Indeed there is a log in Uncle Sam’s eye
THE outrageous statements recently made by the US on the riotous demonstrations by the opposition that rocked Harare last week raise serious suspicion of collaboration, a development that provides adequate grounds for the reading of a riot act.
Zimbabwe cannot continue to fold arms while the US sticks its oar in the internal affairs under the delusion of a big brother mindset. It’s inconceivable for the Zimbabwean embassy in the US to pass similar comments in Washington, New York, Canberra or Ottawa.
The US, Canadian and Australian embassies in Zimbabwe gave separate statements in which they supported the violent protestors and tore into the Zimbabwe Republic Police for restoring peace and stability in Harare’s central business district.
“The United States is troubled by the economic policies and financial strains that have prompted numerous recent protests in Zimbabwe and we join many Zimbabweans in their deep concern over reports of violence during some of the protests,” reads the US embassy statement released last Friday.
The Canadian embassy also released a statement that failed to veil their emotional attachment to the mutinous protests by the opposition parties. “The embassy reiterates its call on the government of Zimbabwe to make every effort to ensure that public policing and justice are consistent with the government’s constitutional obligation to respect basic human rights and freedom,” reads the Canadian Embassy’s statement.
The Australian ambassador to Zimbabwe Suzanne McCourt said her embassy shared with Zimbabweans concerns at the violence which recently occurred.
“The use of violence is not acceptable under any circumstance. The Australian embassy wishes to emphasise that the rule of law, respect for human rights, right to free speech, freedom of assembly and other democratic freedoms are at the heart of the Zimbabwean Constitution and must be respected by all parties,” she said.
With such kind of careless statements, who will refute allegations of a Western hand in the protests? We are all in agreement on the need to respect human rights. However, the US and its surrogate sidekicks think that the only human rights that need to be respected are those of the members of the opposition parties.
The law enforcement agents used the lawful minimum force in response to serious provocations and unruly conduct that had become a serious security threat. The US embassy was watching gleefully while the ruffians despoil goods from shops and vendors. They winked at the hoodlums as they burnt property, pelted the police with all sorts of weaponry and beat innocent citizens who were doing their apolitical business to eke a living.
The US had hoped that the unfinished project that had become a thorn in their fresh since its commencement in 2000 was almost coming to finality, the Arab Spring way. Fortunately the vigilant police moved in to ward off the riot and those lawful actions expectedly brought forth the kind of statements released on Friday. Many henchmen had been deployed to Harare to undertake the project without success and Harry Thomas would have etched his name in history of US had the White House succeeded.
A Mufakose widow whose wares were all pillaged has no rights. The child who will not go to school next month because the source of his school fees was either burnt or looted has no rights and so are the up-and-coming businesspeople whose shops were burgled. For sure, citizens have a right to demonstrate in terms of section 59 of the Constitution but during the course of exercising those rights, they must not trample on the rights of other citizens especially those who have nothing to do with their demonstrations.
The US must learn to respect human beings despite their social standing. Human rights must not be selectively respected. The agony that a mogul goes through after losing his Range Rover in an accident is the same that a toddler experiences upon the loss of a toy car. The vendors and other informal traders lost their life savings to the hooligans and their pain is no different from the one whose whole factory is gutted by fire.
The US embassy said that the economic policies and financial strains impelled the protests. We thought the protests in questions had to do with electoral reforms where the opposition under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) wanted to march and present a petition to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission! One wonders why they failed to send a delegate to Zec with that petition.
In any case, the worst human rights violation witnessed in Zimbabwe stem from the illegal sanctions that the US imposed on Zimbabwe. The citizens of Zimbabwe are suffering as a result of those sanctions. Thus, the US does not have a moral ground to lecture anybody on human rights. Its terror in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Guantanamo Bay, among others, will tell that the US is not a human right respecter.
Of late, the US police have been gunning down African-Americans for unjustified reasons. Kimberly Kindy, an investigative reporter at the Washington Post, revealed that the police kill three people a day with blacks being shot at a rate that is 2.5 times higher than whites. According to findings of a 2015 study titled Mapping Police Violence, the US police killed at least 102 unarmed black people in 2015. The study revealed that only 10 of the 102 cases resulted in officer being charged with a crime and only two of these deaths resulted in convictions of officers involved. One of them was sentenced to just a year in jail which he served exclusively on weekends.
Thus, the US cannot lecture anyone on police brutality. It must remove the plank in its own eyes first before trying to remove a speck in Zimbabwe’s eyes. That plank blights its vision to an extent that it sees human rights violations where no violations exist. In Sierra Leone, for instance, the police killed two demonstrators in a protest on August 16 but the US was not as vitriolic as it is to Zimbabwe where not even a single demonstrator came out with a scratch.
Police use water cannons to disperse protesters who had embarked on a trail of destruction in Harare recently