British arrogance on Zimbabwe is shocking

Publié le par hort

The major problem with the West is that they have never ever questioned their shocking and primitive behaviour in their dealings with the different peoples on this  planet. That is the major reason for their continued arrogance and ignorance. Hort

British arrogance on Zimbabwe is shocking
ancy Lovedale
June 14, 2010 

A RECENT House of Lords debate on Zimbabwe left a sour taste in my mouth. The Zimbabwean story is being told by a bunch of disgruntled and bitter former absentee landlords whose ancestors and generations of their fellow countrymen were responsible for the problems we endured in the country.

The debate of Thursday 10 June 2010 was one typical debate by Britain and shows its attempts at trying to rewrite the history of Zimbabwe and exonerate Britain from years of plunder and denigration of the majority black population in the country.These are the stories that make Zimbabweans, in particular, and black people, in general, particularly angry about Britain and its so-called "Great" empire.They have no iota of regret about the problems they have created in the African lands and today try to whitewash that history.

Lord Anthony St John of Bletso, a British peer, businessman and solicitor, who is one of the ninety hereditary peers who are at the centre of British political debate, opened up a different kind of debate, on "current developments in Zimbabwe" in the House of Lords. Masquerading as an expert on Zimbabwe, oft citing the flawed and discredited all-party Parliamentary group’s report, dubbed "Land in Zimbabwe: Past Mistakes and Future Prospects", he gave a flawed and arrogant account of Zimbabwe and where it is today. He also exposed British arrogance and lack of foresight and insight on the Zimbabwean situation. For someone educated at Universities of South Africa and Cape Town, you would expect him to know more; or to have sour grapes. We know the latter is true.

He started by paying respect to "the contributions of the late Lady Park of Monmouth and Lord Blaker, both of whom were ardent campaigners for democratisation and for human rights protection in Zimbabwe" - a precedent meant to place Zimbabwe in a wrong historical context; effectively starting the history of Zimbabwe in the late 1990s, and at a time when the British-sponsored puppet party, the Movement for Democratic Change, was put together.

He called Zimbabwe's past 10 years "a lost decade". Interestingly and ironically, this decade coincided with the formation and establishment of their much preferred MDC party, and the entrenchment of the "New Labour" party in British politics His version of the "background to the political and economic demise of the country" started in 1997 "as the IMF reform programme was being effectively implemented". The hereditary peer claimed that "the free market reforms resulted in a growth of the middle class in Zimbabwe, and wealth creation at the time effectively made Zanu-PF less relevant under its current system of patronage."

He claimed: "Furthermore, the so-called war vets were not benefiting from the reforms and growth, and they threatened to remove their support for President Robert Mugabe unless he helped them. The ensuing massive pay-outs of bonuses and allowances had a devastating effect on the fiscal deficit and effectively resulted in the freefall of the Zimbabwe dollar in 1997." "The war vets then carried on with their threats, which led to the calls for radical land reform. When Robert Mugabe lost the referendum in 2000, he blamed the white farmers for their support for the MDC. This led to rampant farm invasions, and that totally destroyed the fabric of the agricultural sector, which had for many years been the bread-basket of Africa."

This is his version of how Zimbabwe-Britain relations got sour. Nothing is further from the truth and this British attitude of trying to re-write the history of Zimbabwe and present that country as a saviour is what made relations sour in the past decade and put the two countries on a collision course. We have seen such arrogance repeated elsewhere in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other places where the British have poked their nose and left masses of people dead and countries ruined. Today, the Middle East would have been a different place had Britain not "poked its nose" and left inadvertently in 1948. Despite attempts at the opposite, we all know that "Great Britain" recognized the Jewish people's "right" to establish a "national home in Palestine". Yet they curtailed entry of Jewish refugees into Israel even after World War II. They split Palestine mandate into an Arab state which has become the modern day Jordan, and Israel.

Lord Anthony did not bother to discuss his country's Labour Party's reneging from Lancaster House obligations on land redistribution and Zimbabwe's reconstruction and how Britain has failed to responsibly handle the fallout from that move. He failed even to mention Claire Short's letter exonerating Britain from centuries of colonisation, plunder, murder and torture. Instead, he wants us to celebrate that Britain is a saviour. How can the killer of your father be your saviour? This is twisted morality!

Today Britain is battling with increasing numbers of "asylum seekers" from Zimbabwe and this is a problem brought by that country's mishandling of the Zimbabwean situation, and its unrepentant attitude and arrogance. Lord Anthony did not address why the war veterans marched in 1997, the year that the Labour government came into power. Zimbabwe had been independent for 17 years. Why did they not give President Mugabe an ultimatum before then or threaten white commercial farmers before then?

To say that "over the past decade the country has endured rampant inflation and critical food and fuel shortages" and not talk about a raft of sanctions imposed by Britain and the United States on a tiny landlocked country like Zimbabwe, is either sheer ignorance of a blatant attempt to misinform the public.

How could Zimbabwe, in one year (after New Labour came to power) be "hyper inflating and have a 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar note worth barely £10?" as he says. Why were "the shops empty, farms unproductive, the population ... starving with more than 90 per cent unemployment, and the president’s popularity ... at rock bottom" as Lord Anthony put it? And did Britain not have a hand in this?

Lord Anthony also attributes the "progress" in the Zimbabwean economy to "the appointment of Tendai Biti, the Finance Minister from the MDC, in 2009, the legalisation of the multi-currency system and the scrapping of the Zimbabwe dollar" as having ended Zimbabwe's economic, political and social woes. This is an insult to our intelligence and an attempt to undermine the very literate people of Zimbabwe. This is arrogance and misinformation. Tendai Biti has done nothing but inherit a Zanu-PF blueprint - an economic document (Budget) that was written by then Acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa. Biti did not introduce multi-currencies. Chinamasa did. Biti and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai did not bring any aid to Zimbabwe and they spend time plotting the overthrow of President Mugabe. We see, every now and then, PM Tsvangirai and his useless trips to the West coming back home empty handed, except for a "few scraps from the table" and many human rights and undeserved academic awards.

"Thanks to the support from NGOs and Governments around the world, humanitarian aid has been extended to schools and hospitals, as government revenues could not possibly sustain such an expense," writes Lord Anthony, a peer elected by fellow peers to the House of Lords. "The result is that schools and hospitals are now all open and there is clean running water in most of the hospitals." What Lord Anthony, subliminally, is saying here is that: "Thank Britain for highlighting this success. We will not let the world hate Britain, therefore our public diplomatic approach has to be one of presenting us as saints and saviours, rather than colonisers. Let's stop the sanctions debate and focus on toppling Robert Mugabe."

His version of "land invasions" does not start with the land history of Zimbabwe which started in the early 1890s, but with the Zimbabwean Fast Track Land Reform Programme of 2000. This is not surprising. This was the only time that the white man suffered in Africa. He also lets the cat out of the bag by saying, "Many farmers are now returning to the land having done deals with the so-called new owners." Perhaps he would care to tell us who these "white farmers" are, and why they are illegally going back to those farms. And why is Britain celebrating a violation of Zimbabwe's land reform laws?

"Seed/maize production has trebled in the past year. The goldmines have reopened and investment is now starting to come back into improving the infrastructure. Of course, one of the major problems facing the goldmines is the lack of power. However, slowly but surely investment is trickling back into the mining sector," says "the British lord" ignoring Tendai Biti's claim that Zimbabwe is on its own. Does the "great lord" read about Zimbabwe, or he has his own version of events in the country?

He arrogantly calls the economic and indigenisation programme that sought to redress what his ancestors made wrong a "political gamut" and wants "South Africa (to exert) enough pressure to bring about meaningful change in Zimbabwe." Why should South Africa right what Britain did wrong? It is not Cde Thabo Mbeki's or Cde Jacob Zuma's role to right Britain's wrongs. In fact, these two men's roles have shown how African diplomacy can triumph in the face of western criticism and western pressure. They have overcome Britain and America's attempts and scuttling political progress in Zimbabwe.

He also claims that the "drafting of the new constitution ... will ensure the success of the GPA" and that "the hardliners are doing everything they can to frustrate the process through using the Attorney-General, the police or the Army, but it is only a handful of hardliners who are causing the problems." Nothing is further from the truth. The inclusive Government has made significant progress already; in a shorter time than did his country with Northern Ireland, if it ever did. Zimbabweans have shown a propensity to work together and forget past acrimony larger than that we have seen anywhere in the world.

Such misinformation is the reason why Britain continues to have diplomatic clashes with Zimbabwe and why relations have been frostier than even during colonial times. The British obsession with the MDC as representing the future of Zimbabwe is astounding. Like Tony Blair, the MDC was once the future, it is not anymore. It has proved to be corruptible and not "holier than thou".

For the British peer to say, "The most recent obstacle to change was ... the gazetting of the indigenisation regulations that effectively stopped the economy in its tracks" is ignorant and an attempt to rewrite of our history and denigration of our struggle as black people. It is an attack on our right to be independent and to self-determine. By lying that "An attempt was made to force all foreign companies to hand over 50 per cent of their equity to local Zimbabweans" the British lord is trying to derail a process that seeks to empower black people, and his rhetoric should never be allowed to reach the mindsets of our people. Unfortunately, his rhetoric is believed and swallowed hook-line-and-sinker by our journalists who publish the falsehoods, in respect of the crumbling "British empire".

In a very patronising way, Lord Anthony writes that the British "are all in favour of black empowerment but the indigenisation programme was clearly ... more of a political tool (and that) it (is) seen as an election winner (and that) it has backfired and ... has negatively affected Zimbabwe-owned businesses trying to raise capital". Who told him that? I wonder what news he reads and where on earth he gets his ideas from. He lies between his teeth: "The regulations are currently being revised, as the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, declared them null and void as they had not gone through Cabinet." What powers does Mr Tsvangirai have to do that? How does he nullify and void something that needs Cabinet approval? The British lord, for a lawyer, is demonstrating pure ignorance about the constitutional processes in Zimbabwe.

What "economic achievements in Zimbabwe since February last year" is this man talking about? Does he know the plight of the rural and urban poor and how dollarisation is slowly killing small business and wreaking havoc to rural businesses? When he says "there is unlikely to be any meaningful change until President Robert Mugabe leaves office" what change exactly is he talking about and who determines change in Zimbabwe? Maybe he should tell the world that "there is unlikely to be meaningful change in Britain until hereditary peers are abolished." That is exactly what the British people want to hear, not words that put Britain on a collision course with Zimbabwe. Britons are concerned by the growing numbers of asylum seekers in that country, and it is such arrogance that is responsible for bloating those numbers. If this is the thinking in British parliament, why are they denying the fact that they seek "regime change" in Zimbabwe?

And who told this peer that "At the age of 86, (President Mugabe's) health (is) deteriorating, especially in the past few months"? Now he is a medical doctor and a lawyer? He also has the audacity to say "it is conceivable that one of his main reasons for not wanting to step down is the fear that he may be charged by the International Court of Justice for the abuses dating back to the Gukurahundi massacre of the Matabele way back in 1982". What does he know about that era? Why does he not talk about 50,000 blacks who perished at Chimoio and Nyadzonia at the hands of his ancestors? Why does he equate the Zimbabwean situation with "the arrest of Charles Taylor in Liberia a few years ago". In any case, the British leadership and their colonial leaders should go first before the ICJ and the International Criminal Court for killing millions of black and Arab peoples on the African continent and in the Middle East over "dodgy dossiers", before anyone else can be tried. It should happen in historical stages, shouldn't it?

The British lord can plan "a smooth exit for Robert Mugabe from power within Zanu-PF, which would pave the way for a peaceful transition to allow for free and fair elections to be held in that country" as much as he likes. We know one thing: He is not Zimbabwean and will never decisively determine the course of events in that country. He is not a Zimbabwean taxpayer, nor a Zimbabwean voter. The "smooth exit" of President Mugabe will be determined, not planned, by Zimbabweans; just like the British rejected and ejected Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's New Labour party.

What the British lord tries to mask as "proactive pressure" is a return of black sacred land to whites. That will never be tolerated by patriotic Zimbabweans. He can continue on his deluded trajectory and make such ignorant claims like "hyperinflation spelt the end for Zanu as well as Robert Mugabe". He should be told that Zanu does not exist anymore, but Zanu-PF is still very much part and parcel of the political fabric of Zimbabwe and is on the rise again after discovering the hidden tactic of the British.

Lord Anthony is right though to say that "In the past decade, Africa has been the second fastest growing region in the world, with GDP growth of 4.7 per cent. Between 1997 and 2008, GDP grew from $327 billion to $1.6 trillion." Fortunately, Britain cannot influence that success story. Britain's influence in that region, ironically and fortunately, has deteriorated in that decade and so has MDC's in Zimbabwe. Ironically, the hereditary peer is also right when he says, "I believe that the time has now come for change. I believe that there should be African solutions to African problems. A successful Zimbabwe further undermines the hardliners." Indeed Britain is a hardliner, and Zimbabwe's leadership has undermined those British hardliners and their influence on the world stage. Who would have thought that, given the colonial link between Zimbabwe and Britain, that country would be so disconnected from politics in Zimbabwe and have waning influence in its socio-political and economic future?

Probably President Mugabe was right in saying Gordon Brown is "a tiny dot in the world". Before we know it, Britain as a whole will be a "tiny dot" in Africa, as China and South East Asian countries change the course of events in the world, and modify global pwer relations. This is inevitable and Britain might just become an unwilling spectator, considering that the last Queen's Speech never mentioned Africa or her beloved "Rhodesia".

Zimbabwe: Seeing Through American Sheepskins

bi Egbuna
25 May 2010

On May 10, 2010 the National Democratic Institute presented Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with the annual Averell Harriman Democracy Award. Recipients of this honour must meet the following criteria: sustained commitment, moral integrity, and engagement in the political process and recognised efforts that require solidarity. Candidates should represent larger political movements and lastly must be connected to NDI's work.

PM Tsvangirai received the award from former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who currently serves as NDI's chairperson, which provides her a platform to exert significant political influence as a private citizen. Before presenting PM Tsvangirai with the award, Albright described him as a "courageous democratic leader of our time". In his remarks, Prime Minister Tsvangirai said: "As African leaders we must end the conspiracy of silence that has allowed repression to continue unchecked." The premier went on to say that, "the reality is that thousands of Zimbabweans have suffered ever worse hardships in our struggle for a free society and dignity, and these Zimbabweans remain committed and determined to continue the peaceful fight until our country is truly democratic".

While PM Tsvangirai might be basking in the glory of receiving the honour, it is critical to determine the persona behind the award, Harriman. If the Prime Minister and his staff had done even casual research, they would have discovered that, in addition to being Secretary of Commerce under the Truman administration, Harriman was a Senior Partner of the banking business that financed Hitler and the Nazi Party in its early days.

The name of the business was called Brown Brothers Harriman & Co and served as the monetary pipeline to Hitler.It was arranged by Fritz Thyssen along with George Herbert Walker and his son in law Prescott Bush, the father of 41st US President George H W Bush and grandfather of the 43rd US President George W Bush.There is a very naked irony in all this especially when earlier this decade, it was President Mugabe and Zanu-PF that were compared to Hitler and the Nazi Party because of the historic land reclamation programme.

Biographical information available on Herriman reveals that he belonged to two secret societies, Skull and Bones at Yale University and another one called the Knights of Phytias. Herriman even had close ties to Irving Brown, a CIA agent who was then in charge of the AFL-CIO's International Relations Division.

Another important point is that approximately 50 percent of the National Endowment for Democracy's funding, goes to the NDI's international division, the Centre for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute and the American Centre for Labour Solidarity. Because PM Tsvangirai has repeatedly stated that no Zimbabwean has a monopoly on patriotism, he should certainly understand the best way to determine one's character, is by the friends and enemies they make in their lifetime. In a word, PM is in for public scrutiny and his apparent blindness to the ugly side of Washington, which his acceptance of the supposed honourable award mirrors, is most unfortunate. This brings into question what were his motives for boycotting Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was in Zimbabwe for the annual International Trade Fair in Bulawayo, while appearing extremely cosy in the company of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or President Barrack Obama.

The fact Prime Minister Tsvangirai used his second Washington visit in less than a year, to present Roy Bennett as a liberator of Zimbabwe, shows a blatant disregard for our ancestors who shed countless drops of blood for Zimbabwe in particular and Africa in general to be truly sovereign, fighting against the likes of Bennett.If the Western media continue to take a sensationalist approach when discussing Bennett's court case, they are guilty of insulting and underestimating the intelligence of the international community. Any attempts by Western journalists to make President Mugabe and Zanu-PF anti-white and afraid of Bennett's "mass appeal" in Zimbabwe, are going to cause major embarrassment to the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC. As long as he yearns for the days of white privilege Bennett is his own worst enemy.

The members of MDC-T like Minister Sekai Holland who is in charge of their policy and ideology branch, should clearly understand that any attempt to portray Bennett in the same vein as whites like Timothy Stamps (President Mugabe's Health advisor), national hero Guy Clutton Brock or Father Michael Traber, is to tarnish Zimbabwe's rich history.

The US-EU alliance would love nothing more than to see Bennett sworn in as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, because it provides him a platform to sabotage the land reclamation programme. They hope this appointment will forever wipe Bennett's slate clean and his Rhodesian history.

Since the end of the Cold War, CIA assassinations of African leaders, and bloodthirsty coups staged by mercenaries on the US Government's payroll, are no longer viable options.What this means in relationship to Zimbabwe is that Washington must depend on its ace in the hole, the Council of Foreign Relations due to the political muscle and influence it has exerted on both the Democratic and Republican Party since it began in 1921.

While Washington functions from the understanding that it would be detrimental to make Zimbabwe or any African country front and centre of US Foreign policy especially under Obama's tenure, there is overwhelming evidence that the Council of Foreign Relations are extremely worried about President Mugabe and Zanu-PF. Their regime change agenda is well documented.

In October of 2007 while Michelle Gavin who currently runs the Africa desk of the National Security Council, was an adjunct fellow at CFR, she wrote a journal entitled "Planning for Post-Mugabe Independence." Other US officials, whose pro-Tsvangirai stance is hardly a secret, that are members of CFR include, General Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Ambassadors Johnnie Carson and Susan Rice and Congressman Donald Payne to name a few.

The CFR also extends membership to private corporations, and has among its ranks groups like Goldman Sachs Inc, Chevron Corporation, and the Exxon-Mobil Corporation. The CFR states their Africa programme has a special focus on Nigeria and South Africa because of their size and strategic importance. This explains why Obasanjo and Yar'Adua's arms were consistently bent on the Zimbabwe question, and why the US-EU alliance want to give the impression that they won President Zuma on Zimbabwe.

What President Mugabe and Zanu-PF have consistently conveyed to their citizens throughout the decade, is that they should never underestimate the international support the country enjoys for their cause as well as their courage and vision. It should be noted that Zimbabwe's foreign policy and support on the African continent have caused many sleepless nights to the individuals that President Obama depends on for insight and briefings and it appears many more lie ahead.

When President Mugabe announced the Look East Policy a few years ago and went on to receive an honorary degree in China, we can be assured US Foreign Policy experts like Madeline Albright turned back the clock, and remembered when W E B DuBois, at the age of 91, stood before Mao Tse Tung in Peking and said: "Turn from the West and your slavery and humiliation for the last 500 years and face the rising sun."

When President Ahmedinejad was in Zimbabwe voices in Washington trembled over the possibility of Zimbabwe's vast uranium reserves serving as a repository for a nuclear enrichment programme that will serve as a catalyst for world peace.This gives Africans the enthusiasm to use our fingertips and write in the sand death to Africom, and other attempts to continue to pollute our water and land with US bombs given American obsession with genocide and war. Africans were pleased to hear the Zanu-PF chairman unapologetically saying that Zimbabwe intends to use its diamonds for the purpose of busting the sanctions. One of the most disturbing trends in connection to hostile diplomacy towards Zimbabwe, are the attempts to exclude President Mugabe from forums, to discuss the country's challenges and future.

We recently saw Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara under attack for using connections with the Forum Of Young Global Leaders to ensure President Mugabe was part of a symposium entitled The Future of Zimbabwe alongside Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Mutambara himself. This demonstrates that Mutambara is committed to the pledge he made two years ago, that he would fight to ensure Zimbabwe had "One Flag, One Voice and One Vision".

Zimbabwe and Africa anxiously wait for PM Tsvangirai's denunciation of US-EU attempts to keep using MDC-T to sabotage the inclusive Government. When Prime Minister Tsvangirai stands next to President Mugabe in Zimbabwe, he talks of fighting to end sanctions, however when he comes to Washington he allows Zim's enemies to portray him as an angel surrounded by devils.

We recently saw Senators Kerry, Issakson and Feingold use Zimbabwe to practice a political version of the story the Three Musketeers by introducing legislation that is supposed to represent relaxed and flexible sanctions. The timing of this legislation comes on the heels of an appeal crafted by grass roots organisations, that uncompromisingly called for the lifting of US-EU sanctions once and for all.The new sanctions bill is a continuation of US imperialism trying to pull wool over the eyes of Africans worldwide committed to ending imperialism in all its guises.

If Washington decides to continue attempting to boost Tsvangirai's image, for the purpose of destroying the inclusive Government, their rhetoric purporting concern for the welfare of Zimbabweans will be met with due derision.


Publié dans contemporary africa

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