President on leave
Zimbabwe Presidium after being sworn in during 2004. The ruling ZANU-PF party contested national elections on March 29, 2008.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
Zimbabwe Presidium after being sworn in during 2004. The ruling ZANU-PF party contested national elections on March 29, 2008.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
Sunday Mail Reporter
PRESIDENT MUGABE has gone on his traditional month-long leave, a small part of which he will spend outside the country.
The Secretary for Information and Publicity, Cde George Charamba, who is also the Presidential spokesman, yesterday confirmed that Cde Mugabe will be out of the office for the next four weeks.
"This is more of a retreat than an actual leave. The President is very busy reflecting on new structures that are needed to deal with the economic sanctions against Zimbabwe as well as working on structures of an inclusive Government which must come too soon," said Cde Charamba.
New Govt by February
By Political & Features Editor
PRESIDENT Mugabe is pressing ahead with the formation of a new Government with the full consent of Sadc following invitations extended to the opposition to join structures agreed upon in the broad-based agreement signed last year.
The President last week terminated the executive appointments of ministers and deputy ministers who failed to win seats in last year’s harmonised elections and who are not holders of non-constituency seats in the Senate.
Sources close to developments said a Government was most likely to be in place by the end of February by which time it is expected that the three parliamentary political parties would have passed Constitutional Amendment Number 19 Bill and President Mugabe would have signed it into law.
The Herald is reliably informed that on Saturday one of Zanu-PF’s negotiators met Cde Thabo Mbeki’s South African facilitation team to discuss the latest developments and how best to proceed.
Cde Nicholas Goche, who is Zanu-PF’s secretary for national security in the Politburo and Public Service Minister, was in Musina on Saturday to apprise the South African facilitators on recent developments and to map the way forward.
Though full details of the meeeting were not available yesterday, ruling party sources said Cde Goche met Mr Sydney Mufamadi to "compare notes".
"Though President Mugabe is on his annual retreat, he is reported to be fully seized with the finalisation of the broad-based agreement and that a fully functional Government focused on dealing with the economic problems should be in place sometime next month.
"The President has had enough of games from the opposition and he made this quite clear in his meeting with MDC leader Professor Arthur Mutambara. They agreed that a Government should be put in place sooner rather than later.
"Cde Goche met the South Africans on Saturday as part of the drive to ensure that this chapter is closed once and for all so that Zimbabweans can move forward," said a source.
The sources said in Saturday’s meeting, the two sides discussed MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s letter to President Mugabe in which he said he was not prepared to take up the post of Prime Minister and its implications on progress.
The letter was left at Zimbabwe’s Embassy in Botswana by an "unidentified source" and was subsequently leaked by officials in President Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s Government to the Post newspaper in Zambia last week.
The letterhead curiously said the letter was authored at "State House, Harare".
Efforts to get a comment from Cde Goche on his meeting were fruitless and it could not be ascertained if he had returned from Musina.
However, Presidential spokesperson Cde George Charamba said President Mugabe was determined to have a Government in place and was keeping Sadc appraised on the situation on the ground.
"The President is very clear that he should carry Sadc with him in putting together his Government. Equally, he is keeping the facilitator abreast of developments," Cde Charamba said.
Cde Charamba, who is also the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity, said he could not comment on Cde Goche’s meeting as that was "a party issue while I am a Government spokesperson".
Zanu-PF, MDC-T and the MDC have endorsed President Mugabe as Head of State and Government, and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Mr Tsvangirai, however, has been playing hide-and-seek and has hardly been in the country prompting observers to question his commitment to the broad-based agreement he personally signed in the presence of Sadc leaders.
The President has made it clear that the country cannot wait much longer for Mr Tsvangirai to make up his mind and he has already made several moves to make his resolve to move forward clear.
West controlling Tsvangirai: Mutambara
By Mabasa Sasa
MDC leader Professor Arthur Mutambara has revealed that the United States is directly behind MDC-T head Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s reluctance to take up the post of Prime Minister as per the September 15 inter-party agreement to form an inclusive Government.
In a paper titled "The Inconvenient Truths About the West and Zimbabwe", Prof Mutambara confirmed the Govern-ment’s assertions that Mr Tsvangirai was taking instructions from Washington functionaries like Jendayi Frazer, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
He also said the West had never supported the idea of an inclusive Government, while slamming those agitating for a military invasion, branding them "arrogant and ignorant".
"The US and the UK are now taking advantage of the delay in implementation of the agreement to savage and destroy the Global Political Agreement.
"Do Frazer and her government have a workable alternative framework to the current GPA, together with an enforcement mechanism?
"And what is this that she said about the weakness and incompetence of her favou-rite GPA principal?
"Did she not say the following: ‘Tsvangirai is too weak and incompetent for us to allow him to be in an inclusive Government with (President) Mugabe. He will be completely outmanoeuvred. Tsvangirai is not as strong as (Raila) Odinga. If he was, we would have allowed him to get into the GNU (Government of National Unity) with (President) Mugabe’?
"How can she possibly say such insulting remarks about her favourite opposition leader? With friends like these, who needs enemies? Incidentally, did she share her views about Tsvangirai with him? Why not?
"Anyway, who is she to allow or disallow
African leaders? Does the US government have locus standi to do this? From where does she derive such legal, political or moral authority? Would a reverse scenario where international players seek to influence US politics be acceptable to the US?"
He added that the US had never liked the fact that Mr Tsvangirai signed an agreement recognising President Mugabe as both Head of State and Chair of Cabinet.
Prof Mutambara went further: "They despised the GPA positions on land reform and sanctions. Everyone knows this. We are not children."
He labelled the West’s involvement as "ignorant and unstrategic", "uninformed and reckless", and that the US and UK’s foreign policies had "negatively impacted on Zimbabwe’s national interest".
"We can understand it if your defence (US and UK) is that you are slow learners and late bloomers where our matters are concerned. We can accept that.
"But it then also means you must take your cue from us who understand the Zimbabwean terrain better. You must accept that you are essentially ignorant, unstrategic, and hence ineffective where African matters are concerned," he said.
The opposition leader, who will be Deputy Prime Minister in the envisaged inclusive Government, said no African leader had spoken out against President Mugabe despite claims by the West to the contrary.
He said people like Odinga, John Sentamu and Desmond Tutu were of no consequence as they did not speak on behalf of a single African country.
"Soon after Odinga spoke, he was contradicted by his own foreign minister. This means he was not speaking on behalf of Kenya or President (Mwai) Kibaki.
"Archbishop Sentamu does not speak for any African country. Well, the same goes for Tutu; he is a good African who speaks for no African nation.
"Interestingly enough, even the usually reckless and unimaginative Ian Khama was not part of the African voices. So when these American and European leaders went into chorus, who were they supporting?
"In a continent of 53 countries, the US and UK could not convince a single African president to be part of their elegant chorus.
"If the Western leaders were indeed just supporting themselves, why did they lie that they were supporting voices of African leaders?"
He said the "Mugabe must go chorus" was both "unimaginative and predictable" and did not take into account the realities on the ground.
On the issue of military aggression, he said: "What has US military intervention produced in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do we have democratic outcomes in these countries? Are they peaceful, democratic and prosperous nations?
"Why would the Zimbabwean outcome be any different? If not, then why should this even be considered as an option?
"Only two African countries — Botswana and Kenya — have expressed an appetite for physical confrontation with Zimbabwe.
"We will not even dignify Botswana’s posturing with too much discussion. They have no army but an incompetent police force which has no capacity to invade a desert, much less a country with Zimbabwe’s military experience.
"Raila Odinga does not speak for the Kenyan government, so the analysis ends there."
Prof Mutambara said the world must realise that there could never be any negotiated agreement that excluded President Mugabe as they wished and they must accept this fact.
"One would expect someone of Jendayi Frazer’s stature to understand all this. How does she say that the US supports the negotiated power-sharing, but insists that (President) Mugabe must not be involved?
"Making these statements while defying the consistent advice that she received from all the South African leaders that she interacted with means that Frazer is insulting the SA leadership at every level. By this disrespectful conduct, she is humiliating both Sadc and the AU.
"More specifically, US foreign policy is always characterised by double standards, hypocrisy and dishonesty, all rooted in the pursuit of US permanent interests.
"We seriously hope that incoming US president (Barack) Obama and his new team will depart from this ignorant, ruinous and ineffective foreign policy that effectively undermines its intended beneficiaries, strengthens the targeted villains, while blighting the US standing in the world."
Prof Mutambara slated those countries that sought to gain political mileage from things like the cholera outbreak, saying people’s suffering should never be used as a political tool whether by politicians, foreign governments or civil society.
Last year Prof Mutambara wrote another paper in which he strongly chided the West for their ignorance on Zimbabwean affairs and for treating Africans like little children.
Gono’s contribution to fight against imperialism
AFRICAN FOCUS By Tafataona Mahoso
THE April 22 2007 instalment for this column included the following paragraph: "One reason why the British, the EU and the US State Department are able to claim that the sanctions do not affect the entire economy of Zimbabwe is because to date there is no published account on the daily effects of sanctions on business from the IBDC, from the AAG, from the Indigenous Business Women’s Organisation (IBWO), from the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) or from the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).
If all these business organisations were publicly explaining to their colleagues abroad the concrete daily effects of sanctions on their operations, then those who have imposed the racist sanctions would not continue to lie to the whole world and to their own people that only Zanu-PF politicians were targeted and affected by the sanctions."
On December 8 2008, Zimbabwe Publishing House launched Dr Gideon Gono’s book called Zimbabwe’s Casino Economy: Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary Challenges.
Although the business organisations we challenged in that 2007 instalment have remained silent on the issue of illegal sanctions, Gono’s book goes a long way in making up for that silence in that it exposes the complicity role of some of the members of the same organisations in helping the regime change forces by worsening the impact of the sanctions on the economy and the people.
To appreciate the profound contribution made by Gono, it is necessary first to understand that imperialism or the Western domination of the rest of the world for the last 200 years or more has depended on four pillars:
-The control of global finance and credit which since 1945 has relied on what is called the global aid regime policed by the IMF, the World Bank, the IFC, Usaid, GATT and other agencies.
-The control of strategic raw materials including energy sources, strategic minerals, strategic building materials, and strategic food sources and reserves.
-The control and development of security in all aspects, including war, terror and destabilisation
-The control and development of information in its various aspects.
The last pillar, the control, development and deployment of information has been revolutionised in such a way that it integrates, it merges the uses and controls of all the other three to such an extent that it becomes difficult to say where one begins and the other ends. The drones which are being used by the US and Israel to bomb Palestine and Pakistan belong to the last pillar, the control, development and deployment of information (information warfare), but they are also essential features of the third pillar, the control of security, war, espionage, terror and destabilisation.
Nevertheless, Gono’s book is a profound contribution to Zimbabwe’s struggle against imperialism because it targets two of the four pillars of imperialism in the onslaught on Zimbabwe.
It explains how global finance and credit, how the global aid regime which began with the Marshall Plan for Europe, has been deployed illegally and criminally against the entire economy of Zimbabwe and against the people at a time when the very same Western powers using that system to strangle Zimbabwe are themselves fast losing control of that system.
What is currently called the global credit crunch or the global financial tsunami, is in fact evidence of that ironic loss of control by imperialism. In other words, Zimbabwe is one of the last victims of this imperialist finance system before the West loses control and before a new system emerges to take its place.
And the author is saying, as one of the latest victims of a lethal but dying system, Zimbabwe will survive to make a contribution to the construction of a new system based on a scientific post-mortem of the one which is currently terrorising our people. This is the essence of Gono’s call to Zimbabweans to "think outside the box". We cannot survive this crushing and yet totalitarian juggernaught superintended over by the United States of America unless we first get out of the box called "the Washington Consensus".
And that "Washington Consensus" has been propagated around the world in such a way as to mesh and confuse the operations of the four pillars of imperialism with the intention of overwhelming us.
To appreciate what Gono is challenging, it may be necessary to review the ways in which neoliberal totalitarianism was asserted and imposed between the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1989 and the start of the oil war against Iraq in 2003.
According to this "Washington Consensus", Britain, North America and Europe were successful and prosperous because they always got the economic fundamentals "right". In The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein refers to the history of the neoliberal economic fundamentalism which has now produced the current global financial implosion in the North Atlantic states:
"The core of such sacred University of Chicago teachings [under Milton Friedman] was that the economic forces of supply, demand, inflation and unemployment were like forces of nature, fixed and unchanging. In a truly free market imagined in Chicago classes and texts, these forces existed in perfect equilibrium, supply communicating with demand the way the moon pulls the tides."
This is what Gono has dismissed in his book as one who has operated in that system all his professional life. This was an attempt to remove society, politics and human values from the development equation, an attempt to insulate an economic ideology by placing it above social contestation.
This social, moral and political contestation is what is at stake in the reporting and explanation of the current global economic tsunami afflicting Britain, the US, the EU and other parts of the capitalist world. It is also at stake in Zimbabwe’s war with Euro-American imperialism.
According to Klein, explaining the role and thinking of the University of Chicago Department of Economics:
"If economies suffered from high inflation, it was, according to Friedman’s strict theory of monetarism, invariably because misguided policymakers had allowed too much money to enter the system, rather than letting the market find its balance . . . the market, left to its own devices, would create just the right number of products at precisely the right prices, produced by workers at just the right wages to buy those products — an Eden of plentiful employment, boundless creativity and zero inflation."
When Britain, North America and Europe transferred this myth to Zimbabwe and the Sadc region via Esap, "best practice" came to mean that neoliberal economists and businessmen had assumed the duty to tutor our liberation movement in government how to manage state affairs like successful business enterprises. In other words, Ernest Oppenheimer, Strive Masiyiwa, Mutumwa Mawere, Eric Bloch, John Robertson— with the help of the IMF, World Bank and Usaid — were supposed to teach Robert Mugabe and Sam Nujoma best practices for good governance, transparency, accountability and efficiency.
Society was now being redefined and redesigned to fit a governance model of neoliberal economics instead of sovereign and independent society shaping its own economy.
"Friedman could not point to any living economy that proved that if all distortions were stripped away, what would be left would be a society in perfect health and bounteous, since no country in the world met the criteria for perfect laissez-faire . . . Like all fundamentalist faiths, Chicago School economics is, for its true believers, a closed loop.
The starting premise is that the free market is a perfect scientific system, one in which individuals, acting on their own self-interested desires, create maximum benefits for all. It follows . . . that if something is wrong within a free market economy — high inflation or soaring unemployment — it has to be because the market is not truly free. The Chicago (neoliberal) solution is always the same: a stricter and more complete application of the fundamentals."
Before the invasion of Iraq, the US State Department moved the "Washington Consensus" from its economic and financial pretences to a political and ideological realm. In The National Security Strategy document published in September 2002, George W. Bush restated this Reaganism and Thatcherism as follows:
"The great struggles of the 20th century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with victory for the forces of freedom . . . (one) single sustainable model for national success (for all nations): freedom, democracy and (neoliberal) free enterprise."
In Canada, journalist Linda McQuaig confronted the Canadian subsidiary of the same doctrine of the "Washington Consensus". She heard Dr Ian Angell, Professor of Information Systems and graduate of the London School of Economics. Angell took the same Thatcherite and Reaganite doctrine and gave it a cyber thrust against all forms of financial regulation.
McQuaig wrote: "Now, if Dr Angell and his ilk are to be believed, we’ve come to a point where not only has the market become the dominant force in our society, but its dominance is above reproach, above question. To suggest that we have a choice about what role the market will play in our lives is to fail to see that we’ve evolved to a supposedly higher plane — a plane where we no longer have any choice about the market’s power over our lives in areas that really matter, a plane where we are really impotent. Thank God we’ve at least all-night banking."
This kind of smugness was the result of many factors. In all the G-7 countries then, 1989 and the collapse of the former Soviet Union were supposed to have ushered in a new American century which would naturally percolate and cascade to all corners of the world. According to the neo-conservative manifesto called Programme for a New American Century (PNAC), this new American century would be characterised by the domination of the world by neoliberal capitalism and one unipolar superpower, the USA.
This was the basis of Francis Fukuyama’s speech called "Are we Approaching the End of History", which he later turned into a whole book. According to Naomi Klein, the followers of Milton Friedman and the University of Chicago Department of Economics organised a reunion at the same university in late 1989.
"For Fukuyama, then a senior policymaker at the US State Department, the strategy for advocates of unfettered capitalism was clear: don’t debate with the third way crowd; instead, pre-emptively declare victory (for neoliberal capitalism and unipolarism.) Fukuyama was convinced that there should be no abandonment of extremes, no best of both worlds, no splitting the difference.
The collapse of communism, he told his (University of Chicago) audience, was leading not to an end of ideology or a convergence between capitalism and socialism . . . But to an unabashed victory for economic and political liberalism. It was not ideology that had ended but history as such."
In Zimbabwe, the regime change parties and NGOs translated this to mean that all liberation movements in Government would be swept out of power and replaced by new movements tutored, financed and directed from the North Atlantic.
This was the economic, financial and ideological climate which Gono confronted in Zimbabwe as he became Governor of the Reserve Bank in 2003.
It was, of course, paradoxical and absurd. How could people who worshipped unfettered markets also impose brutal economic blockades and sanctions against such countries as Zimbabwe, Cuba, Iran or Yugoslavia?
Fukuyama’s exuberant speech was expanded into a book and published as The End of History and the Last Man.