Friday, March 11, 2011

(HERALD) Ray now an MDC activist

Ray now an MDC activist
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 19:21

By Alexander Kanengoni
SENTIMENTS expressed by American ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray, in a letter to the Herald last Friday, that Zanu-PF should not have used the Government logo in an anti-sanctions advertisement that it flighted in the same paper were revealing.
But before I talk about whether Zanu-PF can or cannot use the Government logo in its public pronouncements, allow me to talk about diplomats, their mandate and their etiquette.

I don't believe it requires one to be an expert in such things to be able to talk about them, only enough seriousness and common sense.

It is said diplomats should not indulge in the internal affairs and politics of their host country. The remarks expressed by the American ambassador in his letter did the exact opposite.

His letter was a clear example of an ambassador exceeding his mandate

By pointing out what he perceived to be anomalous in the day to day operations of the inclusive Government in relation to the political parties that constitute it, the ambassador ceased to be a diplomat but a political activist, in this case, an MDC political activist.

If the American ambassador can go to the extent of raising his objection to the use of the Government logo by Zanu-PF then why should the MDC-T continue employing Nelson Chamisa as their spokesperson?

The ambassador has clearly usurped the function of the MDC-T spokesperson.
There are several ways of looking at that blatant breach of protocol, all of them unpleasant. There is the possibility that political developments have got to a point where there is no longer need to hide American intentions.

After all, the WikiLeaks have made it clear the Americans and the British are the handlers of the MDC. Like military commanders, they can just as well break cover and start directing the operations of the MDCs from the open. It seems they do not care much any longer.

But in all fairness, it is difficult to imagine the British or German or French ambassador falling to this level of political mediocrity, not that I like any of them. Diplomatic etiquette would not allow such kind of behaviour.

And yet they all look up to him as the Big Brother. It is an uncontested role that the Americans occupy in the politics of imperialism.

When Tony Blair saw that he had a problem on his hands regarding Zimbabwe, he rushed to the Americans for help and George W Bush, like a true Big Brother, obliged and instituted ZDERA.

What is Charles Ray doing to the diplomatic dignity of his European counterparts? One cannot run away from the temptation of looking at it from the perspective of colour, especially when one has the brutal colonial experience behind him like ourselves.
One of the major problems that we have always had with our former colonisers is that they still regard us as their subjects and juniors.

And the tragedy of being black worsens our predicament. Yet colour is one thing that we share with the American ambassador. I hope he understands and appreciates the dilemma and the humiliation that we have to endure because of it.

Charles Ray's grandparents were probably slaves. I can imagine the EU ambassadors reading Ray's letter and then looking the other way, covering their mouths with their hands, laughing at him.

Some people have such short memories. Perhaps it's the mouth-watering smell of the delicious food in the kitchen. Those out on the fields with their bowels growling of hunger will not forget so easily the suffering.

We should not be fooled by Europe's false magnanimity and supposed big heart and readiness to forgive. Three quarters of a century after WWII, they are still hunting down Nazis and prosecuting them.

Another thing could be the ambassador has lapses of memory and forgets he is American not Zimbabwean. Foreigners seem to find Zimbabwe's intoxicating beauty irresistible.
There are stories of ambassadors who, after the end of their tours of duty, decided to stay. There are other stories of ambassadors who, after they retired from the diplomatic service, came back to Zimbabwe and applied for citizenship.

There was an unmistakable conciliatory tone about Ambassador Ray's letter, as if he wanted to make peace with everyone. It seems the ambassador has plans for his future in the country.

Whether Zanu-PF should or should not use the government logo, is an issue that only Zimbabweans can debate. In fact, no one had raised the issue at all.

Ambassador Ray needs to understand that the inclusive Government was born out of the global political agreement that Zanu-PF, MDC-T and the MDC signed.

Working towards the removal of sanctions was a key undertaking that the signatories committed themselves to. To me, there is no conflict when Zanu-PF, as a signatory of the GPA that gave birth to the inclusive Government, uses the government logo to highlight to the general public a provision of the GPA.

It would be irregular if Zanu-PF used the government logo to make a pronouncement that breached one of the terms of the GPA.

The more I try to explain why there is no contradiction, the more I feel angry and frustrated because it is my fellow Zimbabweans whom I owe an explanation not the American ambassador.

Who is he to want an explanation on an issue that is totally Zimbabwean?

As far as the anti-sanctions campaign that President Mugabe launched last week is concerned, the American ambassador must be reminded that people of Zimbabwe have moved beyond the West and MDC's cheap politicking that there are no sanctions imposed against the country.

The one million or more people who gathered behind The Rainbow Towers for the occasion was a clear testimony of that.

By the way, there was no mention of it on CNN, BBC or our ambiguous friends, SABC. There was no mention of a gathering of more than a million people saying no to sanctions!

And yet when a handful political activists' argue at a township in one of the rural areas and the discussion degenerates into a fistfight, the same stations would make the little incident one of their top-stories.

Ambassador Ray's personal confusion is evident in the letter when he begins by claiming that there are no sanctions and then later on admitting that the Bretton Woods institutions stopped "lending Zimbabwe money long before there were sanctions". Which sanctions is he now talking about?

It's the same confusion with Tsvangirai. In one breath he is saying there are no sanctions and in the next, he is accusing Zanu-PF of not doing enough to have the sanctions removed.

Ambassador Ray must make a choice: to continue being a diplomat or become the MDC spokesperson. He cannot be both.

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