Zimbabwe: The 'Crisis' That Never Was
Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2008
By Reason Wafawarova
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April 17, 2008
The yet to be announced result for the presidential election held two weeks ago has presented to the opposition MDC-T and its Western backers, an opportunity to stage-manage a crisis -- a condition that they have failed to create for the past eight and a half years.
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa rightly said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe and with the phrase: "No crisis," he instantly hit world headlines. President Mbeki did not employ supernatural or genius science to discover that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe and neither did he say something that everyone around him was not seeing. He stated the obvious, but the obvious was not supposed to be stated. For the British and the generality of the West, what must be stated about Zimbabwe is very clear. The country is an unmanageable crisis and that is that.
Until the client regime of lapdog politician Morgan Tsvangirai is put in place, all "democratic forces" must see a crisis in Zimbabwe. If they cannot see it they must either open their eyes wider or simply create the crisis. Across the Zambezi, President Levy Mwanawasa was made to see the non-existent crisis for the second time in about 13 months. Last year in March, Mwanawasa saw a "sinking Titanic" in the wake of the MDC's so-called "defiance campaign" that culminated in the March 11 disturbances in Highfield. It had to take a Sadc Extraordinary Summit in Dar es Salaam to remind him his eyes had deceived him.
President Mbeki has had to face the agony of eight and a half years of a crisis-waving Britain but the ever alert and revolutionary Mbeki has not been fooled, even once. He saw no crisis with the land reclamation, squarely blaming Britain for its past mistakes. He saw no crisis with the 2000, 2002 and 2005 elections, snubbing all imperialist pressure to declare the elections unfree and unfair. President Mbeki saw no crisis with the March 11 skirmishes that made Mwanawasa see a "sinking Titanic". The ever-discerning Pan-Africanist, Mbeki; saw beyond the bruises of the skirmishes and excellently held the mediation talks that resulted in the peaceful March 29 elections.
The Zambian leader would do well to emulate him.
At the peak of the mobilisation of the illegal sanctions by Britain and her allies, they did their best to drag President Mbeki into their corner and, of course, they got it all wrong. Tsvangirai was so livid that he did not even see the folly of making public attacks on Mbeki -- blaming him for not cutting off power and fuel supplies, yes cutting off Tsvangirai's own motherland, Zimbabwe -- just as stupid as that.
Obviously, President Mbeki is seen as a potential big political scoop by Western powers -- that emanating from his powerful position as the leader of the most powerful economy in Africa. With the now characteristic rebuffs from Mbeki, the West has been desperately looking for allies within Sadc and it would appear our brother across the Zambezi is playing ball.
But is this assertion correct?
The convening of an emergency summit on Zimbabwe was the kind of move that makes people like Gordon Brown feel like successful politicians.
The invitation of pro-West opposition leaders like Tsvangirai and Makoni to such a summit is the prototype behaviour expected by the West from any "democratic" chairperson leading such a regional grouping like Sadc. The fact that eight out of 14 heads of state and government attended is not exactly the scenario Bush would instruct Gordon Brown to have on a matter with so much Western interest at stake. The absence of the man for whom the summit was supposed to sit as a court of law did not really make matters look any better. The dock was empty and Mwanawasa had to start by acknowledging that President Mugabe was not in the dock but the talk shop would proceed nonetheless.
The three-point resolution -- clearly nothing to offend or to please anyone, does not really make much sense of the half night spend in discussions. Sadc wants the results of the poll announced "expeditiously" and expects all parties to accept the result. Is that not very obvious and given? If Sadc needs all-night-long summits to come up with this kind of resolution then they are not very different from the European Union that spent nights of empty debates on issues like poverty eradication and free trade, something they keep doing knowing very well that they have neither will, wish nor commitment to effect such change.
Anyway, a "crisis" summit ordered by the West cannot end up any worse than being declared a non-crisis by President Mbeki, snubbed by six regional leaders (maybe rightly so) and presenting an unassuming and clearly harmless piece of paper in the name of resolutions. This writer would normally see a snub of the MDC by Africa in all this but there is every need to worry when such a snub comes through what looks like outright confusion.
For the MDC and the West, the "victory" lies in calling for an emergency summit on Zimbabwe not in the outcome of the summit. For Britain, any meeting over President Mugabe is a crisis, and by definition a success story. This writer sees the outcome of this Lusaka summit as the beginning of another damage control enterprise by President Mwanawasa -- a man who appears to be struggling with his judgment when it comes to international relations. It would not be surprising if Mwanawasa will repeat what he did last year in a bid to disown and dissociate himself from the West.
Now we hear the much-exalted Zimbabwe High Court has just pulled the pin on the MDC. ZEC can keep the result to themselves for as long as it is not appropriate to release them. Again the High Court decision must have been an obvious judgment for anyone who sincerely believes in free and fair elections. When irregularities have been cited it is only natural that the process may not continue regardless.
What are the alternatives for Africa in all this? There is only one alternative for Sadc and the rest of Africa. It is unity and more unity. There is need for Africa, South America and Asia to create an alternative future from a legacy of empire dominated imperialist ruin and terror.
The US-led Western alliance has long dominated the world; Africa topping the list -- and that domination coming through two major methods: Violence and economic strangulation. In fact, frankly speaking, international affairs have increasingly grown a striking resemblance to the Mafia. The Godfather does not take it lightly when he is crossed, even by the smallest of storekeepers -- and the US has not taken it lightly with Zimbabwe's land redistribution programme -- indeed all Zimbabweans know this too well.
From 1945, the US has made it a point that true national independence or independent nationalism is not allowed to happen. The US success in achieving this sabre-rattling dream can only be credited to a lack of regional and continental co-operation in Latin America, Africa and other less developed parts of this world.
Without this co-operation, threats such as Zimbabwe's land redistribution programme can be handled one by one. The continued and resolute support for Zimbabwe by Sadc and the AU is the kind of co-operation the US and its Western allies would not want to see. This is why they keep hoping that they can play the regional leaders against each other.
In Latin America the US has had to shift policy just because of the regional co-operation that started at the beginning of this millennium. There are many governments in Latin America that would long have been overthrown by the US had it not been for the current prevailing regional unity and co-operation.
Michelle Bachelet of Chile is a socialist like Allende and during the days of Henry Kissinger she would have long been bombed to ashes in the Chilean palace -- of course, for the crime of being a "contagious virus". But now America cannot dare touch her because of the regional co-operation across Latin America.
The Americans cannot stand Eva Morales of Bolivia but they cannot handle him the way they did Maurice Bishop of Grenada in the past. The American ruling elite calls Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela all sorts of names but they cannot afford to tackle him the way they bullied Nicaragua, Haiti, Panama and Honduras in the past. Chavez has pushed for a gas joint venture with Bolivia and has a vision for Petroamerica, an integrated energy system of the kind China is initiating in Asia. The US looks like they can do absolutely nothing about this at this point in time.
It is only this kind of co-operation that can render the vampire useless. In the 1970s the US would long have occupied Venezuela and Bolivia, but this is the 21st century and the times are indeed changing.
In 2006 the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, proposed a land and river trade link running from the Brazilian Amazon rainforest to Ecuador's Pacific Coast -- something like the Panama Canal. There are other promising developments like Telesur, an effort to break the Western media monopoly in Latin Americas and Lula da Silva of Brazil has been calling for an overcoming of historical distortions and all this has strengthened the Latin American resolve for true and genuine independence.
Even Daniel Ortega, the victim of the Sandinista onslaught by Washington, is now back in power in Nicaragua and has been co-operating very well with Venezuela.
Latin America offers incisive lessons for Africa and it is a prerequisite for genuine independence that all African states unite and make a genuine drive towards meaningful integration. All these years, imperialism has thrived on its ability not only to divide countries from one another but also on its sharp internal divisions within individual countries -- mainly between a wealthy small elite and a mass of impoverished masses. The rich are normally either white or indigenous people well connected and linked to the West, not necessarily to their own societies.
The current unity of purpose in Latin America has forced the US to foster new relations with governments they would normally just kick out of power without a second thought. Lula's government in Brazil is a replica of Joao Goulart's government -- a government that was ousted by a US-backed coup in 1964. However, the US has had to shift and make an ally out of Lula's government in a bid to isolate the so-called bad boys, Hugo Chavez and Eva Morales.
The US has been forced to focus on a means of control hidden in the abuse of the International Monetary Fund, which is virtually a branch of the US Treasury Department -- indeed for all intents and purposes.
Argentina was the poster child of the IMF until the 2001 crash. For recovery Argentina had to violate IMF rules, refusing to pay its debts and buying up what remained of the debt -- partly with the help of Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. It is this kind of co-operation that can cripple the imperial authority and Africa must learn here and now that there is no need to allow the West to play one leader against the other. Such a situation is not only stupid but extremely dangerous as Latin Americans now know too well.
Brazil has been moving to free itself from the IMF and that is the direction the rest of the developing world should be taking. After 25 years of obedient studentship to the IMF, Bolivia ended with an income per capita much lower than when it adopted the IMF policies in the first place.
Now Bolivia is getting rid of the IMF and that is coming through co-operation with Venezuela. Lula was re-elected in 2006 and immediately after being sworn in he rushed to support Chavez's electoral campaign. In the eighties such a move would invite the immediate wrath of the US, but with the current integration and unity the US just watched almost helplessly and still maintained Lula was their "ally".
Africa must look closely at the Latin American example and take it from 2007, when they stood with Zimbabwe over the Lisbon Summit. That unity is needed, if only to cripple the imperial interest over the resources of the continent. It is a unity that is direly needed, if only to ensure that true independent nationalism is achieved.
In this context Zimbabwe's land reform programme must be supported until it succeeds. In fact, the principle and policy has been supported well enough while the implementation has just been ignored by other African states. There is need for Sadc to offer material support for the land reform programme by loaning materials to the new farmers of Zimbabwe.
Such a gesture has a consolidating effect that can only motivate the new farmer to do their best and bring out the best they can out of the land they were given.
Such a vision is loathed to the marrow by the likes of Tendai Biti of the MDC, that perpetually ranting official who is convinced that Zimbabwe has never ever known any good in the past and their only chance to do so lies in an MDC government. He has the temerity, or is it stupidity; to deride the efforts of the liberation struggle and even call the whole effort an "unjust war".
The only way to deal with parties like MDC and the Bitis of this world is to expose them for what they are and to ensure that their assignments never get a pass mark.
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