Zimbabwe and the perception of ruin
Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
By Reason Wafawarova
June 19, 2008
THE current economic crisis and political instability bedevilling Zimbabwe continues to be portrayed as a direct sequel of the political shortcomings of one man, President Robert Mugabe, and we are all meant to solemnly believe that the mere removal of this one man will mean that Zimbabweans will live happily forever after.
The political complexity that has been created by Western interests in the affairs of Zimbabwe will continue to be relegated to obscurity by those who have chosen to bestow upon themselves the honour of apostleship to the now hysterical doctrine of regime change.
To many this political interest has been misconstrued as something emanating from the land reclamation era that started in 2000. In fact, the land reclamation programme only exacerbated the ruinous effect of the neo-colonialism resolve to maintain imperial supremacy over former colonies, in this case over Zimbabwe.
Las Casas, a 16th century Spanish writer, left in his will a telling statement about the long-term effect of colonial ruin – an effect that he reckoned would undoubtedly provoke divine powers to anger.
Said Casas: "I believe that because of these impious, criminal and ignominious deeds perpetrated so unjustly, tyrannically and barbarously, God will vent upon Spain His wrath and His fury, for nearly all of Spain has shared in the bloody wealth usurped at the cost of so much ruin and slaughter."
Casas was obviously condemning the very uncivilised conquest of Latin America by Spain – a conquest that was a result of six small but powerful European countries terrorising the rest of the world in the name of Western civilisation.
Britain decided to bloat its ego by calling themselves Great Britain despite their tiny geographical territorial space. They called themselves "great" because they had developed themselves into champions of expansionism.
Cecil John Rhodes was the British queen's foot soldier to Southern Africa and for his legacy he decided to name Zimbabwe after his own name, calling it Rhodesia. Rhodes and his British South African Company reduced Africans to a labour resource in their mining and farming enterprises that Britain saw as a legitimate expansion of its economy. Africa, just like Latin America and Asia, fought colonialism from a political front and this is what we have called the "fall of colonial empires". Colonial empires might have fallen politically but the reality facing the developing world today is that the West has not lost much of its usurped colonial wealth and they will do all in their power to make sure that this does not happen.
For Lancaster in 1979, it was not too much for Zimbabwean nationalists to ask to have our little region back as long as what they were asking for was limited to political power.
Now that the political power has been used to venture into the economic territory of imperial Britain, for better or for worse, we do see an ominous backlash where Britain is teaming up with her Western allies against Zimbabwe all in the in the name of an altruistic international community. The West and altruism have now become a contradiction in terms.
The weapon used to destroy the threatening political power in Zimbabwe has been the criminal sanctions against the masses of Zimbabwe, never mind the spurious argument that these sanctions are "targeted" at Government officials. This line of argument has just become a nauseating joke that annoys even the most avowed right-wingers.
It is obviously not enough for Britain and her allies to merely destroy the political power that has shaken the economic interest of the West in Zimbabwe. They inevitably need to fill up the gap. What is needed is to create a replacement political power centre that falls under the control of the imperial authority.
The legitimacy of this kind of political power centre cannot be seen to be founded in economic principles, just like liberation movements were largely pushed to be founded in ideologies that were free of economic influence.
Most of the liberation movements entered independence agreements that merely brokered an assurance that the new political leadership would not only co-exist with capitalist business owners but would actually ensure an employee-employer relationship between indigenous peoples and their former colonisers.
Many countries, Zimbabwe included; were applauded for "employment creation" initiatives that were in essence an abuse of cheap labour for maximised profiteering by Western multinational companies.
To make sure that the political leadership followed this route the West employed the tactic of foreign aid – ostensibly meant for "development enhancement" programmes. To this end, it was made to look perfectly normal for developing countries to rely on aid for rural development while they continued to top the global export indexes for their minerals and other raw resources.
Secondly, African politicians were tactically rewarded for compliance to this subtle campaign for economic supremacy. Such rewards would and still do come through such awards as Nobel Peace prize, honourary degrees, knighthood awards or foundation scholarships.
Those who have not lived up to the imperial expectations of the awarding authorities have in the past been demonised frantically and we have now seen a new trend of the "revoking" of these awards.
Those who have enjoyed the dishonour of being shining lights in looking after imperial wealth do not only continue to have more awards thrust upon them but also continue to receive wide-ranging media coverage as beacons of "democracy and human rights".
We have just seen a list of African personalities appearing on a list of signatures to a document that purports to be calling for "free and fair" electoral process ahead of the Zimbabwe June 27 election. Desmond Tutu of South Africa will never miss duty on such an assignment and at the rate John Sentamu of Uganda is going, he stands a fantastic chance of landing the Noble Peace prize right in the footsteps of the clearly obnoxious little bishop from down south.
The opposition MDC is meant to be a political replacement to Zanu-PF and not to be an alternative government for the people of Zimbabwe. An MDC-led government is meant to excel in proving to the world that African political power can only work in partnership with Western economic power.
The MDC wants to form the next government whose mandate would be to impress what they keep calling "the international community" – a euphemism for Western powers.
George W. Bush has just publicly said to Gordon Brown "We will help you get a free and fair election in Zimbabwe." Why does Brown need a free and fair election in Zimbabwe, or more precisely why does he need an election of whatever form in Zimbabwe? He is not even elected himself.
Britain, Australia and the US have all vowed to take Zimbabwe to the UN Security Council "should Mugabe emerge the winner" in the coming election. Effectively it now stands as a fact that a Morgan Tsvangirai loss is, by definition a result of an unfair and unfree election.
To the West this is a one-way election whose result is now cast in stone. Sadc and all observers are meant to descend on Zimbabwe and monitor a Morgan Tsvangirai win or they risk being labelled biased and less robust in the fight for democracy.
It is by design that the West staunchly supports the MDC's purported fight for democracy and human rights. That is the credo and platform upon which client regimes are founded these days. There is no client regime that preaches economic empowerment for indigenous people. They all preach freedom of speech, jobs, food and a whole spectrum of shiny packages of limitless freedoms and liberties.
To make the crusade for freedom legitimate Zimbabwe is unreservedly portrayed as a lawless country where the Government is killing its own people. MDC political activists can be as provocative as they wish because any arrest will, by assumption, be viewed as a violation of basic human rights. All that is happening in Zimbabwe right now is just a cycle of colonial ruin and what the MDC is seeking is not a "new Zimbabwe" but a restoration of Rhodesia.
Rhodesia was founded on Britain's impious, criminal and ignominious murders of 1890 and the MDC's "new Zimbabwe" is to be founded on the ruinous, profane and despicable sanctions that have been unleashed on the generality of Zimbabweans.
We were subjected to servitude by the power of gunpowder in 1890 and we are being forced into subordination by the ruthless power of economic sanctions in 2008.
Some among us collaborated with the enemy in 1890 and some among us are collaborating with the enemy today. The British interests over Zimbabwe have not changed. Zimbabwe must help make the small island of Britain stand as "Great Britain" by allowing British imperial authority to preside over the economic affairs of Zimbabwe.
What has changed is the warfare. Gone are the days of military conquest. Gone are the days of crude power politics. Now is the time for economic strangulation. Now is the time for stage-managed crusades for "democracy and human rights".
Britain wants its citizenry to continue to share the bloody wealth of Zimbabwe usurped at the cost of so much ruin and slaughter as we saw through the many lives that were massacred during the First and Second Chimurenga and the many more lives that have been claimed by the ruinous effect of the illegal sanctions currently imposed on Zimbabwe by Western allies. This cycle of colonial ruin cannot be allowed to continue. The economic war in Zimbabwe must be viewed for what it is. It is a blatantly ruthless war that cannot be wished away by the citing of a clique of corrupt officials and claiming that their moral shortcomings are the cause of the people's suffering.
They did it to Maurice Bishop of Grenada in 1979, they did it to the Sandinistas of Nicaragua again from 1979, they did it to Salvador Allende's Chile in 1973, they did it to Pathet Lao of Laos in 1958, they did it to the Vietnamese nationalist movement from 1961 to the mid-seventies and they are trying to do it to Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in 2008.
Those who cannot see this second phase of colonisation, which is packaged in client regimes for what it is are either clearly ignorant of the history of Western powers or simply romanticised by the glitters of Western supremacy.
In the past we were mesmerised by the supremacy of Western firepower and romanticised by the glitters of Western civilisation and we helped them accumulate our wealth with our tacit approval. Now we are being made to fight each other over idealistic limitless freedoms and liberties, while the West lines up lapdog politicians to maintain and exercise power over us so as to ensure that they enjoy control of our economic system.
It is rather a shame that we lost limbs and lives to free ourselves from political domination, but we cannot afford a night on an empty stomach to free ourselves from economic domination.
It is no wonder that those of us who survived the liberation war have a resolve that simply says Zimbabwe is not going anywhere.
Colonial ruin has revisited us and we need to accept the reality of the economic war in which we all find ourselves today. It is a war that cannot be fought by votes.
Votes are a peaceful expression of opinion and yet our peace has been taken away by the economic onslaught brought upon the country by the imperial gangsters. We did not vote from 1965 to 1980 because this was no time for votes but for waging a victory-oriented war that would bring us a peaceful environment where the vote would be our voice.
Is a vote that surrenders to sanctions something we should call the voice of a sovereign people? Can voting in of lackeys be called the genuine voice of a sovereign people?
Is it sensible when some among us say let people vote in imperialism if that is what they want? And how democratic is it to say the MDC-T has a right to come for political competition in the company of former oppressors? It is incumbent upon each Zimbabwean to reflect on where we have come from and help build Zimbabwe in a manner that leaves imperialists where they belong, and that is as far away from our resources as possible.
Zimbabwe we are one in our heritage and together we will overcome.