Friday, September 04, 2009

(TALKZIMBABWE) Britain cannot lecture Zimbabwe on democracy

Britain cannot lecture Zimbabwe on democracy
Nyathi - Opinion
Fri, 04 Sep 2009 07:17:00 +0000

Senior Labour politician Tony Benn. He retired from Parliament in 2001 to "devote more time to politics" and he has since thrown himself into anti-war campaigning, all of which he has carefully chronicled.

DEAR EDITOR - I refer to a recent article in which you quoted senior Labour government Tony Benn. Mr Benn is the only establishment figure who has told the truth about the United Kingdom government's hypocrisy about lecturing Zimbabwe on democracy given that country's own record when it ruled Zimbabwe as a colony.

It is a known fact that the majority of Zimbabweans made many fake asylum claims about persecution in Zimbabwe. The fake Zimbabwean asylum seekers were aided in this charade by MDC-T which was providing fake MDC-T membership cards and support letters for a price.

The UK government is also guilty of encouraging this practice because it wanted to build evidence against Zimbabwe at the United Nations, so that it could put Zimbabwe under sanctions.

The most interesting observation is that the same people who faked their asylum claims and have now got legal status in the UK are making numerous trips back to Zimbabwe - the same country that persecuted them according to their lies.

Those Zimbabweans who lied and continue to lie about repression and lack of democracy in Zimbabwe know who they are. By their lies they relegated millions of Zimbabweans to their deaths and made millions more destitute.

The UK government also has to acknowledge its culpability for the sad events have unravelled in the country. It has to admit that it failed to deal with the Land Question adequately when it drew up the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979.

The UK government should also admit that it was wrong to turn a bilateral disagreement with Harare into an international dispute. It should also admit that the impasse between itself and Zimbabwe is mainly to do with the land reforms, its own vested interest in the Zimbabwean economy and the geo-political games the West is playing in the Sadc region against China.

For the UK government to step up on the podium and preach democracy to Zimbabwe is a bit much given the fact that the UK ruled Zimbabwe for almost a century and did not bother to address democracy or human rights issues during that period.

The Lancaster House Agreement only came about because the black Zimbabweans decided to engage in a protracted liberation struggle that made the country ungovernable. So to the ordinary Zimbabwean on the street, the UK government cannot preach the doctrine of democracy to Zimbabwe having utterly failed to bring it about in a century.

This is the hypocrisy Tony Benn is referring to and the majority of Zimbabweans are in total agreement with him. The only honourable thing the UK government should do is to remove the sanctions, revisit the Lancaster House Agreement and honour its commitments pledged then.

That country should also do the honourable thing by granting the failed asylum seekers from Zimbabwe the right to work legitimately and not treat them like criminals. Many Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers are destitute, some have developed mental health problems and others have been deskilled because of being denied the right to work for years.

The UK government is also incarcerating children from Zimbabwe in detention centres, which are basically prisons. This is inhuman and goes against the grain of upholding human rights and protection of vulnerable children.

Since the UK has played a very significant role in the implosion of the Zimbabwean economy (by imposing illegal sanctions against the country) that has forced its citizens to look for greener pastures elsewhere, it is only right that it assists those Zimbabweans in the UK.

It is now an open secret in Zimbabwe that the UK treats failed asylum seekers and deportees from Zimbabwe in a very inhuman way. When the same country then turns around and tells the ordinary Zimbabwean that it is fighting for his/her human rights, the resounding response to that is:

"What a load of codswallop and hypocrisy!" If the West had not deliberately destabilised Zimbabwe, the majority of Zimbabweans would have remained in Zimbabwe and would not have been forced to emigrate and resort to fabricating lies and tarnish the image of their country just to gain leave to remain in the UK. The truth has to be told.

*Nyathi is an acronym for the contributor who wrote this opinion piece.

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