Friday, 25 January 2008

MDC: Misreading Kenya’s civil unrest

MDC: Misreading Kenya’s civil unrest

It is so clear what the MDC game plan ahead of March 2008 is. The MDC seeks to choreograph confrontation with the authorities, all for outside, western judgment.

The MDC seeks a decent pretext for boycotting elections it knows it is destined to lose. The MDC wants to win victim status, hoping western pity will re-launch it in the electoral aftermath. No one particularly worries about all these goals, ignoble though they are.

Nothing much is expected from it, except by its agonising sponsors. What must been taken seriously though is MDC attempts at fomenting civil unrest along the lines of what happened in Kenya. And the concern is not over its capacity to pull such a feat of chaos.

That capacity does not exist, both within its leadership, and among its supporters. MDC’s cause is too spindle-legged to move anyone. Besides, a party which boycotts cannot build enough stock of anger.

Only one which participates, and is perceived to have been robbed. People’s sense of justice has to be injured. But not where one stays out of the ring. Surely Tsvangirai read as much from his uneventful boycott of Senatorial elections? Maybe he didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t, can’t.

Hard knuckles, blood even

What should be taken very seriously is what MDC’s western backers are asking it to do, under the guise of marching for "freedom". Their first attempt was quite subdued. It did not galvanise the public. Both indicated their disposition against this foreign instigation.

They are a reluctant foreign legion, commanded by foreign generals in a very difficult fight they may not believe in.

But they cannot mutiny, much as they mounted fitful demonstrations against the master in the Sadc-initiated dialogue. Such as co-sponsoring Amendment 18 and the subsequent bills. But the boss is now more insistent, handling them much tighter.

We are in the middle of a bruising fight with the British and their European and American allies, a bruising fight with our former coloniser who wishes to push the clock back, hoping to climb our backs once more. We are fighting the threat of re-colonisation.

In such a fight, tolerance level for civil unrest is never liberal, certainly never as generous as we saw in Kenya. Let no one in the MDC ever expect anything short of bare knuckles. Blood even. The reasons are not hard to fathom.

It is so clear to everyone who thinks that for Zimbabwe, the British want a war which does not commit them directly. They cannot afford direct deployment here. But they want consequences of such a development which are: the demise of Zanu-PF and a subsequent emergence of a client state, happy and able to restore and house a white British plantation class which Zanu-PF ousted here. They want a neo-colony in Zimbabwe, and have worked so hard, spent so much, towards creating it.

Settled by history

But they have one major setback, apart from the strength of Zanu-PF.

They have a very bad Trojan Horse they have called MDC.

At times this bad horse has been an outright embarrassment, shrieking when it should be stealing on the enemy.

But make no mistake, the chaos of the Kenya, which MDC now hankers after, will just be a smokescreen for an American-backed British aggression against Zimbabwe. It will be aggression against our Independence. And by now we should all know how to handle that which threatens our sovereignty, our very being.

After all, history has long settled this matter. It has also itemised things that make up the heavy ordinance for dealing with such a national threat. Zanu-PF and its Government do not have to re-invent the wheel.

MDC’s siblings

The above threat means every patriot must correctly read what has happened in Kenya, and draw useful lessons from those developments. We have allowed MDC to misread these unfortunate developments in that sister African country, and to paste and appropriate false signification on events there to selfish ends.

By any definition, Kibaki and Odinga represent the same ideology, carry features from the same mould. The people Odinga recently deployed against Kibaki — which means the people Kibaki acted against in the ensuing chaos — are fundamentally the same people both mobilised and relied upon to oust former President Moi in 2002.

They did so under the banner of democracy, rule of law, transparency and all that claptrap we have grown to associate with the West’s neo-colonial project on the continent. The carrier of equivalent politics here has always been the MDC, which is why MDC euphorically welcomed the Kibaki win in 2002. Let that not be lost to anyone.

Complete foreclosure

If the political process in Kenya is now castigated and maligned for all the claimed evil, it means a double indictment against the West’s project in Kenya, indeed against the political proxies of the West (MDC’s counterparts) in that country.

After all, following the split between Kibaki and Odinga, the West controlled both sides in the political equation. They still do to this day, which is why their pronouncements on those polls have been spectacularly ambiguous as can never be done on Zimbabwe.

In Kenya, foreigners are both in and out of Government, in and out of opposition, and control could never be more complete. Which means any failures in any direction indict the West, mark a dramatic degradation of its politics on the continent, and one so bloody to poor slum dwellers.

The politics which the MDC espouse, which are so close to those of Kenya both before and after 2002; the politics which MDC promises should it ever win power, which again are close to Kenya’s after 2000 and before December 2007, all these politics stand condemned by the Kenyan experience.

No foreclosure could be more complete. Outside thick ignorance, nothing else explain MDC’s present comfort in drawing generous parallels between its "struggles" and those in Kenya.

Winning at swings and roundabouts

Until now, Kenya has been the West’s ideological touchstone, daily polished and varnished for a shiny export elsewhere on the continent. Beyond politics, Kenya has been a model of how Western control of national politics creates and yields a safe haven and rich pickings for western capital.

The sad thing is that any outcome from the present flurry of mediation simply guarantees and perpetuates Western interests. Any compromises which Kibaki makes, will simply make the Kenyan Government weaker and thus less resolute in dealing with marauding capital.

Kenya is not about to be another Iran in 1979, where defeat of a corrupt protégé government of the West makes way for a radical, nationalist outcome.

There will not be any paradigm shift in Kenyan politics, beyond a discovery of the folly of mutual ruin on the part of the two estranged allies. Both the ruling party and the opposition have been severely damaged and weakened by the chaos, and brighter chances have gone to those outside the present conflict.

Outside that, only foreigners have won, much remotely less the dwellers of Kibera whose blood counts for little else, beyond bargaining for office.

Africa’s potential win

But the fallout has damaged a major weapon in the West’s arsenal of soft power. The West today cannot make a persuasive propaganda case out of Kenya.

Not only do we now know that democracy is no magic wand; we also now know that it comes second to peace and stability, in fact that it can undermine both, to create the mayhem that leaves a food sufficient Nation scrambling for donor handouts, grappling with vast numbers of internally displaced.

Kenya does not illustrate a democratic deficit; it amply demonstrates the bloody deficit of the ballot and of a neo-colonial set up. And when the ballot fails, Kenya tells us that for Africa, far higher than the preservation of outcome of the ballot is unconditionally fixing a government of national unity (GNU).

All along the West has been demanding competitive politics, which is why Zimbabwe’s Unity Accord has never been hailed as a model. And also that both monitors and observers have no peace to bring to a nation riven by the ballot. If anything, their judgments can actually inflame passions and will, in any event, bow out to higher values of mediation. Of course they can justify punitive sanctions in polities where players are as ugly as Zanu-PF and Robert Mugabe.

Maslow again

More anxious for peace than Kenyans have been western interests, hurt by the fallout. Handshakes and "peace" will come very quickly to Kenya because what is at stake is in London and Washington, not in Kibera.

For the past month and weeks, the West’s balance sheet has bled, and all participating nations have noted the disruptive consequences of un-harmonised and even vying politics in a shared neo-colony.

If the truth be said, the British, the Americans, Nordic countries, the Germans pushed different and even conflictual interests within the broad ambit of a neo-colonial arrangement.

It gave rise to hurtful national individualism whose costs have been spectacularly illustrated. As we move into the future, the West will be more coordinated to prevent a recurrence of Kenya. Zimbabwe will be a trial ground.

Otherwise Kofi Annan need not exaggerate his conflict resolution prowess. It has been cut out for him. He is only lucky to allowed to claim fame from that "mediation". It is clear that a need far more lower and thus more compelling lower you’re your and my right to vote, has been directing Kenya’s aftermath.

Mbeki versus Annan

Which invites a remarkable contrast.

Mbeki’s peace proposition here will be a lonely one. It will not bring any fame, as does that for Kenya. It will not be as well-resourced, as well-publicised, and ultimately, as loudly applauded when it breaks through.

His will be a thankless effort, in fact one constantly derided and ill-wished.

In Kenya, peace and reconciliation is unconditionally needed, needed well above the ballot and democracy. In Kenya the shaping dynamic comes from Adam Smith, not from Alexis de Tocqueville.

In Zimbabwe, Tocqueville covers for Adam Smith. Violence and chaos are needed to get Mugabe to just go. Hence the prologue called "freedom march", which has also become the epilogue. Viewed from such a perspective, it is not difficult to understand why the British who are so anxious to engineer a negotiated settlement in Kenya, are so keen to inflame passions here.

Jacob Zuma who is in Davos has just said it: the single biggest stumbling block to peace and understanding in the politics of Zimbabwe is the meddling West which is telling South Africa what to say to President Mugabe. Zuma was being polite. He meant the British and Americans.

What they have been doing here

And if anyone doubted, they would have seen it this week. A small, stupid and unlawful march by the MDC is vast enough to attract the notice of the BBC which pushes it to headline status, clearly more to grow it than to accurately report on it in its insignificant proportion.

Such a non-event is important enough to feature on the routine briefings of the Bush administration, with Bush’s all-white, black ambassador here losing early morning sweet time with his wife (if he has one) to find out how well Tsvangirai is after a gentle invitation to Harare Central.

As if that was not enough, both the British and Americans camped at Harvest House (vehicles 80 CD 111 (for the British) and 81 CD 353 and 479 (for the Americans), waiting for chaos. I suppose for them, that is the seat of Government that has accredited them! Thank God Manheru does not control the Police. If I did, I would ensure a more generous definition of the zone for collateral damages.

A diplomat who decides to become an MDC, then a demonstrator, then a thug and much worse, does not deserve any modicum of courtesy.

The stakes are high, getting higher everyday to March.

For all the histrionics in the Zimbabwe Independent, Britain’s other plank is as good as deflated, its attempts at option B shadowed.

That initiative is doomed, including attempts to use it to wreck the Sadc initiative. Provincial chairmen who had been corrupted by dirty money are known, have or are being neutralised. Nothing happened on

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MDC: Misreading Kenya’s civil unrest

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Thursday; much happened before then, with many in that thoughtless plot hopelessly fighting to vindicate themselves.

Others have taken a gape, including Nkosana Moyo who concluded the "thing" had collapsed and went back "home" (Britain).

I do not know whether Jonathan was lucky enough to intercept the "coordinator" in Jo’burg, already in high, frenetic flight, together with his limping vision of "a new generation" of young Zimbabwe leaders.

And "new" means "now", even when the politics sought relate decadent colonialism, itself a Victorian ideal, seeking re-enactment in 21st Century Africa. New indeed! Poor Mbudzi, now being sacrificed, now being made enormous enough to command big, well-decorated men of war and star politicians. A mere major? He now threatens to spill the beans. He won’t for they will make sure his mouth is full enough.

Banking on veranda boys

And there was much that was hopeless in MDC’s latest bid for fame in the West. The MDC sought to marshal hordes of Harare’s veranda boys — idle lumpens — for whom any carnival is kingdom come. The Tsvangirai faction is a very blunt instrument.

Much worse, it is an embarrassment. Picture this. Biti is Tsvangirai’s man in the Sadc talks. Like an impetuous student in an afternoon law seminar, he has been the most forward, the most prolific on drafts, which have given us the 18th Amendment, and the concomitant four bills. But he has also been the most un-contemplative, the most unreflective.

Just how does such a man breach a law he has just made? How does he lose the first case ever to come from implementation of his law? Who is failing the test? Did he understand his contributions? Or is he just beginning to read it against very painful experiences?

Could this give credence to claims that have dogged him in his party, which if true would suggest Zanu-PF has in fact been negotiating with itself? If MDC supporters had some brains — just a little — they would be quizzing Biti on why he brought home a faggot so full of ants and still hoped for a good, warm sleep for all.

POSA as amended by Biti and company now disallows demonstrations on all centres of power: State House, Parliament, Courts, Town Houses, etc. Of course it allows the MDC and its zealous horde to go to Glamis Stadium, quite the opposite direction to power.

There, they can yell and yodel until jackals out-howl them. Was that the intended gain? By the way Glamis — Glamis — is very British, and no one in MDC saw the irony of that venue, namely that, thanks to Biti, the negotiations have conveyed them to the British Thane of Glamis, which is where the battle will be lost! Surely your country needs a better puppet, raving Dr Pocock. Hey, but you write good English, Dr Peacock, only sorely needing a decent cause than one you peddle in "britain and Zimbabwe!"

Grovelling for endorsement

I could not understand why the Sunday News ever chose to bent over backwards on McGee who wants to retire here. Is that a story at all? A front-page one at that, Comrade Editor? Come on, get real! McGee is a white African-African American who has chosen conservative white America to his toiling black compatriots in the US. He is here on a white Republican Mission. He told us as much. He is not one of us, never will be. He was prepared to shed blood for this same white world. In Vietnam, cutting down lives whose circumstances are infinitely much closer to us than he can ever be, even if nature were to generously double his blackness. He abused Swazis, themselves SADC brothers and sisters. He was most disrespectful of citizens of Madagascar, another African people. He knows America is no home for blacks, but digs and buries his head in the hot sands of Nevada, to serve it. He knows white Americans are no friends, but still coquettishly accosts them. We have many African-African Americans who have shared trenches with us whose wishes we are still to carry on front page. Why this one? The whole think smacks of a psychology of dying to buy American endorsement. Do we need it, Comrade Editor? Is that the national view? Government view? He just must go back to his principals soon after his tour of duty here. Or much earlier.

An NGO called Natfoods?

Another baffling one relates to National Foods which invited high politicians to a nondescript event I am still grappling to grasp. National Foods used to be an Anglo-America local behemoth. It is now controlled by a few blacks, led by people like Ray Kaukonde, Mashonaland East governor. It relies heavily on GMB for its raw materials, Government-controlled GMB. That includes maize it needs for mealie-meal. Equally, it was a recent beneficiary of BACOSSI funds disbursed from the Central Bank, again a Government institution. Its invitees where all from Government, many with varying stakes in the company. A self-invitation, in other words, much like a similar one at Colcom’s Triple C. The talk there seemed aimed at shefs in Government, seemingly by other angry shefs, also in Government. Is that how Government works and communicates? Who was the intended audience, given the thing needed television coverage? Where I come from we call this kukwira chibwe, or kurova bembera. The trouble is you can get a devastating response. But even more baffling was the concept of "Feed Zimbabwe" mealie-meal satchets, proposed and announced on that occasion, apparently as donations to communities across the country facing cereal deficits. "Feed Zimbabwe" sounds like America’s derives directly from America’s "humanitarian" campaign punch-line, targeting a starving banana republic, does it not? Except America brings in its own surplus grain. It does not power such a gesture on subsidised grain from the GMB, transformed through BACOSSI cheap funds. What is going on? What politics are at play here? When we get a bit of money, do we picture ourselves as Americans coming back to Africa to rescue starvelings? Or is it not our project? Above all, is National Foods now an NGO? If so, let it go and register with Minister Goche, under Voluntary Organisations Act. But before it does, let it explain its motives. Let it also explain why with that supreme level of generosity and parentage, it removed all its products from the shelves at the height of the price blitz, most of them to do with food security at household level. Or why it held stocks of grain when everyone was looking for mealie-meal, until it had to be threatened. Surely this same given-ness it now seeks to parade on television would have motivated it to process and to supply to the market unconditionally, and at any price? And of course it has to convince the Political Commissar that it is a mere coincidence that this sudden burst of selflessness happens to cover an election calendar. Even spooks will cast long shadows on the wall, once they dare walk towards sunset. Icho! ---

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