Sunday, April 27, 2008

Zimbabwe News Update: 'Hands Off,' Kuanda Tells Brown; Mugabe 'a Living Legend'; Black London in Solidarity; Tutu Told to Leave Nation Alone

Hands off Zim, Kaunda tells Brown

From Augustine Hwata in LUSAKA, Zambia
Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald

BRITISH Prime Minister Gordon Brown is not qualified to comment on challenges facing Zimbabwe, let alone to call for more sanctions, founding Zambian president Dr Kenneth Kaunda has said.

Dr Kaunda told Zambia’s Post newspaper at the weekend that Brown lacked proper background information regarding Zimbabwe’s problems and was not helpful towards finding a lasting solution to the current situation.

"It is sad for Prime Minister Brown to say what he said about the Zimbabwe situation," Dr Kaunda said while delivering a speech as a special guest to recipients of recognition awards from Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican Embassy here last week.

"Brown does not understand what he is talking about. It is a sad thing that he said that (calling for more sanctions against Zimbabwe)," said the former president.

Dr Kaunda said he had wanted to inform Brown on how the challenges facing Zimbabwe came about before the British premier had even replaced Tony Blair, but failed to get that opportunity.

Dr Kaunda was at one time determined to travel to Britain to meet Brown, but did not do so on the advice of his doctors.

The former Zambian president, who turns 84 today, said Brown and the West should leave Zimbabwe alone so that it solves its own challenges, especially the political tension between Zanu-PF and the opposition.

"I think people in Zimbabwe are trying to find a way out of their own problems by talking of a government of national unity."

He urged the West to discard the belief that they were the best to prescribe solutions for Africa’s problems.

"As usual, they want to tell what they think is right for us."

Dr Kaunda said calls by Brown for an arms embargo on Zimbabwe were misplaced and do little to solve the problems.

"Embargoing the defence forces is not the solution at all," said Dr Kaunda, adding that he wondered why the shipment of arms from China was being blocked when the order was placed last year.

It was unfortunate that the consignment was now being linked to the post-election period and a stalemate over the result of the presidential election.

Meanwhile, Zambian farmer and boxing promoter Mr Gevan Mumba
has thrown his weight behind President Mugabe and the land reform programme.

Mr Mumba said Africans had a right to work on their land.

"I own more than 80 hectares of prime land in the Mufulira area and have two streams that pass through my plot. I produce crops and feel empowered that I have something to call my own," he said.

Unlike Zimbabwe, Mumba said Zambia does not have much pressure on land because it had a bigger geographical area and vast open areas against fewer people who wanted to farm.

"We are lucky that there is land available to Zambians who need it, unlike in Zimbabwe where the whites had most of the good areas. Because land is important, Britain, which does not have as much land, was pained when President Mugabe took some farms from their white relatives to redistribute to his people.

"I know for sure that Britain and America want (Cde) Mugabe to go and replace him in office with someone they can control over Zimbabwe’s land. The same thing happened in Iraq when Saddam (Hussein) was killed for his oil," Mr Mumba said.

‘President a living legend’

Bulawayo Bureau

PRESIDENT Mugabe has been hailed as a "living legend’’ who has worked tirelessly for the economic empowerment of the majority of Zimbabweans.

Speaking at the official launch of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo last Friday, where Cde Mugabe was the guest of honour, the Minister of Industry and International Trade, Cde Obert Mpofu, paid tribute to the President for the role he played alongside other founding fathers of this nation like the late Dr Joshua Nkomo and Vice-President Joseph Msika.

He said President Mugabe displayed exemplary leadership after winning the first national elections in independent Zimbabwe by pursuing the policy of national reconciliation.

"He (President Mugabe) made history by pronouncing the famous and unprecedented policy of national reconciliation after winning the first national elections in March 1980.

"Furthermore, he spearheaded the reconciliation process in Zimbabwe, consummated in the famous Unity Accord that was agreed and signed with the late Dr Joshua Nkomo on 22 December 1987, to consolidate peace and tranquillity in our beloved country.

"He is the First Secretary of Zanu-PF, the ruling party, which he has continued to lead courageously thwarting all imperialist machinations which were meant not only to reverse the gains of our liberation struggle, but to also deem the very ethos of freedom and independence historically championed by the liberation movements in the Southern African region.’’

He said since President Mugabe came into power, he has worked tirelessly for the economic empowerment of the majority of Zimbabweans who had been marginalised during the colonial era.

"Armed with an unwavering determination, boldness, great wisdom and foresight, the visionary son of the soil fearlessly embarked on the land reform programme in 2000, a true revolution that successfully brought back into the hands of the black majority, the most important means of production and birthright of the people of Zimbabwe, the factor of production that had indeed inspired the armed struggle, namely land,’’ the minister said amid applause.

"He has remained resolutely undeterred by the malicious activities and propaganda from Britain and her allies who have continued to malign and vilify him and his staunch supporters for ensuring that the people repossess and indeed cherish forever, the heritage of their forefathers.

"Indeed, Zimbabwe shall never be a colony again!’’

Cde Mpofu said the Government — under the stewardship of Cde Mugabe — had pursued mutually beneficial friendship and strategic alliances with friendly countries of the Far East and the South East Asian region, under the "Look East Policy", in the true spirit of South-South co-operation.

"Indeed, Zimbabwe has been able to broaden her economic horizons and extend frontiers of trade and investment by embarking on various co-operation projects.’’

He said through Cde Mugabe’s "resolute determination and ingenuity’’, Zimbabwe has been able to demonstrate "solid resilience’’ much to the chagrin and bewilderment of the country’s detractors.

"In his person, the dispossessed African people, both on the continent of Africa and in the Diaspora, have the embodiment and epitome of a fighting spirit, a true defender of the hard-won freedom and independence of the African soil and its rich resources,’’ said Cde Mpofu.

"On the regional arena, this luminary has been acknowledged as a legendary revolutionary who has scored many achievements.

"An outstanding statesman, he has consistently worked towards the political and economic integration of the Southern African region, while contributing immensely to the defence and security of the region.’’

He said Cde Mugabe’s imminent chairmanship of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa at the forthcoming summit in Victoria Falls would further strengthen and broaden trade relations in the region.

Cde Mpofu said President Mugabe has received several international awards and assumed leadership of various international bodies in a show of confidence in his leadership.

Black Londoners in solidarity with Zim

Peter Mavunga

Those who fought in Zimbabwe’s war of liberation taught us never to give up in the face of adversity. For when the struggle appears so tough that giving up is the only option, it is then that rallying round in unity to the cause is crucial.

The massacres at Nyadzonia and Chimoio in Mozambique, for instance, were of such a grand scale that the squeamish would have quit the struggle. The Thomas Nhari rebellion was another huge setback to the struggle, but the fighting cadres and their leaders never gave up.

They might have reached the depth of their despair. The world around them might have seemed so hostile; but their pledge to hang on in there meant they survived to see some glimmer of hope when they scored successes, however modest, in the future.

Imagine their relief when they achieved some victories against the enemy soon after such tragedies! It would have given them hope that the struggle that seemed so meaningless and futile only recently, was suddenly worthwhile.

Imagine their joy at hearing, for instance, words of support from other progressive forces. It would have lifted their spirits in a big way.

It is the lifting of the spirit of a people under attack that was ringing in my head when I was listening to Radio Gallaxy last Sunday afternoon.

Radio Gallaxy is unique in two respects. First, it is a small broadcasting service targeting Black people who live in London. Second, its name, the "de-brainwashing radio station", is probably the antidote Zimbabweans need in light of the propaganda machine that is working for regime change.

Last Sunday between 1pm and 4pm, there was a "phone-in" and the subject was Zimbabwe. As you can imagine, the phones never stopped ringing. What was surprising to me, I hasten to add, is the strength of solidarity expressed by the callers, especially Black women.

It was a complete role reversal in that those who were jamming the phones with their enthusiasm to express their views were not the anti-Zanu-PF and anti-Mugabe brigade, at least the part of the broadcast that I listened to.

I heard a woman ring to ask the presenter, Bongo Tete, what natural resources Zimbabwe had. When she was given a list, the caller then pointed out that these natural resources were the reason why Gordon Brown, on behalf of Britain, was interfering in the affairs of the country.

Another Black woman was so appalled by the prospect of seeing Zimbabwe’s gains lost through the elections of March 29.

"Since Mugabe is out of the Commonwealth, why did he bother with elections? Castro handed over to his brother; and they cannot tell Putin what to do. Yet they still go to Africa and point a finger. Why did Mugabe bother to have these elections," she asked?

It was a rhetorical question put forward for effect. And the effect was that yet another Black sister phoned to complain about the distorted image of Zimbabwe and Black people generally that is portrayed in the mainstream media while white people were presented as whiter than white.

This elicited an interjection from the co-presenter who asked: was it not Bill Clinton, former US President, who said he had not had sex "with that woman!" Was he not the one again who reported smoking drugs but not inhaling?

The message the caller was making was that "these people are liars". The problem, she said, was that we Black people tend to buy into these lies, which was a shame.

But she went on to say that Black people tended to fight among themselves but that they were generally not war mongers who went out to conquer other nations.

Then the caller asked why so many Zimbabweans had fled their country to come and live in the Diaspora? Again this question was asked, not in the way mainstream media would have asked the question, basically to show how bad and corrupt Mugabe was but rather to urge all Zimbabweans to "go home and rebuild your country — now."

"Don’t allow people who do not have the interests of Zimbabwe at heart to dominate you," she said whilst at the same time commenting that she did not even know what Tsvangirai’s policies were.

The uniqueness of the show was that most of the callers were non-Zimbabweans though not exclusively so. For instance, the only male Zimbabwean I heard on the show was scathing in his criticism of the mainstream news media which he said had taken over our issues.

Tigere was also mildly critical of President Mugabe for being too lenient with the white people in Zimbabwe. He said from independence, the president was keen on reconciliation, a policy that ensured the erstwhile privileged class continued to enjoy those privileges.

"We have relatives who died during this period, we do not even have their bones to bury them properly, yet the thrust of the policy at independence was not to redress the imbalance," he said.

The presenter, a Jamaican man who never the less sees his real home as being in Africa, went a bit further in criticising President Mugabe.

"He did not do enough to defend our people," he said in agreement with Tigere. He is the leader, he should have used troops to remove the whites from the farms by force.

But Tigere continued to explain that the war vets invaded the farms in 1999 of their own free will and not on the president’s instructions as some would like us to believe. The West in fact urged President Mugabe to send in army troops to remove them. The President had a choice to have them removed but to his credit, he supported them.

This drew a comparison of Presidents Mugabe and Museveni where, in a similar situation, the latter put his weight against the struggling people.

Tigere, in conclusion, said it would be a shame if Zimbabweans lost through elections what they gained through their revolutionary struggles.

The commentator agreed.

The next caller let it be known that her preference was to let the African come first in matters relating to African development, not puppets, she said.

Another caller referred to the President’s Independence speech from which she drew the inference that he was doing no harm to his people. How could he when he was challenging his people appropriately: "do not let the white man steal our land."

A second Black man after Tigere called to express his concern about Zimbabwe and wondered whether the southern African state belonged to the UK? He suggested that if the British are so keen on repossessing their former colonies, they should try to re-acquire Hong Kong

His point was that the British would not dare do this for fear that all hell would let loose from the Chinese. The man expressed his passion for Zimbabwe and said that the west "should leave Zimbabwe alone."

Another caller said what Black people the world over are going to do about Zimbabwe was important. As this phone-in programme showed, it was likely to be no more than "hot air" unless we were prepared to act on it.

Referring to the "Isis Papers", she said Black people usually did nothing about their situation because of their failure to critically analyse their situation.

This prompted another caller to say that she was ready to go and demonstrate, not at the Zimbabwe Embassy as do the anti-Zimbabwe brigade every week, but at Downing Street to tell the occupant to stop interfering with Zimbabwe and to stop the sanctions.

A London-based Ghanaian woman also called to say she had studied Advertising. She said this was a discipline concerned not with truth but about image. The main issue for them was to convey their message to you and their message about Zimbabwe, whether true or not, is that there should be regime change.

This is a taste of what I heard on Radio Galaxy last Sunday. The De-Brainwashing station has been providing this service to Londoners for the past 28 years. It was formed by Bongo Tete, a Jamaican man with a military background. When he left the army in 1982, he realised there was no community radio serving the Black community in London.

Having first joined a hospital community radio station in south London, he decided he could run his own community radio station. The station is funded by the people who give voluntarily.

He has been to Ghana four times and hopes one day to be in Zimbabwe. He is very keen to link up with people in Zimbabwe so that they can speak to Londoners directly through his de-brainwashing station.

Tutu, leave Zimbabwe alone

EDITOR — When will Desmond Tutu realise that he doesn’t speak for Zimbabweans and never will?

This is a man who was safely ensconced in a mansion in a plush white suburb when ordinary South Africans were being butchered by the brutal and racist apartheid machine while he became the darling of the West became he was the advocate of "non-violence".

Because he is an Uncle Tom who has spent most of his adult life in the lap of white luxury while his people were dying of hunger he simply doesn’t understand what is at stake in Zimbabwe.

He appeals for President Mugabe to "step down" In favour of who, Archbishop Tutu?

Of Tsvangirai a surrogate of the West who they are using as their stooge to try to reverse the land reform programme and the gains of our war of liberation and independence.

Is this man for real? He wants us to submit to clear Western pressure against us, to be recolonised in the name of what? Democracy?

In the just-ended parliamentary elections Zanu-PF won 46 percent of the popular vote to MDC-T’s 43 percent although the MDC-T got two more seats.

This is public knowledge. In the US they would call that a landslide victory for the ruling party.

Phenias Mpofu,

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