Republic of Zimbabwe Vice President Joice Mujuru welcoming President Robert Mugabe from the African Union summit in Ethiopia on January 28, 2013., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Britain re-ignites Mugabe hysteria
Monday, 25 March 2013 00:00
The British media routinely subjects its unquestioning audience with a villainous portrayal of a tyrannical Robert Mugabe menacing the streets of Harare with a Kalashnikov in one hand and a machete in the other. This mischievous narrative is not the child of ignorance. There is quite some method to this seeming madness on the part of the British.
Consider a leading article in the UK Daily Mail on August 11, 2010, which carried a report alleging that child slaves were being forced to dig for Marange diamonds with their bare hands.
The culprits, we were told, were Mugabe’s bloodthirsty militiamen who also roamed the surrounding mountains with “vicious killer dogs,” harassing vulnerable locals.
Not to be outdone, the Guardian followed with a screaming headline alleging that Robert Mugabe had a secret diamond fund and was preparing to launch a “terror campaign” across the entire country.
The import of that article was that the poor people of Zimbabwe were hopelessly afraid.
The British are not alone in this dishonesty but have co-opted their kith and kin.
The American Huffington Post recently published ‘damning’ revelations of the tortures suffered by a lesbian Zimbabwean who now lives in America.
The article told of how the said woman was held in a cell strewn with faeces as the police station had no toilet facilities.
For six days, the report claims, this woman was tortured with batons, kicked in the stomach and made to endure various forms of violent interrogation.
On day six, the police demanded she write down the names of every lesbian and homosexual in Zimbabwe because Mugabe had instructed that all of them should be arrested and imprisoned!
The ‘informative’ article very conveniently neglected to mention that the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) Association enjoys unmolested and air-conditioned offices in this ‘savage’ land called Zimbabwe.
The reader in Zimbabwe will immediately identify these sensationalist allegations for the fictitious nonsense that they are.
However, the crucial political question is why otherwise competent journalists are engaged in what are patently ridiculous fabrications and an unquestioning acceptance of testimonies by individuals who are likely nothing more than economic migrants that simply want political asylum to allow them permanent residency in these countries.
The reader must not be so naive as to assume that these publications lack the editorial rigour to correctly evaluate these allegations.
The decision to allow publication of these decidedly ungenerous articles on Robert Mugabe is part of a wider campaign by Western foreign policy hawks that work in cahoots with media proprietors and politicians.
The core objective is to dehumanise Robert Mugabe. Once the generality of the people have accepted this notion of Mugabe being a black Hitler of sorts, Western governments are then empowered to act against this perceived evil man. Recall how George W Bush called Zimbabwe an outpost of tyranny.
I draw the reader’s memory to those now infamous headlines in the Western media alleging that Saddam Hussein was in possession of dangerous weapons of mass destruction and how the world could waste not a minute longer without intervening.
History tells us that there were no WMD’s in Iraq.
This is quite similar to how Ian Smith, together with the Western media, portrayed ZANLA and ZIPRA liberation fighters as terrorists.
Dehumanise. That is the objective.
As such, when Ian Smith committed atrocities, killing thousands of women and children at Chimoio and Nyadzonya, this was painted as a noble ‘termination’ of terrorists.
It is an effective technique that has worked through the years and is still ever as effective today.
When Julius Malema began making unwelcome noises about nationalising the country’s mines, he was quickly labelled an extremist radical.
The concerted efforts of the Boer-controlled media in South Africa successfully portrayed a noble concept as the dangerous agitations of a madman.
He was defeated, for now at least.
This seemingly innocuous reportage has had a devastating effect on Zimbabwe’s tourism.
The continued vilification of the government as a rogue regime drunk on blood has had the effect of giving the impression that Zimbabwe is unsafe.
The truth of it is that Zimbabwe is perhaps one of the safest tourist destinations in Africa, but this narrative runs contrary to Western foreign policy objectives that dictate that Zimbabwe be reduced to a failed state to ‘teach’ other Africans a lesson never to attempt the ‘foolishness’ of taking back their resources from their former colonial masters.
Once the first stage of demonisation has been completed and Western populations are convinced that a demon is on the loose, the next level of operation is the expression of demands that something be done in the interests of fighting for good to prevail.
Western governments then dress themselves in the regal apparel of angels and vow that they will do everything necessary to help the poor people that are supposedly being held ransom by this rampaging demon.
So we are told that the West’s actions in Libya had nothing to do with oil.
It was because they so loved Libyans and wanted to see them set free from an evil Muammar Gaddafi.
The war in Iraq was not because of oil but because the West so loved Iraqis and wanted to see them set free from that cruel serpent called Saddam Hussein.
But one wonders why these Western angels did not offer ZANLA and ZIPRA a single bullet to help them overthrow the racist oppression of Ian Smith.
In fact, it is not only that they did not assist — they actively worked against the liberation struggle describing the guerrillas as savage terrorists, a narrative which still finds expression in the House of Commons today.
The negative reportage on Zimbabwe has recently been reignited.
A few weeks ago the Western media was awash with synthetic expressions of concern over human rights in Zimbabwe.
This was in response to the dispersal of WOZA protestors by the police.
One WOZA protestor was so eager to provoke the police to react that she stepped into the police station and stripped naked.
She was arrested and immediately became the poster child for Western calls for closer ‘international’ involvement in the coming elections to make sure ‘peaceful protest’ is allowed.
Jenni Williams, the woman who leads WOZA, knew full well they would be arrested and released without charge but upped the ante with the deliberate provocation of police officers in an effort to generate headlines in step with the narrative that is currently being developed by her donors in view of the coming elections.
This is important in view of the reputable opinion polls by MPOI and Freedom House showing that Zanu-PF will likely win the coming election.
Western governments are at a loss as to how they can continue to legitimise their portrayal of Mugabe as a murderous despot if he is shown to have won the election.
What we are witnessing are the birth pains of what is going to be a vicious information war in the coming months.
If Zanu-PF wins the elections, as it likely will, the West will immediately move to discredit the vote as not having been free and fair.
It is important that Zanu-PF now responds in kind with equal sophistication.
Over the years the party has allowed the West to control the narrative and assumed a defensive position.
A fresh approach is necessary; it is time to take the fight to the enemy.
Zanu-PF has at its disposal an arsenal of fact and history that exposes the West for what it is.
The party must use this to devastating effect and take charge of the conversation.
The Internet has opened the playing field to as many have imagination and there is no good reason why Zanu-PF does not offer a compelling counter narrative.
The British often want to paint themselves as the salt of this earth and position themselves through empty charitable gestures as a caring nation that has the interests of our people at heart.
Some weaker minds — especially among our youth — have been taken in by this sleight of hand.
It is a dishonest prestige and there is no good reason why it should carry on unmolested.
Zanu-PF has been negligent in allowing the British to carry on this hypocrisy for so long.
This coming election let the facts be articulated so clearly that it becomes clear in the mind of every Zimbabwean that Britain does not have our concerns at heart.
It is for the white farmer that their heart bleeds.
Amai Jukwa is a loving mother of three. She respects Robert Mugabe, is amused by Tsvangirai and feels sorry for Mutambara. She plays on Facebook and Twitter.