Zimbabwe election - a defeat for imperialism

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By Ben J. Hanson
Thursday, 17 January 2002

What's his crime?

It may not be an exaggeration to say that after Osama bin Laden and President Saddam Hussein, our President Mugabe is next on the West's most wanted list.

As Zimbabweans we should ask ourselves what our president has done to earn himself this dubious status.

It cannot be for the fact that he has been in power for over 20 years; there have been other African and European leaders who exceeded that period in office, and still remained the darlings of the West.

It certainly cannot be that he is a dictator. Those who say he is a dictator and bracket him with the likes of the late Kamuzu Banda, Idi Amin and Hitler know they are merely name calling. If he were a dictator, they would not be around to vilify him, at least not from within these borders.

If, as some say, the Constitution gives him too much power, we should not forget that the final document was largely constructed and finally approved by none other than the British themselves. In any case, political power is not the only form of power in any given state.

Economic power often overshadows political power. That is why, in many countries, business tycoons often control the presidents/prime ministers and wield more power and influence than they do.

And in others, as in some Islamic countries, the religious leaders are more powerful than the head of state. So, when we talk of too much power, and mouth the clich "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely", let us remember that this adage is equally applicable to the other sub-systems of society as well.

It cannot be for so-called human rights abuses. If we reflect honestly and soberly on the situation which was growing in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces, even those who lost loved ones will admit that the short, though painfully sharp operation, was preferable to the Mozambican, Angolan, Liberian or Sierra Leonean protracted blood baths.

Lest we forget: Dr Alfonso Dhlakama, the former Renamo chief, is now leader of the opposition in Mozambique (and likely to be the next president). Dr Savimbi voluntarily surrendered his position as vice-president of Angola after democratic elections.

He went back to the bush to continue the slaughter and maiming of his own people so that the West may continue to get cheap resources and keep the region destabilised.

Despite their deeply blood-stained hands neither of those two butchers is being hounded by the West or even being vilified by those in Zimbabwe who are baying for Mugabe's blood.

Some say it is because of the Land Reform Programme. At first it was thought to be a gimmick. Now nearly everyone admits that the land reform was long overdue and morally just.

However, there are still those who contend that the exercise was not executed in the right way: either according to the rule of law with compensation to the whites, or through the willing-seller, willing-buyer arrangement.

Yet none of the commercial farmers has been totally deprived of the farm he was using. But even for those of the whites who believe they have been unfairly dealt with, they are still much better off than most farmers in the UK and Europe. Even 250 ha would be a very large farm by most of European standards.

But I will not go down that road. Suffice it to say that since Christopher Columbus and other European explorers began seizing the lands of the indigenous peoples all over the world in the name of their European monarchs, never have any of those people been able to reclaim their birthrights.

They have failed both by force of arms as well as in the white man's courts of law! So, in respect of the land, what crime has our President committed; why some of us, urged on by the Western nations, want to get rid of him, dead of alive?

If you agree with me that none of the above accusations is serious enough to warrant that belligerent stance and hatred of the West and Mugabe's local detractors, what then could be his real crime?

Now let us shift focus from President Mugabe to the Western powers. What do I think is their real reason for wanting him out of office dead or alive?

First is the geopolitical significance of the successful reclamation of our land from the despoilers. We should endeavour to distinguish between land reclamation and agrarian reform. As I argued earlier, no one disputes the need for equitable redistribution of our land.

However, what the Europeans dread is the domino effect our success in reclaiming our heritage will have in other parts of the world where other peoples have been clamouring for the return of their land! In this region, South Africa and Namibia would be the first to emulate us sooner rather than later, in spite of what President Mbeki may try to do.

Second, the need for constant supply of energy to maintain the "civilisation" and lifestyle of the West is crucial to them. If we look at their position from this perspective, we will begin to understand the worldwide aggressiveness and machinations of the US and Britain in particular in the second half of the 20th century.

Through such world bodies as the World Trade Organisation, the IMF, donor agencies and the World Bank, they have threatened and coerced the poor countries into positions of growing economic and political weakness and dependency.

And under pretexts such as democracy, good governance, transparency and the rule of law, they have gained apparently non-objectionable control over the internal affairs of these poor countries as well as of many middle-income ones.

It was the hope of the West that in this region South Africa would remain in white hands indefinitely.

Thus it could have been relied upon, and from time to time be helped, to control the surrounding countries so that their energy resources could keep on being fed into the Western energy grid system.

When Zimbabwe was born out of the demise of Rhodesia, it became evident even to the most intransigent Westerner that apartheid South Africa's fall was inevitable.

Contingency plans were quickly drawn up. Britain was to lure Mozambique into the Commonwealth, South Africa would be re-admitted, Namibia would be welcome. Perhaps, under new leadership, Angola could also be accommodated in the Commonwealth.

Thus at one fell swoop the whole of Southern Africa, i.e. the Sadc region, would fall under the influence of Britain. But since Britain and the US are extremely close allies and Britain is part of the European Union, which includes Portugal and Belgium, then in fact the entire region would be in the hands of the West.

Thus effectively all our energies, human, minerals and vegetation from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa, would be at the disposal of the West.

A portion of the plan was already in place when a new conflict erupted in Zaire (formerly Belgian Congo). Already from the mid-1990s Mozambique, Zambia and the Congo region were beginning to be recolonised demographically. Groups of South African, Namibian and Zimbabwean whites were moving into those countries, buying farms and establishing various forms of businesses.

In Mozambique, they went so far as to request that they be allowed to live in semi-autonomous enclaves, with their own institutions, such as schools and hospitals.

These groups of whites, whose loyalty would remain with their kith and kin rather than with the African majority, would thus be in strategic positions in the economies to control them, and to influence political decision while their presence would pose an ever-present excuse for outside intervention if their safety appeared threatened.

At the Berlin Conference of 1885, Africa was carved into spheres of influence. And we must remember that despite the political independence of all African countries now, they have been hoodwinked or coerced by pre-existing economic circumstances to remain in those established spheres of influence.

Under the implied understanding which has existed since 1885, one European power does not intervene in another's sphere of influence unless invited to do so. Any such action could be viewed as an attempt to upset the balance of power by encroaching on another's energy/power base.

Thus when trouble erupted in Commonwealth West Africa, the belligerents either fought to the bloody end (Liberia and Sierra Leone in the last decade of the 20th century), or a force such as ECOMOG composed of Commonwealth countries helped to sort things out. Similarly in Chad's civil war of the mid-80's intervention came only from other Francophone countries in the region.

However, when the conflict flared in Zaire after Laurent Kabila came to power, he could not call on his fellow states of the Belgian sphere, because they were the ones tasked to oust him. His crime was that he was a throw-back to the Lumumba era and had become a real threat to withdraw the energy sources in what he re-named the Democratic Republic of Congo, from the Belgian control. He had shown his hand too early by visiting and consulting with president Fidel Castro, M. Gaddafi and R. Mugabe. This was seen as a serious threat not to Belgium alone but to the entire European Union and the USA as well, which were all benefiting from pillaging the energy resources in the form of so-called strategic minerals, precious stones and timber in the DRC.

So, under the serious danger of being ousted and liquidated, Kabila sought help from the SADC of which his country was not a member. Mandela, perhaps realising the historic precedence such an intervention would set and the possible repercussions, stalled. Mugabe on the other hand, perhaps with clearer vision and/ or more daring, did the unthinkable - he crossed into a European Power's sphere of influence.

According to the thinking of the West, he had to be disciplined. He refused to come to heel when told to do so. The European Powers including the USA decided to break him by procrastinating in deploying a UN peace-keeping force into the DRC. They also blocked his access to funds through the IMF and the World bank. Thus they hoped to stretch the Zimbabwean economy to the breaking point and get Mugabe out of the DRC. They then approved the creation of a puppet Opposition party cleverly composed of Africans and whites in Zimbabwe which became their surrogate, parroting their concerns and condemnations. Such a party composed of confused Africans and whites determined to maintain their privileges and increase their influence would ensure that the Country would not, in the foreseeable future, cause anxiety or problems for the West.

I believe that the move into the DRC was Mugabe's real crime! I am suggesting that the British furore over the Land issue was and remains merely a convenient "red herring" to draw public opinion from the real issue of imminent energy deprivation which greatly worried the European Union, the USA and the UK. Of course land is crucial since it is the repository of energy resources, human, mineral and organic. It is also the space which people occupy as homeland. But in taking the land Mugabe had not done anything fundamentally wrong; only gone about in a manner the West did not like.

However, I surmise that Mugabe is the first and only African leader to realise (perhaps after the act) what he was really doing for the OAU: launching it on the final phase of its mission of truly liberating the continent and restoring to itself the right to use its energy resources for its own development. He would thus be handing to the fledging African Union(AU) a magnificently vital plank for accomplishing its goals in the 21st century.

And in reclaiming the Zimbabwean land, its true birthright, he is leading the war on two fronts. Wresting the land from the whites here, makes Zimbabweans the first group of indigenous people since Christopher Columbus and his successors started invading and grabbing land, to reclaim their birthright legally or extra-legally.

Let us admit that despite his age, Mugabe is the only outstandingly dynamic leader on the continent south of the Sahara. With a comprehensive view of global events, he is the most astute and consummate political strategist on the Continent. What is pathetic is that many Zimbabweans (and other Africans as well) lack that world view and in addition, are jealous of Mugabe's international status and stature. And so, like Cassius in Julius Ceasar they are plotting and saying: "why man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a colossus and we petty men walk between his legs and peep about to find ourselves dishonorable graves". Thus some justify their acts in trying to destroy him as was done to Lumumba and Nkrumah before him.

However, if he can survive what may even include attempts on his life and in the process unify the region from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Cape he would, by so doing, break the stranglehold of Britain, the USA, Portugal and Belgium on a very energy strategic area.

I doubt they will allow him to succeed. So far they have tried everything short of military intervention, and have lost to this master strategist. Even their assassination of his friend Kabila has not deterred Mugabe. Moreso, their scheme to install an EU-friendly President in power and the ANC-NNP marriage must be seen as a ploy to get many whites into positions they could not attain through normal political process. The goal remains the same control of our destinies and our resources. Those of us who love Africa and understand the real forces at work and the very fundamental issues being played out here and now, wish President Robert Mugabe, all the luck and all the success.

In concluding, I again invite you, dear reader, to ask yourself the question: Why are the European nations concentrating so much of their resources of all types on little Zimbabwe, in these desperate attempts to remove President Mugabe from office? It cannot be that they want to save Zimbabweans from a re-incarnated Hitler. Mr Robertson has ably expressed how most Europeans regard and love us!! If it is in their interests to have Mugabe removed, it must be in ours to keep him because their interests and ours can never be the same.

To my African brothers and sisters I say, with my fellow countryman Bob Marley "liberate yourselves from mental slavery, none but us can free our minds."

One love, One heart, One people in a truly Independent Zimbabwe!!

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