Of protests, pup­pets and parochial­ism

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion - Opin­ion Mpumelelo Ny­oni

NEO-COLO­NIAL­ISM has and con­tin­ues to be a stealthy yet salient cancer on the African and in par­tic­u­lar, the Zim­bab­wean po­lit­i­cal land­scape. The West’s mantra of the in­ep­ti­tude of African gov­ern­ments as the cause for the con­ti­nent’s con­tin­ued un­rest has for decades been used to mask colonial pre­tence. As a re­sult, Africa’s pol­i­tics and gov­er­nance is be­ing sub­jected to global power ma­tri­ces.

Even af­ter 36 years of self-rule in the coun­try, the West still finds it a bit­ter pill to swal­low that it no longer has di­rect con­trol of the na­tion’s eco­nomic, so­cial and po­lit­i­cal hap­pen­ings.

Re­cent rev­e­la­tions by the Govern­ment of the French and Amer­i­can em­bassies’ covert in­volve­ment in the failed “protests” and “stay-aways” is yet another telling sign of the West’s di­vi­sive and dis­dain­ful at­ti­tude to­wards at­tempts be­ing made by the rul­ing party to bring eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment to the Zim­bab­wean ma­jor­ity.

This has led Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices, Cde Ge­orge Charamba to aptly ad­vise the French and Amer­i­cans to sort out their own mess as the two coun­tries have been rocked by racial chaos and cit­i­zen un­rest.

Glar­ing ex­am­ples in­clude the on-go­ing #Black­LivesMat­ter cam­paign against Amer­ica’s wan­ton vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights due to po­lice bru­tal­ity as well as a se­ries of ter­ror­ist at­tacks plagu­ing France.

It is thus not sur­pris­ing at all that po­lit­i­cal pup­pets like Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai’s MDC-T and Joice Mu­juru’s Zim­babwe Peo­ple’s First (ZimPF), which mas­quer­ade as op­po­si­tion par­ties, have in the midst of con­fu­sion emerged from the ashes in a fu­tile at­tempt at re­gain­ing po­lit­i­cal rel­e­vance, to “demon­strate” their neo-colo­nial­ist man­date as home-based agents of regime change.

The West has been dan­gling its cap­i­tal­ist car­rot to African states while rid­ing on op­po­si­tion par­ties like one rides on a don­key in a stub­born bid to per­pet­u­ate its en­deav­ours to suck Africa dry of its re­sources.

In Zim­babwe, how­ever, the crushing de­feat of the MDCs in the 2013 har­monised elec­tions ef­fec­tively her­alded the end of an era for op­po­si­tion par­ties in the coun­try as the West has sub­stan­tially re­duced donor-fund­ing af­ter a fruit­less 13-year regime change mis­sion.

Neo-colo­nial­ism has re­cently been seep­ing into the Zim­bab­wean po­lit­i­cal land­scape yet again through pseu­doc­i­t­i­zen in­nu­en­dos now be­ing fronted by yet another po­lit­i­cal pup­pet in the form of “Pas­tor” Evan Mawarire. It is a sad tale that Mawarire’s the­atrics have un­for­tu­nately way­laid mis­guided and dis­grun­tled Zim­bab­weans — mostly di­as­po­rans — through so­cial me­dia.

It must be noted that in as much as his emo­tional #ThisFlag plea has man­aged to con­vince some, his plea un­for­tu­nately be­gins and ends with emo­tion and eu­pho­ria but does not ap­peal to logic.

Just like Ts­van­gi­rai’s bootlick­ing spree of the West be­fore him, who at the height of his po­lit­i­cal frenzy went glo­be­trot­ting singing his regime-change song to please his Western spon­sors, Mawarire has been gal­li­vant­ing and fi­nally found his 15 sec­onds of “fame” on anti-Zim­bab­wean news sta­tions like Sky News.

Mawarire’s gim­micks have ex­posed yet again how the West’s hypocrisy and des­per­a­tion for regime change knows no bounds as it is pulling the strings be­hind a man who even up to now has failed to pro­vide al­ter­na­tive solutions for or­di­nary Zim­bab­weans’ prob­lems through trans­for­ma­tive di­a­logue.

With the ad­vent of glob­al­i­sa­tion and par­tic­u­larly through so­cial me­dia, neo-colo­nial­ism has be­come much more so­phis­ti­cated.

How­ever, as much as things change, the more they stay the same and a look into the French and Bri­tish poli­cies of “as­sim­i­la­tion” and “di­vide and con­quer” re­spec­tively dur­ing the colonial era the more they give in­sight into the ra­tio­nale of parochial po­lit­i­cal pup­pets and false prophets like Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai, Mawarire and Joice Mu­juru and how they are be­ing cor­rupted by the West’s im­pe­rial and self-serv­ing na­ture.

A sad trait about po­lit­i­cal pup­pets is that they are un­able to for­mu­late any sound solutions to the coun­try’s prob­lems be­cause they suf­fer from an ide­o­log­i­cal void as they look up to their colonial mas­ters for guid­ance, like a child does to a par­ent.

Joice Mu­juru, in her party’s first rally in Bu­l­awayo ex­posed her in­ad­e­qua­cies as a politi­cian through her “beg­ging bowl” men­tal­ity as she promised her flock that she would re-es­tab­lish ties with the West.

This is de­spite the fact that the West it­self is fret­ting over its own po­lit­i­cal and so­cioe­co­nomic fu­ture due to its failed cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem. On the other hand, the rul­ing party has made strides in ne­go­ti­at­ing Zim­babwe’s debt man­age­ment strat­egy as ev­i­denced by France’s ac­cep­tance of the strat­egy last year in the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund meet­ing in Lima, Peru, in­clud­ing France’s con­tin­ued sup­port for re-en­gage­ment with the IMF.

Mu­juru show­cased her lack of tact and her re­gres­sive po­lit­i­cal na­ture be­cause it is dif­fi­cult to ne­go­ti­ate a good deal for your peo­ple when us­ing a “beg­ging bowl” men­tal­ity un­less she in­deed plans on sim­ply as­sim­i­lat­ing the West’s po­lit­i­cal and so­cio-eco­nomic dogma. In Ts­van­gi­rai, groomed from his “ac­tivist” days as a trade union­ist; we have a man who has ma­tured from his puppy days to a full-grown pup­pet. And true to his na­ture, he has show­cased the Bri­tish colonial pol­icy of di­vide and con­quer by emerg­ing from the dol­drums of pol­i­tics by join­ing Mawarire’s di­vi­sive an­tics. Ts­van­gi­rai is much like the “man of the cloth” as he and Mawarire are cut from the same tat­tered Western po­lit­i­cal cloth. The MDC is a spent force po­lit­i­cally be­cause of its di­vi­sive and con­fused groom­ing. This has led to its own demise as ev­i­denced by its ide­o­log­i­cal colour­block­ing with mot­ley for­ma­tions of MDC “red”, “green” and “or­ange”. Zim­bab­weans must then ask them­selves one im­por­tant ques­tion. If a party can­not agree with it­self to the ex­tent of im­plo­sion, how then can it unite a peo­ple? Per­haps the MDCs with all its colours be­longs in a Bri­tish mu­seum. The West has for decades covertly caused fis­sures within African pol­i­tics and African peo­ple by ex­ploit­ing tribal dif­fer­ences which have man­i­fested into the African story be­ing that of civil war and geno­cide. Thus it can be noted that Zim­bab­weans must be wary of char­ac­ters like Mawarire and must ask them­selves why he chose to cry on Bri­tish television and not back home with or­di­nary Zim­bab­weans who are feel­ing the pinch of sanc­tions im­posed by Bri­tain along with its al­lies.

The sanc­tions on Zim­babwe were meant to do ex­actly as Mawarire is preach­ing. And just like what his #Shut­downZim­babwe cam­paign is ad­vo­cat­ing for, sanc­tions have and con­tinue to be caus­ing the shut­down of the coun­try’s in­dus­tries.

Libya and Iraq are also clear ex­am­ples of how the West has been arm-twist­ing in­ter­na­tional bod­ies like the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court (ICC) into col­lud­ing with their im­pe­rial am­bi­tions of ex­ploit­ing oil-rich states un­der the guise of hu­man­i­tar­ian in­va­sions against “dic­ta­tors”.

It is a great trav­esty that any po­lit­i­cal sys­tem out­side the con­fines of the West’s hyp­o­crit­i­cal un­der­stand­ing of pol­i­tics and democ­racy is la­belled as a dic­ta­tor­ship.

As a fate would have it, the much awaited Chilcot re­port has re­cently ex­posed the old Bri­tish ad­min­is­tra­tion of Tony Blair of its ex­ploita­tive na­ture as the find­ings on the war on Iraq re­veal a mere ploy to syphon the Iraqi peo­ple of their oil re­sourses.

If there is one char­ac­ter­is­tic of great states­men whose pri­mary man­date is to bring real and sus­tained de­vel­op­ment to their peo­ple, the land as a pri­mary source of wealth be­comes the states­men’s par­ties’ found­ing prin­ci­ple.

That is why de­spite their dif­fer­ences, his Ex­cel­lency, Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe and Fa­ther Zim­babwe, the late Joshua Nkomo amal­ga­mated Zanu-PF and Zapu in the 1987 Unity Ac­cord for the ben­e­fit of all Zim­bab­weans, not the West.

De­spite th­ese dis­ap­point­ing ex­am­ples of the West’s po­lit­i­cal hypocrisy, po­lit­i­cal irony con­tin­ues to smile on African and Zim­bab­wean pol­i­tics alike.

Like a ray of sun­light af­ter the short and dark storm of “protests” and “stay-aways”, true African lead­ers like Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe con­vened for the 27th Or­di­nary Ses­sion of the African Union Gen­eral As­sem­bly in Rwanda where con­ti­nen­tal lead­ers dis­cussed the full in­te­gra­tion of a Free Trade Area and the elec­tronic African Union pass­port in a bid to pave a brighter fu­ture for Africans across the con­ti­nent.

The West should take lessons in col­lab­o­ra­tion and re­spect­ing the sanc­tity of hu­man life from the sum­mit which ran un­der the theme “2016: Year of Hu­man Rights with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on the Rights of Women”.

Mpumelelo Them­be­lani Ny­oni is an in­de­pen­dent re­searcher and a Mid­lands State Univer­sity English and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion grad­u­ate. The writer can be con­tacted on Cell: 0776 707 315, e-mail: Mpume.ny­oni04@gmail. com.

Cde Ge­orge Charamba

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