Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 21:40
There is no doubt that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai views his political career as the White man’s burden, not only financially, but also strategically, and even diplomatically.
A man who flies to Britain to plead with the imperial power’s Premier that he “must insist on the necessary reforms to create a conducive environment for free and fair elections and a lasting solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe,” might sound reasonable ordinarily, but talking to the British Premier about the political troubles of Zimbabwe is no ordinary matter.
This is because Britain is no ordinary observer in the mass suffering that has been caused by the murderous and illegal Western sanctions imposed upon us from the year 2001, indisputably at the instigation of the much hated war criminal Tony Blair, perpetuated to higher heights by the unassuming Gordon Brown, and now under the stewardship of well-polished but murderous David Cameron.
Stripped of Britain’s vilification and propaganda, Zimbabwe’s land reforms are the most heroic thing that ever happened to Africa in the first decade of the 21st century. Just about every controversy attributed to the land reforms has a genesis from either the BBC or 10 Downing Street — two institutions our own Prime Minister holds as centres of limpidity.
Morgan Tsvangirai’s marriage to Western politicians is a morganatic one — that ancient concept of a marriage to a female of lower rank, the offspring of which do not inherit the father’s rank, though otherwise legitimate. Ironically, the name Morgan may in a sense mean one too inferior to inherit one’s own father’s heritage. Of course Morgan also means brightness in other contexts.
Whatever can be born out of the MDC-T marriage to Western puppeteers will never assume equality with Western values — will never make Zimbabwe a little England, and will never make Tsvangirai a Western democrat, not in the very least.
Recently we were made to see a mordacious Western newsreader saying Morgan Tsvangirai “is not quite as astute as his European or American counterparts.” In short the man is foolish when compared to his masters.
This was after our ill-polished Prime Minister spiritedly outpaced German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a guard of honour inspection march, only to end up outdoing the soldiers at attention by comically bowing at them. Merkel did an about turn, noticed our bowing PM, scratched his back with a surprised face, and she pointed him towards the right direction where a saluting soldier waited, after which our PM again outpaced his host going back to where the ceremonial march had begun.
The newsreader further suggested that our Prime Minister must “learn to always allow his host to lead the way,” and also that “by now he should know the colours of his country’s flag.” This was after our heedless man again outpaced Merkel towards the podium, walking straight past the podium next to the Zimbabwean fag, and bouncingly stood right at the one next to the German flag, hands rubbing and ready to read out Merkel’s prepared German speech. Again Merkel had to scratch our PM on the shoulder and lead him back to the podium for Zimbabwe.
The newsreader completed it all by suggesting that someone must tell our PM that he needs to know when to let go whenever he finds himself holding a welcoming hand extended in a gesture of warm reception. This was after the PM simply stuck to the warm and tender hand of Angela Merkel unabated at the end of all proceedings.
The YouTube video clip titled “Ungroomed Tsvangirai Needs Merkel Hand-Holding” would be funny and perhaps less relevant, if only Zimbabwe was not a serious imitator of these Western etiquettes, something that now makes all of us so embarrassed.
What the PM did can be attributable to his personal mental slowness to an extent, but it is part of the contradictions in our world system as defined by borrowed reasoning we adopt from the former colonial masters. We inherited from Western colonisers educational systems that make us dumb, that train us how not to think.
We somehow believe we can borrow democracy from those whose minority rule over us we overturned.
Morgan Tsvangirai might be a blithering political puppet, but that is only at a superficial level. The man is just like most of us, victims of a Western welfare system that only keeps us poor, foreign aid that keep African countries in permanent states of poverty, and a borrowed mode of politics that makes us mere puppets.
Sadly, we even pursue certain religious establishments leading most of us to hell. Zimbabwe is currently striving hard to embrace Western values and strategies in drawing up an egalitarian Constitution that will maintain inequality among our people. We believe blissfully that we are catching up with the civilised world, by which we mean the Western world.
We have inherited a colonial system that projects itself right into our socio-economic structure, creating in us attitudes of negative self-perception and frustration. It is the very system that creates in us mental characteristics of criminality, corruption, civil conflicts, and such other problems as diagnosed by Western aid agencies, who ultimately come carrying this white man’s burden of the suffering African, helping themselves to us, rather than helping us. Today the suffering African child has become the gold of the multi-billion dollar charity industry.
Western donor agencies are not always the remedies to our perpetual problems in Africa. They are sometimes part of the system that creates and perpetuate these problems. Our post-colonial era in Africa is but a life of contradictions.
We have no identity except the slave identity left on us by the era of slavery and colonialism. We sometimes respond to Western domination by over-compensating our perceived inferiorities.
Our academics want to impress the Westerner as the best among all Africans — as capable of doing exactly what the Westerner can do — even trying hard to forget our own history in favour of that of the white man.
When we achieve in order to show the white folk that we can do it as good as they do, such a success is a mark of social sickness on the part of Africa. The continent cannot be emancipated on the premises of the wrong reason. We do not want to emancipate ourselves on the basis of imitating the life of the white man.
There is a reason we are different to those people, and we did not fight down colonialism to impress white people as their unsophisticated imitators.
Success to the African must be a total way of life. We must get caught up in the fear of failure, even become obsessive and compulsive about the success of Africa. We must never forget that imminent disaster is on our door-step and to us success must not only be a goal but a burden, not the Westerner’s burden but our own.
What are we trying to achieve when we insist that a son of a white woman and a black Kenyan man by the name Barack Obama is 100 percent black? Are we trying to prove to the white man that we have finally become as great as he is, and hope one day he acknowledges that a black president in the White House is as good as a white one?
Is our obsessive hang-up with the history of slavery and colonialism a collective defence mechanism, a means of dealing with our hurt pride? Is our obsession with the liberation war history and the apparent exaggeration of certain of our achievements a means by which we try to make up for our post-independence ineptness? Some of our liberators seem convinced that meaningful achievement ended with their contribution to the independence of Zimbabwe.
The ache of inferiority that smites the African does not even spare the continent’s political leadership — a leadership so pathetically determined to slip into the acceptance of white people at every imaginable cost. Some like South Africa’s Jacob Zuma and Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan eagerly embrace foolishness in order to be accepted by Western powers — and this is precisely how Libya was bombed down to ashes on the contrived merit of Africa’s endorsement.
We have a political leadership so foolishly convinced that we fought down Western colonial domination so we can be like the white people who once ruled over us.
That is precisely why our judges still wear ridiculous looking white hair wigs, why “Vic Falls” sounds to us a lot better than Mosi-a-Tunya, and for others why English is superior to any of our local languages.
Instead of aspiring to end up like liberated Africans we have a leadership so determined to make us look like white people — a leadership so immensely possessed by the very devil we fight against.
This is precisely the reason the indigenisation program is so unacceptable to Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T colleagues (excluding a few like Tendai Biti and
Nelson Chamisa). To these people indigenisation is nothing but a way of scaring the white investor, and we are told doing so will cause “isolation and continued vilification,” in Morgan Tsvangirai’s words. In this sense our empowerment is inferior to what the white man thinks of it.
In other words we would rather prefer to be accommodated and showered with praises for the foolishness of not claiming the right to our own resources than be “isolated and vilified” for reclaiming what belongs to us — the way we got isolated and vilified for repossessing our colonially stolen farmlands.
The white man comes to us after we dislodge his minority rule over us, and he tells us we are no good at majority rule, and all we can do is work so hard to show him he is right. That is why we have clamoured for Western funding by posturing as a people so desperate for a democracy we have never known.
Many of us found out when we broke into white main stream Western communities that there is just as much hell in there as there is back in Africa, if not surprisingly worse. Independence is not a matter of making it into the white dominated Western system, but a matter of interrogating that system in and of itself, being independent of its excesses and oppressiveness.
We cannot define our independence on the basis of bourgeoisie nationalism either — pumping ourselves up on the basis of the past glory of defeating colonial empires, and defining whoever so “unfortunate” not to have been born during the colonial era as nationalistically inferior.
The historical exclusion of those who were too young to have witnessed the liberation war of Zimbabwe is not a sign of some moral deficiency in national affairs on their part, just like having participated in the liberation of the country is not necessarily a certificate of superior patriotism.
We have to be very careful when we think the only thing our young people need is a lesson in the amazing glory of our heroic defeating of the colonial empire, a lesson in the evil of Ian Smith and his Rhodesians, a lesson in our own sense of morality and patriotism, so we can then shout voila!
We will need a lot more than knowledge, morality, values and aspiration to take full control of our own destiny as Africans. We will need to accept our own failures and apparent foolishness. We will need to start off by knowing that none but ourselves will make Africa a competitive economic power on this planet.
It cannot be the Western foreign investor headquartered in Europe, and neither can it be some Chinese investor headquartered in Beijing. It will have to be the African investor operating from the heart of Africa.
Africa we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!
* Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.