Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Are the tables turning?

Are the tables turning?

By Baffour Ankomah

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness; and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts." — Mark Twain, the American author and humorist, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

So it has happened — America’s vote pointed to its future instead of its past.
Welcome, President Barack Obama.
If for nothing else, your election will help educate those who have for a long time believed in black inferiority.
As the great British journalist, writer and broadcaster, Sir Peregrine Worsthone (born December 22, 1923), once confessed in an article for the Daily Mail in April 1998: "Race is still a problem for some of my generation. No longer because we regard blacks as inferior but because, having done so in the past, traces of that prejudice remain in the blood despite being banished from the brain.
"Looking back, I am amazed about the depth of racist indoctrination which I received at school and in the home, not explicitly but implicitly. At the best, blacks were regarded as delinquent children, and at the worst cannibals and savages. For years, those assumptions lingered, seriously affecting my reporting on the decolonising process in Africa."
Well, perhaps, I am going ahead of myself. But why not?
If an established journalist and broadcaster like Sir Peregrine, who was once editor of The Sunday Telegraph and contributor to numerous British newspapers and radio, could publicly confess that assumptions about blacks lingered for so long that it "seriously" affected his reporting of the decolonising process in Africa, it is a cause for celebration that today one of these "savages" now sits in the White House, not as a "cannibal" but as the president of America!
In fact, three things happened in 2008 that deserve celebration by our people.
The first was Obama’s election, followed by Lewis Hamilton becoming the first black person to win the Formula One motor racing title (which my countryman, Cameron Duodu, so eloquently elaborated on in the New African, December 2008, p74-76); and last but by no means the least (and I know I will be damned for saying this, but I will still say it because it is the truth!) — is the victory, some might call it Pyrrhic, but victory nonetheless, of the first African leader in both pre- and post-independence history to be still standing after having been assailed for 10 long years by the combined might of the nations of European stock: President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. I will take them one by one.
When Obama said in his victory speech, "This is our time . . . and where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can", I read it as: "Yes, there is a God, and He can’t be mocked."
I don’t know what Obama, a Christian himself, will say about this, but we must admit that his election is a huge jump from the days when people of African descent were considered as mere chattels worthy of being flung into the sea to save the slave master’s insurance costs.
As Lord Mansfield, the UK’s Lord Chief Justice put it in 1783: ". . . Though it shocks one very much, the case of slaves was the same as if horses had been thrown overboard."
Well, we pray that this new "horse" in the White House will open the eyes and the mind of the Mother Country to give more "horses" a chance around the cabinet table in London, in fact, in all walks of British life, and, hopefully, some day at No.10 Downing Street.
I bet it must have put the British to shame, their faces gone red, when Obama’s landslide victory flashed on their TV screens.
"We are the Mother Country," they must have whispered to themselves, "and yet we don’t have one — just one — black person as a full minister sitting at the cabinet table with us. And blacks have been here for over 400 years, since the early 1600s?"
As S.I. Martin reveals in his book, Britain’s Slave Trade, published in 1999: "By the last quarter of the 18th century, London had become the largest black metropolis outside the Americas.
"It was home to an estimated 10 000 to 15 000 people of African origin among its 800 000 residents."
Over 400 years later, not one person of African origin is anywhere near the top echelons of the British government!
Would Obama’s election bring any change? Would we ever see a black British Prime Minister? And why not?
It is a challenge that the Mother Country should relish. Come on, prove us wrong, "Great" Britain!
Elsewhere, and especially for discerning Africans, the other significant success in 2008 was achieved by the man so despised in the West that some call him Hitler (as though Hitler was African): President Mugabe.
Looking back into history, from the first encounter of Europeans with Africans on our shores, we can’t find one example of any African — leader, community or nation — not one, that was assailed by the combined might of the nations of European stock and survived!
The Asantes held the British at bay over five debilitating wars, but finally succumbed in 1900.
Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana was cut down in five years of assault by the nations of European stock. His economy then overwhelmingly dependent on cocoa exports, collapsed dramatically when an artificial credit crunch was induced in Ghana by the West via the deliberate manipulation of the world cocoa price which fell calamitously from a high of £480 a ton in the early 1960s to an incredible £60 a ton by 1965.
In 1999, 33 years after Nkrumah’s overthrow, the British daily, The Times, admitted in a leader comment that "Nkrumah was brought low by the cocoa price".
Patrice Lumumba fared even worse in Congo. He was gone within seven months of independence, his Belgian killers cutting up his body as a butcher does to beef, and dousing it in a barrel of acid to obliterate the evidence.
Today, the same people come to us as preachers of human rights and democracy. May the Good Lord help them to see beyond their feeding spoons.
Yes, just look around you, in Africa’s pre- and post-independence history, every one of our leaders who was disliked by the nations of European stock was cut down and overthrown.
The French were particularly brutal in this venture, dispatching all they disliked in their so-called "sphere of influence" in Africa.
And behaving to type, for the past 10 years — since 1998 — when Zimbabwe had a dispute over land reform with Britain, and Britain assembled its allies to its side, President Mugabe has been under a continuous assault by the combined might of the nations of European stock.
As they did in Nkrumah’s Ghana, they have deliberately engineered an artificial credit crunch in Zimbabwe, cutting the country off from the international financial system for eight years now, and thereby inducing an economic implosion and an inflation rate that have never been seen since the bad days of Germany between 1914 and 1923.
And yet, at issue in Zimbabwe is a just cause — the land issue. I have gone back to my scratch book to find this entry for Charles Powell, Mrs Thatcher’s long-time foreign policy advisor who, while at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1979, was instrumental in the Zimbabwe independence negotiations at Lancaster House. Talking about Zimbabwe’s land issue in an interview with David Dimbleby for a BBC-1 documentary broadcast on June 24, 2000, Powell said on camera: "We tackled it really from the point of view of the Rhodesian regime, not the future of Zimbabwe. The real concern at the beginning was to offer guarantees, assurances, protection, to the white farmers."
In 1979, Zimbabwe was like a baby about to be born, and the parents of this baby, according to Powell, did not tackle the core issue in the life of the baby from the point of view of the future of the baby, but from the view of the dying Rhodesian regime.
And yet, because Zimbabwe wants to reverse this horrendous legacy, the man at the helm of the reversal must be cut down via an artificial credit crunch whose aim is regime change.
And so we have seen Iceland, a country of just 301 000 people, being given a US$2,1 billion emergency loan by the International Monetary Fund to rescue it from the jaws of the credit crunch now sweeping over the nations of European stock.
Another US$2,5bn facility from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, and additional funds from Russia, Poland and the Faroe Islands will take Iceland’s package to US$5,2bn.
In all, Iceland intends to borrow US$10bn or US$330 000 for each of its 301 000 population.
In contrast, the IMF has been prevented by the same nations of European stock from giving Zimbabwe, a nation of over 13 million people, any loan at all for the past eight years.
And Zimbabwe is still a member of the IMF!
Instead, during the same period, the IMF has been religiously calling time on its old loans to Zimbabwe without mercy, forcing a nation in a far worse credit-crunch condition than Iceland, to pay up or face the music.
The IMF has also recently announced a bailout package of US$100bn for Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia and Pakistan, but nothing for Zimbabwe.
Over 2 000 years ago, the philosopher Solon of Athens wrote that: "The Law is like a spider’s web. The small are caught and the great tear it up."
All this must have greatly displeased the Creator of Mankind, who upon looking down on what is happening, must have said: "Well, these nations of European stock, I will let them taste a teeny bit of their own medicine. I will see how they would like it, confronted with a credit crunch."
And now they are all scampering like headless chickens!
Gordon Brown whose country, along with the Americans, has been the cheerleaders in the campaign to deprive Zimbabwe of international credit, have suddenly realised how important the flow of credit, or government borrowing, is to nations and their economies.
Just imagine the effect it will have on British life if Brown’s government is prevented from borrowing the £118bn it says it needs to borrow to get Britain out of the credit crunch and recession.
Zimbabweans are human beings too!
All told, with a multi-million-digit inflation, an economy on its knees, and an electorate justifiably voting with their stomachs or "stoning the leadership", as the late Robin Cook had threatened would happen if Mugabe was not gotten rid off by Zanu-PF, Mugabe was a ripe candidate for a big fall.
But what do we see? The man is still standing!
Though wounded somewhat politically (he has now to share power with the opposition), he has nonetheless become the very first African leader to be undefeated after 10 years of brutal assault by the nations of European stock.
Is it the beginning of the turning of the tables?
l Baffour Ankomah is the editor of the New African magazine.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Tsvangirai: When the agent makes way for his principals

Tsvangirai: When the agent makes way for his principals

Happy Christmas guys! I hope you appreciate this instalment was penned on Boxing Day. I will make it light, as light as befits boxers. A recount of a little encounter I had this week, but one quite loaded. One evening I found myself surrounded by my elder brother’s inquisitive brood.

A four-strong gang, these young Diasporeans were not about to let their "little Father" off before attending to a few hard balls. I know my brother and his wife ("big Mother") to be a kindly couple, one too good-natured to have set out to create this army of clever impossibles! Before pleasantries were exchanged, one from this enormous number stepped out, only to come back armed with a copy of The Herald for the previous Saturday.

Straight away I knew I was done, already girding my loins for a bumpy encounter with these three issues from family loins. The opening salvo was a perfect probing attack, literally. Sir, in your omniscience, did you by any chance happen on this character called Nathaniel Manheru?

Nathaniel’s surname was pronounced in that very rich but erroneous intonation traceable to Albion’s tongue. I used head, hand, limb and all to duck this unsteadying volley, which came too, too close for comfort, again literally. I receded into a hidden corner of the sumptuous sofa, hoping for some deflecting parapet. That did not quite help.

Rescued by a toddler

"Uncle," came the preface to one more volley, this time a particularly brittle one, albeit misleadingly prefaced by, and pitched on a strong bond of consanguinity. "Uncle, help us proud Zimbabwean Diasporeans. If I am asked what all this is, where all this is leading to, how do I respond?"

The London tonal ring was particularly concussing, clearly indicating this formidable army was not about to be fobbed off with light explanations politicians are wont to dish out at rallies. "This" referred to political challenges and developments in the country.

The shot was a well-calibrated one, sure to take out its target. A goof on such a fundamental, existential question, raised with such devastating earnestness would just do it. It would alienate these youngsters whose faith and belief in their own country is already under siege, under severe strain.

As I fumbled for the best angle for returning fire, a cover volley came from a completely unexpected quarter. It came from a little litter from my own loins. Tired of being ignored for a while, my slightly-over-one-year-old male nuisance, decided that a direct and rather noisy, grabbing rejoinder to his politically inquisitive elder brother was appropriate.

This knight in shining armour started on a dramatic reorganisation of the well furnished and sumptuously decorated sitting room, ensuring all utensils within his reach rattled, some wailing from heart-rending breakages. Everything fell, anything along his path of determined, unselective ruin.

And like a perfect opposite of the Almighty, he was not about to rest, never about to pause and admire the topsy-turvy world he had just re-made in those six long seconds of total and indecipherable destructive creativity.

New kind of order, and freedom

Right before us was "order" belonging to the realm of man-child, order sure to make perplexing sense to our uncreative one of complete and unbroken things. Culling succour and solution out of things messy has always been my knack. I read the situation well: in no time, the embarrassed mother of the man-child would be agitating for our departure to stave off even greater "creation".

I knew freedom would soon come. I did soonest. "A-aa veduwe, chiregai tiende. Vashe ava vatidzinga," the mother of the comet intoned, clearly embarrassed. Golden chance! Without further ado, I showered everyone with goodbyes, including my questioning tormentors, all the time ensuring my face registered utmost regret that so important a question had been this rudely aborted by the little one, or more accurately, by its mother who does not seem to appreciate the place and spatial distance for kids when and where elders are talking! In the next instant, I vanished, stepping into delightful freedom.

Two weeks of vexations

For the past two weeks I have been particularly accosted by many well-meaning, patriotic Zimbabweans who just found the events of the intervening weeks too vexatious. On the one hand, you have this searing pressure from western powers agitating for a proxy war against Zimbabwe in our Sadc region.

Then you have an attempt on Air Marshal Perrance Shiri by a cowardly gang of assailants. You have the cholera pandemic whose antidote the West declares is an invasion of the country, hopefully followed by a deposition of its president. You are told the malady is improving its grim harvest, all the Western media networks declaring things are falling apart.

Then you have the President sending out invitation letters to leaders of both formations of the MDC, asking them to formally join the long-awaited inclusive Government. These men’s sins, it would appear, is expiated by reward of high responsibility. The mind boggles. One is mum; the other says he needs a passport to come back to his country.

So a President who invites a man to join him as his Prime Minister, orders the arrest of that same man? Again, the mind boggles. As all these things are happening, Jendayi Frazer slovenly declares America has lost faith in the September 15 Agreement, itself the political bedrock for the inclusive Government which the West has been agitating for.

And true to sequence, the American cheek is soon followed by Albion’s jowl. Speaking a day after Jendayi Frazer, Britain’s Malloch-Brown – the real man behind the Zimbabwe’s unilaterally imposed elders — intones that power sharing is impossible with Mugabe in office. The mantra has changed, changed from "power sharing now", to "Mugabe must go now."

Attacked and therefore we are . . .

Expectedly, people who are concerned about their country scour every nook and cranny for possible answers. As a columnist, you are condemned by the "in-the-know" assumption. You must know what is happening, otherwise how would you write, the enquiring public reasons, often not without reason.

We columnists are regarded as deep-throats of those holding key to political enigmas. We are regarded as persons to whose ears reach early whispers, including those from God. We are supposed to be cleverer, better connected and supremely able to read the hieroglyphics of vexatious power. Hence the pelting questions from my brother’s sons, two of them in university, two about to be.

Put together, the four amount to a small but literate community quite exposed, if not to developments in the country, certainly to how they are interpreted by Eurocentric pens and mouths. The way the consciousness industry has become so perfectly integrated into the structures of unfair power, makes public knowledge diseased by power’s self-fulfilling reading of events and developments.

And the way the Western state has perfected the art of engineering social consent, ensures that the frequency and reach of that cankered public knowledge is total, searing and concussing. Often I get frantic calls from college-mates now resident in the Diaspora, wanting to know whether there is still a country called Zimbabwe, or people called Zimbabweans. My cryptic answer to them has been Cartesian: WE ARE ATTACKED AND THEREFORE WE ARE!

They can’t finish us

Come to think of it, the perfect solution for Blair, Bush and Brown would have been a Zimbabwe empty of human beings with black surfaces. That was the objective of both the First and Second Chimurenga, was it not? How do you develop anthrax and other rapidly broadcastable and communicable pathogens except to finish a people? How do you arm mindless racists that Rhodesians were, if not to effect a perfect genocide, while allowing yourselves a scapegoat who makes the slaughter exculpable?

That we are here and here well enough to excoriate white imperialism, is not out of white mercy or goodness. It is out of sheer resilience that is ours as a people. They could not finish us. That cannot finish us. They will not finish us. We are what remains when the last lash of genocide comes to a splitting fall. So in the propaganda denial of our very existence, is our affirmation. But that is never the problem.

Rebels against Mother Country

The real problem for us is the health of the soul, the buoyancy of the spirit that animates it. What has been under severe attack is not the body, much as body-Zimbabwe is caroused and scarred. The skin always mends its own, restoring its shine or lustre. What takes too long, painfully long to mend and heal is the soul, once wounded. Zimbabwe’s soul has been under severe attack, calculated to fell it. The idea is to burn and scorch self-belief, to pulverise our own sense of worth and dignity, to challenge the soundness of our aspiration to be in charge of our country and its affairs.

Our collective welfare must always have a white guarantor, underwritten by Europe whose seal of approval we must daily strive for. The shadow of a white guardian angel must always hover above us, about us so our every step in whichever direction is white-minded, white approved. Which is why we should never come of age as a people. To come of age means demanding legal age of majority, itself always a refractory exercise frowned upon by symbols of patronage. We should be obedient, dependent infantiles always on the benevolent lap of motherly Europe.

Britain’s fight here is to retain its coveted status as our "Mother Country". Zimbabwe’s struggle here is break out of this hated frozen chrysalis state, to break out of suffocating white foster parenting implied by this most condescending, unilateral maternal metaphor of "mother country". Zimbabwe is asserting its teen status, struggling to grow its own way, away from white tutelage.

The real principals

Let me illustrate the point. You have Jendayi Frazer telling the world America no longer believes in the political settlement here and thinks President Mugabe must step down. As I have already indicated above, Malloch-Brown, himself of Rhodesian parentage, echoes the same sentiments, suggesting disenchantment with the political agreement on both sides of the Atlantic.

Just what gives these two beings, or the regimes they personify, the right to speak about Zimbabwe with such airs of proprietorship? What gives them locus standi in this whole matter? They were not signatories to the agreement; they are not guarantors. Sadc, the AU and remotely, UN, are the guarantors. Where do they come in? Or rather, do they come in at all in the equation?

Of course, they do! What will be mortally wrong is ever to suggest that they come in as concerned human nations. That would be committing the error is mischaracterisation they themselves would not find amusing. They are not humane, so why be so unkind to them. Their status derives from a peculiar kind of cruel history that connects them to us, forcibly. They stake their claim over us on colonial relations they reckon should never come to pass.

Whether we like it or not, the world is still structured by the Berlin Conference of 1884, which is why we are still regarded as refractory children of the Anglo-Saxons. This land we call Zimbabwe is theirs by colonial conquest, which is why everything about us requires their underwriting. By declaring their disenchantment with the September Agreement, and by implying that a withdrawal of their endorsement to that agreement spells doom to this country and its political leadership, Britain and America have given us yet another conclusive proof of their meddlesome hand in the political question here.

The MDC formations were not principals to this agreement. They were proxies, which is why they are dutifully quiet once the real signatory to the agreement has decided to withdraw. I posit that Tsvangirai today stands removed from that agreement as he is physically from its venue, the Rainbow Towers. All he can do is to gaze from a vast distance, a perfect exile from an arrangement he thought he authored.

Script from No. 10

In those circumstances, Zanu-PF strategy must be obvious and straightforward. President Mugabe has always maintained MDC is a minor, adding a lasting settlement to what troubles us here can only involve the British, themselves real disputants in this matter.

Much of Sadc did not believe him, wanting to give the MDC some modicum of sovereignty. Today President Mugabe stands vindicated, with South Africans totally persuaded that Tsvangirai has not an ounce of political latitude. His script comes from No. 10 Downing Street. The important thing is to remember that the real question is an economic one — about land —never a political one as is often postulated by the western media.

Let us face it, no one in Britain will lose sleep for a second because there is no democracy here or anywhere on the continent. Soldiers have just chewed the constitution in Guinea and I can assure you not a single soldier will drop from the whole of democracy-cherishing Europe, to save democracy in that country. But governments in Britain will fall if Zimbabwe ceases to be the Rhodesia of yore. That spells doom to the economy of Britain; that challenges Britain’s claim to imperial fame.

Holier than Lucifer

What makes Tsvangirai fit to run this country are not his democratic credentials which are as impeccable as Lucifer’s hard-to-question holiness. What makes him fit to run this country is his dutiful political disposition to the empire’s interests: around land, mines and minerals, industry and commerce and, of course, in ensuring a labour reservoir for capital. That is what makes him infinitely better than Mugabe.

Conversely, what makes Mugabe unfit for office is not his democratic deficit. When he did not challenge the empire’s political economy, he was paraded as suffering a net surfeit of democracy. Zimbabwe was well-run, its economy best managed. Mugabe deserved honorary degrees and even MBE. The moment he chose to dis-embed Zimbabwe out of the empire, all hell broke loose. He became politically unsightly.

So what makes him unfit to rule Zimbabwe is his insistence that Rhodesia dies, Zimbabwe emerges. So young men, this is the story of our country. Your country, Zimbabwe. The national question remains what it was when your father did time in Marandellas Prison in the early 1970s, then as a young, rebellions student of medicine at the local university.

Then the question was of your country’s Independence, narrowly defined in political terms as the right to self-rule, right for equal vote and political opportunity. But politics was the obvious foreground behind which lurked fundamental matters to do with wherewithal, our wherewithal as Africans. What to eat, what to wear, where to sleep, how to learn. These are issues which take you straight into the realm of wealth and wealth-creation, as well as how that wealth is controlled and distributed.

And for us the starting point has always been the Land. Our Land which must come back to us. That is the fight. Soon you shall be leaving us, to go back to school. Do not flinch. Go tell them what the matter is; go tell them where the rain began beating us. Icho!


Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Desmond Tutu: A homosexual Whiteman worshipper.

Amazing this homosexual Bishop is.

He strongly opposed violence against the Boer Regime that oppressed and suppressed, brutalized and discriminated, dumped blacks in squatter camps, looted blacks' land.

Desmond Tutu not only did not want war on this regime. He was also at the forefront protecting those whites responsible for all the murder.

And then come Zimbabwe and its Mugabe. Both being lynched by the white world for saying Black Zimbabweans should own their land in their country. And Tutu wants WAR on top of that lynching. A WAR he didnt want on apartheid whites. Tutu wants Mugabe hanged.

On the mass murderers in Iraq. Tutu urges Bush and Blair to say sorry to the Iraq sufferers. He doesnt want war on Bush and Blair for killing hundreds of thousands.

Why does this funny nosed funny faced homosexual negro fear and worship whites this much?

Saturday, 20 December 2008

‘Zapu’: The End of Dumiso Tavengwa

‘Zapu’: The End of Dumiso Tavengwa

If it was not to self-advantage, Kofi Annan would have had my pity as a medical case of delayed reaction.

Many moons after the end of his term as Secretary General of the United Nations, the Ghanaian still behaves and carries himself about as if he still is the UN Secretary General. He relishes the aura of that convoluted post of little real power.

He savours sonorous titles and roles, which is why only a few weeks back, he paraded himself as an "African Elder". Is the letter of termination of his services as UN Secretary General taking more than three years to register on his mind? Until last week, very few people knew what mischief Man-Friday was up to.

It turned out to be the week the man pushed his ambitions a little too far. On the "strength" of a trip he never succeeded in making, namely a trip to Zimbabwe, and on the basis of a report given him by the British for validation through this ill-fated trip which never took place, the man sought to address the UN Security Council, in the process usurping the power and prerogative of Ban Ki-Moon, his South Korean successor. Needless to say, the South Korean would have none of it, straight away going into frenetic gear to make sure this would never happen.

It did not, much to the chagrin of the British and Americans who had made sure their foreign secretaries were on hand to draw dire conclusions from the fabricated report.

Unneeded, needless effort

Faced with a monumental South Korean barier, the West African sought to be a little clever.

He would not address the Security Council to preserve the independence of the "Elders", he claimed in an after-the-fact Press release.

But the world knew the real truth, as it also knew the fact that the whole trip of the so-called Elders had run into hefty opposition from South Africans, who still managed to press the point home without being impolite.

But that spate pitting former against current Secretary General gave the British and Americans some modicum of comfort.

Having lined up their foreign secretaries for the briefing from the so-called Elders, the unexpected turn of events almost left them with steaming sods on their foreheads. There was a real risk of a no-show, which is why it was important for Ban Ki-Moon to step in, inappropriately if you ask me.

The UN had no business doing a report on Zimbabwe which is not on the UN Security Council agenda. Much worse, such an unneeded and needless report never deserved the personal attention and delivery of the Secretary General. He has more pressing matters to pursue in the world.

What is more, he has other subject matters for which he has a better grasp. Zimbabwe is not one such. As it turned out, he stretched the short meeting he had with President Mugabe in Doha a few weeks ago to cobble a report, with the rest of his sparse presentation coming from Western media impressions on Zimbabwe.

On the last score, surely it made little sense to repeat propaganda facts to its real owners who dominate the Security Council and who decide and control scripts run by BBC, CNN and other networks.

More seriously, Ban’s arm — WHO — had just landed into Harare and was just beginning to go out for its preliminary assessment.

No, the SG would not wait for the outcome. Britain wanted a report before Christmas. America wanted a report before January 13, Bush’s handover day. So facts did not matter at all.

UN as Anglo-Saxony tool

Inside the Council, there was worse humiliation for the war-mongers. Put aside Ban’s not so luminous report, what stood out was his weeping admission that his envoy, the Eritrean Menkarios, was welcome neither by the facilitator nor by the Zimbabwe Government.

It was a rare admission, one clearly bringing to the fore the dilemma of an instrumental UN in Southern African politics, and, of course, the often denied fact that African opinion indeed is behind Zimbabwe.

It is not difficult to understand this revulsion of UN-decorated American and British attempted meddling in the affairs of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is an African country facing an Anglo-Saxon threat.

The UN is not caught in between. It is a willing tool for the realisation of Anglo-American goal on Zimbabwe. That anomaly explains Ban’s uncharacteristic hurry and effort in wanting to bring the UN in, regardless of the fact that the Zimbabwean issue is still at the lowest international level, that of regional Sadc mediation.

Regardless of the fact that UN envoys are badly needed in Somalia and other trouble spots which go unattended.

Embarrassingly, the UN reads greater chaos in stable but sanctioned Zimbabwe, when it will not read chaos in countries where that state has taken a foothold for many years, with world citizens crying out for its attention.

The message is clear: it is not about chaos or the threats of it. It is about Western interests and the rewards that follow if a Secretary General — retired or sitting — helps secure those interests on the West’s behalf.

Woman called Bragg

Much worse, the Secretary General is unambiguously told his envoy’s visit, while acceptable to Zimbabwe in principle, would have to be on dates mutually agreed with the Zimbabwean Government.

No, he will not wait. He wants to push his envoy in as if Zimbabwe will run away. Zimbabweans naturally ask: why this excitement Mr Ban?

And it becomes quite clear the urgency does not derive from the UN; it derives from a Bush/Brown timetable on Zimbabwe, which has to be accomplished before the departure of the Republican leadership.

And Ban makes another blunder. Apart from the mistimed visit by his envoy, he also bloats the delegation by including some woman significantly called Bragg, who is said to represent OCHA.

Now that woman has had an unhappy encounter with Zimbabwe, on behalf of America. Why would Ban be so insensitive? Is that the proper role of the UN and its Secretary General?

Coloniser’s Club

The real debate showed the insuperable hurdle Britain and America face even before they deal with the threatened veto from Russia and China. The debate clearly swung against intervention, against fatuous and facile propaganda reading of what is going on here in Zimbabwe.

More countries spoke against intervention, although they recognised the gravity of the cholera outbreak which faces Zimbabwe.

Interestingly, America, Britain, France and Belgium found themselves on one side.

It was not lost to the discerning that the common thread running through these countries is the fact of their having run colonies in their hideous pasts.

It turned out to be a club of colonisers, whose stance on Zimbabwe could only have been predictable, naturally prompted by fears of a rebelling colony, fears both direct and vicarious.

But Italy broke ranks, clearly indicating the fatigue that has been setting in on Europe. As the days go by, the hand of this positive group can only be strengthened.

With Amendment 19 gazetted and invites for joining the inclusive government already delivered, it will become increasingly clear who is stalling on the political agreement.

We wait to see whether the US and UK will ask Ban Ki-Moon to brief the Security Council on the MDC.

Biting the MDC nose

I wonder whether there is any more matter in young Chamisa.

He talks about MDC possibly voting against Amendment 19, presenting it as a setback for Zanu-PF. Ah-h, the youngster must be well beside himself.

What has Zanu-PF to do with Amendment 19? Who needs it? It is called biting the nose to spite the face. And he and Biti launch themselves into ballistic anger because Zanu-PF has not consulted them before gazetting Amendment 19! Consulting them as who?

Government does not need to consult anyone to pursue and fulfil its legislative agenda. Still less would it need to in respect of a mere secretarial formality called gazetting.

That is the problem with youngsters who have never worked anywhere. And when Biti was appending his signature to the draft Bill, where did he think the whole process was going? He is a bit of a silly and childish lawyer.

But a clear pattern is emerging. MDC-T fulminates over the gazetting, itself a legal formality whose real target is the reading public which must scrutinise the proposed Bill.

MDC fulminates again following the reappointment of Gideon Gono as Governor.

They should have been consulted, they cry. MDC fulminates yet again when Tomana is appointed Attorney General. The argument is the same: consult us. As who?

Here is a bunch of not-so-clever puppets who pretend to be politicians and a party, demanding the privileges of governmental consultation and facilitation in respect of a Government they are still to become a part.

It gets a bit childish and one pities Zanu-PF) for the stupid things it has to put up with.

A She-male called Jendayi

Jendayi Fraser thinks Zimbabwe has collapsed. Yet she will not walk in.

Yet America will not send in her troops.

If there is no Government, no system in Zimbabwe, why has not America marched in to bouquets of flowers?

Why is Britain trying to incite African armies to fight its dirty war here if the road is that clear? The same Britain whose performance in the DRC is pathetic; the same EU which is crying for African reinforcements in DRC?

The era of askaris is over, and one wished Botswana knew that. If our neighbour is foolish to provoke a confrontation betting on its glorified police force, it risks a lonely war in which it will emerge badly hurt.

No one will come to its rescue. Fortunately, the vibes I am getting from that great country so badly run, clearly show the critical mass for aggression is woefully lacking.

Dropping the ‘D’ for my real ‘T’.

Grant it to Dumiso T(D)avengwa, he made a confession when he addressed a Press conference last week.

He disclosed Mavambo was created to make sure there was no outright winner in the March 29 elections.

That is exactly what happened. And since Zanu-PF would have emerged the outright winner, Tavengwa was making the point that Mavambo was created by the British and Americans to make sure Zanu-PF would be denied outright victory, would be slowed down by a hung system. That has always been the argument of this column which Makoni and his supporters — declared and undeclared — stoutly denied.

And, of course, I know that after the March 29 Mavambo damage, there was lots of business between MDC-T and Mavambo, official and unofficial Mavambo. After all, both where true chips off the British block.

Tavengwa went further. "Zapu" would fight Zanu-PF, especially President Mugabe personally. Exactly.

Mavambo, which has now fractured and mutated into two heads, including Tavengwa’s "Zapu", was, from its inception, an anti-Mugabe project involving bitter former Zanu-PF ministers who imagined their value surpassed their days in Government.

The bane of Mabhena

And now that Dumiso Tavengwa has decided to be this truthful, should we not requite the favour?

I think we should, which is why this column has started to tell the first truth about this MuKaranga of Masvingo who then became a Kalanga of Gwatemba in Matabeleland South. When you have offered yourself for an elective public role, the role of the media is to put you up to scrutiny so voters know who you really are.

I am sure Tavengwa will not mind this great favour that is consequent to his choice.

But, of course, that means he can no longer pose as a super-Ndebele, if ever there is something like that. This column hates humbuggers who pretend to be what they are not.

We have, in this country, allowed impostors who play knights for communities in want, pretending they share their blood and cause.

That way, the national selection process has been duped and rigged, yielding fake leaders. That must end, and those seeking office should be held up to searing scrutiny.

The media must have the boldness to penetrate myths and auras, indeed to ask questions which generate growls and butterflies in one’s insides. Such as asking Tavengwa’s role in NSO.

Such as asking history and its records the real command of real Zapu’s armed wing. Such as unravelling the mystery behind the baffling fact of why leading combatants of the struggle on the Zapu side were screened out, ending up joining the army on a Zanla ticket.

Such as what happened to the Zapu properties which were returned to the leadership after the 1987 Unity Accord.

Such as the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and why the Malaysians went away very disappointed, indeed why the RBZ had to hold back on the whole project.

We cannot afford another Mabhena phenomenon in Matabeleland, which condones eating or indolent chiefs by lumping the blame on "indifferent Shona Government in Harare".

The lie has been peddled for far too long and the truth must now out. That is the duty of the media, including this column.



Friday, 19 December 2008

Ironies and paradoxes of the Zimbabwe crisis

Ironies and paradoxes of the Zimbabwe crisis

By Joram Nyath

UNITED States President George Bush wants President Robert Mugabe’s head for his valedictory party and as a Christmas turkey for his Republican and European supporters to cap his bloody legacy.

Ahistorical lawyers and reporters are deployed to make fateful decisions on the causes and solutions to Zimbabwe’s problems while Sadc and African Union leaders are cajoled to back the first American-engineered military coup in the region. There is a desperate urgency in Bush’s call. He has been rejected by the Americans and leaves the US mired in unwinnable deadly conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Getting rid of President Mugabe would be a victory, no matter how pyrrhic; it should be the silver lining on his dark reign which everyone wants to forget very quickly.

It’s no less devilish that this despicable agenda is cloaked as a democracy campaign (remember Iraq!), with the cholera outbreak as the casus belli.

We have become vermin to be called through a military operation before the disease can be contained. And leaders like Raila Odinga want Africa to bless this diabolical act!

The dilemma Zimbabwe faces is not helped by phoney and fawning euorcentric media most of whose callow practitioners can’t grasp concepts such as "social justice" abd "universal human rights" as enshrined in the UN Human Rights Charter of 1948.

While they are happy to cite convenient sections from it, nobody dares interrupt the bandwagon by pointing out that as late as 1970, ten years before Zimbabwe’s Independence, the Rhodesian Front Government was kicking Chief Rekayi Tangwena and his people off Gairesi Ranch.

Their single crime was that no indigenous African had title to land, so they could not have human rights without legal rights. That’s the context of the Sadc Tribunal’s ruling on Zimbabwe’s vexed land issue.

It dovetails with the usual rhetoric: the need to correct past wrongs is not disputed — so long as there is prompt "market-related" compensation "in foreign currency". None of those saying so wants to part with "his" land much of it measured in thousands of hectares and lying fallow. They know no African government can raise the foreign currency they demand. Listen to the ruckus in South Africa. We all know there was corruption in land redistribution and rampant abuse of resources allocated by Government.

But what I cannot understand is the claim by the Tribunal that implementation of "the Land Reform Programme might be legitimate if and when all lands under the programme were. . . distributed to poor, landless and other disadvantaged and marginalised individuals or groups". This is strange logic demanding of Zimbabwe something without precedent in the world.

So correcting a colonial property ownership injustice must be limited only to the poor and vagrants and not include anyone who fought for the land if they have so improved themselves that they now own a house? Who said this was the aim of the liberation war?

Fortunately most Sadc and AU leaders have rejected this veil of unjust legality. The dispute is not purely about human rights, democracy and the rule of law. These ideals can’t be enjoyed in a vacuum. Americans know this from their independence war and the civil war a century later. Europeans know this from the French Revolution. Those struggles were about property ownership rights, and there were a lot of expropriations from those who lost the war.

Zimbabweans want not less, no more than ownership and control of their natural resources, starting with land. If this had been let to run its course like in America and France, I am sure it would have been wrapped up in five years and deserving farmers compensated and spared us this racist acrimony.

This leads me to the biggest paradox in this saga.

It is a paradox which has confounded the denialists of the centrality of land in our crisis and why most Europeans cannot understand why African leaders respond with icy resentment to external goading to "deal" with President Mugabe. Put crudely: the political party purportedly seeking to establish the rule of law in Zimbabwe is viewed in African eyes as trying to achieve this by restoring and entrenching the status quo ante 1998 in land ownership pattern while a weary incumbent regime is pioneering a revolutionary post-colonial property ownership pattern on the continent.

A cursory reading of John Stuart Mill’s theory of the greatest happiness to the greatest number makes this self-evident. If one cannot understand this paradox, it is impossible one can understand why Thabo Mbeki was forced to leave power before President Mugabe, the main target of the onslaught in the region.

Having failed to execute his task as Bush’s pointman to dislodge Mugabe, Mbeki was portrayed in the South African media and abroad as the archetypal evil who could not call Mugabe the devil. The campaign of vilification and calumny worked insidiously, creating chinks in the governing ANC and quickly found concrete expression in Jacob Zuma’s vaulting ambition.

Too late, Zuma is realizing how he has been used to undermine the party which should have carried him to power and fortified his empowerment policies among SA’s marginalised urban and rural poor. In the context, Bush’s requested Christmas present is the ultimate insult to Africans who loathe the West’s condescending attitude.

Under military attack, given it geographical location, Zimbabwe would create a flaming vortex worse than the DRC war in 1999 and kill the raison d-etre of Sadc as a political and economic bloc and the benefits therefrom.

These are the ingredients of regional instability in which no nation can guarantee the security of its own interests. White capital flight will hit staggering proportions overnight, hitting hardest Sadc countries calling for a military solution to what is clearly a political problem.

l Joram Nyathi is the deputy editor of the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper. This article appeared in the Independent of 12 December, 2008.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Wafawarova on Alan Howe's Australian bullshit.

By Reason Wafawarova in SYDNEY, Australia

11 December 2008

"LET’S bowl Bobby out!" This was a screaming header in a centre page article by mesmerist writer Alan Howe in the December 8 issue of The Herald Sun, an Australian daily.

The bowling parlance was directed at none other than President Mugabe, whose accompanying image to the article was escorted by the images of Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and Benito Mussolini.

Alan Howe introduced his piece by asserting definitively that President Mugabe is but just the only remaining "giant of the 20th century genocide".

He mockingly describes this "giant" as "a wrinkled, poisonous poppy whose time has come".

It is ironic that the piece carried Howe’s own ancient face with a multitude of wrinkles and that his style of writing would seriously tempt one to borrow from him the "poisonous poppy" phrase if there was any need to describe the writer.

Howe proudly reveals to his readers that there is a common trend of "a penchant for elegant (neck) ties" by all the five "tyrants" whose images accompanied the piece.

Howe alleges that President Mugabe is "like many a despot in overheated former British colonies".

This obviously an expression of the revisionist line of thought that says Africans were not ready to rule themselves and that the fall of colonial empires and the dawn of independence was an ill- advised idea.

In fact, Howe incorrectly but shamelessly blames Jimmy Carter and Malcolm Fraser for helping President Mugabe come to power.

Howe makes a passionate wish that his hope is that he does not see a day when President Mugabe "turns out at another Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting . . . wearing a necktie".

According to Howe, this is because "Mugabe is an unforgivably mad, genocidal mass murderer".

This description is given with no regard to the scientific meaning of the word "mad", no consideration of the internationally accepted definition of the term "genocide" and a reckless throwing of the phrase "mass murderer".

This is how tyrants and despots are made in Western media. You just describe them continually until the label sticks.

Howe bemoans the failure by the Commonwealth to deal with President Mugabe decisively, and for that he describes the organisation as "the Queen’s preposterous and shameless glee club".

This writer will agree that the Commonwealth is a preposterous and shameless glee club but for different reasons.

It failed to recognise the importance of Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Programme and undemocratically suspended Zimbabwe before slapping the country with wide-ranging sanctions shamelessly called "travel bans".

Britain, India, Canada and Australia are singled out in the article as having "done close to zero to tame Mugabe".

This is despite the fact that Britain’s number one foreign policy agenda since 2000 has been Zimbabwe. This is also despite that the ravaging sanctions on the country have been mobilised by Britain and her allies.

Howe clearly thinks that the sanctions slapped on Zimbabwe by his country and other Western countries are of a benign effect and of no consequence.

Rather what is to be blamed is "the preposterous and shameless" Commonwealth that has stood by "while Mugabe has sentenced even those tribespeople nominally on his side to death by poverty and starvation, and — cholera".

So the Commonwealth that suspended economic dealings with Zimbabwe, joined the EU and America in blocking credit lines and balance of payments, is the same Commonwealth that is supposed to stand up and stop the poverty and starvation of Zimbabwe’s "tribespeople".

How amazing!

Howe is not only obsessed with the delusions of grandeur he has about the Commonwealth.

He is still alive all alone in his own world of the good old days of the British Empire — the days when Great Britain was running the world.

In his article, he writes absolute lies as facts and no doubt many of his readers would fall victim to his wandering and fictitious mind.

Says Howe: "Think of this: The Union Jack flies in the top corner of the flags of three of the four poorest countries on earth. Two are British controlled, two Australia’s Commonwealth allies."

Howe lists the three as being among the following five — Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia, Sierra Leon and Lesotho.

Canberra displays all flags for the 192 countries of this world and not even one of these five countries carries the Union Jack at the top left-hand corner.

Just like with Rhodesians and the apartheid racists of South Africa, some people will never accept that the world has changed.

Despite the usual blaming of Mugabe for HIV and Aids, orphans, cricket team performance, inflation and so on, Howe urges Australia to "look beyond its traditional allies and, working with new South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, who recently replaced the Mugabe apologist Thabo Mbeki, should work towards a new coalition of the willing to invade Zimbabwe".

He further says: "Zimbabweans would be delighted and surprised, if we bothered." Surprised yes, but delighted NO.

This writer does not think there is any sane Zimbabwean that cherishes the idea of invading Westerners as something to cheer about.

In the typical fantasising that drove George W. Bush into Iraq in 2003, Howe wrote that soldiers, doctors and nurses "will line the streets to greet us".

This writer bets they would, but with petrol bombs, spears, arrows and every weapon they can lay their hands on, just as was done in Baghdad.

Those who think the Tsvangirai-Ian Khama alliance is a piece of nothing must revise their thoughts because the military mood towards Zimbabwe is badly shaping up in the West.

Condoleezza Rice says she has already discussed what needs to be done with David Miliband of Britain.

Back to what we started with, we have these "despots" whose main qualification is their stance against the Western alliance.

At the end these need to be attacked through military invasions.

This is the thinking that made The Herald Sun accompany the image of President Mugabe with the five other characters whose countries were all invaded by the Western forces at one time or another.

Hitler and Mussolini were fighting the war of expansionism — basically a war of European murderers and robbers bent on invading and colonising other territories to expand their empires.

The two felt they had been left out in the rush for colonies and Hitler’s Germany had pulled out of the League of Nations in 1933 with Mussolini following suit in 1937 after the League had imposed sanctions on Italy for the invasion of Abyssinia.

Mussolini was feted as Europe’s premier statesman after the glory of the Munich Peace Agreement of 1938 and he sought to consolidate his newly acquired status by having the "Pact of Steel" with Hitler leading to the invasions of Czechoslovakia, Albania and Poland in 1939.

Now, purely based on the colonial and imperial prowess of Hitler and Mussolini, we have the labels of despot, dictator, tyrant and so on and so forth.

The excesses of these other leaders were but an official excuse to justify a war between unrepentant robbers.

President Mugabe is a revolutionary African leader who made a decision to give back his country’s land to its landless masses and his crusade cannot be compared with the colonial brutalities of Hitler and Mussolini.

It does not matter the reasons given for the comparisons, such an analysis is puerile and full of political mischief.

Milosevic was made infamous for "Serbian nationalism" and the Western media heavily criticised him for allegedly telling Serbians that were clashing with police that, "You will not be beaten," and, "No one should dare to beat you again".

These words were allegedly spoken on April 24 in 1987.

Surely, if one opposition leader from Zimbabwe says he will remove Mugabe "violently" he is hailed as a democrat but a "communist" Milosevic is not even allowed to tell his people that they should not be beaten up by the police.

Bill Clinton accused Milosevic of seeking to "expand his power by inciting religious and ethnic hatred in the cause of Greater Serbia, by demonising and dehumanising people, especially the Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims . . ."

His Secretary of State Madeleine Albright further accused Milosevic of starting four wars including Kosovo.

Christopher Smith, a US Congress representative, said Milosevic "relied on virulent Serbian nationalism to instigate conflict".

At The Hague, the core charges against Milosevic were centred on allegations that he desired to create a Greater Serbia.

All this was despite the fact that Milosevic supported and agreed with the Vance-Owen and Vance-Stotenberg peace plans, both rejected by Bosnia and others at the instruction of Washington.

James Barker, the former US secretary of state, wrote that despite the fact that Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia seceded in violation of the Helsinki Principles, they still received support and recognition at the UN by Western Europe and America.

Reynaud Theunens, the prosecution analyst at The Hague, admitted that they had no evidence that Milosevic ordered Serbian fighters in Croatia and Bosnia to carry out any subversive acts.

Despite this other side of the story we are told in no uncertain terms that Milosevic was guilty at The Hague even after having died of natural causes before the trial.

He is a convicted tyrant and despot just like Robert Mugabe.

If allegations of supporting and directing acts of subversion and banditry were the criterion for tyrants and Hague candidates then the world must prepare itself for the trial of George W. Bush.

As for Saddam Hussein’s picture in the company of President Mugabe’s image, well, this is a calculated move to whip up emotions and also to psyche the readers for such a travesty as was seen at the sad joke that was called a trial at the end of 2006.

Hussein was raised, natured, armed, backed and established by Washington and London.

He was a Reagan and Thatcher favourite and a good friend of Bush Senior up until he mistook the strength of his masters for his own.

Like Idi Amin of Uganda he fell out with the Western masters and was duly labelled a monster.

His similarities to President Mugabe can only be of having differences with the West and that is where the similarities start and end.

The motivation of the West in coming up with labels of dictatorships and tyranny is purely based on Western interests and not on such moral standards like the firebrand human rights gospel that is preached to us daily by irrelevant zealots like Alan Howe.

Yes, the world’s history is littered with nasty acts that any decent human being is bound to denounce and such acts we will all denounce.

However, the rhetoric by those whose history and present tell us of a people with hands dripping with the blood of weaker peoples cannot be taken seriously by those who genuinely seek international social justice.

Zimbabweans we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on or or visit

Friday, 12 December 2008

Media: The glory of lying for one’s country

Media: The glory of lying for one’s country

By Nathaniel Manheru

When a fretful French protocol officer sought to hurry Napoleon up in fulfilment of a tight official schedule, the powerful midget retorted: "Ja, I make time."

To his mind, time could not hurry or harass a powerful man who had been unbowed by the whole of Europe.
It had to wait, to sit in attendance while he tilted lips and made merry! It was a typically Marlovian response from a man of enormous power who believed he lived above time.
Power always aspires for permanence which is guaranteed by the illusion of living above time and place. It seeks placeless permanence. Oh, mighty power!
Enter Barbara Hogan . . .
Yesterday I had the singular but unpleasurable honour of reading a report from the South African Business Day on the British health minister’s address to South Africa’s Young Communist League conference in Johannesburg.
Addressing the young communists after a lightning visit to Musina, the lady minister, one Barbara Hogan, passionately remarked: "You can’t walk into the veld without coming across bodies. People are eating ants because there is no food."
Which country, which veld, was she talking about? You guess right: Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe from the vantage of Musina! This, our long-sighted British minister had just achieved the rare feat of beholding from Musina Zimbabwe’s velds of human carrion, triggering her passionate, righteous crocodile tears for a dying or dead Zimbabwe.
Google anywhere on the Internet and you are likely to come across headlines like "Zimbabweans eat cow dung"; "Zimbabweans survive on leaves", etc, etc.
"There is no cholera"?
Then you have Thursday’s spectacular offer of Western journalism which simply set aside all that we had heard from President Mugabe in his address to mourners at Heroes Acre, an address broadcast live and re-broadcast after the prime 8 o’clock bulletin on ZTV.
Against our own ears and eyes, CNN, BBC, France 24 International, Al-BBC, sorry Al-Jazeera, simply told us President Mugabe had declared "there is no cholera in Zimbabwe"! Students of political communication must really be having a hard time in their search for a new theory adequate to capture this baffling behaviour by the Western media in their coverage of the so-called Zimbabwean story, which in reality is a Western story on "Zimbabwe".
Developing theories on how the media — itself assumed to be a platform for truth — bends truth, trims it for readers and audiences, looked quite challenging, but not against present media praxis which does not bother about facts or what the people involved know or experience.
This one huge step forward towards the unknown, the unknowable beyond the propaganda frontier.
Traditionally, prickly truth has always been managed through abridging established facts.
Or skewing them to prop predetermined ends, never by supplanting facts, never by overthrowing events to replace them by fictitious ones.
Even Nazi Germany eschewed such gigantic liberties with truth and facts.
Hitler’s ethos
But when reports such as I have just quoted above — all spread across titles that are supposed to be leaders in the craft — repeatedly grace your table or computer screen, then you realise we live in times far deeper and more depraved than Germany and Europe under the Nazis.
The baffle compounds when it is considered that the architects of these times are persons, institutions and countries that daily brag about their long war against Hitler’s ethos, nations who refrain: "Never again!"
The baffle becomes insoluble when the architects of these sorry times daily remind us they are sworn to truth, civilised standards and Christian values.
They are our supposed teachers on the sanctity of truth, on the divinity of facts.
You are struck further by the fact that these falsehoods go uncorrected — not for minutes, not for hours, not for days, not for weeks, not for months, not for years, decades, or even centuries.
They go uncorrected forever, which is why our true history, the true history of the underdog anywhere, everywhere, is still to be captured and written. For Western powers, killing truth is not an accident; it is the goal.
What many may not have known though is that in the West, the media are crucial to the realisation of that goal.
Africa’s Downs and Dimwits
It takes stupendous courage for a global news network which is represented here by a fully staffed bureau, and whose signal is received in the country, to still have the courage to overturn and overrun facts in respect of an event involving a whole Head of State, which is transmitted to citizens of that country "live", to be followed by a prime-time rebroadcast.
It is the doughty courage to challenge occurrences which are universally witnessed by a people, a nation, in order to replace them by non-occurences.
Such boldness stems from a "scientific" conclusion that the people thus affected and manipulated are so dumb that you can set aside what they hear and experience directly from their leaders, for what you give them from the thin air.
The way Zimbabwe has been covered by the Western media suggests a nation of Downs, of Dimwits, who exist in an environment or occurrence they can never comprehend.
One is struck by how this courage is so evenly spread across Western newsrooms, all of which appear run by look-alikes from Siam.
It is the courage and confidence to kill one truth, invent another and foist it on an obliging Africa of Downs and Dims.
The moral is clear and forthright: it is glorious to lie for one’s country!
Propaganda’s local by-standers
One striking feature of the present propaganda assault on Zimbabwe is how it is externally led. Let me explain.
The bylines on virtually all the false stories, the voices on the mendacious stories, are all from headquarters of the international news networks. It is true for Reuters, AFP, AP, BBC, France 24 International, Al Jazeera, the British Press, South African English Press etc, etc.
Where were local reporters for these organisations? To the man, to the woman, they were all there at Heroes Acre or before their television screens, following in real time what the President was saying in his address.
It was not a matter of hearsay. They got the address in real time.
They were part of the event.
But the amazing thing is their names were expunged from the stories, in deference to strange names abroad, names of persons who have never set foot here, but who fiercely know and grieve that Zimbabwe was, once upon a time a British colony, a haven for uninterrupted white real estate interests.
These strange bosses — all white, all angry, in some cases quite pink — appear to see better and clearer than their staffers who are in situ!
They wear binoculars which draw closer dynamics of situations in which their countries’ interests appear threatened.
And where this is the case, they do not hesitate to overrun their bureaux here, reducing local reporters to mere runners, mere providers of raw copy which they then rewrite to suit their nations’ agendas.
They have played little gods with copy on Zimbabwe, in the process rubbishing the letter and spirit of AIPPA. There has to be a robust response.
We do not need them, or to be here
Put simply, Zimbabwe has no reason or need to accredit bureaux and/or reporters for foreign news organisations which are rendered passive or inert in news processing.
Zimbabwe did not head-hunt for those organisations. They chose the skills they wanted and proceeded to engage them.
Zimbabwe assumes they acquired skills they trust and believe in, which is why they have retained them to the day.
To overrun those skills and structures is quite clearly a political decision which has no place in the world of news.
It is a step taken in the interest of delivering these networks to the foreign offices of their countries, to sharpen their governments’ assault on Zimbabwe.
It is also a loud way of telling those in authority in Zimbabwe to please declassify them as bona fide news organisations, indeed a statement to say we can cover Zimbabwe from our head offices, without local staffers. The message has gone home and is well taken.
The reach from Pretoria
But a more sinister message has been coming through. Within our industry, we have watched as the State Department created a full-blown structure in Pretoria for compromising both local journalists and stringers of foreign news organisations based in Harare.
It is an elaborate operation run by a lady American intelligence officer from Pretoria. She is in a number of newsrooms, including those of Reuters and AFP here. She is in the so-called private Press, including inhabiting the heart of a well known editor.
One could add staffers of the defunct Daily News who are fully functional, unaccredited. Using Sydney Masamvu, Sezani Weza and MDC’s Luke Tambolinyoka, this Anglo-American operation is running a whole host of ghost sites and ghost reporters who include the likes of Frank Chikowore and Brian Hungwe, buttressed by a phalanx of cameramen.
And, of course, Luke runs errands for Roy Bennett. There is huge, dirty money involved, part of it flowing into public newsrooms.
The line between these journalistic misdeeds and espionage grows thinner and thinner by the day. I happen to know that the authorities are about to place a price on those concerned, and let no one cry. Chebamba chinodyiwa nemuseredzero.
Self-appalled elder?
I hope what I am getting from my sources is true. Kofi Annan, himself part of the group of so-called Elders, has refused to give evidence to the United Nations Security Council.
He has, in other words, recoiled from further damages to Zimbabwe. Someone must have whispered to him that the damage to his stature has become irreparable.
But the briefing will proceed regardless, possibly handled by a staffer from the Elders’ white-run establishment. I also hear the trophy would have been former President Chissano, who declined to be involved in the mission.
The British are still trying to persuade him, hoping to use him to rescue Graca Machel, whose hope has been to offer herself for Presidency after President Guebuza.
She hoped the Zimbabwe mission would have won her the support of the West. Good luck, girl! Equally, I hear attempts to get the African Union to stage two-barrelled summits in South Africa and in Zimbabwe itself, on Zimbabwe, have come to spectacular grief.
The British and other sympathetic donors had played it particularly dirty with the AU Chairman, President Kikwete. They have dried up all budgetary aid, until the AU delivers Mugabe’s head on a platter.
But Africa has shown Britain and her allies a stiff neck, with South Africa openly rejecting what would have been an unprocedural summit prompted by non-member Europeans.
War without a fight
"War in times of cholera", is a wonderful title for a book on Zimbabwe. Brown, Sarkozy and Bush this and last week called for an invasion of Zimbabwe on the back of cholera.
I kept relishing the prospect of that glorious war, hoping after it, the ranks of war veterans would have swelled, to include a good many of us. Wars speed up heroism!
But reading through the editorials of British media, a.k.a. propaganda rooms, it is clear the UK, Europe and America have no spine for another war, let alone one involving Zimbabwe.
While savouring the prospect of regime change in Zimbabwe, the British were very clear that away from paper, on the ground, regime change is a messy and bloody affair. Messier, bloodier when it involves pitting your forces against "battle-hardened veterans of the Congo".
The British fearful clarity went further. While deriding South Africa as having the means but lacking the capacity for intervention and effecting regime change in Zimbabwe, they made it plain the intervention force had to be solely African, possibly supported by Europeans and Americans who would be situated well away from the trajectory of projectiles of war. Brown wants a war, but does not want a fight.
The sound and fury of French diplomacy
Sarkozy’s act was clear. It was quintessentially French diplomacy: noisy, dusty and roaring, yet signifying less than nothing.
Histrionic but completely empty, devoid of matter. Picture this: In Ivory Coast where France lost soldiers in a flash of shortest war, Sarkozy is careful to do nothing that will provoke the armed Ivorians.
He has similar colonial claims in that country which make him see eye to eye with Brown on Zimbabwe. Who believes that he can be part of the action against Zimbabwe with losers of Iraq and Afghanistan? Who? DRC, the same thing.
And you have his current spate with Rwanda which is set to transform France into a marginal player in Central Africa. Good act, Sarkozy.
As for Bush, well, well! Which American President ever starts a war exactly a month away from an ignominous exit from White House? That would be a first for Bush. And all for what? For a thick-lipped, unattractive Brown who cannot command Britain, who is set for a spectacular defeat?
A Brown who, like Khama, is in office, unelected? So the faint-hearted would have been frightened by the sound and fury, much of it signifying nothing. Now I see they are moving the date to Christmas, promising brimstone.
Sat on the brink
But let us face it, they have ruined Tsvangirai forever. What now after the adventure?
Part of the hysteria of the past weeks was triggered by a realisation Zimbabwe had neutralised Tsvangirai’s British-trained, Botswana-facilitated insurgents, most of them fatally recruited from retired functionaries of the security establishment.
The British look foolish; the Tswanas look frightened and are all over with courtship. With that plan foiled and with Africa refusing to be turned into an askari, Tsvangirai’s brinkmanship has so efficiently delivered him just there: beneath the brink.
He cannot come back, lamely arguing he needs a real passport to come home. It is not like jumping into Mazarura to get to Murehwa, he says, clearly failing to disguise his irritation.
It is not a clever answer. You get an ETD, it implies you must come back home, within set times. Much worse, such an argument from a man who would not go out of Zimbabwe without a real passport, now telling us he cannot come back in, because he does not have a real passport?
Goodness me! Timba, a bit of clever answers please. But he continues to burn more bridges. The South Africans are furious.
The villager said he was driving back home, and ended up in Botswana, Morocco, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Brussels.
You want a basic level of decency when you are dealing with foreign governments, a basic threshold or morality.
With a whole family there, a whole house there, a whole fortune stashed there, how is he going to relate to the South Africans he has been abusing and insulting so gratuitously? Maybe Malloch Brown will mend fences. We wait to see.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Zimbabwe's humanitarian situation linked to sanctions.

Obi Egbuna

THROUGHOUT African people's history of fighting for liberation and human dignity, each gain and breakthrough we have made was mainly due to our ability to overcome our enemy's overt brutality, deceit and manipulation.

Because the colonialists and imperialists have actively engaged in both our physical and mental oppression, the web of deception created by their liberal camps and networks is a crucial and deadly weapon if we are not prepared for the onslaught and attacks.The manner in which the United States and British media have reported how cholera is spreading in Zimbabwe not only reveals they enjoy watching a people whom they cannot intimidate and control suffer, but even, more importantly, it is clearly a masquerade by supposedly compassionate human beings who have nothing to do with the problem.

The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, and his staff deserve ultimate praise, not only for their tireless efforts to maintain Zimbabwe's health infrastructure, but for having the courage and integrity to inform the world that the sanctions -- and not negligence or bad governance -- are the root cause for problems with the country's health delivery system.

While the cholera problem is tragic and deserves our immediate attention, the political parasites in the Western world, obsessed with a racist illegal regime change in Zimbabwe, should be the last ones allowed to pass moral judgment on how President Mugabe and Zanu-PF deal with this matter.

This brings us back to the opportunism of former US President Jimmy Carter and his cohorts who attempted to force their way into Zimbabwe a few weeks ago under a liberal banner and facade of goodwill.

Carter's inability and unwillingness to aggressively persuade every US President that succeeded him to honour the commitment he made to Zimbabwe during the Lancaster House negotiations speaks volumes in relationship to his concerns about the people's well-being and the country's stability. Because the Southern African Development Community collectively demanded that Morgan Tsvangirai and his faction of the MDC share the Ministry of Home Affairs with President Mugabe and Zanu-PF on November 9, 2008, the US and British countered by using Carter and the "Elders" group to do their bidding and initiate "damage control".

This was in the hope that they could sabotage the Sadc ruling that demonstrated the solidarity and international Pan-Africanist logic that informed the region's involvement in Zimbabwe's political stand-off. Since Zimbabwe happens to be located in the southern region of Africa, US and British imperialism have chosen people like "Madiba" Nelson Mandela's wife Graca Machel to do their dirty work, hoping their words and actions will give credibility to the Western anti-Mugabe crusade.

America and Britain are truly desperate and naive if they believe the name recognition of Mandela will be more of a determining factor in how daughters and sons of Africa analyse and address the Zimbabwe question as opposed to the unified voice of Sadc.

If the Mandelas are not careful, it will be their reputations and credibility that are on the line.

The "Elders" group, which was founded last year on Mandela's 89th birthday, must be thoroughly examined from top to bottom by Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.

We can begin by focusing in on two of its partners -- Bridgeway Foundation and Humanity United.

While the founder of Bridgeway Foundation, John Montgomery, started the group in 1993 after hearing a preacher in church discuss the work of Amnesty International, Humanity United is directly and openly affiliated with the Genocide Prevention Task Force co-chaired by former US Secretary of Defence William Cohen and former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright.

This task force is jointly convened by the United States Holocaust Museum, American Academy of Diplomacy and the US Institute of Peace which is directly funded by the US Congress.The timing of the "Elders" decision to visit Zimbabwe and the rest of its founding membership pool should arouse suspicion which force the masses of Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa, who are obviously tired of the West meddling in our political affairs, not to be mislead.

Since the "Elders" group is considered to be the brainchild of British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who along with the rock and roll musician Peter Gabriel raised US$18 million to get the group started, the old adage "he who pays the piper calls the tune" should not be considered an attempt to insult or embarrass the Mandelas, Desmond Tutu or former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

During the historic signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Zanu-PF and both factions of MDC earlier this year, President Mugabe stressed the importance of Zimbabweans remaining the masters of their own destiny.

These words were a testament to both his experience and vast base of knowledge.

The President and ruling party were not only encouraging their people to honour the political culture of unity which has always guided the liberation struggle, but safeguarding against the liberal camps of British and US imperialism which continue to attempt to derail genuine efforts at indigenous empowerment across the African continent. When Mandela used the platform of his 90th birthday party in Britain to claim there was a "tragic absence of leadership" in Zimbabwe, Prime Minister Gordon Brown was already looking at the strategic advantage of making Graca a Dame Commander of the British Empire.

This manoeuvre was also supposed to signal that the solidarity between the people of Mozambique and Zimbabwe no longer meant anything.

It would truly be a tragedy if Graca has forgotten long before her and her current husband took their vows in matrimony, President Mugabe and Zanu-PF sacrificed their new-found freedom in Zimbabwe by deploying 50 000 troops in Mozambique to help defeat Renamo and save the government led by her late husband Cde Samora Machel and Frelimo.

When the true history of Africa is finally written, this courageous act by President Mugabe and Zanu-PF will be seen to have been equally as vital, in terms of setting the political tone in Southern Africa, as the efforts our Cuban comrades fighting alongside MPLA in Angola.

Since Zimbabwe has made an appeal to the international community to assist with the cholera problem, we can only hope this appeal is handled entirely different from the manner in which the West has handled the call to assist with Zimbabwe's courageous fight to eradicate the HIV and Aids pandemic.

It is quite interesting that the distinguished members of the "Elders" group have never opened their mouths about how humanitarian aid has been used as a political weapon against Zimbabwe.

This might be idealistic on the part of those of us who are expecting them to bite the hand that feeds them financially and politically.

However, it is mind boggling, especially when we know one of the feathers in Annan's cap is the Nobel Peace Prize he won for HIV and Aids work.

But never has he issued a challenge to the Global Fund's chair and executive director Tommy Thompson and Richard Feacham who denied Zimbabwe's applications with no logical explanation, to assist Harare's brave and commendable efforts.

The Mandelas have also remained silent on this matter as well.

It is also disappointing that Archbishop Tutu has decided to let the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Roland Williams, dictate how he addresses the humanitarian and political issues in Zimbabwe.

Why can't he, instead, come and talk to people like Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga face-to-face like a true son of Africa and a man of God?

In his report on Zimbabwe, Carter claimed that 3 500 people are dying every week from HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe.

On the contrary, Minister Parirenyatwa has refuted these figures, which are actually closer to 1 500.

Zimbabwe was applauded in Mexico this summer when it was announced that this country has the most rapid decline in HIV and Aids infection rates in Southern Africa (from 33 percent in 2000 to 15,6 percent in 2008).

This forces Africans outside Zimbabwe to question the motives of the non-governmental organisations and human rights groups who are discussing the cholera problem in Zimbabwe to trumpet the claim that a regime change is the solution to the country's problems.

Minister Parienyatwa and his staff have talked about appealing to the National Medical Association, the Black Nurses' Association and other medical advocacy groups in the US to request that they not only help identify humanitarian support, but also help explain the impact the sanctions are having on the health infrastructure of the country.

Since we understand that the outcome of Zimbabwe's power-sharing agreement is directly connected to how neo-colonialism is neutralised and defeated in Africa, let us make everyone know that the humanitarian crisis is directly linked to the fight to lift the US and British-imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Britain: A Tribute to a Resurging Coloniser

Britain: A Tribute to a Resurging Coloniser

I have just completed reading a book by Eduardo Galeano, a book titled "We Say No". It brings out the anguish of solitude, the raw anger of an angry Latino abortively pelting a seemingly impregnable and indifferent Empire with mere words. With a bit of history, it is not difficult to imagine why. Galeano — something of a radical nationalist, if not a leftist — watched helplessly as momentous setbacks suffered between 1963 and 1991 savaged and crumbled his dearly held worldview.

In 1967 in Bolivia, the radical Che had been slain, seemingly fighting a hopeless war against an insuperable enemy. In the 1970s, more, greater setbacks, arguably best personified by Chile’s Allende whose violent end paved the way for a brutally successful, hard-to-fade American-backed dictator, Augusto Pinochet. In the 1980s, Maurice Bishop is slain in Grenada, alongside Cuban internationalists. Galeano’s late 1980s and early 1990s saw the spectacular collapse of Communism, to deafening applause from the triumphal West. Within that epochal setback, place the fall of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, themselves Galeano’s first love. Place pressure on Castro’s Cuba, seemingly fated to collapse now that the Soviet Empire had succumbed. The verities of Galeano’s worldview seemed to give in all around him, one after another, in rapid, vertiginous succession. He sought to cope variously, and often by way of abortive denials that today read comical.

When peace is aggression

Yet history always owes for its gems to such seismic shifts. A time of great crisis, of great unbelief, is always a time of thought fermentation, of great genius, great writings, as man in turbulence seeks new and steadying ground rules. Surely Galeano would have written from personal anguish when he discovered that creativity is "an age-old response to human anguish and the certainty of death".

He agonised a lot on the seemingly ineluctable fate of the Sandinistas facing severe pressure from imperial America and her murderous contras, seemingly with little or no solidarity -- or even a modicum of understanding -- from the rest of Latin America. As the bold political experiment in Nicaragua writhed and reeled from repeated blows from Reaganite America, more aggression came by way of models, experiments and well-spoken emissaries for dubious peace, mostly from within Latin America, spawned and sponsored by the aggressor, America.

For a small nation fighting a very big bully with means, even peace missions become some form of aggression. Zimbabweans appear to grasp that with amazing slowness.

Sandinistas’ crime against the empire

From those agonies of Galeano emerged a gem which I proudly recall for you, my readers. Galeano noted: "Democracy and social justice have gotten divorced. Whoever would marry them lets loose the storm." The Sandinistas had made the grave mistake of seeking to take huge tracts of unutilised, speculative land, to give it to landless Nicaraguans, freshly freed from the clutches of an American-backed dictatorship. They had cleaned slums, brought in water, sent children of the poor to school, brought in medicines, cured the poor, among other good things expected of governments.

Little did they realise they were committing the heinous crime of re-wedding two lovers whose divorce imperialism had long decreed: democracy on the one hand, social justice on the other. That won them a bloody, protracted war which eventually precipitated their downfall.

When to be born is a crime

Zimbabwe, on the one hand, is an incredibly small country of about 13 million inhabitants. It wants to be born, to be born a country, a nation. That appears to be its main aspiration, which has turned out to be its comparably heinous crime against powerful, oppressor nations of the West. Britain, on the other hand, is an incredibly powerful nation whose might and right is rooted in the malpractices and mores (read vices) of Victorian colonialism. Britain does not sanction that birth, which it treats as filial rebellion of the worst type. Therein lies the fight: one pitting spasms for rebirth, on the one hand, against ever tightening, clamping rigor mortis of a dying colonialism. And because the colonial epoch had many "mother countries", Britain has been able to enlist the support of Europe and America, both disconcerted by what this refractory behaviour by an ex-colony likely portents for rest of hitherto pliant and governable post-colonials.

Unity from Berlin days

That Britain has been able to broker such solidarity among oppressor nations is nothing of a wonder, one little deserving of accolades. Faced with the spectre of a new nation led by militant ex-slaves — black in colour — in rebellious Haiti of the 18th Century, France, the reluctantly outgoing coloniser, appealed to and triggered similar solidarity within the slave-owning world. It is this reflex born out of the Berlin conference of the 1884/85, perfected in the subsequent century of colonisation which ensured Haiti remained and remains a colony of swapping masters, right up to this day.

Charles Talleyrand, the then French Foreign Minister, in 1805 wrote to the then US Secretary of State, James Madison, to say: "The existence of a Negro people in arms, occupying a country it has soiled by the most criminal acts (successfully rebelling against the French slaver government) is a horrible spectacle for all white nations."

Needless to say, Madison agreed, supported France in reversing Haiti’s independence, thereby ensuring Haiti was a colony and the neo-colony it remains to this day. It matters little that in place of the original French slavers, Haiti is now under the American colonial jackboot. I say an embattled coloniser nation appealing for solidarity from sister coloniser nations of Europe and America surely hardly suggests fine war diplomacy. It is a call that is expected, indeed one reflexively heeded by all ex-colonials. This provides a clue to the unison there is with Britain in Europe and across America, all against Zimbabwe demanding national rights. It sounds a very obvious point to make.

Pedagogy of the oppressor

What for me deserves recognition, indeed tribute, is how Britain has been able to cultivate, then mobilise, then deploy, similar reflexes from amongst the oppressed of Africa, themselves natural warriors for her cause. More devastatingly, Britain appears to have made a compelling case to literate Africa, itself the supposed bedrock of highly developed national and continental consciousness. Voices which today question the legitimacy of Zimbabwe’s struggle against Britain are, quite ironically, coming from African State Houses and Foreign Offices. Infamy drops from on high. To this enlightened stratum, Zimbabwe is having to strain to make its case against Britain.

Not so with the common peoples of Africa whose solidarity with Zimbabwe seems instinctively instant. Which raises my question for the week: Why has the coloniser been able to successfully sow an argument against Zimbabwe within Zimbabwe’s own soil and that of its African hinterland? Why has the quest for justice and sovereignty seemingly turned so unappealing, so unmotivating, so unrighteous to enlightened sections of Zimbabwe and the African sub-region, and yet resonating so deeply within the continent’s flotsam and jetsam? Why is the ladder and graph of consciousness appearing so inversely proportional? Has pedagogy failed the enlightened sections of the oppressed, to yield the present hefty pall of false consciousness that seems to drive and unite debate on the so-called Zimbabwean crisis?

Wearied Africa?

Each day that passes breeds a new and endless generation of interpreters radiating infectious smiles, fawning profound love for us the occupied, the sanctioned, the dying. Such deep, compelling love as does not hesitate to blame we, the victims of the crime of aggression, while rewarding Britain, the perpetrator of the whole question. So, so far into the conflict, so, so deep into the fight, why does the basic grievance appear less and less evident, less and less central, more and more tedious to state and proclaim, too much to defend within Africa’s leading classes? How have we been so wearied out of so central a struggle at whose heart rests a fundamental grievance that social justice and sovereignty is?

Against time, against Mugabe

Let me illustrate. Brown’s ratings continue to plummet, seemingly defiant of the little recovery he had secured from appearing to lead the Western world out of the deep recession it slid into almost a year ago. His political career hurtles to an undignified screech. He is pressed for both time and drama. On the other side of the Atlantic, George Bush is all but gone, ending an inglorious career of dismal wars and adrenalin leadership. America cannot wait for a false dawn which is so inviting. Because both men are fighting oblivion, there is a frantic effort to oust President Mugabe, to reverse the Zimbabwe revolution. Amidst these two angry, little under-achievers, Zimbabwe faces a grave threat of considerable proportion.

But it is one badly in need of legitimation. Against little goodwill capital, both men need to appear to be obeying a higher ideal, to build enough consent for any hostile action against Zimbabwe. How these two men are seeking to achieve this badly needed legitimacy is what pushes one’s heart to despair.

They are using African State Houses, African pulpits, African justices, African courts, African doctors, African think-tanks and scholars, yes, African elders, all drawn from literate Africa. Of course, I do not forget that Albion’s imperial ship dropped anchor on our shores, docking in the MDC and its Tsvangirai.

Small justices from a tribunal

Until now, the white farmer’s battle against Zimbabwe’s land reforms was a fight of a colonial minority privileged by colour and history to lay claim on Zimbabwe. It has been a fight against a people’s rights, against a nation, against a country, indeed against a revolution. The dialectic has been clear-cut, one so simplified to make mobilisation of Africa both easy and just.

Until some little tribunal staffed by junior justices and functioning in the name of Sadc passed a hurried judgment between which and history stands a yawning abyss. The junior justices ruled in favour of the few white farmers against the overriding interests of a landless Nation and Country, interests pressed for through a whole war of liberation. That landless Nation and Country was not cited; would not be cited even against its own insistence. It stood to be affected in quite a major and direct way by the decision of the tribunal, and yet it could not be part of processes.

And the junior justices had the temerity to suggest the white farmers had been denied justice in their country, the same junior justices who were denying a whole Nation, a whole People, the right to be party to the case! How does Africa’s robed children end up robbing the continent’s foundational rights? Just how?

Feeling for the plumage

The same junior justices decide the "crime" of discrimination was much more harmful to Zimbabwe than a nation’s quest for social justice through a redress of white colonial injustices. In other words, the discrimination of a people for over a century is a crime and prejudice less deserving of righting than an evening discrimination against a resisting minority whose claim to land should be made in another country, in another continent! What jurisprudential direction are we headed for, oh learned judges? And claims of discrimination against a privileged minority are a greater offence than an unfulfilled social justice of a people? Why does the plumage seem more deserving of pity than the dying bird?

What is the role of history in law and its interpretation? Okay, if these justices are averse to history, what is the role of the prickly status quo in law? The land in question is occupied — has been — by Zimbabwe’s landless. Is it being suggested these new tenants who have settled on, and have been using this land, have nil claim, zero rights? It is a very strange judgment, one loudly abstracted from history and yet furiously reluctant to be guided by the instant by way of the reigning status quo. Does this not reveal a very disturbing inarticulate premise of law as practiced by these legal minors?

Damning land movements

And the junior judges become quite audacious. Their judgment must bind "insurgents", itself a pejorative characterisation of Zimbabwe’s land movement. Hau? Forget for a while the folly of a miserable group of judges who seek to bring "insurgents" into and under their judgment, and concentrate on the transposition of rights between the handful of white British claimants to our soil on the one hand, and real sons of the soil whose navels lie deep and buried in the same soil which they have liberated through enormous sacrifices. Do you see the horror of the whole judgment; how much of a fundamental assault on the whole ethos of African struggles and rights against ex-colonials it is? Would you not acknowledge — however grudgingly — that indeed Britain has won the war against Africans?

In one judgment by a court against whose judgment there is no appeal, a court with powers to dispense ex-territorial judgments, a court with powers to overrule national constitutions and national supreme courts, Britain has been able to wind a whole African clock back by a whole century. Indeed, she has been able to trash African struggles, African sacrifices without sending a single mercenary. She has used us, pure and simple. Which is exactly my main point. And the judgment sets a precedent which binds Namibia, South Africa and any other country asserting or defending whichever right or resource against ex-colonials. It is meant to be a judgement against all Africans — which means for colonialists — for all times. A dramatic foreclosure to social justice, indeed to wedding democracy and social justice in order to make our so-called independence less of rotting pies dangled from white ceilings by an uneven white hand of Europe. Today the fox can demand freedom of movement on a hen house!

Hasty tribunal, less speedy ministers

But there is more to the matter. Political more. The last ordinary summit of Sadc this year made a ruling on the whole tribunal when it became clear this thing originally meant for Sadc citizens, had been pawned to colonial Europe which apparently is meeting stipends for these junior justices. Ministers of Justice of Sadc were tasked to re-examine the articles under which this creature had been formed, as well as determining whether or not the thing was not chewing the objects of its creation.

The ministers never moved on the matter. What moved instead was the tribunal which, sensing its own mortality, chose to present Zimbabwe and Sadc with a fait accompli. And it did. Why was there so much lethargy in Sadc Ministers of Justice in respect of so pressing a matter? Again, Britain asks for acknowledgment. Of course, Britain and her kith and kin face a practical challenge of ensuring enforcement of the judgment which, in any case, has to be referred to full summit.

This is more apparent given that the Zimbabwe Government has already declared the tribunal’s judgment "an act in futility". But the hand-cap should not be exaggerated. What Britain sought through this seemingly futile legal exercise was a legal foothold for approaching bigger tribunals with better mechanisms for enforcement. What Britain sought was a "moral" score against the Zanu-PF Government in order to appear to be mobilising against an outlaw or rogue government. It is an

identity the British propaganda machinery has been battling to make stick.

Moral dilemma for Africa

And this takes me to my central point. I said before then, the matter of white settler claims against Zimbabwe was clear-cut to Africa. Against this judgment it no longer is. Britain has used a Sadc institution to poke holes on the whole argument on which the land reform stood. It can no longer be a colonial issue when a Sadc institution founds against it. Is the Frontline States not Sadc’s precursor? How do you sustain an argument for continued land reforms when a creature of an evolved Frontline States founds against Zimbabwe? You can clearly see how English rights a finding pedestal and righteousness in our elites and elite-run institutions. Thank God revolutions are never governed by articles and chapters of statutes, but by blood and iron.

A season of gay rule, gay thoughts

Gentle reader, you can cite the case of Desmond Tutu — that gay bishop — to illustrate my central thesis. He wants Zimbabwe invaded, alongside the murderous Raila Odinga who continues to bark from the safety of Nairobi. You can cite Ian Khama — another gay — again to illustrate my point. He has been to Britain. Apart from meeting with Gordon Brown against Zimbabwe, he had a meeting with Britain’s defence minister, asking for assistance against Zimbabwe. He says Botswana envisages an influx of refugees from Zimbabwe in the coming years and would thus need assistance from the British military! He adds to the outrage. Botswana is ready to fund a re-rerun of presidential polls in Zimbabwe, he adds, waving diamond pulas.

The man has not gone to the people for his own mandate but he poses as a net exporter of democracy his junta will not give to the Tswanas! Read about a protectorate called Bechuanaland? Read about fake democracies where the citizenry is allowed to vote but never to elect?

Will Tsvangirai come back?

Today Tsvangirai gallivants from State House to State House, thanks to Khama’s support which is threatening to go beyond pulas and planes. He hops to Morocco (recall that Morocco was the only other African country which supported Rhodesia and later Abel Mozorewa), to Tanzania, hops to Senegal and will go back to Europe to meet with EU Foreign Ministers ahead of another round of sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Family comfortably ensconced in a newly acquired property in South Africa, Tsvangirai is far away from cholera, shortages and other manifestations of the ruin he has spawned, which he seeks to accentuate. Given the evidence which Zimbabwe has led against his insurgency project with Khama, it is highly unlikely that he will come back. Which is why Pandu Skelemani was preparing everyone for an MDC government in exile, leading a "democratic resistance" against Zimbabwe. What is that? There is a whole psychosis for war which is being built for Britain and America, through bended African lips. Has a case already been made for the British SAS? We shall see how the merchants of war use askari Presidents to secure war.

What a beautiful, pleasant war it shall be. I choose to close with Galeano who draws a very useful conclusion to the amazing consciousness that make the oppressed break ranks to bicker for the seat closest to the oppressor, but without feeling guilty about it.

"The best way to colonise consciousness," says Galeano, "is to suppress it." It does not matter whether it is Tutu, Graca, Annan, Odinga or Tsvangirai: the argument against Zimbabwe’s present struggle is uniform and borrowed. Zimbabwe suffers from "a man-made crisis". You are almost tempted to agree, until you realise the culpable man is the oppressed, never the oppressor. Albion must be relishing this fine hour.


l nathaniel.manheru@zimpapers,