Friday, August 17, 2007

RTF: This Zimbabwe Thing

It is another Friday. So this my day of Random Thoughts Friday (RTF) and I will touch on Zimbabwe, just a little bit.

Why I am talking about Zimbabw while this blog should be dedicated to Tanzanian issues? I’m giving Zimbabwe a time of the day, because some Tanzanians regard the Zimbabwean situation as an African situation. Just read the This Day editorial comments to prove my point.

I can understand why one would consider the Zimbabwean ordeal as an African pain. For the most part, that fits well in a hypocritical African politics. It fits well in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” African political climate. It perfectly fit in African politics where accountability is hardly exercised. May be because almost all of the African leaders are corrupt. As such, no African president can rebuke a fellow African president on the same ills he or she does.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe in solidarity and all that jazz that come with it. We have the European Union for the same reason. At times it is necessary to join hands in order to accomplish a whole lot. Nevertheless, I believe loving someone does not equate to patting them on the back alone. True love comes with being tough and communicating hard and difficult truths to the one you love. That is because the line between loving and spoiling could be vague at times. Mugabe needs to hear the hard truth from his African leadership fraternity.

Thus far, none from this fraternity has been bold enough to face him.

While SADC leaders are showing plenty of seemingly moral support to Mugabe, they are just killing ordinary Zimbabweans. Most the SADC countries have embarked on economic reforms and heading in the right direction, while Zimbabwe is heading south. Most of these countries have a good relationship with EU and other developing countries, while “helping” Zimbabwe to destroy her relationship with the same countries. Isn’t that hypocrisy? Isn’t that pathetic?

May the cost of “freedom” from those awful Westerners is to sacrifice a few poor Zimbabweans here and there. Seriously, when folks are starving, do you really think that Mugabe is going without? (I know that question could be thrown back at me, whether the EU and all others who have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe have thought about that. But that is beside the point).

I acknowledge the fact that Zimbabwe has the right to embark on any policies they seem fit, including the land redistribution policy. Nonetheless, any right should come with the accompanying obligations. As such, Mugabe and the Zimbabwean folks, and not the entire African continent, should bear weight to the consequences of their land policy.

I think that is fair. You bear the weight of your own sins. If you shoot a gun and it backfires, you should be in the line of harm’s way. Don’t call your neighbors to die for you.

There have been views that the land redistribution was just a political tool that Mugabe utilized to gain more political clout. I would not even doubt that, because according to the article published by the Tanzanian Daily News, and I will quote just a section of it, “ The EU sanctions involve a travel ban against top officials and the freezing of their assets in European banks, as well as a ban on arms sales

Key sentence there? Freezing of top officials’ assets in European banks. Yeah, that is right, assets in European banks. You didn’t think those assets are furniture and some old clothes inherited from their grandparents, did you?

If you still think the land redistribution was meant to help the poor Zimbabweans, please raise your hands.

Seriously, I think this Zimbabwean thing is a litmus paper that has depicted the true colors of African leaders, which is mainly irresponsibility and hypocrisy. But that is not surprising, because that has been the political culture in Africa as long as I can remember.

Sometimes, honestly, I am glad that I don’t have to bribe anyone just to renew my driver’s license in the United States of America. That allows me (as artificial as it is) to escape the reality, which many of my brothers and sisters are facing in the African continent.

Enjoy your weekend!
Photo Credit: Don't recall the source


wayne said...

just a couple of observations:
there are NO (that is zero, nada, hakuna)sanctions against Zimbabwe. Sanctions are targeted at RM & his higher ranking ZANU-PF cronies. This is primarily targeted at travel restrictions, freezing of asserts in foreign (non-African) banks, etc..,
In fact, the US and other "enemies of Zimbabwe" (tongue in cheek) are increasing their food aid to the starving and near starving Zinbabweans caught in the middle of RM's political game (see:
Although land reform was necessary, perhaps the land could have been given to black Zimbabweans who actually had an interest in farming, not as political pay-off to HIGH RANKIING military officers and the top 5% of ZANU-PF loyalists. Many black farm managers were brutalized and killed in the ethnic cleansing that Mugabe started and endorsed - leaving NO ONE to actually farm the land. Interestingly enough, Ian Smith is still one of the larger land owners in Zimbabwe (talk about hypocrisy!!!!), and has the protection of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces.
The UK pulled their funding (1992) from the Lancaster Agreement (established in'79) after hundreds of millions of $USD had been put into a fund, only to see that fund sucked dry by corruption and VERY LITTLE actual land bought and re-distributed as per the agreements in the Lancaster document
Mugabe (and his inner circle) is not scrounging for unga, mafuta, sukari, etc.., and the official government position is there is no need of food aid (contrary to the findings of the WFP of the UN) while he starves out the opposition. (.
The SADC has shamed itself beyond redemption in this situation.


Zimbabwe situation is just too sad and embarrassing!:-(

Jaduong Metty said...

I couldn't have agreed more with you. Let's take the Tanzanian president, JMK for instance. The guy openly expressed his support for RM. That is fine. On the other hand, this September is leading a delegation of Tanzanian businessmen and women to the United States for trade talks.

Mr. JMK is able to do that because Tanzania has created an environment of her to cooperate well with the US and other countries. He is not oblivious to the fact that Zimbabwe is not is not in the same position.

My question is this: If SADC countries have common goals, shouldn't it be more logical for Mr. JMK to tell Mr. RM that he is messing up for the Zimbabwean people?

I guess the African politics are so complex and too hypocritical for me to make sense out of it. But that is the world we live in...

As I said, Zimbabwean issue has been a test of the African countries ability to rule themselves. Thus far, it seems we need to colonial masters to return (I know this statement could bring an outrage in the African setting, but what is the difference? Mugabe is just as bad as a slave master)

wayne said...

The SADC reminds me (in a sick & perverse sort of way) of the UN - talk, talk, talk and all the while dirty politics going on behind the scenes, while all at the same time, NOTHING is ever accomplished - that seems to be the modus operandi for most multi-national political, economic or other alliances.