Black masks, white skins

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/national News -

IRARELY write any­thing about the op­po­si­tion MDC-T these days. There is noth­ing to say. It’s largely been cap­tured and sur­ren­dered its fate to Nera and demon­stra­tions. I rarely read its spokesman Obert Gutu (pic­tured right). I don’t think he can help his party where the pri­vate me­dia have ex­hausted them­selves with fruit­less ex­er­tion.

But don’t they say cu­rios­ity killed the cat! I saw an ar­ti­cle in News­day yes­ter­day ti­tled “Re­brand Africa as con­ti­nent of hope, de­vel­op­ment, vi­brancy”. It was writ­ten by none other than Obert Gutu him­self. In “his per­sonal ca­pac­ity”. And I was cu­ri­ous.

In that ar­ti­cle, one needs only to take out the usual West­ern-in­spired rant about power re­ten­tion and a preda­tory state political re­pres­sion. What emerges is what Gutu calls the “new African” re­quired to spear­head Mbeki’s African Re­nais­sance.

Af­ter point­ing out the per­va­sive Afro-pes­simism in West­ern me­dia re­portage on Africa, Gutu asks, “On our part, what have we done as Africans to re­brand our con­ti­nent? To paint a pic­ture of hope where there is de­spair, to por­tray an im­age of unity and joy where there is hu­man suf­fer­ing, war and dis­ease? The future of Africa is in our hands.”

I don’t know if this epiphany has any­thing to do with Don­ald Trump’s vic­tory in the US elec­tion and an emerg­ing in­ward looking Amer­ica, a re­al­i­sa­tion that there won’t be a Libyan-style “sal­va­tion” in Zim­babwe led by Amer­ica, that Zim­babwe is for Zim­bab­weans and that its us who should de­ter­mine the des­tiny of our coun­try, not out­siders, not ZDERA or IMF.

I, there­fore, couldn’t re­sist the temp­ta­tion to com­pli­ment Gutu. He must have been read­ing some good lit­er­a­ture on self-in­ter­est and how ev­ery na­tion strives to put its own in­ter­ests first and take ad­van­tage of those who want out­side help.

To me the prob­lem of Africa’s lack of de­vel­op­ment or its re­gres­sion dur­ing in­de­pen­dence is not en­tirely one of lead­er­ship. There are in­stances, true. But much of the blame goes to colo­nial­ity, the dam­ag­ing kind of ed­u­ca­tion we re­ceived and con­tinue to in­dulge. Our lead­ers were too late to re­alise we were be­ing ed­u­cated to be­come slaves wear­ing suits and neck­ties in a very hot con­ti­nent. The pur­pose of our ed­u­ca­tion was to re­pro­duce black white­men in as­pi­ra­tions and tastes and to shun ev­ery­thing African, start­ing with our “un­e­d­u­cated” moth­ers and mother tongue. We have been ed­u­cated to glam­ourise ev­ery­thing Euro­pean and to be­lieve only Euro­pean pre­scrip­tions can move our con­ti­nent or coun­tries for­ward.

Gutu’s party, the MDC-T is a clas­sic ex­am­ple. I don’t need to re­peat who formed and funded it for what ob­jec­tives. It is a pub­lic scan­dal. Suf­fice to say that party has re­mained faith­ful to its found­ing agenda — op­pose the land re­form and fight to make Zim­babwe a lit­tle Eng­land for Europe. It has not de­vi­ated from that path of treach­ery, which might ex­plain why Gutu is writ­ing “in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity” when he should be speak­ing for his party.

Africa’s tragedy there­fore lies in the slave mind of its ed­u­cated class, the ul­ti­mate war­riors in treach­ery and imi­ta­tion. Zim­bab­weans are in de­mand the world over not be­cause of in­no­va­tive­ness but be­cause they are good ser­vants who will not serve or save their own na­tion.

The peo­ple who cham­pi­oned the cause of African in­de­pen­dence from the 1950s were more African than the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of those sac­ri­fices. They faced more odds than we do. But they were pre­pared to be pi­o­neers, to ex­plore un­charted paths.

Those born into free Africa live in Hol­ly­wood via re­mote con­trol. When they get out of the house they are shocked by the re­al­ity of their sur­round­ings. They are ashamed. The next thing they want is a plane ticket to run away from a re­al­ity they should help to trans­form.

To an­swer Gutu in an oblique man­ner, the is­sue is not about cheap re­brand­ing of the African con­ti­nent — giv­ing the con­ti­nent a cheap lick of paint. The is­sue is about the ed­u­cated African find­ing him­self, for­sak­ing the il­lu­sion that the same Europe which un­der­de­vel­oped Africa can be the in­stru­ment of its re­gen­er­a­tion and de­vel­op­ment to­day. The re­brand­ing should be­gin with his party re-ex­am­in­ing the rea­sons for its be­ing. Its mis­sion and agenda.

Whose cause has the MDC-T been fight­ing for the past 17 years? Who has been fund­ing it, for whose ben­e­fit? Put sim­ply, why has or is the MDC-T op­posed to land re­dis­tri­bu­tion to poor blacks? Why is the MDC-T op­posed to black economic em­pow­er­ment pro­grammes? Why is the MDC-T work­ing in league with those op­posed to Statu­tory In­stru­ment 64 of 2016 which in less than six months of im­ple­men­ta­tion has seen ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion in some in­dus­tries ris­ing to 64 per­cent and 100 per­cent in oth­ers? Why is the MDCT, as the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion, work­ing in ca­hoots with those against the in­tro­duc­tion of bond notes to ease cash short­ages for the poor?

To­day the MDC-T is part of Nera. What is the amount of lo­cal con­tent in its de­mands? Why has Nera never or­gan­ised a demon­stra­tion against sanc­tions im­posed on Zim­babwe or just ZDERA? But are al­ways ready to demon­strate against ev­ery­thing that seeks to re­store the dig­nity of the Africa.

These are im­por­tant ques­tions to the re­brand­ing of the African con­ti­nent. Un­til the ed­u­cated and alien­ated African finds him­self, the masses of the African peo­ple with no re­sources to escape to Europe will con­tinue to suf­fer. (In­ci­den­tally, that might be just one big pos­i­tive about Trump: ev­ery one back to their na­tive land.)

Ev­ery day me­dia waste space writ­ing sto­ries of petty cor­rup­tion yet the truth is that the big­gest cor­rup­tion in Africa is per­pe­trated by the ed­u­cated African in aid of multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions through tax eva­sion, un­der-in­voic­ing of ex­ports and mis­pri­sion. Il­licit fi­nan­cial out­flows from Africa are es­ti­mated at $50 bil­lion an­nu­ally. Op­po­si­tion par­ties then go beg­ging for as­sis­tance to re­move le­git­i­mate but in­con­ve­nient gov­ern­ments on the con­ti­nent, and cel­e­brate when they are given a pal­try $200 000 change from the bil­lions looted through the pen by our ed­u­cated Africans.

Gutu and his party must ac­knowl­edge that they were or are still be­ing used. The MDC-T was formed to set Africans in Zim­babwe against each other. From 1999 this na­tion has never known peace.

Europe never runs out of phoney causes for Africans to fight each other. Few coun­tries in Europe, let alone Africa, could be de­scribed as de­vel­oped as Libya in 2011. Then our ed­u­cated Africans were told by Europe you don’t need de­vel­op­ment. You need democ­racy. They have it aplenty now, to kill each other.

The same result was in­tended for Zim­babwe. We are in this mess be­cause we are fight­ing each other for a cause that is not ours, a cause that un­der­mines the whole idea of an African Re­nais­sance. If we were united, out­siders would lis­ten to us, re­spect us. We are not, and are good at mock­ing our­selves, clown­ing at our own ex­pense for the plea­sure of those who re­mind us daily that we are not hu­man be­ings.

There are many sick­en­ing jokes about Zim-As­set. Yet that should be a blue­print for any political party which wants to de­velop the coun­try.

When Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe talks about the need for ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion and value-ad­di­tion to our re­sources, this is met with sneers. When he says com­pa­nies must in­di­genise, he is ac­cused of chas­ing away “in­vestors”. When Zanu-PF says we re­quire a new school cur­ricu­lum which will in­cul­cate in our chil­dren the spirit of the “new African”, it is ac­cused of in­doc­tri­na­tion. We pre­fer our white slave ed­u­ca­tion where our chil­dren are more ac­cept­able as ser­vants abroad be­cause they are not equipped to pro­duce any­thing at home. If the white mas­ter says it can’t then it can’t be good for the new African. So, Africa’s op­po­si­tion par­ties need to re­brand their pol­i­tics. Africa is tired of the pol­i­tics of treach­ery.

No Mr Gutu, the re­brand­ing Africa needs is more than “paint­ing”. We need ex­or­cism and a new brain to fully ap­pre­ci­ate that our peo­ple must own and ben­e­fit from their re­sources. On this political par­ties must speak with one voice. To­gether let’s fight Amer­i­can and Euro­pean brand of democ­racy which thrives on loot­ing the re­sources of our con­ti­nent.

De­spite clever adap­ta­tion, black mud­fish are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to habi­tat loss, pest fish and wa­ter qual­ity de­cline. They be­come an easy catch dur­ing the rainy sea­son. Ms Sehlile Ncube shows off two mud­fish weigh­ing al­most 3kg each that she bought for a dol­lar each at a dam in Mbe­m­besi re­cently (Pic­ture by Eliah Saushoma)

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