Friday, 8 August 2008

Talks: Locating real power and issues for sharing

Talks: Locating real power and issues for sharing

After reading the main 8 o’clock news bulletin one evening, the late great presenter, Joseph Masuku, was reminded he had not given the nation the weather bulletin.

"There is no weather today," bellowed Masuku, choking with a knocking sense of near-papal infallibility. What followed was a cacophony of laughter from an adjacent newsroom, forcing a painful introspection on the part of the legendary presenter. The weathermen had not delivered the script on the day’s weather, which is why Zimbabwe had slid into an evening without the weather!

Hermetically sealed dome

The inter-party dialogue is hurtling to a close, and without the obsessive Britain, America, Sweden and parts of Europe. Thanks to the South Africans, the dialogue has been an African affair, much to the chagrin of the West. A deal away from the gaze of the Western media too, with the media role painfully trimmed to building short-lived, hare-brained scenarios.

That was accurate feedback on how well the South Africans had built a cordon sanitaire around the talks. For an imperious media, this was too much. The South Africans bundled all the negotiators into hermetically sealed negotiating domes — which ranged from game park lodges to quieter, controllable environs of Cape Town — domes not just far, but unknown to the madding crowd. I hear the British kept scouring Government safe houses in vast South Africa, perplexedly wondering whether the talks were taking place in South Africa or on the other side of the Limpopo. It worked wonderfully well.

Enter starless Fiona Forde

Fiona Forde, South Africa’s starless reporter, did wonderfully well to become the poke-and-probe stick for the British. Thinking she had stumbled on the real thing, she did much to splash dung, thereby dimming the Johannesburg Star, her employing title. Whereto Jovial, with this your Forde? Did you know about her connections to the MDC through Charlene, the lady who pioneered British public relations secondments to the MDC, far back in 2002? Charlene hit fame by claiming to be a victim of rape. Not many at the Star knew she would turn out to be a serial rapist of truth on the talks, together with her other kind, Andrew Chadwick. It helps to keep mindful of the fact that this was the West working through the Bennett faction within the MDC-T, so firmly opposed to the talks.

So much machinery, no cause

I ask: As the talks come to a close, what happens to the whole infrastructure of dissent — both real and virtual — which sprouted on the humus of British anti-Zanu-PF, anti-Mugabe vitriol? What happens to all the bloggers? A whole industry, a whole virtual nation — cyber nation — had sprouted, generously sowed, cultivated and nurtured by the West: by way of media; by way of media advocacy groups; by way of political NGOs, freelance hacklers (Bornwell!) and what-not, all feeding off the West’s strategic mission against Zimbabwe. Incomes flowed from it; houses and mortgages were secured by it, this cornucopia from Albion. I notice this cyber community thinks there is anomie in Zanu-PF. Of course, for now it has not come to terms with the fact that with the resolution of the Zimbabwe question comes its own demise, both by way of purpose and by way beneficences. After an inclusive Government, what would be its raison d’etre? It is looking cold out there, with many NGOs suffering frozen budgets, unapproved projects, themselves bowls for begging donor coins. You notice last week’s Standard was full of agony advertisements from this sector, so thrown so deep in angst.

To the advertisement, they demanded inclusion in the talks, hoping for a new lifeline, a new purpose. It is a painful presentment of near death, seemingly made lighter and decent by pseudo-patriotic howls and yells. The Zimbabwean people do not want this; the Zimbabwean people’s interests are undermined, blah, blah. As if it’s a secret, these NGOs were basically British cat’s paws. I kept reflecting about the future of this whole industry whose only contribution to the Zimbabwe question subsisted in packaging sensational falsehoods f

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