By Dr Rino Zhuwarara
JUNE 23 2016 will go down in history as the day the Brits, in their wisdom or lack of it, decided with a clear majority of voters to exit the European Union (EU).
It is a date which, for better or for worse, is bound to be regarded by the Brits a watershed of some sort in their history.
It is also not in doubt that the British decision is bound to affect Britain itself, Europe and indirectly, our African continent.
The question which arises is whether we are able to read some lessons from the political earthquake which has now engulfed Britain – whether we can now begin to re-assess our relationship with the so-called ‘mother country’ and perhaps gain some degree of self-confidence in defining ourselves and our interests in a way which benefits us first and foremost without the ‘metropolitan fog’ which has always clouded not only our relations with Britain, but our judgment of ourselves as well.
Although most of the implications of Brexit are still to unfold, there are a number of immediate lessons which we can discern already:
l The reaction of quite a large number of British natives to the result of the referendum is of interest to us.
Allegations are coming thick and fast that those who campaigned to leave the EU were not honest with the British people, that they lied to most voters about the implications of taking the exit route, especially about the economic and financial turbulence which would follow.
Accordingly, some voters are arguing for a second referendum to be conducted in order to annul or reverse the outcome of the first referendum.
Some are now pinning their hopes on the British judiciary to block the withdrawal from the EU, while others are hoping that a Bill in parliament ostensibly meant to trigger the withdrawal process would fail to get the necessary votes to pass it into an Act, thereby blocking the process.
Some are for taking the results of the referendum as a mere advisory notice and therefore not legally binding.
All the above stated efforts to annul what is a clear democratic decision taken on June 23 2016 are an indication of the desperate economic and financial situation which the results of the referendum have triggered.
Put briefly, democracy is not something perfect, foolproof and as sacred as the British put it across when it comes Africa.
Often, most of those Brits who come to Africa preach to us about the gospel of d emocracy as if it is a God-ordained concept, a one size fits all practice and a messianic tradition which should not be modified or tampered with as some of the Brits are now attempting to do.
It is quite a dramatic spectacle to watch the British attempting to undo most of the so called democratic tenets which they have been drilling into our minds ever since we acquired our independence.
Why are they trying to undo some of the tenets, one may ask?
Because, with hindsight, more Brits seem to be concluding that the overall outcome of the referendum does not seem to fit or promote their national interests.
As for being cheated and lied to by the Brexit proponents during the referendum campaign, most of us in Africa were made to believe by the British that, that sort of thing only happens in Third World countries where alleged dictators abound, and not in developed countries such as Britain.
We are quite astonished this kind of evil seems to have spread into Britain as well and inflicted untold havoc to British locals.
l The British people have opted to leave EU largely because some of the countries in it are willing, though reluctantly, to host thousands of immigrants seeking refuge from the long wars which, ironically, Britain itself and the US deliberately started in Iraq and Syria and later on in Afghanistan, for geo-political reasons.
It is of interest to us to notice that a country like Britain whose non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been preaching the gospel about human rights all over Africa for more than two decades now has, in the main, decided to leave the EU so as to keep immigrants from coming and settling in Britain.
It is a mean and ignoble stance, inconsistent with the contents of numerous sermons on human rights in Africa which, those sponsored by the same British, never fail to shout about as long as they are in Africa.
Apparently it has not yet dawned on most of the British that a big number of refugees flocking to Europe for a variety of reasons, are seeking a dignified existence which guarantees their rights, be they social, economic, cultural and political.
There is this yawning gap between the self-righteous rhetoric about human rights which the Brits never tire of repeating to us in Africa and their actual behaviour on the ground. To compound matters further, the Brits are also confirming, with a straight face by the way, how soon after the referendum, racist incidents against the so-called foreigners who are already settled in Britain have increased five-fold.
It is as if the Brits were expecting immigrants to vanish into thin air the moment the results of the referendum were announced.
They harbour primitive fears about being swamped by foreigners, yet all those who know their history confirm they have always not hesitated to swindle or steal whole countries which belong to other nations of the world.
And Zimbabwe is a good example of a country which the British stole on the basis of a fraudulent treaty allegedly signed by King Lobengula.
They also butchered nearly 50 000 thousand locals from 1896 to 1898 and over another 50 000 from 1966 to 1979 in a futile attempt to retain Zimbabwe as their country.
In short, they have been all over the world, often in foreign lands performing criminal deeds with unfailing regularity, but today, they claim that they cannot stand foreigners in their own country.
The point here is: can these people be expected to deliver lectures on human rights to any one as they are often doing in Africa?
l Much is being made of the fact that the exit by Britain from the EU is bound to impact on Africa negatively – the fact that the British economy will begin to contract soon after the exit and that this in turn will trigger an economic recession in Kenya and South Africa.
The argument here is Kenya is likely to lose its flower market in Britain, while South Africa loses its wine market in the same country.
This may be true in the short-term, but the world is much bigger than Britain and the sooner Africans realise this simple fact, the better for everybody.
In fact, the centre of the global economy moved away from Britain following the collapse of the British Empire and is now located somewhere in Asia, courtesy of the Chinese economic miracle beginning in the late 1970s
Accordingly, we have no other choice, but to outgrow the British and their market if we are to realise the full potential of over a billion African people who happen to be hosted on one of the richest continents on earth in terms of resources.