Sunday, March 22, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: International Women's Day March; Inclusive Government and the Realities of Western Terror

Zanu-PF, MDC in historic march

By Sydney Kawadza
Zimbabwe Herald

VICE PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru and Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe yesterday exchanged party regalia to send a message to errant party supporters who have been beating each other up that it is time for co-existence, as they led women across the political divide in a march to commemorate International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day, which is officially observed on March 8 annually, is a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women.

It was, thus, fitting that the two most powerful women in Zimbabwean politics today led the charge in yesterday’s belated observance of the day.

Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC supporters, clad in their respective party regalia, marched side by side, the first such show of solidarity since the launch of the MDC on September 11, 1999, and a major boost for the inclusive Government that is still in its infancy.

The marchers, who began their procession at Fourth Street bus terminus en route to the City Sports Centre, were joined by members of the judiciary, lawyers, the business community, academics, civic leaders, diplomats, soldiers, policewomen and churches at various points along the way.

The main celebrations — held at the City Sports Centre under the theme "Sharing and Caring to End Violence against Women and Girls" — were preceded by the observance of a minute of silence in memory of Mrs Susan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife who died in a car accident two weeks ago.

Addressing the capacity crowd, Vice President Mujuru urged Zimbabweans to spread the message of sharing, caring, forgiveness and tolerance in the spirit of unity across party lines.

"I particularly call upon the leadership of all political parties in Zimbabwe to direct their supporters to immediately stop the violence that continues to retard progress in cementing and consolidating the efforts of our inclusive Government.

"Violence of whatever form should never be tolerated. It is wrong, unacceptable, inexcusable and it must stop. The truth is that collectively we can stop the violence," she said.

VP Mujuru challenged Zimbabweans, male or female, to act in a manner that promotes tolerance, peace and harmony within the family and between families.

"That way, a peaceful society will begin to evolve," she said.

She said despite the fact that Zimbabweans are very peaceful and peace-loving people, the country continues to be rocked by isolated and frequent incidents of violence.

"This has provided our enemies with ammunition for negative publicity. The new political dispensation will no doubt contribute positively towards reduction of politically motivated violence," she said.

VP Mujuru said political and gender-based violence creates a bad image for the nation and retards development.

She said poverty was also linked to gender-based violence, adding that there was also need for the protection of the girl child who is exposed to a harsh economic environment that has made her vulnerable to sexual exploitation and HIV and Aids.

"It is wrong for violence to be perpetrated against women and it is worse for the same to be perpetrated against children.

"Let us all work together, women and men, to ensure that we protect girls in the manner that we would protect our own biological children. We cannot afford to destroy our future.

"SaAmai ndinoda kupedza ndichiti ngatichishandira pamwe, takasungana samadzimai navasikana. Ngatitsiureyi vana vedu nyaya yemhirizhonga ichipera muZimbabwe. Tose tikapa chisungo ichi, Mwari vachatibatsira tikakunda," she said.

Deputy Prime Minister Khupe said Zimbabweans were working together to rebuild the country.

She reiterated the call for an immediate stop of politically motivated violence for the development of the country.

"A future without violence brings economic prosperity, improved education and health services, but with violence all these cannot be developed," she said.

Deputy PM Khupe urged women to lead in moving the country forward in a peaceful manner, urging youths to have respect and discipline.

"We must not fight amongst each other so that we build the nation together. Violence is abnormal, whether it is in
the family, community or countrywide. Zvakwana, sokwanele, hatidi kurwisana. Violence, violence, violence must stop," she said.

Security forces in Zimbabwe, she said, should protect the people and attend to cases reported to them.

"The country’s political leadership signed the Global Political Agreement and we are bound by the letter and spirit of the agreement.

"Let us develop a culture of respect and build bridges to find ways to work together, find social ways to settle disputes and share efforts to create a violence-free Zimbabwe," she said.

The political leadership from Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC, joined by Mrs Jacqueline Mutambara, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s wife, shared the podium to address the women clad in various political party regalia.

Among the leaders were Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Olivia Muchena, her deputy Evelyn Masaiti, Ministers of State Sekai Holland and Flora Bhuka, Public Works Minister Theresa Makone and deputy ministers Tracy Mutinhiri (Labour and Social Welfare) and Jessie Majome (Justice and Legal Affairs).

Inclusive Gvt, realities of Western terror

AFRICAN FOCUS by Tafataona P. Mahoso

ON February 25 2009, Professor John Makumbe and I were guest speakers at Africa University where the students representative council was marking Black History Month by examining the meaning of the inclusive Government (IG).

I was shocked, though not surprised, by some of the things which Makumbe said. He said Prime Minister Tsvangirai would not move to live in a State house. He and his ministers would even refuse to have State security and rely on party cadres instead.

"We are going to run the country from Harvest House," said Makumbe.

At first I wanted to ignore Makumbe’s utterances because it was not clear how he had been authorised to speak for MDC-T.

What has made the utterances even more significant now is the discovery that PM Tsvangirai did not have a proper State escort when he was involved in the accident that killed his wife. What has made Makumbe’s utterances significant is that the Press has also taken very long to reveal that for some time, MDC-T ministers were refusing to have State security and State aides.

But Makumbe’s utterances had further significance: If some MDC-T ministers did not trust State security and State aides after having sworn to be party of the State, then who did they really trust and on whom were they going to rely for security? Moreover, even if MDC-T wanted nothing to do with State security, why would it allow its members and supporters to broadcast in broad daylight that MDC-T officials would be travelling unprotected because they did not believe in State security? Did the MDC-T not realise that boasting about travelling with no security constituted a security threat by inviting mischief from those angered by the formation of the IG, those determined to make it fail?

The fact that half the students at Africa University cheered Makumbe’s boasts means that too many of our people suffer from a deadly mixture of prejudice and naivete, which the IG should not ignore. This naivete among us makes us vulnerable to the on-going Anglo-American campaign against the IG and against the people.

Hints of this campaign emerged on March 6 2009, the night of the accident which killed the PM’s wife. White-controlled media in South Africa, the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera English and all the internet terror channels in the anti-Zimbabwe camp, began to name all the Zimbabwean politicians who have died in accidents, suggesting that political repression and lack of democracy explained Mrs Tsvangirai’s death. It was as if these channels had been primed ahead of time to expect an assassination which would be blamed on President Mugabe and on Zanu-PF and therefore derail the IG.

In other words, the anti-Zimbabwe media moved into their role within the Anglo-American imperialist agenda which perfectly fits George Gerbner’s description.

In "Violence in and by the Media", Professor George Gerbner described the corruption and criminalising role of the media as instruments of power on a global scale: "They serve as projective devices that isolate acts and people from meaningful contexts and set them up to be stigmatised . . . Stigma is a mark of disgrace that evokes disgraceful behaviour. Labelling some people barbarians makes it easier to treat them as barbarians would (treat them) . . . classifying some people as criminals permits dealing with them in ways otherwise criminal; it makes it legitimate to attack and kill them . . . Stigmatisation and demonisation isolate their targets and set them up to be victimised (Gerbner 1992:96).

In other words, false sympathy was heaped on the PM and MDC-T by the very same forces which were angry with Tsvangirai for joining the IG. Allegations of political murder were hurled at President Mugabe and Zanu-PF by the very same forces who have been masters at political murder for centuries, the same forces using illegal sanctions as economic terror against Mugabe.

The forces who want the IG to fail have instigated the NGOs and media outlets they sponsor in order to try to split the IG using the following strategy. First, exaggerated allegations of torture, repression, corruption, mismanagement and lack of the rule of law against "the previous government" and put the so-called correction of the "democracy deficit" at the very top of the IG’s agenda.

Second, deny as much as possible the realities of the illegal economic war, which has been waged against the people of Zimbabwe for the last 10 years.

Three, refuse to discuss illegal sanctions by suppressing the scientific research which so far proves the impact of sanctions. Even the alleged poor state of the roads, which allegedly caused the accident that killed Mrs Tsvangirai must be blamed on mismanagement and not on the economic sanctions which for 10 years cut off investment in infrastructure.

Fourth, if evidence of the genocidal impact of sanctions on people’s daily lives in Zimbabwe becomes impossible to deny, put blame on "the previous government" and say the sanctions will be lifted when the IG proves that it is really unlike the previous government. The IG must show that it deserves to have sanctions lifted by putting human rights, democracy and a new constitution above the fight for the economic survival and empowerment of the people.

Yet on November 2 2005, former US ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell boasted that the economic crisis Zimbabwe was going through had so devastated people’s lives as to bring them back down to the living conditions of 1952!

In saying this, Dell in fact, was agreeing with Dr Gideon Gono’s view that illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe represent economic, political and diplomatic terrorism inflicted on the whole population. The only difference is that Dell blames only mismanagement and corruption for the devastation, while Dr Gono blames sanctions primarily, which he says have also worsened corruption and mismanagement.

This is the reality of which our media must disabuse our people. This is the context in which our dismal naivete about United States Agency for International Development (USAid) and Crown Agents must be shaken. There are excellent reasons why Professor Jonathan Moyo has suggested the sort of line of inquiry into the accident that killed the PM’s wife.

Successive British and US administrations have consistently sponsored terror and terrorist tactics against democracies and democratic movements whenever they believed their interests were threatened. For that reason, Zimbabweans must reject all arguments which start by assuming that the US and UK administrations are beyond suspicion because some of their agencies and NGOs have given or promised us "aid".

In "Understanding Power", MIT Professor Noam Chomsky has this to say about aid, democracy and terror: "No, we (the US state) support terror all the time — in fact, we put it in power. Just take a look at US aid (meaning US assistance), for instance. There have been many studies of it, including studies by people who write in the mainstream, and what they show is that there is in fact a very high correlation between US foreign aid and human rights abuses."

Chomsky then cites studies by other scholars which established "an extremely close correlation between US aid and torture . . . the more a country tortures its citizens and the more egregious are the violations of human rights, the higher is US aid".

It is, therefore, wrong for Zimbabweans to believe that the UK, US and EU have been conducting a campaign of economic terror and strangulation against Zimbabwe in order to advance democracy and human rights or to suggest that if the IG adopts the "human rights and constitutional reform" agenda set by the British and the North Americans through Amnesty International and other sponsored NGOs, then financial assistance will pour into our coffers.

What this means is not only that as Zimbabweans we need a firm grasp of current international relations, but also that, in advance, we need an accurate profile of each of the international organisations and NGOs with which we desire to have relations before letting it into the country.

Let us, for instance, continue with the profile of the example we used last week, the USAid. Whereas more than 180 of the almost 190 member states of the UN have voted countless times condemning the 50-year US blockade against Cuba, the US administration, under George W. Bush, moved to tighten the economic strangulation of Cuba even more by setting up the so-called Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba which the Cubans describe as a new imperialist structure to administer daily the subjugation and recolonising efforts of the US against Cuba.

That commission has proposed that to achieve and complete illegal regime change in Cuba, a committee of the commission be set up, called the Committee for Economic Reconstruction and it is made up of the US State Department, US Department of Trade, US Department of the Treasury, US Department of Justice and of course USAid.

In 2004, the budget directly committed to illegally toppling the Cuban government was US$59 000. USAid was responsible for enforcing Section 109 of the Helms Burton Act and its allocation was more than US$7 million. This Act is a US law against Cuba, similar to the US law against Zimbabwe called the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. But in the case of Cuba, there are several pieces of such US legislation including the Cuban Adjustment Act.

In an article called "USAid, key weapon in dirty war on Latin America", Jean Guy Alard concluded that dozens of USAid’s "agents operate in the shadow of rightwing organisations, invented according to circumstances and sponsored by the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Freedom House, and a whole series of fronts, always under CIA directives".

Staying within the Latin America and Caribbean area, we turn to USAid’s role in Haiti. For 200 years, successive US administrations have been supporting the Haitian military and the dictators dependent on the same military for retaining power.

But in the late 1980s, a priest named Jean Bertrand Aristide figured out a method of grassroots organising which escaped the attention of the forces sponsored by the US through USAid, until December 1990 when they elected Aristide Haiti’s first popular president in 200 years.

Professor Chomsky says this surprise victory by an autonomous and unsponsored movement and candidate was regarded in Washington in 1990 as a catastrophe.

The sponsored candidate receiving support through USAid was a former World Bank employee called Marc Bazin. Despite the massive USAid support, he got only 14 percent of the popular vote.

What was wrong with President Aristide? Chomsky says what was not to be tolerated by the US administration was "a populist movement based on grassroots support and led by a priest-president infected with liberation theology".

USAid co-ordinated several CIA front organisations for the purpose of creating NGOs and other civic groups and institutions to counter the Aristide revolt and its grassroots support as well as to subvert the government. But such rightwing organisations alone would not do because their power of persuasion could not match that of the grassroots peasant movement behind Aristide. They became effective only after the CIA had successfully sponsored a coup d’etat. The rest of Latin America opposed the coup, but the US administration wanted to use it to get rid of Aristide’s democratic movement. So the US administration pretended to object to the coup and the violence while actually supporting the coup plotters.

The coup plotters were sponsored by the US to go and live in Paris in order to protect them against allegations of murder and crimes against humanity. Emmanuel Constant, the most notorious terrorist against unarmed Aristide supporters in Haiti, was taken to New York City where he lives in peace to this day.

Experts on Haiti agree that USAid funded the rightwing forces which were used to support the coup against Aristide and to restore a military-backed and repressive regime after the removal of both the coup plotters and the Aristide government. The USAid-funded campaign against democracy in Haiti was called "the Democracy Enhancement Project".

The lesson for Zimbabwe under the IG is clear. All donor-funded organisations and projects must be thoroughly scrutinised, especially if they use such coded euphemisms as peace initiative, peace project, conflict resolution, peace-building, post-conflict transformation, and so on.

Often the real mission is the exact opposite of the cover logo and language. Actual profiles, actual activities and sources as well as quantities of funding have to be scrutinised for the real mission to emerge. The rhetoric of indiscriminate and reckless "opening up the society" is meant to pre-empt scrutiny.

1 comment:

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