Sunday, August 22, 2010

Beijing, Chiadzwa and the Insurrection of 'Frontline States'

Beijing, Chiadzwa and the insurrection of ‘Frontline States’

AFRICAN FOCUS By Tafataona P. Mahoso

Readers of the last instalment to this column last week may have been wondering why I wrote that our celebration of the KP certification of Mbada Diamonds and Canadile should focus more on the reconstruction of our African values (unhu) than on making money.

I wrote that because, if we focus on reclaiming, reconstructing and optimising our unhu, we shall make more money and much more money than if we took a business-as-usual approach.

I am glad to report that the Sadc heads of state and government at the Sadc Summit celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Southern African Development Co-ordinating Conference (Sadcc) and the legacy of the “Frontline States” confirmed my observation by asking His Excellency President Robert Mugabe to represent and present the “Sadc brand”, just as he also represented and presented the “Pan-African brand” at the 2002 UN World Summit on Sustainable Development: when he chased away the Anglo-American demon represented by Tony Blair and Colin Powell with his “Keep your England and Let me keep my Zimbabwe” speech.

But how could that happen when the Zimbabwe Independent told us on June 25 1999, “Mugabe no longer relevant”? How does Mugabe manage to become the Pan-African brand in 2002 and the Sadc brand in 2010 if he was already irrelevant by 1999?

What are the concrete events which demonstrate this reconstruction of African values which I said could now be intensified around the reclamation and beneficiation of Marange diamonds and all other minerals with which Zimbabwe is endowed?

--First, when Zimbabwe’s Chiadzwa diamonds were finally certified after a long struggle on August 11 2010, President Mugabe was already in China where he was honoured by Anhui Province, which named a road after him, and by the central government of China in Beijing, where he met Chinese President Hu Jintao.

This Beijing meeting took place exactly at the time when the Western media were now admitting that China had overtaken Japan as the second biggest economy in the world and that it would soon surpass the US. To put historical perspective on the question of values, it may be necessary to quote a US columnist’s views on relations between China and countries and liberation movements such as Zimbabwe and Zanu-PF under Cde Mugabe’s leadership.

It is not the Zimbabwe Independent alone which declared wrongly in 1999 that Cde Mugabe was no longer relevant. North Americans did the same on a grand scale, as shown by the following quotation from Patrick J. Buchanan in the Philadelphia Inquirer for May 12 1979, that is at the peak of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle which was supported by the Eastern bloc, NAM and the OAU.

The column was written in the form of a speech which the writer imagined giving to one John Connally whom the writer regarded as a tough Yankee who would not take nonsense from Third World leaders and their communist allies meeting at the NAM summit in Manila at the time. Part of the imagined speech read as follows:

“Gentlemen of the Third World: While I may not speak for the US State Department types you normally meet, I do speak for millions of Americans who couldn’t find your country on a map, who don’t know Chad from shad . . . If you want more hard currency, free of charge or low-interest loans, go get it from . . . the Soviet and Chinese comrades with whom you vote in the United Nations.

“Now, before departing, let me instruct you in some economic and political realities . . . The poor of this world are not starving because Americans eat too much. The two major causes of malnutrition in the Third World are the governments of the Soviet Union, and the People’s Republic of China” because they are wedded to unworkable systems which Third World countries copied and therefore brought disasters to their own economies.

Therefore leaders of liberation movements, such as Cde Mugabe, were laughed at throughout the Anglo-Saxon world. The belief was that the Chinese and the entire Eastern bloc were capable only of supplying crude weapons with which African “terrorists” would be able to frighten some white settlers and thereby gain flag independence.

After the flag independence was won, everybody would then flock to Europe and North America for the “hard currency, loans, investments and technology”. In other words, there was no value in the solidarity relationships between, say, African freedom fighters and their Eastern bloc allies.

The paradox is that it is those young upstarts who wanted to unseat President Mugabe and the liberation movement with Western aid who have failed both to do the unseating and to get the billions of dollars and pounds sterling which they promised would come from their “rich donors”. The global financial tsunami took care of that illusion.

--Second, when the Sadc heads of state and government meeting convened in Windhoek in the third week of August 2010, they chose Cde Mugabe as the one leader who could best articulate their celebration and appreciation of the role of the “Frontline States” in securing the liberation and independence of what is now the Sadc region as well as the collective vision of Sadc in the 21st century which arises naturally and historically from its roots in the “Frontline States” and the Southern African Development Co-ordinating Committee (Sadcc), which was formed in 1980.

Cde Mugabe articulated that 21st century vision so well that the entire conference gave him a standing ovation just like the standing ovation Cde Mugabe got in 2002 at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa.

His message was that leaders of liberation movements in Southern Africa succeeded in freeing their peoples because they agreed to be taught, advised, guided by elders and ancestors in the First and Second Chimurenga.

His message was that it was criminal for any African leader in the 21st century to continue feeding and enriching the same Anglo-Saxon economies which have been bleeding our region for the last 300 years. He told the Sadc Summit that the KPCS and the African Diamond Producers’ Association had done well to confirm what Zimbabweans always knew, that Zimbabwe’s diamonds have never been blood diamonds.

But he warned that there will be blood in Zimbabwe if sell-outs and imperialists tried to block or loot Zimbabwe’s diamonds any more. The damage they have caused so far is more than enough. Zimbabwe will not brook any further interference. Why was the President so serious as to threaten war?

In 1899, Rhodes felt so generous about these African diamonds that he set up the Rhodes Scholarships for Anglo-Saxon males only. So generous was Rhodes that he willed two scholarships per year for each state of the 48 states of the United States of America at the time. The white settlers in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) were reserved nine scholarships per year, while Cape Colony and Natal were given a total of 15.

Rhodes’ racially exclusive will was not changed to consider Africans, other racial groups and women until 1977, that is 76 years after the first will. The result was that by 1983, more than 2 035 US citizens had been able to study at Oxford University, fully paid for through stolen African gold and diamonds.

By the same date, 1983, only 102 South Africans had received Rhodes scholarships. Of the 102 South Africans who had received the scholarships by 1983, only 2 were non-Caucasian. At that time more than 45 percent of African children in South Africa did not attend school.

Africans and other non-Caucasian groups were not included in Rhodes’ scholarship will. The British Parliament had to legislate to change Rhodes’ will in order to save the white race the embarrassment which became palpable, especially in the 1970s, because of the increasing influence of African liberation movements in the Southern African region. This is the context of Marange, Chiadzwa and Mbada.

The purpose of the Rhodes scholarships, according to Rhodes’ will, was to spread and strengthen imperialist values by making them appear to be universal global values, by forging a global Anglo-Saxon ruling class. It is significant that the white males from the US who have studied at Oxford have also come to occupy positions of leadership.

They include, for instance: William (Bill) Clinton, former US president and husband of the current US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton; Karl Albert, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives; Michael Kinsey, director of the Wilson Centre of the Smithsonian Institute; Bernard Rogers, former supreme commander of Nato forces in Europe; Russel Feigngold, a current US Senator involved in trying to fine-tune the US sanctions law against Zimbabwe and in efforts to get Zimbabwe’s Chiadzwa diamonds banned from the world market.

--The third set of events showing the involvement of values in the current struggle include the outgoing Swedish Ambassador’s about-turn on the issue of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe at the same time the US administration of President Barack Obama is also having second thoughts about the same illegal sanctions.

On the ZTV programme Talking Business on November 7 2008, Mr Sten Rylander, the Swedish Ambassador, denied that Zimbabwe was under EU sanctions. But on August 17 2010 on ZTV “News at 8”, the same man said he regretted the fact that he was leaving Zimbabwe before the EU sanctions have been lifted.

What this means is that the EU, the US and individual Anglo-Saxon countries are now worried about what their illegal and racist sanctions communicate to the majority of the people of Zimbabwe in view of possible elections within another year. Originally they thought that substituting a relief economy (chema ne nyaradzo) for the people’s own real economy was going to fool the population.

Now with Zimbabwe’s Chiadzwa diamonds certified after a long struggle, the people have become more confident, more defiant and even contemptuous of white racist rantings about democracy, human rights, transparency and tolerance — when what the Anglo-Saxon powers have communicated over sanctions and Chiadzwa diamonds is hypocrisy, arrogance, hatred and evil.

That is also the meaning of the standing ovations accorded President Mugabe. The entire region can now see what Mugabe has seen and known as far back as 1997!

What Rylander and Obama’s advisers are waking up to is the fact that there is an underlying value system (unhu) among Zimbabweans which has prevented the country from going the way of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Somalia, Kenya or Madagascar. The partial victory on Chiadzwa diamonds has deepened that value system and the resolve to get rid of the NGO-infested chema economy. This makes the last illustration quite puzzling.

--On August 17 2010, ZTV’s Melting Pot programme brought back Dhewa Mavinga of Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe to debate the same certification of Chiadzwa diamonds, which had been achieved on August 11, with former MP Gabriel Chaibva. What made ZTV’s decision on the programme puzzling were the following facts:

--Originally Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe claimed to represent local communities as well as the so-called “international community” against state institutions and against the certification of Marange diamonds.

--But the debate inside Zimbabwe swayed local and national opinion against Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe and its Canadian, Australian and US sponsors, as evidenced by everyone interviewed on ZTV news after the June KP meeting in Tel Aviv and the July one in St Petersburg.

--Moreover, the NGOs exposed and embarrassed themselves in Tel Aviv, when they demanded a one percent stake in the very same diamonds they condemned as “blood gems”.

--Then St Petersburg brought a new dimension, when the industry itself condemned the aggressive posture of Canada, the US and Australia and questioned the allegations being made by the NGOs in the face of professional scientific evidence which the activists did not bother to refute.

--Moreover, the African Diamond Producers’ Association (ADPA) decided to constitute a KPCS committee and let it go to Chiadzwa and investigate the diamond-mining process and all systems in order to issue a separate professional report apart from that of the original KP monitor, Mr Abbey Chikane of South Africa.

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