "moles" on sanctions list, opening the stage for a night of long knives.

Joining the sanctions list

A real test for Biti is coming. Let me disclose that the inter-party dialogue is coming to some conclusion. Much of the work is done, with only item 5 remaining. This is the item which focuses on land and sanctions, among other things, an item dominated by Zanu-PF’s demands (I hope Muleya gets educated!). This item would have been despatched had it not been for Chinamasa’s other fixtures. I quite sympathise with all those who say MDC is pitted against years and years of Zanu-PF’s negotiating skills.

With Lisbon around the corner, item 5 assumes an extraordinary poignancy. Zanu-PF will push both factions to renounce and denounce sanctions; to uphold the land issue as a legitimate national question which stands resolved, irrevocably resolved, thanks to the Zanu-PF way of doing political business. Both positions have an especial resonance on Lisbon, on Britain and the EU specifically.

Once this is adopted, Lisbon will face an Africa which militantly demands that sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted impedimenta, echoing the Sadc March Dar Communique. Britain will not be there to argue. Brown will not be there, which means the EU response will be lame, very lame, at every turn. Which brings up the big test to Biti, Welshman and their MDCs. If they accept the Zanu-PF position, they will have done the British in, and are sure to be included on the sanctions list, under Zanu-PF. If they comport to losing Britain’s foreign policy whims, they come back home to derision and collapsed talks, indeed will come home to a hostile Africa.

I hold the key

More than ever before, MDC formations are being asked to choose between being of Africa or by Europe. Whichever way the choose, Zanu-PF stands to win. I have said we will finish this irritant called sanctions this year. I still say so. Above all, more than ever, the MDC faction led by Tsvangirai is being asked to make a leadership choice in an environment of a gale. Unlike Jonah, this Morgan is not about to ask to be hurled. He is kicking. He will not go and would rather all drown. In short, he holds the keys!

Rylander and sinking Sweden

Now I know why Rylander has been stirring the Zimbabwean pot so vigorously. Back home, his government is divided, badly divided, over the issue of Zimbabwe. The liberal Prime Minister of Sweden wishes to go to Lisbon, justified by a public relations postulate that Portugal must bar President Mugabe from attending. Sweden fully knows Portugal cannot possibly do that, and still have the summit.

Elements within the coalition government which runs Sweden are saying the issue of Sweden’s attendance is not yet decided. There is an impasse which Rylander was hoping to help resolve by painting Zimbabwe darker than darkest. He is plain dishonest, and may pestilential airs that afflict all vandals gnaw his two-sitting apparatus!

Who is the Law Society in the National Scheme?

When did the Standard realise Masimirembwa owns and runs fowls? When? The day he ordered the reversal of illegal ZimInd newspaper prices? When also did the Standard know that Masimirembwa had problems with the Law Society?

So we get a burst of journalistic truth from the Standard the moment someone crosses its own path or that of its mother? It sounds a bit of disingenuous blackmail, does it not? Let us concentrate on the Law Society issue. The same Law Society blacklisted Lovemore Madhuku, the useless leader of NCA.

He had dipped his amoral fingers into a trust account. He was convicted of the offence. The same Law Society decided to rehabilitate him, against an enormous controversy regarding management of funds of the NCA. Madhuku is a political ally of the Law Society and all his sins shall be forgiven, leaving him white like wool.

The Standard had no problems with that. It wrote no headlines about that. Many other lawyers with far less offences (the Nyeketes, the Mararikes) to this day remain in limbo, many years after their "inexpiable" sins, which are redder than Macbeth’s dripping sword. This is the view of the righteous Law Society.

Partisans in law

Once you do not chant "Chinja!", you are in eternal trouble. Never mind that there is no Chinja anymore. The burdens of being a lawyer! Ndosaka vamwe takaita Shona mhani. But the matter is a lot larger. What is the status of the judgment of a narrow, unrepresentative and decidedly partisan professional group in national affairs? Is its judgment supposed to be proxy to Government?

Such that whoever it condemns stands condemned always, stands un-appointable for all times? That makes the Law Society Government’s surrogate, does it not? Do these papers understand what they are writing about? Government does not stand bound by unilateral judgments of unprofessional societies, less so when led by party partisans. Never! To hell with the dubious verdicts of the Law Society, if a real society it is. Who does not know it is in society with the British? I say to hell.


l nathaniel.manheru@zimpapers.co.zw

Friday, 23 November 2007

Tsvangirai: When puppetry pains the arse.

I was wondering why Tsvangirai is sending mixed messages in Uganda, lobbying for Zimbabwe's isolation on one hand while saying he is satisfied with the ongoing talks with ZANU and the other faction of the MDC on the other hand.

Then i realized that his Master want to see him on an anti-mugabe crusade. They expect him to use the CHOGM gathering to intensify their hate and negative propaganda.

However the fat puppet is under a catch 22 situation. He has African leaders to think of, especially Mbeki and SADC who have been very helpful so far.

Tsvangirai has his head between tree trunks. He has to choose between dancing to his supper, launch a heated anti-zimbabwe campaign and gratify his Slave Master (and appear the stupid uncle tom we all know him to be)
or be sensible and applaud the African initiative that has been the only progressive approach to our situation so far (and anger his Master).

He is like a greedy scavenging hyena that suddenly realizes its greed has walked it into a trap.
All he can do now is run around the little trap until exhaustion and fatigue weighs his knees down...

He is almost there now.

Puppetry is a painful job.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Imperialism Driven By Propaganda

By Reason Wafawarova

Today we are in the era of terrorism, tyranny, dictatorships, rule of law, democracy and human rights - terms oft defined in a rigid and doctrinal manner by the Western ruling elite through their powerful media mouthpieces.

Imperialism is inherently an unjust enterprise and those presiding over its crude existence are quite clear that there is no moral justification for their endeavours and for a long time they have resorted to creating any moral pretext their media houses can sell, in order to ensure the continued flow of imperialist capital and the maximisation of unjust profit.

While imperialist regimes embarked on perfidious and slanderous propaganda against socialism and communism as ideologies deriving an existence from the power of indoctrination, especially during the Cold War - the reality of the matter is that the Western communities themselves rank among the most indoctrinated peoples of this world.

Take for example the kind of opposition in Zimbabwe, the MDC in the mind of any ordinary Westerner, who day after day is bombarded by this media image of an all-democratic, holy and civilised group of well-meaning Zimbabweans - all at the mercy of a ruthless and murderous dictatorship literally wanted by no one in Zimbabwe except the cronies of President Mugabe.

What a miracle if this were true!

So determined are the Western media in their MDC image creation commitments that this writer was once portrayed as a ruthless murderer and evil man by one journalist who took great exception to an article by this writer titled "MDC leaders must not mislead youths" published by The Herald (March 28 2007).

The quoted offending words from this piece were, "Without Western media sympathy and biased coverage; stripped of the propaganda against President Mugabe and the Government, along with lies of alleged stuffing of ballot boxes, the MDC is an outfit of thugs, snivelling donor mongers, mercenaries and political opportunists led by a treacherous lapdog figurehead personified by Morgan Tsvangirai."

That this piece came after the March 11 Highfield skirmishes made the attacks against this writer more vicious but now we are all told who the thugs in the MDC are, who the donor mongers are, who the mercenaries are and also who the political opportunists are -- all told to the world by bona fide members of the MDC, indeed high ranking officials, particularly those whose positions are under the threat of Tsvangirai's tsunami-like powers.

All Zimbabweans now know very well what kind of a political party the MDC is, not least those enlisted as its leadership and supporters. Not only are many people now aware of the democratic shortcomings of the MDC and its apparent inherent violent tendencies -- they are also quite alive to the fact that giving Zimbabwe's leadership to the MDC, particularly to Tsvangirai, would be akin to entrusting one's one and only car to a bunch of unlicensed intoxicated teenagers.

Well, the Western media naturally has no business reporting on the nonsense that the Lucia Matibenga sacking from the MDC Women's Assembly is. Neither do they have any media space for the circus happening in the so-called MDC UK and Ireland province.

They did not have much space for the October 2005 split, did they? Any balanced reporting on this kind of madness in the MDC would be counterproductive to the perfect image of Tony Blair's political project as created by the Western media on behalf of the US-led imperial authority.

The question is; why is it necessary for imperialist powers to embark on this crusade of misinformation, if one were to be more charitable with words? The answer is simple according to Dave Holmes, an Australian socialist writer. Holmes argues that imperialism deliberately creates absolute meanings for terms in as much as it creates absolute positions for its opponents -- all in order to brainwash the unsuspecting public as well as to strengthen its repressive apparatus both at home and abroad.

Imperialism's war on terror for example, is in reality the post Cold War ideological justification of the ruling imperialist classes for attacking the so-called Third World as well as establishing fear-driven control of the populations in the imperialists' own backyards.

Indeed terrorist acts such as September 11 and the Madrid bombings should be condemned without reservation, especially if the attackers' calculation is to intimidate the West or to arouse the Moslem world into a struggle. Such a calculation is obviously insane and so is the enterprise as a whole.

However, the fact that this enterprise is insane does not erase a stronger fact that the phenomenon of anti-Western terrorism arose as a result of Western domination of weaker nation states, ironically aided by Washington's previous intimate relationships with today's "terrorists".

In fact, at whatever rate and from any number of angles, Washington's "war on terror" is just ludicrous. It is a media created war with no context whatsoever - of course except to try and force it down our throats that anti-Western Islamic terrorists are simply evil incarnate. For the Western media, terrorism only ever applies to others; by definition the West does not use terror. No, the invasion of Iraq cannot be seen as terrorism, the 2006 murderous bombing of southern Lebanon by Israel at the instruction of Washington cannot be seen as terrorism and the Allied air campaign against German cities in World War II cannot be seen as terrorism. By definition terror victims can only be Westerners or their allies.

When Jonas Savimbi and Afonso Dhlakama were killing civilians in Angola and Mozambique respectively, Ronald Reagan was busy telling the world that they were freedom fighters and even inviting them to White House. Of course, poor African villagers voting for communist Jose dos Santos and Samora Machel could not pass for victims of terror. They "deserved" it and the perpetrators could only be freedom fighters.

This is the dogmatic and pugnacious doctrine of imperialism that is well-drilled into the masses of this world by the power of the Western media with a view of brainwashing as many as can be reached. As the singer Bob Marley put it, quoting another source, one can fool some people some of the time but never all the people all of the time. To many of us the opposition to terrorism cannot be in Western media's absolute terms. The idea of democracy is equally not in Western media's absolute terms, so isn't the rule of law, human rights, tyranny, dictatorships and so-called despotic regimes. These are terms whose context can never be ignored.

Why, for example is President Mugabe, the erstwhile West's best statesman in Africa, all of a sudden demoted to the unenvious role of a tyrant? Why is a clearly fraudulent election that brings Umaru Y'Ardua to power in Nigeria okayed by the West as a "learning curve" while a Sadc endorsed election in Zimbabwe is condemned as stolen and undemocratic?

Why is the killing of opposition activists by Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi a non-event in the Western media when the same media cries loudest at the sight of a button stick wielding Zimbabwean police officer?

The answers to all these questions are of course in the context in which the chosen terms are used. President Mugabe was the best statesman when he did not temper with imperialist interest in Zimbabwe and when he allowed imperialist investment free reign, even embracing the IMF poison of the so-called economic structural adjustment programmes. So was Nelson Mandela when he forgave those heartless butchers of Soweto and allowed imperialist interests a free reign in South Africa. He is the applauded hero of Africa while President Mugabe has been demoted to a "Hitler of Africa" for repossessing white-held Zimbabwean land for distribution among its rightful owners, the indigenous people of Zimbabwe.

Y'Ardua and his colleagues can steal as many elections as they please as long as they allow Shell free reign in the Niger Delta and as long as they keep shooting those Delta protesters on behalf of imperialists, even executing them like they did with Ken Saro Wiwa. Oh yes, they stuff ballots right in front of the BBC cameras and their election can only be a "learning curve" at worst.

And Zimbabwe's election can be declared free and fair by the archangel Michael with the endorsement of the Lord Jesus Christ but as long as President Mugabe emerges the winner, the West will declare it stolen and fraudulent. Conversely, Tsvangirai can split his party all he wants -- he still must win any election in Zimbabwe otherwise that election cannot be free and fair.

Zenawi can kill all of his political opponents if he so wishes, as long as he remains the ally he is in the US horn of Africa interests. It is in the world's interest to always have a context when the West uses terms like insurgency, terrorism, dictatorships, rule of law and so and so forth.

Not least among imperialism's worst indoctrinated are members of the poor countries' middle class, a class from which a sizeable number of the MDC's supporters hail. This class provided leadership and followers for the Contras, that anti-revolutionary stooge movement used by imperialism to destroy the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua.

The same class propped Frederick Chiluba in Zambia and now imperialist forces want to turn around and persecute Chiluba in their vainglorious attempt at hoodwinking the public into a belief that imperialist rulers stand for transparency; actually stooping as low as to allude that Chiluba stole state money to buy designer suits.

How cheap!

Imperialism has taken advantage of virtue, morality, pacifism and even justice to manipulate world opinion in its favour and often it is backed by the might of the West's military arsenal whenever it faces resistance. In fact imperialism flows like water, eroding all areas of weakness and the resistant rocky areas are left to the mercy of the rule of force, the sworn doctrine of all imperialists.

This is the doctrine in whose context Blair was contemplating invading Zimbabwe and of course if he had been foolish enough to ignore advice and proceed with the invasion, then the Western media would have had a double duty of creating justification for the invasion on one hand and the defeat on the other. This is how imperialism works, driven by the brainwashing power of propaganda.

This writer is of the firm belief that Zimbabwe can stand united and defeat the marauding forces of imperialism if only all of us can work hard to produce for the nation and stop feeding on each other's suffering. Together we will overcome.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Tsvangirai: When home is harder than away

Tsvangirai: When home is harder than away

Things cannot get any worse for the fractious MDC. Presently Morgan Tsvangirai finds leading his faction of the MDC much harder than tackling his political opponent, Zanu-PF. And we are talking of a mere five months away from the March elections! The faction is boiling, its leader incessantly pinched and gnawed by a breathing boil, still too hard to ripen.

Back in 1999, Tsvangirai was launched on credentials of democracy and good governance. These are credentials which no-one outside Zanu-PF examined or tested, much as Tsvangirai made repeated statements that showed when it came to democracy, he was the colour black on the rainbow. He got a fame he did not need to validate, the way the proverbial cavern that once housed a big snake acquires lasting awesome terribleness. The world, it would seem, was too eager for a sweet lie to ask. Easier still, he was constructed as an antipode, with Zanu-PF as the "pode". He did not need to be anything, except to be a faithful opposite.

The West had its own image of Zanu-PF, quite foreign to the party that governed Zimbabwe. That did not matter, did it? And each time the West invented another ugly attribute for this made-up creature, Tsvangirai became prettier by the easy law of opposites. All Tsvangirai needed to do was to keep his real nature in strict check, wonderfully unobtrusive beneath this patina of ascribed political virtue.

Surreal persona, real foibles

I do not know whether many still recall. In his early career as leader of MDC, Tsvangirai had white aides — one Danish, another British. Yet another American and much later towards 2000 and 2002 elections, a South African, to ensure the vulgar and natural Tsvangirai would not break the leash, leap out and strangle the ideal but synthetic one born out of the easy law of Manichean opposites. He tried very hard to become the thing the West proclaimed he was, indeed to be the dummy Britain created to enkindle, crystallise and tantalise an anti-Mugabe sentiment in the Republic.

Arguably, while MDC membership expected a Moses to lead and inspire them, Blair dropped them a vaporous holy spirit which was more believed than known and felt. For a while, the MDC membership loved and revered it, forgetting that synthetic creature the MDC got from Blair could never be the Morgan of flesh and blood, the Morgan of humanising foibles and proclivities set to play a political role in real Zimbabwe. Not even beget him. Or anyone else for that matter.

That creature was flat and inanimate. That creature was an idea made out of British hatred of Zanu-PF, a creature, which has now come back to chastise the real Morgan, for falling short. The dry and dusty bowels of Buhera, the entombing, sweltering underworld of white mines, could never have yielded this pre-lapsarian ideal which Europe invented as an enticing foil to Robert Mugabe, the hated leader of Zanu-PF.

The worst mistake for MDC membership was ever to mistake Blair’s dummy for a human; to ever believe this ideal could ever take the character of real life, pop into the work-a-day-world, to tackle Zanu-PF, to lead them and to govern this beloved country along the tenets of democracy. MDC’s present agony and disappointment stems from this tendency to place Morgan on a surreal pedestal the British invented for him.

Oh messiah, thou art man!

You visit MDC’s uxorious websites, you feel the agonising pulse of deep hurt and disappointment with this failed prophecy of a messiah from the British machine. One indefatigable MDC supporter — a man called Dr. Alexio Magaisa — is so vexed to a point of losing intellectual sense and logic. In a lame defence of Tsvangirai, he writes: "This (the sacking of Lucia Matibenga) is not a simple argument over democracy. This is about power". You fumble to fathom the man’s reasoning.

Is not democracy about the question of power distribution in the equation of governance? What is this learned doctor trying to say? Surely this is basic to doctoral levels? Which leaves one with only one explanation: Magaisa is so stupefied, so befuddled and buffeted by disappointment to a point of being unhinged. Well ishauri yake iyo kwaari ikoko!

Romancing Zanu-PF

Then you have another sample: that of one Obert Madondo who confesses to being an MDC functionary. He is hot that his furious fumes reaches you and scalds those quite afar. He thinks Tsvangirai has become another Mugabe, adding Lucia Matibenga, apparently his idol, is another Margaret Dongo. And he remonstrates: "Hasn’t our painful history with Robert Mugabe taught us anything?" It is a reckless comparison which only one Morgan Tsvangirai can only relish. I mean the man cannot ever hope to be an undergraduate Mugabe in the early forties, let alone a detainee for a grand cause. But that is not my point.

MDC is so enamoured of Zanu-PF and its personalities that it has no vocabulary outside Zanu’s experiential lexicon. When they want to name goodness, they look for examples in Zanu-PF. When they want a name for their own misdeeds, still they expect Zanu-PF to provide epithets, whether abstract or personified. They cannot break the spell. They do not wish for themselves any new ground. So yes, they have not learned anything, including understanding Zanu-PF they think they are fighting. Instead they strive to reproduce, making a poor show of it. Today they are caught between two stools: battling not to be Blair’s Zanu-PF, while aspiring to be Blair’s never-never MDC! I will not refer to Kwinjeh and her dramatic dive — head and thigh — into Zanu-PF lingo. Maimbodei has so aptly dealt with that.

A political graft

There is abundant evidence to show Tsvangirai is loosing it. Even the Independent, MDC’s staunch and unconditional backer, accepts this ineluctable fate. The challenge is to interpret this dramatic fall-out, and to draw lessons from it. I have always maintained MDC has never been a Zimbabwean idea of opposition, which is why everything about it reeks so foreign and instigated.

MDC is a graft on burnt skin, and like all dead tissue, it soon shrinks and shrivels, stretched by both time and growth, leaving the original skin open to cancerous wrinkles. MDC was never founded on a big idea; only a big but borrowed hate, well-funded British hate.

Unlike an idea that lasts and beats time, hate is an evanescent impulse, which is why time has always been MDC’s biggest enemy. Morgan the British idea was supposed to capture State power quickly before becoming human. That should have been in 2000 when the fascination was bright and filling. But that did not happen. Nor did it in 2002. Beyond that shelf life, Morgan ceased to be an ideal. With greater political familiarity, he bred political contempt, indeed became a man of warts like all of us, only against great expectations and a cultivated image of a saint.

When charm and charisma exhaust

Equally, the MDC could not draw from the Big Bang of 2000. After 2000 and like all human political parties, it had to found a manifesto, found a leader, found men and women to drive its membership, indeed found structures to underpin its movement. All of this in addition to a binding idea, equivalent to Zanu-PF’s notion of Land and Sovereignty.

I argue that MDC’s present crisis is about all these missing essential ingredients that underpin human organisations. I argue that it is not about Tsvangirai; rather it is about what Tsvangirai’s assumed charisma was supposed to suppress, or make his infatuated members take for granted. That phenomenon was that of a big idea around which to knead a human following, all oppositional political ardour.

As already indicated, that idea could not have been democracy which the MDC itself was never constructed to exemplify, let alone fulfil. Given the dominance of minority white farmers from its very beginning, MDC could never have been of the people, by the people and for the people, itself a core tenet of democracy. It was of whites, by white interests and for minority whites. And in spite of a preponderant but subaltern black elite, the MDC failed to evolve politically, failed dismally to find this vital big idea.

Rhodie, Blair, NGO medley

Where it was not Rhodesian or Blairite, it was anything that was in vogue, with its NGO base making sure it was always well supplied by way of the latest fads from the neo-liberal dictionary of governance. You despair to discover how empty the whole formation is on core matters of governance. You are elated to realise how close they are to Zanu-PF, beneath the superficies of perfunctory opposition. Welshman and Biti are that, beneath their oppositional tags.

Which takes me to a point few in MDC want to acknowledge: until inter-party dialogue (both first and second round), the MDC has never had to develop a position on the national question. Now it is having to do so using Zanu-PF’s Chinamasa and Goche as whetstones. And because it has to graduate from a protean Rhodesian/Blairite alloy on which it has traditionally founded and mobilised its entire membership, it faces prospects of a further split. Those in the MDC who wish for the first time to become a genuine party, have to find a way around those who wish to remain well-funded servants of Rhodesian and British interests.

It is not fortuitous that the split started in the United Kingdom cell of the MDC. It is not accidental that the most furious objection to Tsvangirai has come from its supporters in the Diaspora who badly need a pro-British MDC, in order to buy their stay in the UK and beyond. These have no difficulties in reducing MDC to mere runners of M-16 who snoop and inform the British, Australian and American authorities on who in the Diaspora is linked to the Zanu-PF leadership. No thought is put to the fact that this cannot be MDC’s reason for existence.

A nubile but unmarried constituency

I come back to MDC’s NGO base. Definitionally, Zimbabwe’s governance NGO industry is a honeycomb of women — single women — who cannot marry. The industry gives them a sense of imagined liberated community, away from values of patriarchy that harshly fails and faults them. In the main, it is a well-educated, mobile, cosmopolitan and even nubile but unmarried community which is quite fecund both in terms of donor lexicon and donor dollars.

It has pushed MDC towards fashionable ideas to give it an image of trendy modernity, as well as a helplessly wide appeal. To the extent that MDC needs many friends abroad, this has been very helpful. To the extent that the MDC needs a homely character and identity, this association has been most costly, most damaging. MDC has lived in the illusion of being a coherent movement enjoying cognate ideas. It is not; it has never been.

It has always been anything that chants chinja! Anything that hates Mugabe. It also pays to remember that historically, this dame NGO community politically congealed around Margaret Dongo’s dissent against Zanu-PF. Until the founding of MDC, this feminine dissent revolved around the lingo of women fraternity (or is it maternity?). The slogan was "sister".

MDC in the past tense

Now, this is the plank that Morgan Tsvangirai has now upset, in the process forcing it to refer to the MDC in the past tense. It is struggling to re-connect with Margaret Dongo whose leadership sense will be measured by her ability to discern real material for a viable women-led political movement from embittered dross spat by the male-dominated MDC. She also has to negotiate between the superficial politics of this angry rabble and her deep nationalistic mien, which has made her attack certain tendencies in Zanu-PF, but without challenging its core nationalist values.

She faces in invitation from a constituency of insufficient nationalism. Is she ready to rebuff it? Is she ready to disappoint the likes of Kwinjeh that expect her to remain the woman they deserted in 2000, many, many years later? Without Dongo, these bitter women have no connection with the vast mass of ordinary women they so sorely need to make a point against dominant MDC men.

In a way, their pushing of Lucy Matibenga to the fore is their wish for the ordinariness they cannot recapture to connect with feminine life in its ordinary and un-lip-sticked form. I mean, imagine the white-spoused Sekai Holland trying to rouse a village or even high-density woman! Or Kwinjeh! Or Mahlunge!

Gender? My foot!

What is worse, all those women who came to support Matibenga did so less out of gender-founded arguments and more out of loyalty to a political leader who happens to be a woman. After all, is Theresa not a woman, the same way Vivian was when pitted against Margaret? I mean the argument has to go deeper to be convincing, which is why I am less inclined to push the flimsy gender argument which the likes of Kwinjeh and Holland would want to spit onto our faces.

The divisions have been simmering for a long while, only waiting for a decent pretext to shoot out. Holland admits to this fact, revealing Tsvangirai faced a real ouster at the last Congress, only to be saved by these women he has now sacked. Many in the ranks of those sacked came much later than Theresa, and the issue of mafikizolos cannot be a determinant.

Equally, many on the Matibenga side are educated, and would find it much easier to suffer Theresa than the basic Matibenga we saw on television genuflecting to a male member of the police force in ways that would satisfy even the most fastidious patriarch. Which is why it is important to delve into the essence of the MDC itself for answers to its latest and arguably last convulsion before interment.

Letting sleeping dogs lie

What is Bornwell Chakaodza’s problem? I mean spending acres and acres of newsprint trying to convince us he is a splendid thing Zanu-PF lost! That is taking it too far. And why does the editor of the Financial Gazette allow him to abuse the column? Slowly he is sliding into very slippery territory in which his performance as Zimpapers’ very brief and uneventful editor will be up for discussion. I mean the fact that we have not spoken about it rested on his mature and un-provoking sense of self-restraint that he now seems to want to be reckless with. He will not like the backlash, given his overly sensitive personality.

Deketeke has not reacted to his provocations. Many, too, have not. There is a lot that is unsavoury, a lot he would not want the world to know. Why can’t he help us help him?

Muleya’s Sir Richard Branson!

And this Muleya boy and his strange stories. Does he not realise the desperate MDC will take his story on alleged postponement of elections too seriously? I mean they hungrily need any pretext to scrap the polls they are destined to lose. We know Muleya has always helped Zanu-PF, his undeclared party. But please, let us have clever propaganda which, anyway, should be left to those paid to give it. And this Richard Branson grotesquery which the Independent leads with? How does the president reject what has not been put to him? I mean does Muleya really think Mandela would ever put such a matter to R.G.?

On the strength that it came from Sir Richard of Virgin fame? And all that against Mandela’s own successor’s effort? What state is Mandela in to perform such a crazy mission? But then that is only to deal with the plausibility of the idea, well before even tackling its appropriateness when measured against the tenets of democracy. Why do we, scavenger like, pick such foul carrion meant for political idiots? Merely because it is on the veld, unclaimed? Are we not self-respecting? Don’t we take ourselves seriously? Is this the price for Soros’ patronage, the price for "free" newsprint?

Ndiyo nhamo yekuva mbato. Unobatiswa rupiza rweanonzwa mudumbu, if you get what I mean. Icho!

For our land they killed! And forced us into a servant race.