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The London-led Western crusade against Zimbabwe lacks rationalization. by Peter Lokarlo Marsu
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Apr 26, 2008 - 5:38:41 PM

The London-led Western crusade against Zimbabwe lacks rationalization.

Britain ’s persistent and obsessive interest to tarnish and punish the government of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has candidly and incontestably less to do with lack of democracy or gross violations of Human Rights in that country, as Britain would like the rest of the world to believe. After all Britain has more splotches and forlornly scores stumpy ratings than any other country in Europe , when it comes to issues pertaining to upholding of Human Rights morals. History has never been kind to the entire British colonial establishments.

In 1956, Britain officially ended its colonial lease of Sudan and impetuously pulled out of the country, while leaving behind a smouldering civil war that was to end seventeen years later with thousands maimed and killed.

From 1962–1994, the United Nations Security Council had imposed and maintained packages of sanctions on the former white minority regime in Pretoria , thanks to the unrelenting pressure exerted on the World body by the stanch and cohesive Non-Aligned Movement. Though most countries observed the sanctions, Britain had always breached and utterly refused to recognise those punitive measures designed and intended to put pressure on the racist regime in order to dismantle Apartheid in South Africa, and to address the Namibian question, claiming that sanctions would harm the black population in South Africa, an argument strongly refuted and dismissed at face value by the African National Congress (ANC) party of Nelson Mandela as sheer propaganda and a calculated lie with sinister and selfish intentions projected to mislead the international community against imposing the sanctions on the appalling Pretoria regime.

As if the undeclared economic war and political sabotage against Zimbabwe were not enough, Britain has nevertheless stepped up vigorous campaigns calling for more concerted international embargoes against the government of Zimbabwe, with the hope that a change of guards in Harare would usher in someone subservient to London, who takes orders unquestioningly from 10 Downing Street and would not hesitate for a single moment to invalidate the controversial land Reform programme adopted by the Zimbabwe Parliament, and consequently restore back the farms which were seized from the white farmers.

More recently, Mr. Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister had warned that the world was loosing patience with Mugabe. Well, it would indisputably make more sense and the Prime Minister might certainly have assembled strong support and widespread sympathetic audience for his crusade against President Mugabe, if he had said that, the world was loosing patience with Khartoum and those responsible for the wanton carnage in Sudan ’s Darfur . He would likewise have dwelt and basked in blissful limelight if he had stated that the world was loosing patience with the marauding and blood-thirsty bandits of the Uganda ’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) or else those responsible for the daily bomb blasts and bloodbath in Somalia .

In a sharp wrangle and disapproval of the British method of handling Africa , African leaders last year unanimously stated they would not attend the European Union-African summit, held in Lisbon , Portugal , if President Mugabe was excluded from the list of those attending that gathering. The Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa had this to say: "I will not go to Portugal if Mugabe is not allowed. I don't know how many of us [African leaders] will be prepared to go to Portugal without Mugabe,"

That was a clear-cut message to Britain that the time for dictating the continent was regrettably long gone and that Africans are able to address and solve their problems without foreign prescriptions.

The world should now recognise the fact that the unfair colonial allocation of land where 1% of the population (mainly white British settlers) own over 70% of the best arable land in Zimbabwe has always been the focal point of the political, economic and social struggle in Zimbabwe. Above all it is essentially vital to understand that the liberation struggle waged against the Ian Smith government in Rhodesia ( Zimbabwe ) was a war by the people of Zimbabwe to reclaim the land which they were dispossessed of by British colonialism.

 

One would still wonder whether it was an evenhanded deal for the British government and their allies in Rhodesia to curve and take out the best lands for themselves and allot the infertile lands to the rightful owners of the land? Worse still, the Farm workers, who were blacks had little or no access to land on their own account, and were also vulnerable to arbitrary eviction from their tied accommodation.

 

Many poor and middle-income black people in urban areas squeezed by rocketing food and transport price hikes and growing unemployment since the mid-1990s saw land as an alternative source of income and food security.

 

Many land restitution claims relating to forced removals during the era of the white government had also not been addressed. These factors had created significant land shortage and hanker in Zimbabwe among the black population, and it was quite natural for Robert Mugabe to act quickly in favour of the rightful majority in addressing the land issue in the way he has done.

 

Back in Britain , in 1979, Robert Mugabe whose team at the Lancaster talks, (Joshua Nkomo, Abel Muzorewa and Dr. S C Mundawarara) had solidly opposed the inclusion of the special Land clause in the Zimbabwean constitution that provided for the protection of the property of the white population in the country. They had no way to contest the wordings and the tone of the legal document, but had reluctantly signed it under intense pressure from Lord Carrington, the British Commonwealth Secretary at the time. However the government of Zimbabwe in a Parliamentary sitting in 2000 amended the country’s colonial-flavoured constitution which maintained that the new government of Zimbabwe would not engage in any compulsory land acquisition and that when land was acquired the government would “pay promptly adequate compensation” for the property. Land distribution would take place in terms of “willing buyer, willing seller.”   This constitutional proviso was to last for ten years after the country’s independence. The government of Zimbabwe currently argues that the ten years provided for in the constitution were up in 2000, and that Harare was no longer bound by the sunset clauses which was a product of the Lancaster House Agreement, framed in London specifically for the benefit of those minority white settlers.

 

Admittedly Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a hard currency shortage, which has led to hyperinflation and chronic shortages in imported fuel and consumer good, these problems have been brought about by the stiff sanctions imposed on the country by Britain and other western countries. Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations on charges of human rights abuses during the land redistribution and of election tampering. Borrowing and debt rescheduling would not be permitted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Thus it has taken a heavier toll on the country in terms of political and economic implications and that is why Zimbabwe is suffering at this point in time. It is because Mugabe has refused to back down from the Land dispute, and it is not because of Human Rights issue.

 

When Ian Smith, the ex-prime Minister of former Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) incarcerated and tortured thousands of Africans who resisted colonial occupation, which could genuinely have translated into egregious violations of Human Rights, was not considered Human Rights issue in Britain, but when Mugabe stated the land redistribution programme in 2000, it caused hullabaloo in the West. This is the mode of justice practised in the 10 Downing Street on African countries.

 

The Labour government in London had more often in the past accused Mr. Mugabe of drifting towards socialist encampment, alongside North Korea and Cuba . The late Ugandan Prime Minister, Milton Obote was the darling of Britain at independence, when he ruled the Pearl of Africa’s Crown, as Uganda was then known, but when he veered to assert his agenda of The Common Man’s Charter (Socialist Economic and Political Philosophy), unknown to him, it was too late, he had already prodded the lion in its den, and so had to earn the wrath of Britain and other countries. Julius Nyerere, the former and the widely respected President of the Republic of Tanzania became very unpopular in Britain , owing to his socialist inclinations. Despite his years of attending higher University degree in Edinburgh , if one had bothered to enquire about him in Britain they would swear to you that they had never heard of him.

The late Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumbumba was ill-omened right from the start of his political career, as he had to pay the ultimate price at the hands of the West for his link with the Russians.

 

But as the cold war has receded to the background and has now been consigned to the past, the modus operandi or rather the bench mark for evaluating good African leaders is, nothing but an absolute and unquestionable loyalty by becoming some sort of the good boys (yes-men) in order to secure clean slate, political and financial backings from the west and that represents a guarantee for longer stay in power, no matter how outrageous the ruler may be. As a case in point, late Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire ( Congo ) had one of the most appalling dossiers of Human Rights in Africa but was admired in the West, because he had never taken the risk of rebuking THEM for what they did.

 

Mugabe is visibly a victim of a well rehearsed and coordinated conspiratorial scheme, for his unpleasant role of rubbing salt in the eyes of his former colonial master by executing the land redistribution programme. The massive financial isolation through American, British and EU legislation such as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery (ZDER) act of 2001 is the actual cause of hyperinflation and the shortages in Zimbabwe and not Mugabe’s poor management as is currently being bugled. Hence it is quite evident that the genesis of the relentless crusade by London and some few other countries against the former British colony is fundamentally ingrained in the controversial land Reform Policy also known as fast track programme, which was adopted by the government of Zimbabwe. The Human Rights issue in Zimbabwe is being politicized by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party with blessings from London and other quarters.

It would be worthwhile for African leaders to step in to arrange for another Kenyan-type political accommodation in Zimbabwe . There was no clear winner following the presidential elections, despite pushy claims by the British-sponsored MDC opposition that its leader won the elections.

 

To remove President Mugabe and his government from power will not salvage the precarious situation, because the land issue will yet persist. The bleak scenario would be when those lands seized from the whites are returned to them by any western-imposed administration in the country. Zimbabweans including the veterans would rearm themselves and civil war might ensue leading to more unavoidable anguish with wide-ranging regional ramifications.

 

 

Peter Lokarlo Marsu

Melbourne

Australia

E-mail: [email protected]

 

 



 



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