Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sanctions against Zimbabwe

Sanctions against Zimbabwe
By Editor
Saturday July 05, 2008 [04:00]

IT is interesting to note that countries that consistently opposed sanctions against the racist white minority regime in Rhodesia are the ones today in the forefront of calling for sanctions against Zimbabwe. It is also the same countries that used to consistently oppose sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Their common argument those days used to be that sanctions are counterproductive and will end up just hurting the same people they are intended to serve.

And these are the same countries that opposed almost every progressive United Nations resolution on Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa. They opposed every attempt at the United Nations to isolate these racist regimes.

Why are they now calling for sanctions? Why are they today initiating all sorts of resolutions to isolate Zimbabwe? Is it because they have a new awakening, a new realisation, or a higher sense of justice has entered their hearts? Or is it simply a question of racism and double standards?

Is it because ZANU-PF, the party in power, is one of blacks while the opposition MDC which they are openly supporting and financing is a party where white people have more influence and are found in large numbers and can be said to be a party of the white Rhodesians whom they supported and defended before independence? Or is it just an issue of double standards that they have always practised?

Anyway, they always have puppets they can use. During the Smith regime, they used Abel Muzorewa in an alliance with the white minority regime. Today they have new Muzorewas to defend racist and imperialist interest in Zimbabwe.

It is also interesting to note that while they are asking the Zimbabwean government to allow Non-Governmental-Organisations to distribute relief food and other things, they are calling on their trans-national corporations to cease operations in that country or to stop doing business with Zimbabwe.

If the trans-national corporations were to pull out, this will certainly create additional hardships on the workers and the people of Zimbabwe in general.

Isn’t this a contradiction? In one breadth they want to save life and in another, they are taking measures that appear to be aimed at endangering or destroying it!

We do appreciate the fact that the leading European countries and the United States have for the last 10 years or so been demanding and pushing for a regime change in Zimbabwe. And they have done everything possible to see to it that this happens at any cost.

It is true that a lot of pressure has been put on African leaders to do for them what they would like done in Zimbabwe. And Africa has never been short of mercenaries, of leaders who can hire themselves out in the Muzorewa way, Kamuzu way, Mobutu way, Savimbi way and even in the Buthelezi way.

Let us not forget that during the liberation struggles in our region, leaders of this nature were the friends of these people, they courted them and praised them day and night as being progressive in their thinking and outlook. They never denounced their crimes.

And our leaders of that time were very intelligent individuals who never allowed imperialism to divide them. Nyerere, Kaunda, Masire and others never went around denouncing Kamuzu, Mobutu when they had every justifiable reason to do so. They had their own way of dealing with these issues and triumphed in their cause.

Today we have, among our leaders, individuals that feel so elated by western politicians and their media, praising them for hiring themselves out to imperialism and its schemes.

Before the last African Union Summit in Egypt, the United States, Britain and other European countries put immense pressure on African countries to denounce, isolate and expel Zimbabwe from the AU.

This failed. Instead of suspending or expelling Zimbabwe, the AU called for a government of national unity in that country.
This is a commendable resolution because every political formation should be aimed at producing maximum unity in the country.

Zimbabwe needs unity to be able to tackle the many challenges its people are facing today. But imperialism has never been a promoter of unity. It thrives on the old tactic of divide and rule.

Imperialism has divided the Arabs and today they are not able to do much with their billions of dollars earned from oil because of fragmentation and lack of unity. They are made to spend immense financial resources and energies on fighting each other.

Imperialism is fermenting divisions everywhere - in Serbia and Kosovo, the Russian Federation, in China, in Bolivia, and so on and so forth.

Some of the people being used by imperialism have no shame. Anyway, imperialism can only use shameless elements because people with shame, integrity, dignity and pride can never hire themselves from imperialism.

For instance, how can Raila Odinga talk about expelling Zimbabwe from the AU when his own very hands are dripping with blood? The number of people who died in Kenya under the protest led by his political party after that country’s contravesial elections is far more than those that have died in Zimbabwe in political violence since independence in 1980. Probably this is the way for Odinga to cleanse himself of the crimes of his party and supporters.

This is not to say political violence should be tolerated in any part of our continent. We saw the damage political violence causes to human beings in the 1990s in South Africa’s Kwazulu Natal, in Angola and Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt and many other countries on our continent.

No politics, ideology or even religion can justify such crimes. But we have to find solutions to these evils in a way that leaves our people more united than more divided.

The South Africans have shown us how to deal with political violence in the way they dealt with Kwazulu Natal and other parts of that country that had embraced a culture of violence. And probably this is what makes South African President Thabo Mbeki such a competent and able negotiator in the Zimbabwean political crisis.

The unity of our peoples and our countries is absolutely necessary. The problems being faced by Zimbabwe are in some way - albeit to a much lesser degree - common to most of our countries, regardless of political concepts, systems of government, philosophical convictions and religious beliefs. And we should all learn from it because the bells tolling on Zimbabwe may tomorrow toll on us.

The approach to these vital questions affecting us and the solutions we seek can and should be shared.

We should rise above local controversies that sometimes turn us into enemies because of old disputes or intrigues, ambitions or the machinations of imperialism. Generally speaking, all are the product of domination and colonial control that subjugated us for centuries. The abolition of violent conflicts among our peoples and between our countries should be a basic law of our states and an integral part of our struggle for universal peace.

We should struggle tenaciously to promote the closest possible unity among our countries. We must not allow anybody or anything to divide us.

We must use political formulas and negotiations to solve those problems which make us occasionally oppose each other. Let us form an indestructible battle line of peoples to demand recognition for our noble aspirations, our legitimate interests and our inalienable right to survive, both as African countries and as an inseparable part of mankind.

We have never been characterised by resigned submission or defeatism in the face of difficulties.

We have confronted complex, difficult situations over the past with unity, firmness and determination. Together we have striven and struggled and together, we have scored victories. In this same spirit and with this same determination, we must be ready to wage the most colossal, legitimate, worthy and necessary battle for our people’s lives and future.

And in dealing with the problems facing our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe, let’s use our own criteria, our own formula and not that dictated to us by imperialism. Let’s learn to see things with our own eyes; let’s learn to analyse things for ourselves and draw our own conclusions.

The call for sanctions against Zimbabwe should be opposed vigorously by all Africans. Imperialist formulas don’t work - they have failed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Latin America and Asia. Let us not deceive ourselves that they will work here. Only formulas that unite people will work here; imperialist methods divide people and they won’t work here.



At 6:01 PM , Blogger MrK said...

Hasn't anyone wondered that with all the 'development aid', Africa never develops?

Or why Zimbabwe is the first country since independence to have a successful land redistribution?

As long as we follow international corporate interests, development will never be in tune with what Africa needs, and always about what the IMF and World Bank's agenda of the day are.

And right now, their agenda is the western corporate takeover of Africa's natural resources from Africa's governments.

But imperialism has never been a promoter of unity.

Or democracy.

One big obstacle to unity in the face of economic imperialism, is that the interest of national elites too often do not coincide with the national interest or the interest of the people as a whole.

The MDC represents such an elite, which seeks to 'privatise' national companies, turn back land redistribution and reinforce the dogmatic prescriptions of the World Bank.

The only way I see that Africa's future is in the hands of it's people and not a small elite that can be manipulated by forces from outside, is to permanently decentralize power, decision making and budgeting away from the central government and toward local government, parliament and a civil serce that is professional and where advancement is based on merit, not political appointment. These branches of government should have more defined rights and obligations, and the way to do that is do it through a constitution.

Then, there is true economic independence. When Zambia trades more with neighboring economic centers in the DRC, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola and Mozambique than with the EU or US, it will be much less vulnerable to machinations coming from these countries, or other economic world events. There is security in producing for and buying from local markets, which also maximizes wealth creation and employment locally. Free Trade Zones should exist within regions, instead of being about throwing open fragile local economies to international corporate money.

It is the complicity of local elites that is the main facilitator of imperialism and neoliberalism in Africa. Without them, imperial powers would have to resort to invasion and permanent occupation, like in Iraq. And that is too costly even for the world's richest country.

Why isn't there a single Zambian party that vows to uphold the interest of the people, instead of chasing after foreign investment? Where is UNIP and where are it's ideals? If someone could update the socialist message with a more modern understanding of the economy and the actual possibilities of commerce and production to create wealth for the people, if they got their word out to the people, they would win any election.

At 6:02 PM , Blogger MrK said...

Ok, right now there is an effort in place to stir things up at UNIP. Let's hope something great comes out of it.


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