Wednesday, April 25, 2007
TANZANIAN Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Adadi Rajabu has hailed Sadc for the position it took on Zimbabwe last month. Mr Rajabu, who was speaking during the 43rd anniversary of the United Republic of Tanzania, also commended Sadc for the position it took on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Lesotho. The regional body last month held an extraordinary summit in the Tanzanian capital where it resolved to work out an economic package for Zimbabwe and appointed South African President Mr Thabo Mbeki to mediate between Zanu-PF and MDC.
"We humbly recognise and commend efforts by Sadc heads of state for convening the just-ended Extraordinary Summit in March 2007, in Dar es Salaam, for their intervention to review the current political, economic and security developments in the region with a view to coming up with the way forward particularly on the situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho, the DRC and the Republic of Zimbabwe.
"This was a clear testimony of how the region is concerned on the problems emanating in the entire region. We urge the international community to support these initiatives by Sadc," Mr Rajabu said.
He said Zimbabwe and Tanzania had a long history of solidarity and co-operation, dating back to the days of the liberation struggle. "The bond that joins us is deeper than words of gratitude can express," he said.
Ambassador Rajabu said while Zimbabwe and Tanzania enjoyed cordial political relations, a lot needed to be done in the areas of trade and economic development. "We need to do a lot more on economic and trade relations. Our co-operation should be complementary using comparative advantages which our countries have individually, to strengthen our economies," he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cde Reuben Marumahoko, said Zimbabwe remained indebted to Tanzania for the moral, political, diplomatic and material support received "during the darkest hour in our political history".
Cde Marumahoko said it was the unshakeable friendship and solidarity between the two countries which formed the bedrock of the current excellent bilateral relations.
The deputy minister also called for the promotion of trade between the two countries. "While political relations between Zimbabwe and Tanzania have grown from strength to strength over the years, much needs to be done in the economic sphere. There is scope for our respective business communities to forge viable linkages among themselves in a win-win situation under existing government-to-government arrangements," said Cde Marumahoko.
He said Zimbabwe would always work closely with Tanzania at regional, continental and international fora. "With regard to Sadc, we note with satisfaction the critical role Tanzania is playing in championing the interests of the region under its stewardship of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security," he said.
Solidarity vital to stem neo-colonialism
THIS is the first of a two-part series in which STEPHEN MPOFU looks at Western media onslaught on progressive states and the role of journalists in defending the national interest.
THE decision by Sadc leaders to stand by Zimbabwe in the bilateral dispute with Britain over the equalisation of land ownership between black and white Zimbabweans to correct colonial inequities that emanated from the wanton dispossession of the former, as a significant milestone in efforts to enhance regional unity.
Sadc’s solidarity with Zimbabwe that comes with a life line to rescue the country from the economic sanctions imposed by the west in retaliation over land reforms, is indeed, a sign of the dawn breaking in Sadc. This decision was a realisation that if Sadc countries stand together even the most intractable enemy will think twice before mounting an attack on any one of them. Leaders in the region have come to realise, and on time too, that if they are divided they will fall to the enemy one by one like dominoes.
Imperialists are specialists at scattering nations to isolate a targeted victim. They behave like a pride of marauding lions on a hunt.
What Sadc’s solidarity suggests is that anyone within Zimbabwe or outside it, who tries to sabotage the economic rescue package should be regarded as an enemy, not only of this country or Sadc but all African people, and should be handed his/her just deserts. And any other country or countries that hunt with the human predators and then cry copious crocodile tears with Zimbabweans should be exposed, denounced and reined in.
As Zimbabweans celebrate 27 years of their hard-won independence, they do so in high spirits, knowing that they belong in a community in which the security and prosperity of every member has become paramount. Zimbabwe has been subjected to a more vicious Western media campaign, apparently to try to soften it for an imperialist invasion and to warm up other countries for the attack. The media blitz should be viewed as a wake-up call to liberation movements in power to re-gird their waists for a protracted fightback by former colonial rulers.
When the Western-imported violence hit the country Commonwealth secretary-general Don Mckinnon, a New Zealander, wondered if a "squadron" should be dispatched to Zimbabwe.
His was not a metaphorical remark.
Encoded in that remark was a clear message that the war planes would re-enforce the effort of those trying to remove the Government by any quickest, albeit unorthodox, means.
It was in the same vein that Australia unashamedly announced that it had provided funds to the opposition in Zimbabwe for civil disobedience activities also intended to effect regime change.
It is possible the money could have come from ex-Rhodesians who ran away at independence and non-racialism and whose former glorious days in this country still haunt them like deranged spirits.
All the other African countries must also be on the same high alert if they boast any material possession that attracts covetous imperialists’ eye — if they are not already the ‘other’ of the capitalist west.
Perhaps the real shocker was the statement by South African president Thabo Mbeki that if the Zimbabwe Government succumbed to the so-called regime change, next in line would be South Africa, Namibia and Angola which are also encircled in red by imperialists for the same retrogressive change.
The four countries have one thing in common — they are ruled by former liberation movements: Zanu-PF, in Zimbabwe; the African National Congress, in South Africa; the South West African People’s Organisation in Namibia; and the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola.
Western Europe and North America branded all the four political parties terrorist organisations at the time they were executing the armed struggle in their respective countries.
Now in power they cease to be terrorist organisations but only as long as their countries submit to political manipulation and resource exploitation but if the leaders of their governments put their foot down hard, they reactivate the "terrorist" label that is kept latent by imperialists, like anthrax spores.
The message to revolutionary cadres in these four countries is that, at no time should they misinterpret a vicious dog’s smile for a friendly gesture and then lower their guard, which is precisely what the enemy looks out for.
Angola became independent in 1975 under the MPLA at the same time as Mozambique. Zanu-PF came to power in 1980; Namibia followed in 1990 under SWAPO; and South Africa in 1994 ending decades of apartheid rule introduced by Daniel Francois Malan in 1948 when the National Party came to power. After the attainment of independence in all those countries, imperialists remained suspiciously quiet, fearing a world backlash before mounting any regime change campaign.
If we look beyond the brighter to the darker side of the political watershed, it becomes clear that the regime change paranoia is all steeped in racism. When beauty queen Zimbabwe bares her vital statistics at the Commonwealth of former British colonies to protest her shoddy treatment by the club, we hear threats of war planes being rushed to silence Harare and effect "regime change".
On the other hand, when rebels bare their bosoms at her majesty, the queen, over no particular grievance, there is not the slightest hint of squadrons being rushed to Salisbury to tame the rebels and re-instate legality. On the contrary, a head of the Queen’s government declares that no British soldier will be sent to spill "white blood" in Rhodesia.
Now if this does not imply racism, what does?
And while apparently feeling poorer without Zimbabwe’s vital statistics, the Commonwealth is obviously livid at black storming out of it, while the head of the club, Britain, did nothing after the humiliation by the walk out by Ian Smith and his cronies from the Queen’s palace.
Of course, apart from mineral wealth and congenial climate — witness the Eastern Highlands as Zimbabwe’s own Switzerland — the controversial land and the treasures it embraces, imperialists clearly wish to use Zimbabwe’s strategic location as an observation tower over the region.
Remember imperialist Cecil John Rhodes’ worldview from the Matopos? That observation has not been lost on the West. After the whirlwind land reform exercise in Zimbabwe, following the refusal by Britain to compensate whites for land acquired for re-distribution, the Boers in South Africa and their imperialist allies abroad appear to have set land in South Africa as a trap door for the ANC government to hang itself should it make a wrong move.
It should also be remembered that South Africa, under apartheid, was a bastion of racism with whites running away from black rule and democracy elsewhere on the continent tramping Southward to reinforce fellow white oppressors in South Africa.
Among the crabs was a Western spy expelled from Zambia in 1980 for his nefarious activities while on his country’s diplomatic service there. The man later owned a "summer house" in South Africa, which he probably used to plant Western spies, and from which to monitor the "growth" of old "plants" further afield.
It is also possible that the spy informed on the activities of the ANC and of the Pan Africanist Congress both of which and himself were based in Lusaka, Zambia, to curry favours with the apartheid regime. In any case, South Africa has always been regarded in the West as "the First World country in the Third World".
So, obviously the whites in South Africa do not wish to have that first world status altered in any way by a black government. It was under that soft pedal policy that the government of Britain entered into a Simonstown Agreement with Pretoria which, as a colonial power in South West Africa, controlled the strategic naval base of Walvis Bay with some military heavyweights, travelling as far as the United States for briefings with their counterparts.
It was probably because of the close military association with the west that the Pretoria regime, while agreeing to quit Namibia which it ruled under a League of Nations agreement, did not at first yield under pressure to give up the Naval base as well.
It is suspected that the West fears that the East, which supported SWAPO during the liberation struggle in the former German territory might be granted carte blanche authority by the SWAPO government to administer the Naval base and possibly shut out Naval and other vessels from the West plying sea lanes around Africa getting anywhere near that base.
Before the ANC eventually came to power it and the PAC had also battled Hendrick Verwoerd, also a product of Zimbabwe — he went to Milton High School in Bulawayo — who shared notoriety as some of the most repressive rulers with Portuguese dictator, Antonio Salazaar.
Salazaar was succeeded by the military before the socialists rose to power under Dr Mario Soares who flagged off Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) and Portuguese West Africa (Angola) to their independence under FRELIMO and the MPLA, respectively. The story of Angola is one of mineral riches as is the case with Zimbabwe, on which the Capitalist world wants to feast.
Now should any of these other countries be thought to be about to offend the West by the manner in which they run their domestic affairs, the Western media will zero in on them, as the advance party of the imperialist hangman, to tie up nooses over any of the "culprits."
l Stephen Mpofu is a former Zimpapers editor who, in 1984, went to the University of Cambridge as a Nuffield Press Fellow and did research in International Relations.
Nigerian poll: West exposed
PRESIDENTIAL and legislative elections in Nigeria have come and gone, but what they left is widespread disappointment and more questions than answers. Central to the inquest is whether it is possible to speak of Zimbabwe and Nigeria's elections in the same breath? While we were not on the ground in Nigeria, reports of the loss of over 200 lives in poll-related violence, last-minute ballot printing, theft of ballot boxes at gunpoint and the failure to deliver them to some stations leave us with no doubt that the poll lacked credibility.
Even the outgoing president Olusegun Obasanjo, whose party ostensibly "won" the election expressed disappointment with the process, though he was surprisingly amenable to the outcome. But what surprises us even more is that while all observer missions have condemned the Nigerian process as a disgrace, the response from Western groups and governments has been quite muted when compared to the disgust from Nigerian and other developing world observer missions.
We, however, must emphasise from the outset, that we do not believe that Western countries have any right to bless or condemn any election on the continent, particularly when they do not disguise their contempt for African observers whom they do not even invite to their own countries.
But we would have thought the West, that always masquerades as a custodian of democracy, would join progressive observers in agitating for a rerun. The same goes for Obasanjo who was quick to join the Western bandwagon in condemning Zimbabwe’s 2002 presidential poll which can never be compared, by any stretch of the imagination, to the sham that occurred across Nigeria last week. This is not to say we do not know why US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair seem to have lost their voices where Nigeria is concerned. They have been benefiting a lot from Obasanjo’s penchant to export crude oil, and import refined petroleum products.
Obasanjo also served them well in their fight with Harare when he went against African Caribbean and Pacific voices in the Commonwealth that had recommended the lifting of Zimbabwe’s suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth’s gripes, we were made to believe, were over the way the 2002 elections had gone in Zimbabwe, which is also the EU's justification for its illegal sanctions. Today, we ask the same observers to hold the Zimbabwean process and the Nigerian poll to scrutiny, and tell the world whether they have the right to question the legitimacy of our own process. We ask, as a wronged people, betrayed both by Obasanjo and his peers what the recompense will be on Nigeria where 200 lives were lost and a key opponent only allowed to contest just a few hours before the election?
Today, Obasanjo who had hoped to leave the scene under the halo of plaudits, exits amid a cloud of shame, hoist by his own petard. Let the Nigerian experience be a lesson to all, it is not necessarily the credibility of a process that the West is interested in, but the malleability of the regime that determines the Western response. This is why we agree with President Mugabe that the only voices that matter are those of our brothers from the developing world, we advise Abuja to listen to their concerns. As for the Westerners, they can go hang.