Monday, August 2, 2010

Does Mugabe really want the West to go hell?

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has come out guns blazing to declare that the West must go "to hell." This latest damnation of the United States, Britain and other western powers is as a result of what he alleges are attempts to dominate Africa (and Zimbabwe in particular) through systematic regime changing sanctions imposed on him and his colleauges in Zanu-PF.

News reports have it that this emotional outburst was spoken at the burial of his sister, Sabina Mugabe and triggered a walk out by US ambassador Charles Ray. Most of us are accustomed by now to these outbursts which know no platform and are uttered as easily at a political rally as they are at solemn occassions such as funerals. Here we were, thinking that a funeral is a time for intense grieving that often has close family members heart broken and shying away from eulogies, let alone political outbursts about "hell!"

What tends to confuse many though are the contradictory statements which often come out of the aged leader regarding the West. On some days, the West is told to go to hell, while on some, they are asked to remove the sanctions and engage with the coalition government of Zimbabwe. If the sanctions are a no-event, why should there be so much noise about them? If the West should go to hell, why woo back the Bretton Woods institutions, namely the World Bank and IMF, to help rescuscitate the economy? Why seek approval to export your diamonds from the international diamond trade watchdog, the Kimberly Process, if indeed you can go it alone? One senses that the critical West must go to hell, but the piggy bank carrying West is welcome.

Speaking of diamonds, another point that raises eyebrows stems from Mugabe's comments at the funeral about the rich diamond fields of Marange. These gems from Eastern Zimbabwe were recently granted export approval by the Kimberely Process, hence President Bob took the opportunity at the funeral to blast and warn those that are after "individual aggrandisement. " They were reminded that these diamonds which are set to contribute up to 25% of the world's supply, should benefit the nation and not individuals. Too little, too late, it seems, if we have to consider that massive looting has already been done by Zanu-PF's top brass, backed by a military that has not hesitated to take lives while stamping their authority on the area.

The result is that the warning fails to instill much confidence that the procceeds of the diamonds will catupult Zimbabwe back to its old position of being the wealthiest nation in Southern Africa. Just as with the gold and platinum deposits, as long as action is limited to rhetoric meant to only entertain the gallery, no proper development will take place. Instead, looting will continue rampantly. We will still see Hollywood style mansions worth millions of US dollars mushroom in the richer suburbs of Harare, while the ordinary man toils to survive. The Western powers are not saints, that is a fact, but it does not take away another fact, that the worst enemies of Zimbabwe are the selfish, power and money hungry sons of its own soil.

1 comment:

  1. When the Berlin Wall collapsed a Japanese intellectual named Fujiyama (?) predicted the end of history; but instead we are just at the beginnng of the agonising end of US hegemony.

    I dont support Mugabe but I am mindful of the fact that any western country subjected to the same debilitating sanctions and confiscation of international assets will willy-nilly go the "Zimbabwe way".

    That is the reason the US has a thousand military bases all over the world just in case...

    That is the reason Israel has long range missiles and nuclear weaposn whose range reach western Europe not its Arab neighbours... and I am sure the final confrontation will still be between Israel and Europe (and not Arab states) forget all the rhetoric and lies..

    Its intellectually dishonest to deny a man water supply and proclaim him a poor gardener.Or deny Cuba baking powder and claim they are poor at baking confectionaries. The whole moral high ground of western sanctions is marred by this ommission. The target is no longer Mugabe but every right bthinking black person in Africa. The moral intention is divorced from the causal action. hence we have a very mythical story of a regime that simply went about wrecking a beautiful country.

    The whole argument about Zimbabwean looters and mean evil men skillfully side steps the issue of economic strangulation of that country. It would be enlightening to hear those responsible for it openly justify the dearth they have caused. It would be a wondeful detterent but they dont have the courage of their convictions.

    The western world has punished Zimbabwe and rightfully so but its dishonest not to see the overall picture. Ian Smith was responsible for far more inhuman atrocities than Bob but was never subjected to the same level of devastating sanctions. I dont support life time dictatorships but I cant help thinking the whole punitive sanctions were precipitated by the illegal takeover of white farm lands. And in just a 100 years ago one John Cecil Rhodes stole an entire country using a fake Rudd concession document. I am not sure whether a hundred years makes theft good and right. I certainly dont agree with and condone the war veterans recent theft of land but I am suspicious about a simple black and white Mugabe-evil version of a complex history where both sides have committed big wrongs. The story is so decontextualised that the angel of retribution sent by God has changed into the angel from hell sent by the devil.

    The whole thing is based on the premise that black people dont think for themselves and that any version that pleases the western view point is correct. Its a complex world and there no cut-and-dried characters.

    You have discussed a complex story with simplistic innocence and I am sure the west loves you for it.


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