THERE was little surprise that, for the umpteenth time, the US and disgraced former South African opposition leader Mmusi Maimane were on Harare’s case, typically parroting the usual but now tired lie that Zimbabwe is a ‘failed’ State.
The West and their acolytes, within and outside the country’s borders, have never missed the opportunity to lay siege on Zimbabwe, with the so-called ‘human rights’ violations and a deteriorating economy always on the menu.
The number of times the country’s economy is said to have ‘collapsed’, all to satisfy the regime change agenda narrative, is breathtaking.
The idea is to convince the world that Zimbabwe is indeed a failed State that should be ‘convicted’ of ‘human rights’ violations.
That strategy has been used for a number of years now with minimum success.
For instance, on March 12 2002, the late MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, met a senior member of the US Government, former Senator Russell Feingold, in Washington, whom he implored ‘to paint as bleak a picture as possible for Zimbabwe’.
Last week, US Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland claimed at a virtual press conference that Zimbabwe, which she said was a beautiful country in the 1990s, was ‘falling back’.
“As you said, there are democracy challenges all over Africa. There is backsliding,” she said.
“We are not going to be shy. President Biden is not shy, as you saw when he met with President Vladimir Putin (Russia) in Geneva, a meeting that I was honoured to join, and he spoke about our concerns about democracy and human rights.
And we will speak honestly and candidly to countries when we have concerns. And frankly, if countries are choosing a more autocratic path, it will constrain what we can do together.”
We have been down this road before, where the US pretends to be concerned about the welfare of the same people they are punishing through their punitive sanctions.
To the discerning eye, the strategy is two-pronged.
In the first instance is their brazen attempt to mask the gory effects of those sanctions through their often flaunted ‘humanitarian assistance’ mantra.
Time and again, the US has told us that they have spent over US$3 billion assisting ‘poor’ Zimbabweans.
But the compelling reality is that Zimbabwe would not need that ‘assistance’ if it is allowed to run its economy without undue influence from outside.
Secondly, and linked to the above, is the inescapable fact that while punishing innocent citizens of this country, the US wants to portray itself as a saviour of Harare’s alleged ‘failing’ economy.
The US’ bully tendencies are slowly being rejected by a world that has been awakened by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic to harness local resources for economic prosperity.
The development that is taking place in the country is there for all to see.
That has been enough to court Uncle Sam’s ire.
We cannot be lectured on human rights or economic empowerment issues by a country whose wretched record on those two fronts is legendary and something of a global spectacle.
US officials cannot be allowed to continue acting as opposition activists, commissars or spokespersons for the same.
In 2005, the former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, mounted a campaign that took him to Bulawayo, Mutare and several parts of the country where he tried to justify his country’s economic sanctions.
The purpose was to assess the devastating nature of the embargo which he described as the ‘cornerstone’ of the US’ policy on Zimbabwe.
Dell said livelihoods in the country had deteriorated to the levels of 1953.
On November 2 2005, he told students at Africa University in Mutare that Zimbabwe is pursuing ‘voodoo economics’ in place of ‘economic orthodoxy’ to which he saw no other substitute.
“Neither drought nor sanctions are at the root of Zimbabwe’s decline. The Zimbabwe Government’s own gross mismanagement of the economy and its corrupt rule has brought the crisis,” said Dell.
There is a consistent pattern to the unravelling US’ anti-Zimbabwe project.
In June 2017, evidently miffed by the slow pace of acceptance of the project by Zimbabweans, US Deputy Assistant-Secretary of State for African Affairs Carol O’Connel publicly made her country’s anger known when she demanded a raft of political and economic reforms from the Government ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Interference has been the bone of contention between Harare and Washington since the inception of the Land Reform Programme in 2000.
“The relationship with the Zimbabwean Government is part of the reason I am here,” she said.
“We are not trying to vet specific individuals from Zimbabwe, but we are looking to the Zimbabwean leadership and Government to make certain political and economic changes so that we can work robustly.”
In March 2020, US Assistant Secretary Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Robert Destro said his country was working with opposition forces to effect regime change in the country.
“No, sanctioning is not enough. At the end of the day, responsibility to police the boundaries of human rights rests with the Zimbabwean people themselves and we respect their sovereignty,” Destro said.
“Our job is to call the situation as we see it.”
This is where the likes of Maimane come in handy in trying to give the project a global outlook.
On Tuesday, he gave a long thread on Twitter at the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Heroes and Defence Forces Days in Zimbabwe.
“The heroes who died for Zimbabwe are turning in their graves. Their spirits are restless,” he rambled like the twit he is.
“No one gave their life away hoping for an evil, corrupt regime of thieves led by Mnangagwa. They did not die for self-inflicted poverty. The heroes of Zimbabwe have been betrayed.
The heroes are buried and the hyenas laugh as they feast on the carcass of a once great nation. My heart really bleeds when I think about how African leaders have destroyed their nations and walk around arrogantly using the names of those who died for it.
The wolves stole the nation and they have been feeding on the people for 41 years. We must not forget the various African leaders who helped the oppression to continue.
ZANU PF did not do this alone. It was the silence and complicity of African leaders, here in South Africa and other African nations, which gave them the confidence to continue crushing the people.”
While he was harping like on, there was more good news for Zimbabwe.
Seismic survey equipment for the game changing Muzarabani oil and gas project was passing through the Beitbridge Border Post which Zimbabwe shares with South Africa.
The project is expected to transform the country’s fortunes as Zimbabwe is set to become a major player in oil and gas.
The news might have reached Maimane who frantically tried to please his ‘masters’ by downplaying all the positives in the country.