Land at core of Western anger
Posted: Friday, September 19, 2008
By Caesar Zvayi
Printer friendly version
September 19, 2008
IN our Shona culture, just as in any other culture, suspicion is always aroused whenever an outsider mourns more than the bereaved.
Then vanasorojena (the elders) tend to question the relationship between the mourner and the deceased and all his/her family.
Well, since the power-sharing agreement was signed by Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC on Monday, the Anglo-Saxon Alliance led by the EU and the US have been wailing like a newly-wed widow who has just been robbed of the joys of wedded bliss.
In fact, the Westerners just stopped short of rejecting the power-sharing agreement as if they are Zimbabwean citizens.
Their collective response, "we are studying the deal with caution and will monitor its implementation before we can lift the sanctions" is quite instructive.
They portray themselves as custodians of Zimbabweans, as do-gooders who know what is best for a nation boasting of the second highest literacy rate in Africa, second only to Tunisia.
The question is why are the Westerners pretending they are on a mission to discharge Rudyard Kipling's bastardised "white-man's burden", that onerous "responsibility" of saving the African from himself?
It is not difficult to unpack the West's icy response given the section of the agreement that has obsessed their media who have a sickening tendency of hunting in packs like wild dogs.
Much of the Western media have zeroed in on Article V, section 5.5 of the power-sharing agreement that upholds the irreversibility of the land reform programme.
The section, which reads: "accepting the irreversibility of the said land acquisitions and redistribution," should be read in conjunction with the full Article, which is reproduced in full elsewhere on this page.
In imposing their ruinous sanctions on Zimbabwe, the Anglo-Saxon Alliance claimed they were doing it for Zimbabweans against a section of Zimbabweans they accused of "undermining democracy," yet the sanctions were largely economic affecting all Zimbabweans.
Now that the Zimbabweans have closed ranks and have collectively endorsed the inclusive Government they are setting up, on whose behalf are the EU and US claiming to be speaking?
Why are they passing themselves off as custodians of Zimbabweans, who know what is best for a highly literate people, yet all Zimbabweans have said "hands off?"
The clue lies in that clause the Western media embeds would rather wish away, the land that was taken from their kith and kin and redistributed to hitherto disadvantaged black Zimbabweans.
The centrality of land to the prevailing socio-economic problems is upheld even in the US sanctions law, the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act that says the sanctions can only be lifted if land tenure is restored to pre-2000 levels. In other words when the land reform programme has been reversed.
The British, in the historic Abuja Agreement of September 2001, acknowledged the centrality of land to the problems in Zimbabwe, which is why the opposition's decision to rally behind land reforms should be commended.
It, however, appears the West hoped the MDC formations would go back to their earlier positions of promising to return all land to white former commercial farmers.
It is important to remember that MDC-T secretary for education, Fidelis Mhashu, is on record telling his interlocutor on BBC's HARDtalk programme that his party would return land to white former farmers upon assuming power.
Prime Minister-Designate, Morgan Tsvangirai and other high-ranking MDC-T officials have also blasted the land reform programme on a number of occasions, raising hopes in the self-exiled white former farming community which is why the agreement on land reforms came as a bitter pill to swallow for the expectant Westerners.
The time has come to challenge the Westerners to state the real reason they imposed the sanctions, and why they do not want to scrap them even though Zimbabweans have closed ranks.
What the Western stance tells us is that the fight is far from over, in fact, it may have just begun.
The forces ranged against us are not happy and obviously want to torpedo the agreement, because what they are after is regime change not inclusion.
There will be a lot of distortions, words will be put in the leadership's mouths.
In fact, there may be outright attempts to brew bad blood between the three parties.
This is why the ongoing "freeze" on the Government is not tenable, many expected Cabinet to be appointed soon after the signing ceremony since the country has been without a substantive Government since June 27.
We have to have a well-oiled information dissemination system.
There are many who were getting fat off "the Zimbabwe crisis."
One need only look at the hysteria in the anti-Zimbabwe media like the ubiquitous online sites, the private media, the pirate radio stations and the NGO community, many of whose membership, were subsisting on "regime change funds."
Many of them obviously feel the bread may be taken off their lips.
The US State Department Report "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The US record- 2006," released last year was quite explicit in the extent of US involvement in many supposedly "Zimbabwean" sectors.
The Report read in part, "The US strategy for fostering democracy and human rights in the country is three-fold: to maintain pressure on the Mugabe regime; to strengthen democratic (read opposition) forces; and to provide humanitarian aid for those left vulnerable by poor governance ... To encourage greater public debate on restoring good governance in the country, the United States sponsored public events that presented economic and social analyses discrediting the government's excuses for its failed policies."
What followed was a shocking expose of the extent of US funding of opposition and quasi-opposition
activities and the so-called civil society comprising non-governmental organisations and "on-governmental individuals," so-called advocacy groups, newspapers, newsletters, some Church leaders and journalists.
In short, the report confirmed that Uncle Sam had them in his pocket, and the noises they made were sponsored psalms for their supper.
Particularly interesting was the State Department's revelation that that it sponsored, and had editorial influence in certain weeklies that peddle anti-Government sentiment.
The report revealed how US sentiment was given acres of space, and alleged human rights abuses prominence in the newspapers.
Dare we fall asleep?
Send page by E-Mail