Thursday, 13 August 2009

Mugabe is the last man standing.

Baffour's Beefs by Baffour Ankomah - August/Sept 2009

When one sinner repents…

Cameron Duodu puts it more aptly in our cover story: “If [President
Obama] is to do anything meaningful to address the hopes [invested
in him by Africa], he will have to unlearn a lot about Africa
himself, and educate his fellow G8 leaders too”. For a brother who
has sat in the US Senate since November 2004 to pretend not to know
the shenanigans that went on when the two houses of Congress rushed
through, in a mere 30 minutes, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic
Recovery Act in December 2001, an Act which in one fell swoop
imposed stringent economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, to come to Accra
and tell the whole world in a major policy speech to Africa, that
“the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwe
economy over the last decade”, well, he is a brother and Beefs is
prepared to give him time to unlearn… It is too early to knock him.
But could somebody please tell him not to go around the world making
such irascible statements!

Anyway, those of you who haven’t read the Bible before, please come
with me to Luke chapter 15 verse 10. There you find this quote:
“There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner
that repents.” Imagine one sinner causing a stoppage in Heaven – for
the angels know how to have a good time, you know. Rejoicing is big
business up there, and they don’t joke about it. So just imagine
what happened there in early July 2009 when Michael Holman,
ex-Zimbabwean and ex-Africa editor of the British business daily,
Financial Times, repented (see p. 32 of this issue). What joy we
must all have to welcome him and his ilk back into reality. Until he
recanted, Holman, a white Zimbabwean, born and bred in Zimbabwe, who
like others before him such as Lord Malloch Brown found fame outside
the land of their birth, had been one of the chief drivers of the
bandwagon that campaigned ceaselessly, for the past 10 years, for
Mugabe’s head. You can therefore imagine the joy in Heaven when this
sinner repented, and wrote in early July exhorting his kith and kin
in the West that it is “Time to do business with Mugabe”.

Holman can be theatrical when it suits him: “It is time for Western
governments to admit defeat, swallow their pride, re-engage in
Zimbabwe, and do business with Robert Mugabe,” he thunders in his
opening paragraph. “Far from being driven by ethical concerns about
dealing with a dictator,” he goes on, “the West in general, and
Britain in particular, is motivated by pique, seeking revenge on the
man who has outwitted them, rather than acting in the long-term
interests of Zimbabwe… “The first step [of the re-engagement
process],” Holman continues, “is to acknowledge an uncomfortable
truth: Mr Mugabe has won the battle for Zimbabwe. True, the price
has been high … but his victory is more than Pyrrhic… He has
presided over a fundamental change of an African economy. His
popularity in much of Africa is undeniable, and the landless of
Kenya, South Africa and Namibia look on his work with admiration…

Whatever Mr Tsvangirai might say in public, it would be political
suicide to attempt to return white farms to their former owners.
Never again will a 5,000-strong minority own much of the country’s
best farmland; and though it has cost Zimbabwe dear, Mugabe has
created a lasting legacy, having radically changed the racially
distorted land tenure structure he inherited at independence in
1980.” Hallelujah! Angels know how to rejoice when a sinner repents!
If I, Baffour Ankomah, son of a Ghanaian farmer who had no help from
his government for all his life (he died in 1988), had written what
Michael Holman has just written, it would not have seen the light of
day, not even in New African, the magazine I have worked for, for 21
solid years, 10 of which have seen me in the editor’s chair! For I
did write on the same lines in January 2009, for this very column,
Baffour’s Beefs, and our Group Publisher, a man of strong liberal
tradition and open-mindedness, who loves Africa to bits, wanted a
change from the constant focus on Zimbabwe. And so my column did not
appear – in New African! I would have beaten Holman to it by six
long months!

Now that Holman has opened the floodgates, surely not even “a
surfeit of Zimbabwe coverage” is going to stop me from quoting a wee
bit from my spiked January column. Commenting on Obama’s electoral
victory and stretching it to cover another victory in Southern
Africa (at least to discerning Africans), I wrote: “I know I will be
damned for saying this, but I will still say it because it is the
truth – here we have the success of the first leader in both pre-
and post-independence African history to be still standing after
having been assailed for 10 long years by the combined might of the
nations of European stock: President Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

“Looking back into history, from the first encounter of Europeans
with Africans on our shores, we can’t find one single example of an
African – leader, community or nation – that was assailed by the
nations of European stock and survived! The Asantes held the British
at bay over seven 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 beef, and
dousing it in a barrel of acid to obliterate the evidence.

Today, the descendants of the same people come to us as preachers of
human rights, democracy and good governance. 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… And behaving to type, for the past 10 years …
President Mugabe has been under a continuous assault by the nations
of European stock. And as they did to Nkrumah’s Ghana, they have
deliberately engineered an artificial credit crunch in Zimbabwe,
cutting the country off from the international financial system for
8 years now, and thereby inducing an economic implosion and an
inflation rate the likes of which 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 scrapbook 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 BBC1 documentary broadcast on 24 June 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.’ “All told, with high inflation, an economy on its
knees, and an electorate justifiably voting with their stomachs or
‘stoning the leadership’ as the late Robin Cook had warned would
happen, 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 nonetheless become the very first black 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

Holman ahoy
Michael Holman has the answer: “It is time for Western governments
to admit defeat, swallow their pride, re-engage in Zimbabwe, and do
business with Robert Mugabe… [It is time] to acknowledge an
uncomfortable truth: Mr Mugabe has won the battle for Zimbabwe.”
Well, it calls for celebration, Mr Obama. The West is responsible
for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade!
If not, Holman could not implore the West “to admit defeat” – for
what? Lying in bed? No, Mr Obama, Mugabe could “not have won the
battle for Zimbabwe” without having been engaged on the battlefield
by the West. That war for regime change destroyed the Zimbabwean

Today, Morgan Tsvangirai (Zimbabwe’s new prime minister), has been
telling anybody with ears to hear that inflation has been brought
down from a stultifying 500 billion per cent to 3 per cent in four
months. Let’s ask ourselves: How does one reduce inflation from 500
billion per cent to 3 per cent in four months? This can only be done
by the son of God, and for all we know Tsvangirai & Co are no sons
of God. Whatever they say, the truth (which some of us have been
writing about for the past 8 years) is that much of what has
happened in Zimbabwe since 2000 has been artificial and once you
remove that artificiality, everything comes back to normal – just
like that! It is not magic. It is common sense. Just imagine Gordon
Brown’s government in the UK, which has borrowed to its eyelids,
being barred from borrowing any more money, Britain would go to pot.
Imagine what the same policy will do to an African country dependent
on foreign assistance.

On 7 July, Prof Welshman Ncube (a former opposition stalwart and now
Zimbabwe’s trade and commerce minister) admitted at a conference in
London that “the sanctions regime” in Zimbabwe goes beyond the
“travel bans and assets freeze” fed to the world by Western
governments and their media. “The “Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic
Recovery Act [passed by the US] is not about travel bans… Economic
sanctions were imposed even on industries some of which are under my
ministry,” Ncube said. One day, Mugabe, like Nkrumah, will be
rehabilitated and those of us who stood with him in the fight for
African ownership, dignity and pride will share in the honour of his
magnificent victory so theatrically pronounced by Michael Holman. I
may be lying in my grave by then, but take it from me, nobody will
be able to take the honour away from the man who “has won the battle
for Zimbabwe” in the teeth of stiff opposition from the West.


Anonymous said...

Im glad to have another side of the story as opposed to the Western medias version.

Ka Fu Ka Ngombe said...

Baffour Ankomah,Sir,you are a true African, a truefull and magnificent writer.
People like you sir, help intelligent African youth to keep the struggle for the true liberation of Africa.
Keep up the wonderful work and may the ancestors support you always.