Ghana no go area for the MDC
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2007
By Caesar Zvayi
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July 05, 2007
"ARE you attacking me?" "No, Mr Mangoma," the student calmly replied, "You are being attacked by facts."
This was part of an exchange between one Ghanaian University student and the deputy national treasurer general of the MDC Tsvangirai faction, one Elton Mangoma, at an anti-Zimbabwe gathering the MDC had convened on June 28 at Teacher's Hall in Accra, Ghana.
The meeting dubbed, Public Hearing on Zimbabwe, was attended by the following MDC activists and their "opposition" society hangers on:
* Elton Mangoma deputy treasurer general Tsvangirai faction;
* Paurina Mpariwa MDC MP for Mufakose;
* Blessing Chebundo MP for Kwekwe;
* Arnold Tsunga Law Society of Zimbabwe, and Executive Director Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights;
* Wilbert Mandinde Legal officer – MISA Zimbabwe;
* Gift Phiri Reporter with The Zimbabwean;
* Xholani Nsiza Opposition activist;
* Promise Mkwananzi ZINASU president;
* Joseph James Former LSZ president;
* Tinoziva Bere Partner in Mbidzo, Muchadehama & Makoni Legal Practitioners;
* Gabriel Shumba Zimbabwe Exiles Forum;
* Tabitha Khumalo Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition/ ZCTU;
* Collen Chibango Youth activist;
* Hugh Masekela South African saxophonist.
The objective of the meeting, the audience was told, was to come up with a resolution condemning the Government of Zimbabwe for alleged human rights abuses. The resolution was to be presented to heads of state and government at the AU General Assembly three days later to try to pressure them to condemn Zimbabwe for alleged human rights abuses.
The presenters, among them Tsunga, Phiri and Chibango, took turns to narrate "harrowing" stories of their alleged torture and abuse at the hands of the Government, with some literally shedding tears in an attempt to move the crowd. All of them claimed that they were tortured for choosing to differ with the Government, with the lawyers saying they were targeted for representing opposition activists in court cases against the State.
They claimed the President was a dictator, whose excesses had brought untold suffering on the people, that he undermines democracy, and that Zimbabweans were now worse off than they were under colonialism, among other things.
Individual presenters recounted alleged torture, incarceration without trial, and rape while in police custody.
But the MDC underlings were in for a rude shock. They had apparently mistaken Ghana for one of the EU states where Government officials do not give their own side of the story because of travel restrictions designed to give their lies free reign. But in Ghana, the Government had been on the ground acquainting Ghanaians with facts, images and stories the Western media refused to carry.
So the audience the MDC encountered was one that was not only informed, but that knew how its forebears were hoodwinked into deposing one of the most progressive leaders, Africa has ever seen, Ghana's founding President Dr Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah.
The opposition activists were hardly halfway through their rhapsody of imaginary stigmata, when one student asked the organisers of the gathering why the Government of Zimbabwe was not invited to give its side of the story when its embassy was only a few minutes drive away.
What followed, during the question and answer session, stunned the presenters and those who were officiating as they expected supportive questions from the audience. The pointed questions and incisive comments from the audience left the MDC activists flustered and stuttering.
A few examples will suffice here:
* "I have noted with interest, the passion with which you have highlighted the alleged gross human rights violations in Zimbabwe, but I have not seen equal passion on the issue of land, the right of black people to land, which we believe is right?"
* "I worked in Zimbabwe in the 1980s in the Ghanaian foreign service, I know for sure that the British and Americans were supposed to pay for the land to be acquired from the white commercial farmers and they have reneged on this. Unfortunately, we have not seen the NGOs coming into the streets with a passion and make a clarion statement that they think the West was wrong on that."
* "Forty years ago, Kwame Nkrumah was called a dictator and had to go at all costs, now he is a hero for Africa. Are we not witnessing the same thing with President Mugabe?"
* "What kind of a hearing is this where only the opposition is invited to tell their story? We have a Zimbabwean embassy here, why have they not been invited to give the Government side for the intellectual minds to benefit?"
* "I have heard all your stories about the brutality of President Mugabe's regime, but isn't he the man who was incarcerated for the liberation of Zimbabwe, who you say has abandoned all that to face the other way, why?"
Of course, the opposition stalwarts had a few sympathisers within the audience, but they were, however, jeered when they tried to echo the anti-Zimbabwe voices.
Tsunga and his gang were also heckled and asked where they were getting the money to globetrot to demonise their Government when they said Zimbabwe was full of suffering.
So vicious was the response from the floor that Tsunga and his musketeers beat a hasty retreat from the high table, and prematurely ended their meeting without drafting the resolution they had intended to come up with.
The same fate awaited Morgan Tsvangirai's deputy, Thokozani Khupe, Mangoma and others when they visited the University of Ghana, where the students unequivocally told them that Ghana had the benefit of hindsight where Zimbabwe is concerned.
Indeed some of the students were to speak authoritatively in solidarity with the Government of Zimbabwe at a rally held at Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Central Accra, but more on that latter.
There was no respite for Khupe when she took her charade to Ghana television and radio. Unknown to her, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Cde Patrick Chinamasa had been on the same channels before her giving the Government side of the story.
So Khupe mistakenly believed it was going to be smooth sailing, but it was not long before the presenter weighed her allegations against what Cde Chinamasa had said.
Khupe's programmed response was to dismiss Cde Chinamasa's statements as Government propaganda. The presenter then fished out New African's May issue that had harrowing testimonies from people like Welshman Ncube and Trudy Stevenson detailing how violence had become institutionalised in the MDC body politick.
Again Khupe preposterously claimed the Government had bought New African.
The ace up the presenter's sleeve, however, was a DVD that had the opposition confessing to its subversive politics. When the DVD was played, short of disowning Tsvangirai, Khupe had no choice but to pray for the end of the show as irate callers told her to take her quisling politics out of Ghana.
The DVD in question opened with Tsvangirai's infamous September 30 2000 statement in which he chillingly threatened to violently unseat President Mugabe.
That clip was followed by former British prime minister, Tony Blair's, "We work closely with the MDC on the measures we should take in respect of Zimbabwe, although I am afraid, these measures and sanctions, although we have them in place, are of limited effect on the Mugabe regime…"
Blair then gave way to the Nicolle brothers' farm in Banket, where white commercials farmers were captured on CNN falling over each other to sign cheques to the MDC. The clincher there was when one of the Nicolle brothers stood up to tell his colleagues that he was investing in the MDC.
After Banket came the MDC's secretary for education, Fidelis Mhashu boob on BBCs HARDTalk programme, where he told his interviewer that the MDC would return land to white commercial farmers if elected to power.
The rest, as they say is history as angry callers jammed the switchboard to hound Khupe off the set.
After that nasty reception, the opposition delegation disappeared from Ghana days before the heads of state and government arrived. Only poor Khupe was left behind to try and get to the AU Summit. But by time the Summit wound up on Tuesday, Khupe was nowhere in sight, and the MDC officials and their hired activists, who always picket AU Summits were conspicuous by their absence.
One MDC official was heard saying Ghana was full of "Zanoids," whatever that means.
Contrast the MDC's ordeal with the resounding welcome Ghanaians gave President Mugabe and you would tend to agree with Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, that indeed there is hope for Africa.
On arrival at Kotoka International Airport last Saturday, President Mugabe was welcomed by thousands of Ghanaians singing songs in his honour, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with his image and holding placards that urged him to soldier on for Africa, and to keep Nkrumah's dream alive. As his motorcade raced through the streets of Africa, Ghanaians saluted him with his trademark clenched fist salute.
The next day, the President was invited to address thousands of people who had gathered at Kwame Nkrumah Memorial grounds to mark the 15th anniversary of the opening of the mausoleum, built for the great African statesman.
Before the President's arrival, the vociferous gathering was treated to Dr Nkrumah's speeches from the public address system. The speeches were punctuated by Bob Marley's songs, particularly Africa Unite, and Zimbabwe.
Listening to Nkrumah's speeches, one could only tell it was not President Mugabe because of the accent; otherwise the oratorical prowess, message, passion and delivery was just the same.
When President Mugabe took the microphone to pay tribute to his mentor, Nkrumah, the adults gathered went back into time, to July 1 1960, when Nkrumah took the microphone at the same venerated grounds to proclaim Ghana a republic.
And as the crowd dispersed, the young man attending to the PA masterfully primed Bob Marley's voice to wail from the speakers, "how long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look?"
The irony was not lost on this writer, a bunch of Zimbabweans had breezed through Europe en route to Ghana to demonise their Government, when exactly the same composition of interest groups from Ghana was busy organising an unprecedented welcome for the President.
Maybe it is true that Morrison Nyathi, the man who sold Nyadzonia, sowed many wild oats around Zimbabwe.
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