Sunday, 11 January 2009

America: The leaders Africa must have

America: The leaders Africa must have

Can anyone visualise Hitler’s henchman making demands at the Postdam table? Or taking to the mountaintop for a cosmic address to mankind on human rights for former Nazis? Even pillorying the post-Nuremberg allied ethos for being undemocratic and racist?

Can anyone visualise Hitler’s henchman making demands at the Postdam table? Or taking to the mountaintop for a cosmic address to mankind on human rights for former Nazis? Even pillorying the post-Nuremberg allied ethos for being undemocratic and racist?

Yet that is what is happening in broad daylight inZimbabwe, leaving many mouths broadly gaping, most tongues tied and red-swollen.

Just what has gone so wrong that racist and autocratic Rhodesians feel so confident, feel so audacious enough to sit on the table to make a huge claim and stake on Zimbabwe’s future? And to do so with the finality of an oracle addressing puny and mortal mankind?

Is this not our country? Was it not our liberation song which went:

Vasingadi kugara nesu/Ngavabude muZimbabwe,

Vanoda kugara nesu/Ngavauye muZimbabwe,

Mhai Zimbabwe/Zimbabwe nyika yavatema Zimbabwe/

Inokosha iyo/ Inyika yedu!

Maybe Cde Chinx no longer sings enough for us to remember.

But the song is there, part of our liberation sensibility, part of our declaration on our sense of citizenship and entitlement to it.

Let it crash and burn!

Here is Eddie Cross: "What they [South Africans] fail to understand is that we will not get on the bus [inclusive Government] until the steering wheel and the accelerator and the gear lever are in our hands . . . The GPA says the MDC is in charge of the bus and MT is the driver.

"We just need to make sure, absolutely sure that there are no dual controls in the front of the bus — they remain where they were designed to be — further back in the hands of the Prime Minister. "What the people at the bus stop are saying is ‘we will not get on the bus until we are satisfied that the driver is our man and not Mugabe’.

"And that is not negotiable. If Mugabe is anywhere near the wheel, we would rather let the bus crash and burn."

The white Rhodesian oracle

Just what is this oracular voice called Eddie Cross? He is a Rhodesian first and foremost, one who happens to be white, as most where. Nowhere in history books is his name associated with the freedom fight, whether from a sugary liberal side or the from the centre.

Quite the contrary, Eddie Cross was a loyal and indefatigable Rhodesian by conviction, one only fated to join and remain in Zimbabwe by a sheer limitation of personal prospects, by the overwhelming fact of a shrunk horizon.

In spite of the head-start which colour and Rhodesia gave him, Eddie still went bust, forcing the law to declare him officially bankrupt.

He was not on America’s sanctions list when this happened, never will be, given history, colour and identity.

He still went bust in spite of the overly favourable, pro-white post-independence policies predicated on a one-sided reconciliation.

He occupied many seats after Independence, including taking charge of BCG, the Beira Corridor Group, which came to wailing grief when he was done with it.

You talk to any remnant Rhodesian white, you are told it is the likes of Eddie Cross who are spoiling race relations.

It is a very old, racist charge, but one showing clearly even the Rhodesians whose interests the man works so hard for, have a very dim view of him.

"How do you trust with a national purse a man who cannot trust himself with his own?" asked one such Rhodesian, mockingly.

He used to be in the Rhodesian army and now winds up time as an accomplished artist.

We have a curious situation where the worst of Rhodesia has been made the best of "democratic" Zimbabwe, thanks to Tsvangirai and his MDC.

He is MDC’s policy co-ordinator, as Chamisa proclaims it, apparently without any shame or self-rebuke.

The same passes for Roy Bennett, for Ian Kay. A haughty, ignorant triumvirate.

White master, driver coolie

Yet when Cross is making a case for the driving saddle for Tsvangirai, he does it not as a junior follower in the MDC party.

He does it not as one of the multitude of eager passengers at the bus stop.

Which white man goes on public buses?

And it shows by Cross’s poor handling of the metaphor. He does it as a white master, a bus owner making a case for the best coolie driver.

It is a vivid imagery, a more advanced metaphor than Welensky’s rustic "horse and rider" one, so fashionable in federal days.

Eddie Cross’ "we" is both for royalty and the plurality, in both cases white.

Rhodesia’s imagined white community feels greater prospect for a fusion between imagination and real prospect.

With the support of Britain, Europe and America, the dream of a return, a second coming, seems more and more palpable, more and more graspable.

On the one hand is a real chance for a second Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, with Tsvangirai at the helm.

On the other is Zanu-PF which, by Cross’s reckoning, is now sufficiently weakened to make more and more concessions, if not to capitulate.

Above all there is Albion’s royal might.

So let no one come under any illusion: Cross is making a case for the best black servant, never for the best black president.

He is making a case not for a strong black Zimbabwe, but for a white Rhodesia under a black puppet.

His argument for an MDC victory or, the obverse, an argument for Zanu-PF’s defeat, is a case for Rhodesia’s second coming without whose realisation, white Rhodesians are prepared to let Zimbabwe "crash and burn".

It is a stark choice between independence and colonial servitude, the latter made palatable by a dark political effigy superintending over it.

History and paper, descent and heart

But it is also a declaration of war by a character type whose security rests on amphibian citizenship, on dual identity and citizenship.

Cross is a Zimbabwean by history and papers, yet a Briton by descent and heart.

To him Zimbabwe is a house, Britain a home. In between the house and the home is South Africa, a detour and lay-bye.

The inability of Zimbabweans to recognise and appreciate this three-legged nature of our so-called white counterparts in citizenry, is for me the biggest tragedy of no end, until that cruel end-time arrives when another war again educates us.

We need the kind of shock the Congolese, the Nigerians and, most recently, the Rwandese, went through as they dived down to the trough of brutal, ethnicised fratricidal mayhem.

When war erupts and danger visits, nationality and citizenship get more sharply and accurately drawn, arguably and even conclusively defined as European-led rescue missions decide who is European and who is not, and on that basis, who outlives the war and who gets eaten by it, bowel, butt and bone.

By mop and broom alone

Eddie Cross can afford to let Zimbabwe crash and burn because he has a home elsewhere, in Britain, with South Africa, Australia or New Zealand as detours.

Pakuru, Museyamwa, Wakapiwa, Nzou Samanyanga and others do not have that prerogative, that luxury.

They can only enter Europe by a stamp of servility, or by stealth, to survive in it by mop and broom.


And many of us will never get that kindness to become Europe’s servants.

We will simply get eaten by bullets and bombs the way the Palestinians in Gaza now do, finding our way into news items as statistics.

And given that the world is not awfully mathematical, we will soon be forgotten: A perfect tribute to a kind, a people who died well before they lived, before they were born, a people long killed, by history, in history to have become anything.

Eight portfolios to whites

So Eddie is not threatening "to crash and burn" his home, our home with him as Zimbabweans. No, never!

He threatens to crash and burn your home, your only country, legitimised in this quest by the MDC.

As I write, the Rhodesian factor in the MDC is flexing its full muscle. Eight out of the 13 ministerial portfolios granted MDC-T, eight must go to white ministers for direct control.

That leaves Tsvangirai and his black horde with a mere five, which is why there is a rat race.

We are back to 1980 when whites had reserved seats, reserved status in the body politic.

On this, the white factor is not entertaining any negotiation.

Mugabe had the excuse of a constitutional stricture. What excuse does Tsvangirai have? Is this the investment the white farmer made reference to while donating a cheque to the MDC in 2000?

And this is where Tendai Biti and the Bennetts have joined hands, however furious Chamisa’s denial of this development may be.

The Rhodesians want a reopening of negotiations on portfolios as the only way out of Tsvangirai’s treacherous signing of the September 15 agreement Rhodesians never supported.

It is a salvage effort by the paymaster.

That is also why Tsvangirai has to be kept out of Zimbabwe, lest he makes another complicating blunder.

The Rhodesians want clear, unambiguous control of portfolios to do with lands, mines and the security ministries without which they have realised they cannot back their control of the first two.

The delineation of the claim is thus getting clearer, more brazen, to expose the whole essence of British, European and American fight here, through their Rhodesian bridgehead.

And of course Biti, for a whole set of different reasons, wants a reopening of debate on portfolios, hoping to realise goals which are entirely internal to the MDC, specifically how conceded portfolios are distributed — more accurately mal-distributed between vying figures and corners.

Again, young Chamisa, himself a protagonist of this vicious fight, can choose to deny a thousand times.

Both are going for broke.

Our man is weak, will be overrun

As for Tsvangirai, he soaking floater in a turbulent flow.

He faces Rhodesians who say it is payback time. He faces rebellious underlings who flaunt legal knowledge and constitutional threats, unless . . .

He faces Zanu-PF whose apparent calm composure belies seething anger and the urge to pounce and munch once and for all.

Which takes me to my main point.

Western imperialists have clear ideas about the leaders we Africans should have, which means they have clear ideas about leaders we should never have.

Last month when Jendayi Frazer was in the region, she told Mufamadi America had no beef with the framework agreement signed by the three parties, which it regarded as a good model for political settlement.

What America did not like — forcing it to withdraw its support for that excellent framework — was the fact that Morgan Tsvangirai is too weak to withstand Robert Mugabe, the same way the Americans think Raila Odinga is doing to President Mwai Kibaki.

I do not know what Odinga is doing, or can do, what Kibaki can or cannot do, and actually does.

Somehow the Americans perceive power skewed in Odinga’s favour, something they seek here.

And because in their reckoning, their man — Morgan Tsvangirai — cannot refrain from being a weak fool, the stronger, the wiser the abler Mugabe must come tumbling to the dust!

Don’t better the fool; drown the wise, fullstop. That is America’s simple power calculus abroad.

One last assignment, Sir!

But they are not as callous.

In their infinite generosity, the Americans want President Mugabe to use his wisdom to perform one last act: he must anoint a successor of sufficient weakness to mathematically match Tsvangirai, their man. That way the excellent September agreement will be taken forward, with America behind it, backing it to the hilt.

Oh ignorance the leveller!

And suddenly everyone in Zanu-PF wants to be cleverer, wiser, stronger, to duck America’s blighting anointment.

Who shall it be, Tsvangirai’s equivalent in Zanu-PF?

Mavambo and its internal cowards? Tavengwa and his person-less party? Or is it Chibebe to whose ZCTU the British are pouring millions, hoping for another alternative to the MDC?

Zimbabwe seems to be going through a graduated fragmentation, going through a phase of preferred mediocrity.

Yet one thing is quite clear: America wants a weak, servile leadership here, one which drives, drives, drives the bus for rapacious Europe. That leadership has to be weak and black.

More significantly, the agenda for that outcome has to be pushed by men and women who are equally marginal and black, which is why Jendayi Frazer froths; why Rice squelches; why Powell roared, indeed why McGee farts Zimbabwe, through and through, even where there are elders.

Eating ones too!

How white America views Africans in power abroad, is how white America places African-African Americans in power at home.

After all, it is the same colour, the same people. That is why I am not too hopeful about what comes tomorrow.



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