Herero women of Namibia in their traditional dress. The country gained its national independence in 1990 after a decades-long struggle against German, British and Boer colonialism.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire Photo File
By Godwills Masimirembwa
OCTOBER 2, 1904, is a day the Herero people of Namibia will never forget, for on that day Lieutenant-General von Trotha, ordered the extermination of the Hereros for daring to resist German colonisation and exploitation.
Angela Merkel’s not too long distant relative thundered: "The Herero nation must leave the country. If it will not do so, I shall compel it by force. Inside Germany territory every Herero tribe’s man armed or unarmed with or without cattle will be shot. No women and children will be allowed in territory, they will be driven back to their people or forced on." These are the last words to the Herero nation from the great General of the Mighty Germany Emperor.
These words of a racist, colonial master and exploiter of the native people of Namibia sealed the fate of over 100 000 Hereros who heroically died resisting German colonisation and exploitation.
In Tanzania Angela Merkel’s forebearers, the Germans, faced the same resistance from the Maji Maji people. Germany, the colonial master, was forcing the Maji Maji people to grow cotton for export. The Maji Maji people were being exploited.
They rose, resisting German colonial policies. Over 75 000 perished fighting for their birthright.
It all started with the Scramble for Africa in the 1880s which culminated in the Berlin Conference in 1884. Germany’s share in the partitioning of Africa was Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, part of Mozambique, Namibia, Cameroon, part of Ghana and Togo.
Angela Merkel’s Germany, like the British in Australia and the Americans in America, believed in the extermination of the indigenous inhabitants of the countries they took at gunpoint. They were exterminators. Ask the Maji Maji people, the Hereros, the Aborigines and the Red Indians.
An encounter with the Germanic race (the British, the Germans, the Australian whites and the Americans (British descendants), was an encounter with death.
Ask the rest of Africa, ask the Zimbabweans in particular, about the price that had to be paid to attain freedom from the yoke of colonialism.
So it was not surprising when Angela Merkel was chosen to lead the attack on President Mugabe at the just-ended Lisbon EU-Africa Summit. The attack is consistent wit Germanic race’s belief that any non-white person or group of persons fighting for political and economic rights must be silenced. Imperialists never change.
The attack on President Mugabe was and remains completely unjustified. Democracy thrives in Zimbabwe, thanks to President Mugabe’s leadership. True human rights, in particular economic rights, abound in Zimbabwe, thanks to the visionary leadership of President Mugabe.
Racism, hypocrisy and the exploitation of other people believed to be inferior is the nature of the beast called the Germanic race.
Add Germany’s Hitler with his social Darwinism that Jews, Slavs, Blacks, Asians, Arabs and all non-white races are inferior to white people — the Aryan (pure white supremacists) theory, and you will understand why Angela Merkel does not understand Africans in the mould of President Mugabe who steadfastly stand for a just social, political and economic order not only in Zimbabwe, but in Africa and the entire world.
Racists believe that democracy applies to them and not to other races. To them other races are merely raw materials, a resource to be exploited in furtherance of their social, political and economic objectives.
Racists have a diseased mind fixated on exploiting those they classify as inferior. This diseased mindset is a common characteristic of the Germanic race. It has wrecked havoc to the establishment of win-win trade relations between Africa and Europe.
This explains why the proposed Economic Partnership Agreements are not in the interest of Africa, but promote the acquisitive and domineering habits of Europe. Europe wants to exterminate Africa’s resources, leaving it desolate, with no industries nor a commercial life. Once the forests, the mines and the oil are exhausted, Europe will move away, leaving Africa in mortal danger.
This writer does not subscribe to the submission that Angela Merkel only acted in a representative capacity when she attacked President Mugabe. It is a broad issue of seeking to eliminate those who cannot be fooled. Angela Merkel is a latter-day exterminator.
She is an economic exterminator using the human rights card in the hope of sidelining President Mugabe. Men and women of principle do not join the bandwagon in launching an unjustified attack on a man who defends universally defined and accepted human rights.
This explains why President Mugabe is so popular with the common man, with the people. He has refused to be polluted by the bandwagon mentality.
Amongst his peers he stands for the truth. He defends and promotes that which is right. This is why those of his peers who, yesterday hesitated to be openly on his side, are today championing his defence, steadfastly standing by him against the Germanic race’s attack. His peers now proudly realise that President Mugabe is a gifted son of the African continent, who desires nothing but that which is just and fair for the African people.
Angela Merkel, on the other hand, shares the same evil values with Gordon Brown and the rest of the Western world which still believes that Africa and its people are its resources for a better life.
Europe has to change its attitude towards Africa. Angela Merkel’s Germany is a powerhouse in Europe because it exploited and benefited from Africa’s resources either as direct imports or as imports through Britain.
Angela Merkel’s Germany therefore has to accept its obligation to compensate Africa or to establish trade relations that first address the economic disparities caused by colonisation and exploitation.
Africa refuses to be Europe’s supermarket. Africa refuses to be flooded with Europe’s finished goods which kill its industry. Africa is entitled to real economic growth, growth that will see Africa adding value to its raw materials through rapid industrialisation.
The proposed Economic Partnership Agreements which seem to divide Africa, South Africa against Sadc, Nigeria against Ecowas, and Kenya against Comesa are totally unacceptable.
Europe’s hypocrisy is there for everyone to see. The economic relations between Europe and Africa need to be evened out, with Europe adopting an economic restorative approach to its plunder of Africa’s wealth. This means an aggressive and measurable transfer of technology and industrial wherewithal necessary for Africa’s economic revival.
When President Mugabe, now openly joined by the rest of formerly cowed African leaders, speaks about these issues of justice, fairness and equity, Europe responds by unjustified attacks on governance issues in Zimbabwe. Despite the unjustified attacks and isolation, Zimbabwe has proved its mettle and is soldiering on to sure economic recovery.
But surely it is an abuse of human rights for Europe to continue to seek to impoverish Africa through trade agreements that undermine Africa’s basic economic rights.
When President Mugabe, and now the rest of the African leaders, raise this pertinent issue, Angela Merkel pelts them with false accusations of human rights abuses.
But Europe is obviously worried about the growing economic relations between Africa and China, Africa and India, Africa and Brazil, Africa and the rest of Asia.
Herein lies the hope for Europe’s survival instinct to be pricked. Europe will eventually relent and enter into mutually beneficial trade agreements with Africa, not because it is driven by a desire for a just trading order, but because its own interests are threatened by Africa’s new economic partners.
Africa should therefore continue to demonstrate to Europe that whilst it is desirable that the two continents establish Economic Partnership Agreements, such agreements are not the sine quo non to Africa’s economic existence. There are other players willing to enter into mutually beneficial Economic Partnership Agreements with Africa.
Angela Merkel’s Germany is racist and hypocritical. But it is not too late to change and be on the side of justice and fairness. Germany can play a meaningful role in changing the mindset of the gang of four and Britain.
The hope for this is the hesitancy in Angela Merkel’s attack on President Mugabe. She knew what she was doing was wrong.
She forewarned the President of the impending attack, lamely ascribing it to group solidarity. After the attack, she knew she had not won the battle. She knew President Mugabe’s reprisal was coming and that it would, as it did, surely bury her and her gang.
It is a good sign that she knows that her cause is unjust. It is sad she has yet to extricate herself from it. The onus is on her and her accomplices.
For Zimbabwe and Africa the future is bright for as long as we hold steadfast to the correct values as espoused by President Mugabe and other African leaders. The land is the economy and the economy is the land. With or without Angela Merkel we will make it. In fact, Europe, though incorrigible, now desperately needs Africa.
Africa has the raw materials. Europe does not have. Africa is now fully aware of Europe’s hypocrisy and is refusing to enter into trade agreements that primarily benefit Europe whilst impoverishing Africans.
With a vision and mission, championed by visionary leaders, tough times never last but tough people do.
Merkel’s utterances strange
By Peter Mavunga
I KNOW strange things happen these days, but I never knew I would live to hear Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, castigate President Mugabe.
At the EU-Africa Summit, without a hint of irony, she said Cde Mugabe was "damaging Africa".
"The current state of Zimbabwe damages the new Africa. Because this is so, we must take the chance here, in this framework, to put our efforts together into strengthening democracy."
The President of Zimbabwe together with other African leaders were entitled to walk out, but they maintained a dignified silence while the leader of Germany, with its ugly past, went on.
"We don’t have the right to look away when human rights are trampled on. Intimidation of those with different opinions and breaches of the independence of the Press cannot be justified," she said.
Instead of opening her mouth and speaking as if she had moral authority over Zimbabwe, a little humility on Angela Merkel’s part would not have gone amiss.
But humility does not exist in her psyche.
Rather, as President Mugabe said, it is arrogance that defines the Western leaders.
This is what I would describe as an abuse of power by the West generally. A leader of a Western country with an unspeakable history stands in the pulpit to preach democracy and human rights in Africa, a continent bearing the scars of Germany’s hideous cruelty.
Zimbabwe damaging Africa! Good grief!
If Merkel wants to talk about damaging Africa, why not begin with her country’s record on the African continent?
The gas chambers against the Jews 60 years ago was not the first genocide Merkel’s predecessors committed against humanity.
One-hundred years ago they massacred the Herero people of Namibia.
German policy at the turn of the last century amounted to genocide.
The Herero had migrated during the 17th and 18th centuries to what is known as Namibia today.
They had established themselves as herdsmen.
During the late 19th century, the first Europeans began entering to settle permanently.
Especially in Damaraland, German settlers acquired land from the Herero in order to establish farms.
In 1883, the merchant Franz Adolf Eduard Luderitz entered into a contract with the native elders. The exchange later became the basis of German colonial rule.
The territory became a German colony under the name of German South-West Africa.
But conflicts between the German colonists and the herdsmen began. There were disputes over access to land and water. There was also legal discrimination of the native population by the white immigrants.
In 1904, there was open rebellion, known as the Herero Wars, led jointly by the Herero and the Nama people.
They scored initial successes in their rebellion, but then the Germans had other ideas.
The Germans sent a military expedition corps of about 15 000 men under the command of Lothar von Trotha. The commander ordered genocide.
"Any Herero found within the German borders with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I shall no longer receive any women or children; I will drive them back to their people. I will shoot them. This is my decision for the Herero people," said von Trotha.
Having been defeated, the Herero had their wells poisoned, their cattle slaughtered and the survivors were driven into the desert to die and thousands fled to neighbouring Botswana.
This was a genocide in which an estimated 65 000 Hereros were reduced to 15 000.
If Angela Merkel wants to talk about damaging Africa, why does she not begin with that?
What about her government starting with paying US$5 billion in compensation to begin to repair the damage made on Africa?
And what about the Broederbond and apartheid?
Was it not the link between the Nazis and those in South Africa that also damaged Africa?
By the time World War II broke out, Malan’s "Purified National Party" opposed South Africa’s entry into the war on the side of the British; some of its members wanted to support Nazi Germany.
Herzog, who wanted to remain neutral, quit the United Party when a narrow majority in his cabinet backed Jan Smuts, who had commanded the British Army in East Africa and was amenable to supporting the Allies.
Herzog started the Afrikaner Party which would amalgamate later with D.F. Malan’s "Purified National Party" to become the force that would take over South African politics for the next five decades.
As a result, every prime minister and state president in South Africa from 1948 to the end of apartheid in 1994 was a member of the Afrikaner Broederbond, a secret society.
That damaged Africa. Apartheid damaged Africa and Merkel would have been well advised to consider her country’s contribution to the formation of this despicable system that so damaged Africa before opening her mouth to criticise Zimbabwe in Lisbon.
What is more, during the Smith regime, Germany was not known for its support for the oppressed people of Zimbabwe. Nor was it renowned for opposing the racist government of Rhodesia.
The result was that Smith felt emboldened to fight for a while longer, thereby killing more innocent men, women and children in the bloody war. That, in my view, damaged Africa.
And, finally, another way in which Germany is continuing to damage Africa is to have its current chancellor interfering in the dispute between two countries: Britain and Zimbabwe.
Merkel would have been well advised to seek better understanding of the issues before opening her mouth. I gather she was not sitting very far from President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and would have been given the correct and authentic view from Africa if only she had asked.
But that is not the German way. Germans are good at interfering in the most destructive way: genocides, apartheid and backing oppressors. So what Merkel said in Lisbon was very much a continuation of the ugly German tradition.
But before I go, let me say Angela Merkel’s outburst was only one of the strange things that happened in the week of the Lisbon conference.
The other strange happening was the behaviour of my Muganda brother from the Baganda tribe in Uganda.
His name is John Sentamu and holds the exalted office of Archbishop of York. His behaviour was strange in that he appeared to be hot under the collar.
Strange isn’t it, that his boss, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is on record criticising the British and American governments for their excesses in Iraq.
He is the voice of reason, like church leaders ought to be. He is trying to bring harmony where there is discord. But my African brother, who succumbed to total colonial conquest, disgraced himself on TV cutting his dog collar into pieces.
He says he will never wear it again until President Mugabe goes.
Is that in support of British and the Americans?
Where have we heard about regime change before?
This is a man who knows very little about Zimbabwe. He gets his information from the media and decides to reduce his high office with cheap stunts rather than bringing people together through dialogue.
To my mind, John Sentamu is one of those in Merkel’s mould who are damaging Africa.