Friday, January 15, 2010

A Military Junta in Control of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is now being ‘governed’ by a Military Junta. Of that there is no doubt whatsoever. Whether Mugabe is in charge of the Junta is academic. A friend who lectures at the almost defunct University of Zimbabwe tells me that one of his MBA students told him last Saturday that “Most countries in the world have an army; In Zimbabwe the army has a country.” He could not have been more accurate in his description.

In recent weeks, starting just before Christmas, the ‘war’ against white farmers intensified and dozens of the 350 odd remaining farmers have been booted off the land.

In the meantime an NGO in South Africa, Africom, has initiated legal procedures to sue the Zimbabwe Government for the return of assets stripped from South African nationals (who are supposedly protected) by a Bi-lateral International Protection Agreement (BIPPA) between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Africom cite the SADC court ruling that Zimbabwe’s expropriation of farms was ‘racist and illegal’ and ordered the Zimbabwe Government to return ‘stolen’ farms and allow those farmers remaining on the land to remain. The response by the South African courts to Africom’s proceedings has been positive and it is today suggested that Zimbabwe’s assets in South Africa may be expropriated to help pay compensation.

The response to this from one Temba Mliswa – a notorious ZANU PF racist thug – is that the Zimbabwe Government intends to ‘kick all white farmers out of the country’ and to do this the military are enforcing the removal of the few remaining farmers from the land they are occupying. Court orders are ‘mere pieces of paper’ and nothing will prevent Zimbabwe from doing what it likes, says Mliswa and his ZANU PF cronies.

To add to this, we are recently told that a retired army general is seeking to quash a ruling that he be required to vacate Fangundu Farm which is occupied by an organisation whose shareholders are Malaysian and Dutch and equally ‘protected’ by a BIPPA between the respective governments. The retired general has in the meantime stripped the farm of bananas to his own account.

These acts are not supported by Prime Minister Tsvangirayi and his MDC counterparts and they have spoken out against them, but no-one is interested.

Ergo, Zimbabwe is run by a Military Junta.

Meanwhile SADC representatives, including Joseph Kabila, President of the DRC, are speaking up about ‘tremendous progress being made by the parties that makes up Zimbabwe’s government of National Unity’ towards finalising an agreement of their current disputes.

Utter rubbish! Who do they think they are fooling? Perhaps they are fooling themselves, just like ZANU PF has been doing for years.

But let’s not get excited. This is not new. It is largely how Africa governs Africa and is why Africans in general remain poor and get ever poorer while Africa’s rich elite get ever richer.

And it is unlikely to change for a long, long time.

1 comment:

Chofamba said...

All this is primarily because the form and character of the State as introduced to Africa by European colonisers was essentially authoritarian in nature. In particular, in all settler colonies, as Rhodesia was, the State was structured to favour a minority and its elite. The absurdity of such a State then emerged when blacks took over. The State accommodated the elite and their patrons and excluded pretty much everyone else. This model, inevitably, failed spectacularly both economically and politically. This failure is what lies at the heart of Africa's crisis. But never mistake the failure of elites who are clinging on to anachronistic versions of the colonial State as the failure of African people - because those States and their governments are hardly by the people nor for the people. You must surely acknowledge our aspirations - the fact that we desire a different state of affairs, and we thrive in those limited areas of life that we find opportunities to do so means that in an atmosphere of freedom we can achieve success for ourselves. We have taken to education as a method of self-improvement and empowerment - as it stands, Zimbabwe has a massive human resources skills base that lies redundant because the state elites have failed to create an environment where such skills can be applied productively. And so it is that we are now scattered all over the globe where we're making valuable contributions to our adopted countries and are acknowledged for our hard work and industry. What we lack is not ambition and resources, we lack leadership and an enabling environment. When Europeans generally talk of the African crisis they like to make glib conclusions such as after all, this is Africa. They take a structural failure in the distribution of power between state and society to mean a general failure in the African personality. If we were at one with our leaders, why do they find cause to mow us down in the streets with guns and fumigate us with teargas? You must surely acknowledge that there is a burning grassroots aspiration for freedom among African people, there is a clear rejection of the status quo under most of our African leaders and a sense of how better is indeed possible under a situation where freedom reigns. Even those thousands who vote with their feet at the risk of drowning on the high seas as they attempt to get into Europe are seeking no more than an opportunity to put in an honest day's work and get rewarded for their efforts so they can improve their families. If they could do that at home, why wouldn't they? The struggle in Africa is one of a people trying to free themselves from the grip of self-serving tyrants who are using these invincible political/coercive machines called States that were bequeathed to our continent by colonising Europeans. Decolonisation meant dumping these Leviathans in the hands of black successors whose responsibility it was to reform them so they can work to the benefit of the newly independent people, but these hungry successors simply saw an opportunity to cream off the wealth of the country and sod everyone else. Our dreams of freedom have not stopped, and the fight for freedom continues. You're a part of it if you're a white African, because you're also African. The challenge is as much to the black African as it is to the white African. White Africans cannot wash their hands off this crisis and say after all, our people in Europe know we share the same DNA so they know we're not part of this failure. White Africans cannot stand apart and analyse from a distance coz when shit hits the fan as it does every so often, both black and white stink to high heaven!