Wednesday, March 28, 2007

JK: Mugabe Is Not Our Problem

I strongly believe in being a good neighbor. I also believe in being a good brother. Nonetheless, I don’t believe in just losing my sleep , especially when my brother's issues are self-imposed. I think the most responsible thing to do is to rebuke my brother when he is messing up. My point is this: I know Mr. JK is trying to be a good brother with regards to the Zimbabwean saga, but that will be wasting Tanzanians’ precious time.

Mugabe knew this was coming. He deliberately chose to drive Zimbabwe through a concrete wall. Honestly, I am struggling to find justification for supporting a guy who thinks there is nobody else worthy of being Zimbabwe’s president. That is insanity.

As I have pointed out earlier, I am not one of those who advocate blaming the African situation entirely on colonialism. Unfortunately, sticking to the blame-the-west bandwagon seems to be the most popular position in the minds of most Africans. I tend to think that is due to mental laziness and failure to own our problems.

Apparently, a writer/journalist by the name of Hillary Joseph thinks the west is responsible for the sinking of Zimbabwe. I don’t think so.

While the effects of colonialism are there and true, this is almost 27 years since Zimbabwe got independent. Mugabe could have been ideal for the Zimbabwean situation in 1975, but the question is this: is he still relevant in 2007? Has he evolved and changed to face the free market economy? Has evolved to lead young Zimbabweans who can't relate to the "independence fight" ideologies? We live in a very complex world that require uncommon wisdom and tactics. Nonetheless, it appears to me that Africans are so predictable. It seems that as long as an African points a finger at Westerners (while begging for their money) that makes a good policy.

I know this is not a popular position to take, because for such a long time Africans have never taken ownership of their problems, but I strongly believe this is a new direction that we should take. Essentially, when stuff happens, we should ask this question: what could we have done better instead of finding a scapegoat. Development will not be handed over to us. We have to fight for it!

Given that there are success stories (relatively speaking) in other African countries such as Uganda (who, by the way, had civil war for ages), Botswana etc, the colonialism argument is irrelevant. It is about a desire to make strides. The question is: when Tanzanian leaders, for instance, would rather buy expensive (and unnecessary) cars instead of building hospitals, could we blame that on the long gone British? At some point, we have to stop this foolishness and face a very tough world.

If we have to herald Mugabe as some kind of an African hero, can anyone tell me the contribution of Zimbabwe in science in technology in the past twenty years? Nada. Zero. And that is the point. If Zimbabwe was doing much better ten years ago than today, then that is regression. I cannot, in my sane mind, praise that. What has he done lately for Zimbabweans? Clubbing them for opposing his views? Is that what we think is patriotic, cool, and worthy of our support?

I am glad that the Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa is being realistic. I am glad he is being my type of African. He is the only president to recognize that Zimbabwe under Mugabe is a sinking Tinatic.

I wonder if our guy, Mr. JK has the same guts. But even if he did, I don’t like for my president to be playing Foreign Minister, while there are tons of local issues to deal with. Mugabe’s fate is not our business. Besides, Mugabe rode the boat deliberately on the iceberg.

I am glad also that other writers, such as Adam Lusekelo, are not allowing themselves to be pushed into thinking inside the box. I really liked his position on the Zimbabwean saga. The question that I have is this though: how many folks out there really understand what people like Lusekelo, Mwanawasa and I are talking about? I am not sure if it is the majority.

It stinks to see that Africans themselves are killing Africa. It is sad that Africans have not fully come to grip with realities of our contributions to the demise of the continent. So I get amazed when I see writers such as Bilal Abdul-Aziz trying to paint Zambian President as some sort of a western puppet. That is shortsightedness and I could not just help but wonder where this level of ignorance is coming from. Assuming that the Zimbabwean conflict stems from land policy alone will be an oversimplification. That would be undermining the opposition , which happens to have black Zimbabweans. Besides, when they got beaten up, were they demanding for the return of land to the whites?

It bugs me when some Africans assume that if you don't support African self-destruction, you are some sort of a western puppet.

My position is this: despite that typical African political rhetoric from Mr. Joseph and Abdul-Aziz, no politics will EVER save Zimbabwe. No amount of pep talk will revive the situation in Zimbabwe unless Mugabe just bows down and walk. I know most African folks don’t like what Levy Mwanawasa said, but that is the honest assessment: Mugabe stinks.

So when it comes to Zimbabwe I would not like to see Mr. JK playing hero. You can never resuscitate a dead body. Unless the President and other Africans like Hillary Joseph and Bilal Abdul-Aziz are in denial. Besides, Zimbabwe is not our problem. Let him who messed it up fix it

I hope I won’t be regarded as a lesser of an African because I hold a different point of view.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very precise and to the point - good job Metty.

zemarcopolo said...

JK is not struggling t fix zimbabwes situation just because he though he should,he is doing so as part of the responsibility Tanzania has in the SADC region of taking care of peace and security.Metty I beg to differ on the point that colonialists are not in anywa responsible for zimbabwes situation,see colonialists are the one who traded the land in question.how dare we say they didnt cause the problem?

Mbwana said...

In agreement here- the Zimbabwe saga has external influence written all over it. The British & Zimbabwe Governments were misaligned on how to do land reform- and inequality land was so apparent, Mugabe had to address it- however, the British wanted their commercial interests in land to be secured for as long as possible (Lancaster Agreement till 1990s)- unfortunately Mugabe was inpatient and also eager to keep his power. So the whole thing just spiraled out of control & cost the country its economy. Metty, sometimes I get confused on whether you think African nations, including Tanzania, can really fend for themselves without external influences- we are so dependent on it (just look at our budget source!) and through this, inevitably, policies of the day get shoved down our way. Some hail Mugabe for standing up to the West and resisting disastrous policies for instance- the consequences we are seeing before our eyes... But we should also not forget when African nations adhere to external policies, a country can also fall and its a mistake to blame African leadership alone- I'm all for looking at both external & internal influences on a nation's progress, not internal alone... For instance, the argument over whether JK is spending too much time abroad and not enough time inside his own country- I'm just wondering what the external policies are coming our way with the agreements he is collecting- it'll probably be good for our economy and open us up to globalisation (good and bad)- but do we lose our identity and influence on things? Maybe a balance striking a balance is good- no man is an island, yet we can't have foreign policies dictate always dictate our affairs.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Zemarcopolo
It is fine that TZ has a responsibility of taking care of peace and stability in the region. Nonetheless, should we do that by embracing disrespect of rules of democracy by Mugabe?

Please read my post again. I am not ignoring the effects of colonialism in Zimbabwe, but how long has it been since Z'bwe came out of coloniliasm? Furthermore, what do you think was much better: The Zimbabwe of 1982 or 2007? Right there you will find the source of the problem.

@Mbwana
No country in the world can live without external influences. The difference, I believe, is how each country manages those influences. You have to be able to pick your battles.

I don't have a problem with Mugabe's land policy par se, but I do have a problem with the timing. I am not convinced that Mugabe executed the policy out of a deeper love for regular Zimbabweans. It was more for his political agenda.

I am not saying that Africans, and Z'bwe for that matter shouldn't stand up for their dignity, but I strongly believe it is stupid to pick a fight you know you will lose. And Mugabe picked the wrong fight. As long as you have a budget that is dependent on someone's else money, you better be prepared for the interference on your internal affairs. It would be stupid of us to ignore that fact. I know Mugabe does not personally feel the effect of economic sanctions, but you can bet the regular folks (whom he claims to defend and fight for) are feeling it to the core. That is hypocricy to me.

My point is this: the ability to manage relationships (whether positive or adversarial) sets apart good leaders from bad leaders. I don't think Mugabe has been able to manage what he views as negative relationships (within and outside Zim) that well. And that is disservice to the people of Zimbabwe.

The worst thing for him is this (and it happened), SADC leaders issued a statement calling for the lifting sanctions againts Zim. Will the British govt budge because Kikwete and the gang issued such a statement? You bet they won't. So it all amounts to a waste of taxpayers money!

Even worse, none of the SADC country presidents openly told Mugabe that it is time to go.

Anonymous said...

Zimbabwe crisis is not caused by bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and British, which started after the land reform programme in 2002. Mugabe knew from the beginning of his presidency the Lancaster house agreement which become Zimbabwe constitution, did not deal adequately with the question of land redistribution. For all years of his presidency he knew that white minority of 4,500 own about 75 percent of the best farm land. What did he do? Nothing, but enjoyed being recognised by western world as most incredible African leader. I think it is undeniable Mugabe was a puppet. His master realised soon he will not fit for the purpose it is a time for regime change, that where all the problems started. The argument of it was powerless to amend the colonial tailored Lancaster constitution in the first ten years of independence, as it had legal strictures to safeguard white minority interest in the new state, sound fallacious to me. If the agreement was unfair to black majority for sure there was a way to fight for justice. How comes Mugabe today has the guts to accuse British of reneging on land reform funding agreed on at independence, and insists that the former colonial power has moral obligation to pay for a comprehensive redistribution programme, to correct colonial injustice stretching over century. My question is why now and not then. Please bear in mind, that I am not say Mugabe has got no point to justify in this saga, but I question the motive of him to fight this battle now. Nonetheless, if the fight reflects on Mugabe moral standard for the welfare of Zimbabweans, why he tortures and kills his own people.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 2:46PM
I think you have raised a crucial point - and that is timing. I am inclined to agree with you that while Mugabe might have good intentions, timing of his actions are just raising alot of red flags.

From a practical standpoint, the British and the Americans have decided that it is time Mugabe goes. As bad as that may sound politically, there is nothing SADC can do about that. Whoever has money pulls the trigger and I guess Mugabe's days are numbered.

I am not trying to advocate for the western imperialism, but I think Africans should start to improve how they manage their relationship with the west. As long as we depend on the west for financial aid, we shouldn't to act heroes. Besides, it is stupid to cut off the hands that feed you, regardless of how proud you are.

Miriam said...

Well said about African leaders blaming our current mess to long gone colonial powers. That issue goes well with what psychologist has been using to help abusers become abusers,(ABUSED/BATTERED CHILD SYNDROME). The difference is that, our current generation of people who can lead us, has never experience the abuse from the Europeans . If the abused child syndrome is true, then leaders like Mugabe must leave, because they are the once who are spreading the abuse child syndrome since they can claim that they were abused by the Europeans.
Any leader who has been around since the days of independence of any African country should retire. I believe the younger generation can do a better job. We need fresh brains.
Our generation are capable of becoming better leaders, because we can only blame ourselves if we fail.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Miriam
I agree with you on a need for a leadership change in Africa. Not necessarily that the leaders be young agewise, but certainly with a mentality that fits the current world and the future that is ahead of us.

Anonymous said...

Brother Metty,
I am Zimbabwean and it surely gives lots of inspiration when I see brothers from other african countries trying to help us out.

However,one thing I would like to beg you to do is to read clearly the history of Zimbabwe.From the way you have argued things here,I can tell you are not well informed about the history behind Zimbabwe.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 3:48PM
Thanks for checking out my blog and dropping your thoughts. I must admit it; I am not well versed in the Zimbabwean history. Nonetheless, I would like to know: what has Zimbabwean history has to do with clubbing those who oppose Mugabe’s ideas in the current state Zimbabwe? Furthermore, how does the Zimbabwean history answer the question on whether Mugabe is relevant to the current Zimbabweans and Africa in general? How does the Zimbabwean history respond to the question of whether Mugabe has effectively managed the relationship between him and the West, and whether he has managed to picked his battles in a way that results in a win-win situation for everybody.

See, this is my take. I know by referring to “history” almost every African will bring the colonialism card. But isn’t that a tired excuse? Where in the equation do we, as Africans, start owning our own failures instead of shifting it to someone else? Zimbabwe has been independent for over 20 years. If the situation was better in Zimbabwe in 1990 that it is in 2007, then why did Zimbabwe regress? Don’t tell me it is because of colonialism in 1972.

Those are tough questions that we have been afraid to ask and respond to. I don’t believe that acting like a dictator (I would like to hear your reasons as to why you think Mugabe should be a life president and whether you truly believe that of all Zimbabweans, there is nobody else fitting to lead that country) has anything to do with the Zimbabwean history.

I would like to hear your honest response. If not to educate me, for the benefit of all other readers.

Anonymous said...

Just came across this blog this evening and gotta say its really cool
lakini on this subject i have said alot and i got a feeling that i should have a blog

abyways my contributions are in this Tanzanian website:

http://www.jamboforums.com/showthread.php?t=2261&page=21

-DRWHO