Thursday, December 11, 2008
Nancy Nyamhunga - Opinion
Wed, 10 Dec 2008 23:00:00 +0000
AFRICANS must refuse political solutions imposed from the West and must unite against any bullish behaviour. Africa is formally an independent continent (at least politically) and needs to use that leverage to repel any aggressive behaviour from erstwhile colonisers.
Western countries must give Africa a chance to find its feet, to find its identity, which were all lost during slavery and colonialism from the West. During these periods, mass genocides were committed on the African black native and have never been afforded the time to grieve. Neither has the West apologised for the misery.
It is therefore hypocritical for the same western countries to want to threaten the use of military force on a small, traumatised country like Zimbabwe, citing a duty to “liberate Zimbabweans”.
There will always be political conflicts and human rights abuses in Africa the same way they exist in the western world. Assaulting someone for holding different political views in Zimbabwe is the equivalent to UK criminalising a vulnerable asylum seeker by using attaching a surveillance chip on someone’s body and denying that person benefits and the right to work.
Whereas Africa, and Zimbabwe in particular, may blame the effects of the Liberation War for resorting to violence to resolve conflicts, the western world has no one to blame for its treatment of asylum seekers, most who may well be fleeing violence, a legacy which they brought and left in Africa.
The recent calls for military intervention in Zimbabwe must be taken in that context – that of perpetuating and sowing seeds of violence within the African minds.
The Western world is unanimous in calling for military action on non-European countries as a solution to conflicts, yet countries that are ruled by whites are prescribed diplomatic solutions.
Russia recently invaded Georgia and many lives were lost. No western country proposed use of military force against Russians, but instead, the French president shuttled between Paris and Russia in a diplomatic move to resolve the conflict.
When Ian Smith, declared UDI in Rhodesia, breaking away from Britain, military intervention was dismissed. The Lancaster House Agreement, held in Britain, was later to bring independence to Zimbabwe.
Israel blocks aid to Gaza, there is a severe humanitarian crisis in the region, yet we have not heard any calls for military action to solve that problem. In sharp contrast, we have seen the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, assuming the role of mediator between the Palestinians and Israel.
So why is it that the same diplomatic avenues have not been extended to Zimbabwe? It happened before when a white man ruled the country, why can it not happen now?
Consequences of military invasion
Any military action on Zimbabwe will result in mass genocide. Here is why.
The vote between Zanu PF and MDC was split almost equally in the March 2008 election. Already there are so much suppressed tensions simmering within the citizenry due to the deteriorating economic conditions. Zanu PF supporters blame MDC for campaigning for sanctions which they believe are the main cause for their misery. MDC supporters believe Zanu PF is to blame because of its mis-management of national affairs.
These suppressed emotions only need a trigger to be released.
If we put a military invasion by a foreign country, western for that matter, into the equation how does that play out? Not least to mention that the subtle declaration for war against Zimbabwe by western countries was made in the presence of MDC leader.
It will not be the bombs that will cause mass genocide in Zimbabwe; it will be Zanu PF and MDC supporters turning against each other, each blaming the other for the invasion. It will not be the elite political leadership of Zimbabwe who will die; those will be taken care of by their friends across the borders. It will be the ordinary person in Mabvuku, Magwegwe, who doesn’t even hold a passport and let alone have any other home to flee to. It is also this ordinary person who is not able to critic handed down information; relying solely on those they perceive to be well-informed. It is this very group that can easily fall victim to mob psychology and thereby likely to resort to violence.
In Iraq, it was not the US or UK bombs that caused the mass deaths of Iraqi civilians. It has been Iraqis themselves turning against each other, blaming each other for the invasion. Even when the foreign occupiers eventually leave, the Iraqis will continue to kill each other because seeds of hate have been planted within their society.
It will be the same in Zimbabwe. There is a time when we need to pull together as Zimbabweans, as Africans and reject poisonous solutions on our country and continent.
No matter how difficult it may seem, Africans must learn to talk and resolve their conflicts that way. It is the civilised way. It encourages love rather than hate.
Loving each other is the recipe for respect. With respect for each other, African conflicts will be minimized and more time and energy can then be channelled towards self-development and self–empowerment. Africa has huge deposits of minerals which can transform that continent into a powerful bloc. This can only be achieved by having an alert and vigilant leadership which stands for what is right for Africans, not to multi-national companies.
With this realisation of what a foreign, western–sanctioned military invasion is meant to achieve in African minds, Africans must have a unity of purpose to make sure the seed is not planted in the first place on any part of the continent. Otherwise Africa will forever be a continent of wars and conflicts, to the advantage of western countries that will jump in to exploit the conflicts and pillage all the raw minerals from the continent.
Nancy Nyamhunga writes from Leicested, UK