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Zimbabwe: Why is Britain Provoking us Over Mugabe?
Posted: Monday, April 21, 2008

by Sam Akaki
The Monitor (Kampala)
19 April 2008
Posted to the web 21 April 2008

Only with the Conservative Party in power in the UK can that country hope to salvage its rapidly deteriorating relationship with Zimbabwe and Africa.

Under the New Labour government, Zimbabwe has needlessly become to the British, what Cuba has been to the United States for the last 50 years.

Just as the US has maintained an economic blockade against, and repeatedly violated Cuba's territorial independence, the Labour government has misused its influence in the UN, European Union, G8, Commonwealth, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to ensure Zimbabwe's economic collapse.

From making disparaging remarks in Parliament and the international fora to organising self-demeaning TV gestures by the Labour-voting Ugandan-born Archbishop of York John Sentamu; from boycotting two EU Africa summits to illegally ferrying BBC reporters and Labour MPs into Zimbabwe, and organising a "citizen's arrest" against President Robert Mugabe - since coming to power in 1977, the Labour government has single-mindedly pursued an aggressive Africa policy aimed at running down Mugabe, ignoring African views and the dire humanitarian consequences.

The deaths of thousands of Zimbabwean children due starvation and preventable diseases as a result of the blockade are blamed on Mugabe.

The BBC which is funded by the Foreign Office under a Royal Charter but now banned from Zimbabwe recently boasted, "The BBC's John Simpson confirmed the news while under cover in Zimbabwe". If this is not a deliberate violation of Zimbabwe's independence, the UN and AU Charters, what else can it be?

The Labour government is cynically using the current political dispute in Zimbabwe to create a crisis in South Africa by promoting the view that, unlike the state president Thambo Mbeki, the ANC president Jacob Zuma wants tough actions on Zimbabwe. Nonsense!

African leaders are infuriated. Last Wednesday, at the special session of United Nations Security Council, they pointedly rejected British to flag Zimbabwe as a threat to international security - a move which would have necessitated the deployment of foreign troops in country.

The Labour government's obsession with Mugabe goes back many years. Speaking at the 2001 Labour Party Conference, the then Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair said, "Partnership for Africa, between the developed and developing world based around the New African Initiative, is there to be done."

And he concluded, "But it's a deal: on the African side: true democracy, no more excuses for dictatorship, abuses of human rights; no tolerance of bad governance, from the endemic corruption of some states, to the activities of Mr Mugabe's henchmen in Zimbabwe".

But this so-called "deal" with Africa excludes Yoweri Museveni whose records on governance and human rights is just as bad, and in many ways worse. In November 2007, the Labour Government honoured him with a royal visit and gave him £750 million.

Except President Museveni who has publicly and repeatedly supported President Mugabe's controversial land policies, the Labour government demonises any other African leader who does not share their view on Zimbabwe, especially President Thambo Mbeki who has allegedly failed to bring President Mugabe down by cutting off essential supplies.

Mr Mbeki was so infuriated that he exploded during the 4th April Conference of Progressive Centre left parties in Watford, UK, and told reporters, "Zimbabwe is not a province or a former colony of South Africa". Any wonder that Africa is rebelling against its former colonial master, the UK, refusing to send troops to Somalia, saying they need no white faces in Darfur as peace keepers and turning to China, a country with nothing in common with Africa except trade.

In December 2007, African leaders spoke with one voice and said they would not attend the European Union-Africa summit, held in Lisbon, Portugal, if President Mugabe was not invited, as demanded by the Labour government.

And, speaking to reporters during the China-Africa summit, which took place in Beijing in November 2006, the then Botswana President Festus Mogae said, "I find that the Chinese treat us as equals. The West treats us as former subjects. Which is a reality. I prefer the attitude of the Chinese to that of the West".

Isn't it now plainly clear that the British relationship with Zimbabwe in particular and Africa in general will not improve until the Conservative Party takes over in the United Kingdom? After all, it was Conservative MP William Wilberforce who spear-headed the fight against slavery in the UK.

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