Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Obi Egbuna on the US Congressional Role in Destabilizing Zimbabwe

Africa mustn’t be fooled

From Obi Egbuna in WASHINGTON DC

THE United States Congress and Senate have drafted two concurrent resolutions on the political developments in Zimbabwe.

On March 26, the House of Representatives introduced House Concurrent Resolution 100 and on March 29, the Senate introduced the same document as Senate Resolution 25.

The resolution begins with the following words: "Condemning the recent violent actions of the Government of Zimbabwe against peaceful opposition activists and members of civil society."

In the Senate, the document was presented by presidential hopeful and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, while in Congress it was tabled by Congressman Tom Lantos of California, who is the current chairman on House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Obama had five co-sponsors in the Senate, most notably Senator John Kerry; and on the Congress side, Lantos had 31 co-sponsors, including seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus: Donald Payne, the chair of the CBC’s Africa Brain Trust, Diane Watson, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Diane Watson, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Chaka Fattah.

While a strong argument can be made that Zimbabweans are arguably the most politically astute Africans on the continent, which means they understand how their own brothers and sisters in such significant positions would help George W. Bush accomplish his misplaced mission to effect illegal regime change in Zimbabwe, this does not mean they will accept it lying down.

Within the last two months, there have been many debates in the African community within the US in relationship to Obama’s credentials and his genuine commitment to his own people’s struggles.

In the wake of his decision to submit this resolution, we now know where his loyalties lie.

He might have Kenyan blood running through his veins, but in a quest to make history in the US he is willing to let Zimbabweans starve, suffer or even die.

The CBC, because of the influence of Payne, appears 100 percent committed to attacking Bush on his policies on Iraq but giving him unconditional support in his quest to overthrow the Government of President Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF.

It is a known fact that throughout our history when a presidential election is approaching, there is an established code in our community that in order to prevent the Republicans from maintaining control of the White House, grassroots organisations are asked to ignore contradictions taking place within the Democratic Party.

When more Africans in the US become increasingly aware that Obama introduced this resolution on Zimbabwe in the Senate, many will try to convince the masses that he is simply being strategic; and if he gets in the White House, he will be in a position of power and with his love for his African heritage, he will do what is in the best interest of Zimbabwe.

We already know that elected officials who come from the ranks of our community have more of an allegiance to the Democrats than to their own people in the US, let alone the mother continent of Africa.

Obama’s more experienced colleagues in the CBC will stress to him this hypocrisy is essential to survival in mainstream politics.

At the grassroots level, we are going to have to apply the strategic recommendation of Malcolm X, where he said we must control the politics of our own communities. Therefore, since presidential hopeful Obama and the CBC stand by Bush on Zimbabwe, we must let our community know they are speaking for US Imperialism and not for us.

Obama and the CBC members in Congress probably feel they are politically superior to Sadc on Zimbabwe. I say so because it is not a coincidence that the resolutions spearheaded by Obama and Lantos were introduced in the same time frame that Sadc conducted its extraordinary summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, at the end of March.

Quoting Sadc, the Obama and Lantos concurrent resolution states: ". . . we believe the crisis has reached a point where Zimbabweans need to be assisted to find an urgent solution to the crisis that affects the entire region", and goes on to quote Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa as saying: ". . . quiet diplomacy has failed to solve the political chaos and economic meltdown in Zimbabwe".

Lantos and Obama’s resolution leaves out the most important points that Sadc made on Zimbabwe: the appeal for the lifting of all forms of sanctions on Zimbabwe; that Britain should honour its compensation obligations made at the Lancaster House Constitutional Conference; and the region’s solidarity with the Government and people of Zimbabwe.

If the Bush administration has resorted to quoting Sadc heads of state and government in its propaganda war against Zimbabwe, that means President Mugabe and Zanu-PF have scored yet another diplomatic victory against the siamese twins of Imperialism: Bush and Tony Blair.

The African world must look at these measures for what they are: attempts to prevent Zimbabwe from defending itself politically and undermining the foundation of its defence strategy.

The reference to the MDC as "peaceful" speaks volumes about what Lantos and Obama seek to accomplish as imperialist mouthpieces with this resolution — it seeks to dispel the notion that President Mugabe and Zanu-PF have no right to have national security measures in place even if Tsvangirai and his followers are using petrol bombs on innocent citizens and police stations.

One cannot overlook that all of a sudden Congressman Payne is planning a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe.

These are the same people who turned down President Mugabe’s offer to have them observe the presidential elections five years ago which Sadc endorsed as free and fair.

While the West is well aware of Zimbabwe’s ability to assist comrades and neighbours in need militarily as with Operation Sovereign Legitimacy in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sending troops to assist Frelimo defeat the Renamo insurgency in Mozambique, the whole purpose of bankrolling the MDC’s so-called Save Zimbabwe Campaign is to create and maintain anxiety and panic in the country.

We saw at the end of last year former Minister of Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo attempt to drag Gukurahundi into Parliament in the hope of fomenting tensions between the Ndebele and Shona-speaking people.

Our people throughout Africa and the Diaspora also must take into consideration that part of the propaganda efforts around Zimbabwe is to cause conflict within the ranks of the ruling Zanu-PF.

Why else would Western media allege that Vice President Joice Mujuru and her husband Retired General Solomon Mujuru are opposed to President Mugabe?

Why would books by Edgar Tekere, Fay Chung, the wife of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, and Enos Nkala’s posthumous project be published, and mooted at this point in Zimbabwe’s development?

The history of modern Africa shows no political party overwhelmed by its internal disputes can hold off Imperialist forces when they are openly gunning for confrontation. This is the main reason President Mugabe’s retirement is the main focus of Blair and Bush.

This is because as long as President Mugabe presides over Zimbabwe, he can teach the masses about all the dirty tricks the enemy uses and his ability to remain in power really has them befuddled and devoid of a concrete plan B.

The other consistent trend among all those who attack President Mugabe and Zanu-PF is that they haven’t been to Zimbabwe recently and have no correspondence with the Government whatsoever.

When President Mugabe comes to the United Nations General Assembly in September, no CBC member will meet with him.

The African representative of Amnesty International Kolawole Olaniyan, who recently begged Sadc to condemn Zimbabwe, has not held talks with any officials, so who provides him with the information on the alleged human rights violations he can’t stop taking about?

The executive secretary of the Southern African Trade Union Co-ordinating Council, Moses Kachima, just made an appeal to Sadc as well citing alleged abuses of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions members as a basis for the isolation of Zimbabwe.

Last week, the BBC reported that the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, one Pius Ncube, publicly stated that he and the MDC would form another government in Zimbabwe.

We are sure this was music to the ears of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

When these people discuss Sadc, they must not look at the structure and its diplomatic make-up in isolation from the fighting tradition these countries come out of. Then, and only then, will President Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe’s significance to the African revolution be understood in its proper historical context.

Whatever Zimbabwe must do to strengthen its national security in the face of neocolonial opposition, we support them every step of the way.

--The writer is a member of the US-based Pan African Liberation Organisation


Pan-African News Wire said...
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Pan-African News Wire said...

Zim land reform was inevitable, says Mbeki

Johannesburg, South Africa
06 April 2007 02:46

South African President Thabo Mbeki has said the land-reform programme in Zimbabwe had to happen to deal with the legacy of colonialism, South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) news reported on Friday

Mbeki said it was essential that new farmers in Zimbabwe be helped with necessities such as seed and ploughing implements. He was answering questions put to him by academics at the university of Dar es Salaam during a visit to Tanzania.

Zimbabwe's aggressive land-reform programme has led to the collapse of the country's economy and was believed to be one of the main reasons behind Zimbabwe's political crisis.

Mbeki was last week tasked by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to act as mediator to help solve the country's problems.

Meanwhile South Africa and Tanzania on Thursday signed various agreements aimed at increasing investment, the SABC reported.

The Tanzanian government called on South African investors to seize business opportunities there to help its economic development. South Africa was Tanzania's fifth largest investor.

South African exports increased from just over R1,5-billion in 2001 to about R2,7-billion last year. Tanzanian imports also rose from a mere R38-million six years ago to R308-million last year.

Speaking to the SABC, Tanzania's president Jakaya Kikwete said: "I appeal to South African investors to look at Tanzania as a prospective and lucrative investment destination".

Trade talks between the two countries included major projects in transport, energy, agriculture and manufacturing.

Mbeki said: "Apart from the impact that it should have on our two countries, it should serve as a specific example of what we mean when, in the context of Nepad [New Partnership for African Development], we talk about cooperation among ourselves and drawing on our own resources to effect the development of the African continent".

The two presidents have also agreed to waive visa requirements and a merchant shipping agreement was also in place.

Beyond the bilateral arrangements, the meeting paid particular attention to the two spatial development corridors linking several countries in the region.

The multibillion-rand projects, which several South African companies were involved in, were expected to unlock the region's economic potential, the SABC reported. - Sapa

Pan-African News Wire said...

Tsvangirai: Asset in imperial agenda

By Reason Wafawarova
Zimbabwe Herald

MANY people probably wonder why the West does not just reveal the real agenda behind its imperialist wars of aggression and the alleged fight for "freedom and democracy" in the Middle East, China, Cuba and Zimbabwe.

When Britain was a superpower in the 19th century it called its colonial intrigues, invasions and occupations of parts of the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia, the "Great Game".

It was a game it played with the lives of Aboriginal people of Australia, the African "natives" of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and many other states; a game played with the lives of Afghans, Iraqis and many of the people in the former Ottoman Empire today.

It reads as an entertaining game in European history books where one gets an impression of a captivating competition for the rulers of the 19th century superpowers as they vied for control of African, Asian and Middle Eastern resources.

Today the same Western powers, led by the Americans, have abandoned the virtue of honesty and hide behind the mask of advocating
"freedom, democracy and human rights," along with worn-out rhetoric of the so-called "war on terror."

History has never recorded any of the known imperialist powers as having embarked on any genuine humanitarian mission, let alone a moral one, all Western crusades have been contestable as guises for imperial gain from the colonial era, World War I and II, the formation of Israel, the invasion of Panama and Grenada, the 1991 Gulf War, the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the 2006 onslaught on Lebanon, the current meaningless provocations on Iran as well as the economic and political onslaught on Zimbabwe.

It is from this background that the recent admissions by the US government that it is sponsoring rebellion and anarchy in Zimbabwe under the guise of promoting human rights, democracy and freedom should be viewed.

One wonders if the Bush administration is attempting to posture as a pacifist regime, when it is sworn to violence. Most, clearly it is not, otherwise the deaths of 700 000 Iraqis and 3 000 US soldiers in Iraq would have given them more cause for concern than the sweeping away of Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC anarchists from the streets of Harare in Zimbabwe.

Not only has the US failed to show this concern, but it even went ahead and publicly declared its resolve to escalate the violence in Iraq by sending in more troops and giving additional funding to Shia militias who have accounted for most of the civilian deaths in Iraq.

In the eyes of the US, a snivelling lackey like Morgan Tsvangirai is a cause for more concern than a million lives lost in Iraq as "collateral" damage in the imperial agenda of stealing and controlling the oil resource.

Of course, Tsvangirai is an asset in the imperial agenda since he happens to be a willing poodle hailing from a country made up of land that is agriculturally fertile at the top and minerally rich beneath.

What Christopher Dell and Andrew Pocock have been assigned to do in Zimbabwe is the old "Great Game" and their failure would get them painted as modern mission men failing to live up to the exploits of 19th century task man; from an imperialist point of view.

This writer will briefly outline the history of imperial interventions in Afghanistan just to show how the Imperial Empire operates.

In the 19th century there was "entertaining" competition for control of the "Crossroads of Asia" between Great Britain and Russia.

In the Great Game, Britain scored first in 1836 when it invaded Afghanistan and installed a king loyal to its interests, just like the same British are trying to do in Zimbabwe with the help of the Americans.

Most of the Afghans outside Kabul loathed this king the way the rural people of Zimbabwe loath Tsvangirai, and the Afghans mobilised themselves and revolted against this poodle king as well as triumphantly driving out the British in 1842.

Not deterred, the British struck back in 1878 and re-invaded Afghanistan for the control of its resources and again they were booted out a few years later.

As the saying goes, the imperialist British stuck to their guns and tried it yet again in 1919. It was third time defeat in a row for the British as they once again fell to a determined Afghan leader who had resolved to follow the Moscow type of mordenisation after being inspired by the 1917 Russian revolution.

In 1973, Afghanistan had a palace coup and many Western type economic policies were introduced. In 1978 a clique of Stalinist politicians and army officers seized power and once again Russia took its turn to spin the imperial wheel as it claimed it was coming in at the invitation of fellow comrades.

The British responded by teaming up with the US and they armed a rebellious movement harboured in Pakistan and that war took ten years before it halted.

It cost Afghanistan 1,3 million lives and hundreds of thousands were displaced into neighbouring countries. Like the British before them the Russians also finally suffered defeat.

That brings us to the present "war on terror" which has been premised on the "noble" aims of ridding Afghanistan of terrorists; according to George W. Bush, Afghanistan is "teeming with terrorists and Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and many shadowy wicked people are lurking in every cave."

The other noble aim of the war on terror is to liberate Afghan women from the Taliban, themselves a creation of the US against the Russians.

Now it is an era for the US to play the Great Game in this most strategic territory to establish its control over potential oil and gas pipelines as well as to encircle its rivals Iran and China.

These two goals are what is of importance to the US and not some suffering "women of colour" or any other humanitarian gospel the US may choose to preach to the world.

Clearly, the US has not been that much of a great player in the game at hand and five years after plunging itself in the field of play, there is no sign of victory in sight and clearly no sign of a quick fix solution to the quagmire, just like their "A Team" is having a hell of a nightmare in Iraq.

The US mission is not humanitarian in Afghanistan, or Zimbabwe.

For Afghanistan, its five years after the invasion and 20 000 Afghans have been killed, no visible female freedom has been put in place, average life expectancy is a mere 44 years and the country ranks 173rd out 178 on the UN Human Development Index.

As for democracy, the puppet regime of Hamid Karzai is reportedly peppered with corrupt politicians, warlords, drug barons and even former Taliban. The regime’s authority is limited to Kabul just like Iraq’s Nouri al Maliki’s regime is limited to the Green Zone in Baghdad.

This is "authority" only enforceable with the help of US firepower and one hopes Tsvangirai and his MDC are not hell bent on bringing such heresy to Zimbabwe.

The writer is a post-graduate student in International Relations at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and can be contacted at wafawarova@yahoo.co.uk

who we are said...

Obi Egbuna you say,
"Whatever Zimbabwe must do to strengthen its national security in the face of neocolonial opposition, we support them every step of the way."
I guess this includes murdering fellow country-men in cold blood.
I guess this also includes massacaring close to 20,000 Ndebeles in Operation Gukurahundi. The Ndebele should have been a neo-colonialist force hey.

Obi, please wake up and see ZANU-PF for what it is; a treachearous, murderous, corrupt party feeding on the plight of peace-loving Zimbabweans. I am in Zimbabwe and have witnessed first hand the stories you read about. Do you really believe a one party state is good for Zimbabwe. Do you really believe ZANU-PF knows what's best for Zimbabweans and should disregard the results of elections? Do you really believe these things? Do you really believe Zanu-pf has the right to decide to brutally end the lives of fellow black Zimbabweans whose only crime is voting for change because the promises Zanu-pf makes are not fulfilled?

We, the Zimbabweans are not disposable pawns in your fight against imperialism. If you have nothing constructive to say about Zimbabwe, If you do not have your facts straight about Zimbabwe, please do not insult us. Do not insult our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives to Mugabe in the past few months and continue to do so. It is not fair for you to do that.