Jendayi Frazer: Severe case of diplomatic incontinence
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and first lady Grace Amai, greeting the delegates at the ZANU-PF national conference on December 19, 2008.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and first lady Grace Amai, greeting the delegates at the ZANU-PF national conference on December 19, 2008.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
AFRICAN FOCUS By Tafataona Mahoso
Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
LAST week US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ms Jendayi Frazer completely lost control of herself in several of her desperate outbursts in defence of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-T opposition faction, and against President Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
President Mugabe responded by invoking pity for the poor "girl" and by pointing out that Ms Frazer still wants a long diplomatic career, but has the misfortune of being associated with an administration which has been thoroughly disgraced and discredited both at home and abroad.
This column, under normal circumstances, would ignore Ms Frazer’s diplomatic incontinence and move on to other developments. However, in this particular case, Ms Frazer’s outbursts represent the latest signal in a long series indicating a crisis of gigantic proportions.
The first aspect of this deep and wide crisis is the large number of Uncle Toms and Aunt Jamimas who have been set up to say exactly the same things against Zimbabwe on behalf of the Anglo-Saxon axis in the last month: Archbishop John Sentamu, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mrs Graca Machel, Mr Kofi Annan, Mr Raila Odinga, Frazer’s immediate boss in US President George W. Bush’s administration, Ms Condoleezza Rice, and Botswana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Phandu Skelemani.
But if we go back to July and August 2008, we are struck by the fact that these African descendants are merely repeating what British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Affairs Secretary David Miliband (for the UK), Bush (for the US) and French Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner (for the EU) already said several months ago. The real difference now is the shrillness of Ms Frazer’s voice.
First, the cholera epidemic has backfired politically upon the opposition MDC-T, when, in fact, it was supposed to be exploited to benefit the opposition.
The cholera epidemic has backfired because it has exposed, in a palpable manner, the link between the destruction of the health services and the illegal and racist sanctions imposed upon Zimbabwe at the invitation of the same MDC formations. The cholera epidemic has backfired because the peoples and most governments in Sadc have responded to it the same way they responded to the so-called "xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans" in SA in late June and early July 2008. Then it became clear that there was a third hand in the inter-communal violence in South African ghettos which the white racist media tried to blame on Zimbabwean migrant workers in SA.
The way Mr Tsvangirai, Hellen Zille of the Democratic Alliance of SA, Roy Bennett of MDC-T and Miliband responded to the so-called xenophobic attacks raised suspicions that the attacks in SA had been arranged.
What is clear is that the same people and the organisations they represent sought to use the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe this time round in exactly the same way they tried to use the "xenophobic attacks".
Second, British and US plans to turn MDC-T into an armed dissident movement have been exposed prematurely, not just by Zimbabwean intelligence and security forces, but also by the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, which has now taken the lead in the investigations.
Third, the timing of the publication of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono’s book called Zimbabwe’s Casino Economy: Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary Challenges has also added to the panic by exposing the corrupt and criminal behaviour of one of the frontline Uncle Toms, US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee.
According to the book, McGee is one of the arch enemies of democracy in Zimbabwe in that he wanted to use money to get Dr Gono and at least 20 other key technocrats to defect to the World Bank on the eve of the 2008 harmonised elections. This would have made the elections impossible and would have precipitated the total subversion of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
But the book creates panic in the regime change camp further by acknowledging from the apex of the Zimbabwean financial system what political and diplomatic analysts have been saying sine 2000: That the illegal and racist sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe amount to terrorism and genocide inflicted on the entire population of Zimbabwe by governments of the US, the UK, the EU and their other white racist allies.
Dr Gono provides the quantifiable evidence for this reality and the publication of the book in the middle of the cholera epidemic made it much easier for people to see the sanctions as terrorism and attempted genocide. The nation’s capacity to prevent cholera was diminished through the same sanctions, which those who imposed them now wanted to use as a new pretext for military intervention.
On a global scale the diplomatic incontinence of Aunt Jamima Jendayi Frazer and her large entourage of Uncle Toms has been triggered by the verdict of even US historians that Bush is the worst US president in more than 50 years.
The disaster which US citizens are staring at within the US has largely been imported through a blundering foreign policy first headed by Uncle Tom Colin Powell and now by Aunt Jamima Condoleezza Rice. This team initiated a foreign war against Iraq, based on blatant lies. Up to the month of October this year, the people of the US experienced the evil of this illegal war through the high casualties for US soldiers in Iraq. But since October, it has become clear to US citizens that this war is also being fought on borrowed money.
As a result the US is staring at a deficit of more than US$53 trillion. Forty-three out of the 51 states of the United States are also facing budget deficits, with California alone facing a deficit of US$11 billion.
But the real long-term disaster for the Bush presidency is the collapse of neoliberal capitalism. This means the political system of unipolarism and unilateralism has been destroyed and discredited at the very same time as the economic system over which it has presided for the last 20 years.
Now, our readers will have noticed that Ms Frazer centred her bizarre attacks on Zimbabwe around President Mugabe.
Our readers will also have noticed that, even within Zanu-PF, some leaders have allowed themselves to be diverted from the national question to the length of the President’s term of office.
The basis of this diversion is that the US and its white allies have set themselves up as representing "best practice" in politics, law, economics, business and human rights.
Based on this assumption, they succeeded in the post-1989 period to convince many countries to adopt the four-year limit on the term of office for the head of state with the maximum limit being two terms.
Countries which have experienced some difficulties because of the adoption of these limitations out of historical context now include Venezuela, Russia, Malawi and SA.
What Ms Fraser and her Uncle Toms do not want ordinary people to know is that the US did not impose its current limitation of the president’s term of office until Constitutional Amendment Number 22, which was adopted in 1951. The US went through its first 175 years and its first 33 heads of state before adopting the limitation on the terms of office of its president.
But why did the US take so long before limiting its presidents to two terms of four years each?
First, the main reason for the struggle for independence which gave birth to the US was the demand for economic autonomy and independence from Britain. So, even after political independence was achieved in 1776, the people of the US knew that it would take a long time to build their economic independence and they wanted leaders who would best guide them in that endeavour. Indeed, by 1951, the US had become a world economic power.
Second, the people of the US wanted heads of state who were strong enough and served long enough to build synergy and unity between the political ruling class and the economic ruling class. They wanted to reach a stage where political direction and economic direction at national level were no longer in conflict to the extent they had been in 1776, to the extent they became during the civil war of 1860-1865. Zimbabwe is still in the grip of political and economic elites pulling in opposite directions because of the derivative and treasonous nature of some of them.
Now, anyone who has read Dr Gono’s recent book will recognise that Zimbabwe is too far from reaching that desired synergy. The derivative business class is literally waging war on the nation on behalf of foreign corporate and political interests.
McGee’s efforts to corrupt and destabilise the RBZ on the eve of an election was based on the understanding that Zimbabwe does not yet have a patriotic industrial and financial class which would jump in to replace the 20 or so technocrats McGee was targeting and taking to the World Bank.
Third, the people of the US also wanted a political party system appropriate to their conditions and the position and power of the head of state was critical in fostering that political system. That system depended and still depends on tight collaboration and synergy between the political elite and the business elite.
In the US, that system is a two-party system in which either party aims to prove to the people that it is more loyal, more patriotic and more home-grown than the other. It is also clear that Zimbabwe is far from reaching that stage. That is why Ms Frazer and her chorus of Uncle Toms would have dared to say the things they have said about Mr Tsvangirai being the only leader acceptable to the UK, the US and the EU. In the US Mr Tsvangirai and MDC-T would immediately be charged with treason if foreign powers and agents of foreign powers were to announce so many times that they owned such and such a party and its leaders.
Finally, the people of the US wanted to establish a unique North American culture and a cohesive national ethos before they limited the terms of office of their heads of state, because these leaders were seen as critical in mobilising the vision, the symbolism, the memory and the continuity needed to mould such a culture and ethos.
In this historical context, any truly independent and autonomous people would view the conduct of Ms Frazer and her Uncle Toms to be bizarre. But that behaviour is coming from the panic that now grips Britain, Europe and North America.
One Mick Hume wrote in The Daily Mirror of June 22 and 23 2005 to say that any challenge which Africans faced in the 21st century was likely to be blown out of proportion and out of context because it would be seized upon as an opportunity for Anglo-Saxon leaders to prove their worth in the eyes of their own Anglo-Saxon populations who otherwise regarded them as morally bankrupt, incompetent and worthless.
Mick Hume published two articles. In one of them he wrote: "It seems that the crisis that has brought all this (moral posturing) about is not in Africa, but in Britain. There is a crisis of authority afflicting the political class, and a crisis of common values in our society. There is a poverty of leadership at every level and a dearth of any sense of purpose that is bigger than oneself. Against this background in British public life, Africa has become an all-purpose stage on which everybody from a pop star to a politician can try to show off their moral worth and sincerity.
"Everybody is keen to emphasise that the primary purpose of this summer’s (2005) events is to raise not cash but ‘awareness’ . . . in particular, a self-awareness that we (white Britons) are on the side of the Angels in Africa. The impetus behind this comes from the top downward.
"(Former British prime minister) Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have not been pressed into action on Africa by Bob Geldof or anybody else. The New Labour leaders have made a priority of grandstanding on African issues for years."
Yes, indeed, we note that it is the New Labour administration of Gordon Brown which has been orchestrating the current media blitz against Zimbabwe under the guise of helping cholera victims. The Bush administration, represented by Frazer and Rice, joined the blitz in order to help their British allies. But time has run out for both teams.
Year 2008 in retrospect
Sunday Mail Reporters
March 29 Harmonised Elections THE year began with preparations for the March 29 harmonised presidential, parliamentary and council elections, which saw the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) complete the outlining of constituency boundaries.
Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC (Mutambara) were the major political parties contesting in the polls. President Mugabe stood for Zanu-PF and Mr Morgan Tsvangirai for MDC-T in the race for the presidency. The major surprise, however, was the emergence of former finance minister Dr Simba Makoni as an independent presidential candidate and the birth of Mavambo, a collection of independent candidates.
After another independent, Mr Langton Towungana, also joined the race for the presidency, the candidates were known and the parties switched into campaign the mood. Rallies were held in various constituencies with the presidential aspirants taking their election messages to the country’s provinces.
That done; March 29 arrived. Zanu-PF got 99 seats in the House of Assembly, MDC-T 100 and MDC 10. The remaining seat went to independent candidate for Tsholotsho North, Professor Jonathan Moyo. In Senate, Zanu-PF got 30 seats, MDC-T 24 and MDC six.
However, the presidential election failed to yield a winner as none of the four candidates garnered more than 50 percent of the vote. President Mugabe got 43, 2 percent; Mr Tsvangirai 47,9 percent; Dr Makoni 8,3 percent and Mr Towungana 0, 6 percent.
According to the law, the two highest-scoring candidates had to contest in a run-off. This is what Cde Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai did on June 27. The MDC leader tried to pull out of the race with only a few days before the election citing violence against his supporters. But ZEC ruled that his withdrawal had come too late. The election went ahead and President Mugabe won convincingly.
AFTER the election, came the Sadc-initiated talks between Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations. This culminated in the signing of a power-sharing agreement on September 15. Under the agreement, President Mugabe continues as head of state and government, Mr Tsvangirai is set to become Prime Minister while MDC leader Professor Arthur Mutambara and a candidate from Mr Tsvangirai’s party are earmarked to become Deputy Prime Ministers.
Meanwhile, Cde Thabo Mbeki resigned as South African President barely a week after the agreement was signed. This followed pressure from his ANC party over a corruption case involving ANC leader and former South African Vice-President Mr Jacob Zuma.
Back home, there was optimism among many Zimbabweans that the Government would be formed within a short period of the signing of the power-sharing agreement. However, sticking points emerged over the allocation of Cabinet posts.
This was later whittled down to the Ministry of Home Affairs with the rest of the 30 ministries being apportioned among the three parties. Successive disagreements saw the matter being referred to Sadc early last month.
The regional bloc ruled that Zanu-PF and MDC-T co-minister the Home Affairs portfolio. It also ruled that Zimbabwe immediately form the proposed inclusive Government. Following weeks of MDC-T procrastination, Constitutional Amendment (Number 19) Bill was finally gazetted earlier this month.
When passed into law, the amendment will give legal effect to the provisions contained in the power- sharing agreement, ultimately leading to the formation of an inclusive Government.
No to sanctions, military invasion of Zimbabwe
In July, the United States attempted to have the United Nations Security Council impose sanctions on Zimbabwe, as part of its broad regime-change agenda in Zimbabwe.
However, this bid was thwarted after China and Russia flexed their veto powers, joining other progressive nations that advocate talks among Zimbabwe’s leaders. This was an embarrassing defeat for the United States and Britain and marked a turning point in Zimbabwe’s survival battle.
However, Western-imposed economic sanctions continued to take their toll on the economy, straining different sectors.
In October, Brazil deplored the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying they hurt the general populace.
When a cholera outbreak hit Zimbabwe in the last quarter of the year, the country found its ability to respond to the disease seriously constrained and had to appeal for international assistance.
The West saw this as an opportunity to step up its regime-change attempts by advocating the military invasion of Zimbabwe. They claimed the government system had collapsed and that the death toll from cholera as well as food shortages amounted to a serious humanitarian situation that warranted intervention.
However, Sadc and the African Union rejected the intervention attempts. Tanzania, which currently chairs the African Union, said the country’s challenges could be solved through dialogue. Kenyan Foreign Minister Mr Moses Wetangula condemned as uncalled for utterances by that country’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the AU to deploy peacekeepers to Zimbabwe, saying such calls contravened AU statutes.
Perrance Shiri Escapes Assassination Attempt
On December 13, Air Force Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri escaped an assassination attempt. Unidentified gunmen ambushed him while he was driving to his farm. Government said the attack on Air Marshal Shiri, who suffered a gunshot wound on the right palm, appeared to be a build-up of terror attacks targeting high-profile persons, Government officials, Government establishments and public institutions.
On August 2, Harare Central Police Station had been bombed. There was also the bombing of the Manyame River road and rail bridges on August 21, which was meant to disable part of the national transportation system.
On November 17, the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters in Harare was also bombed. Three days later, Harare Central Police Station was similarly attacked. The government linked this to the alleged training of bandits in Botswana. It swooped on scores of MDC activists, who began appearing in court last week facing various allegations of attempts to unlawfully overthrow the government.
Zanu-PF Annual People’s Conference
From December 18 to December 20, Zanu-PF displayed its unity and strength by holding its Annual People’s Conference in Bindura. Speaking at the conference, President Mugabe said a clear message to the rest of the world that the envisaged inclusive Government would not be allowed to reverse the land reform programme.
Education and health
The year proved to be a difficult one for the social services sector. In the health sector, some of the country’s major referral hospitals drastically scaled down operations owing to diminished drug stocks, equipment challenges and staff shortages.
The sanctions-induced problems at the hospitals saw many patients turn to private health institutions, which in turn took advantage of the situation to charge astronomical fees.
In education, schools, mostly Government-run, faced challenges such as inadequate learning and teaching materials. A good number of teachers also failed to turn up for duty citing lack of bus fare while some embarked on a job action to press for salary hikes.
Public examinations were postponed, but were later conducted after the RBZ moved in with financial and material assistance.
The last quarter of 2008 plunged Zimbabwe into dark waters after a severe cholera outbreak. The disease claimed more than 1000 lives while many other cases were reported in different parts of the country. Government efforts to contain the outbreak were constrained by sanctions-induced challenges and this saw authorities appealing for assistance.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) subsequently dispatched an emergency team of health experts to complement Government, UN agencies and private organisation in combating the epidemic. Namibia, China, South Africa and Tanzania are among the countries that also joined the fight against cholera.
In mid-December, WHO said cholera cases were on a steady decline since November 24 while the Zimbabwe Health Cluster completed a US$19 million Cholera Outbreaks Coordinated Preparedness and Operation Plan that will enable the country to mount a predictable and coordinated response to the epidemic.
The year also had its fair share of the weird, the bizarre and the humorous.