Tuesday, June 26, 2007
By Simon Khaya Moyo
THE article titled "How Fifa can score against Mugabe" by George Pieler and Jens Laurson which appeared in Business Day’s edition of June 14, 2007 refers. From the onset, it is not very difficult to realise that the two authors, like many others before them, are either thoroughly misinformed about the situation in and around Zimbabwe or fall into the category of opinionated journalists and academics whose motive is driven more by other factors than objective truth and facts.
Sir, your readership would surely benefit more from the latter. To most people, especially those in the developing world seized with post and neo-colonial agendas of these powerful western countries, Blair did not ". . . wash his hands off another African tragedy" and officially handed it to President Thabo Mbeki, as the authors of the article would want us to believe.
Instead, the truth which persons like the two authors and most of the sections of the media do not want to highlight is that Blair failed dismally in his agenda to effect "regime change" in Zimbabwe through unconstitutional means and should be grateful for the face saving measure presented by the President Thabo Mbeki-led Sadc initiative on Zimbabwe.
To a casual observer, Zimbabwe and Iraq are clear testimonies of glaring failures of one of Blair’s foreign policy objectives.
Having reneged on his country’s colonial obligations with impunity, Blair’s interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe created problems in that country and the British leader expected a "typical superpower bigoted" triumph in imposing his will on the people of Zimbabwe.
All the punishing economic sanctions, which the authors chronicled almost accurately, and the massive diplomatic and media offensive against Zimbabwe mounted and spearheaded by the UK, USA, Australia and their western allies were neither a love-token to that country nor an end in themselves.
The idea was to unseat an elected government through unconstitutional means and that was not successful.
The call by the two "saber-rattling" authors for Fifa sanctions on Zimbabwe is not only contrary to the principle of not mixing sport and politics which Fifa upholds, but also exposes their seemingly entrenched biases against the country.
It would be quite interesting to know that which is in the Fifa World Cup 2010 to be able to "hasten the demise of a government" and those economic benefits from the soccer showpiece capable of "propping up" the government of Zimbabwe?
This is not the first World Cup event.
Several countries have hosted it before with no recorded "phenomenal economic benefits" arising from the event.
It may not be proper to imagine those "economic benefits" simply because the event is being hosted by an African country.
In fact, let us not over-exaggerate the staging and hosting of these international sporting events.
Taken from another angle within the context of 2010 World Cup, Zimbabwe and other countries in the region may actually help to make the event even more successful.
If some of the thousands of players, fans, media and related personnel expected to descend on South Africa can be accommodated and accorded training facilities not only in Zimbabwe but also in other countries neighbouring the hosts, that would surely be good for the sport more than it would be to the Government of Zimbabwe.
While the 2010 World Cup undoubtedly brings with it a windfall to business especially those in the hospitality and related industries, there again should be caution on overplaying the suggested benefits.
Surely, if a few teams and fans are hosted in Zimbabwe for about 30 days or so, what is it really that they can bring to "give advantage" to a country which has survived tough western sanctions for the past eight or so years.
On the employment of Zimbabwean workers in the construction industry, unless the authors had another motive to put it in the way they did, there is completely nothing strange in them being paid in the local currency.
One cannot imagine any other currency other than the rand that can be legally used to remunerate those workers.
In the basic economic norms, the law of supply and demand would apply to the employment of those Zimbabweans.
Back to Blair. Having realised that his imaginations were a bit farfetched, Blair did the right thing, albeit belatedly, to leave an "African problem" to African people.
One hopes that having realised that he was the problem in Zimbabwe, Blair could perhaps also have learnt that sometimes "might is not right" and that "right is might."
If the media reports are anything to go by, within a period of two months President Thabo Mbeki is already reporting "progress" in his mediation efforts, something which Blair and company failed to achieve over a 10-year period.
Sir, I sincerely hope that some contributors to your respected paper would in future take time to put their facts together for the benefit of the readership.
l Cde Simon Khaya Moyo is Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa. He was responding to an article published in Business Day calling for Fifa sanctions against Zimbabwe.