THE case where the European Union (EU) Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia attempted to organise a private meeting with the country’s Constitutional and Electoral judges is not as small as it might look.
It is an upsetting reflection of the contempt and complete disregard that our former colonisers have for us and our institutions.
Knowing the arrogance of our former colonisers, the EU ambassador could argue that if he had shown no respect as we are alleging, he would have summoned the judges to his office, but he hadn’t.
Several weeks before the harmonised elections, the American Ambassador, Bruce Wharton did exactly the same thing.
He wrote letters to the Commissioner General of the Police, Augustine Chihuri, the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede and to the CEO of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Happison Muchechetere expressing displeasure over the manner the three quasi-government departments were operating in the run-up to the elections.
He accused them of blatant allegiance to ZANU PF.
With regards to the officers from ZRP who had won the primaries, the ambassador charged: “…it appears to be a contravention of the Zimbabwe Police Act, Constitution and SADC guidelines on elections.”
Of course this should not surprise any reasonable person. The white ambassadors were acting true to their nature when dealing with Africans.
The relationship with our former colonisers is a story of endurance as we fought to overcome their derision.
Take for instance the case of Roy Bennett, a former soldier in the Rhodesian Security Forces.
The villagers in Musana and Domboshava nicknamed him ‘Muzezuru’ because of his fluency in Shona.
He had not learnt the language because he loved us; he had learnt it to penetrate our world and enhance his capacity to control us.
Survivors of that war do not want to be reminded of their ordeal at Bennett’s hands at his base at Makumbe Mission. The irony is the man now touts himself as a human rights activist on a crusade to alert the world about human rights violations and the absence of democracy in Zimbabwe because we took back our land from his kith and kin without negotiations.
If he expected us to believe his cheap deception, it only helps to highlight the low esteem the white man regards us.
There is a detail many people may not know the day Cecil Rhodes’ invading force overran Gobulawayo, Lobengula’s capital in 1894.
It is alleged Rhodes volunteered to lead the charge, armed with nothing, crackling an ox-hide whip in his hand.
Of course his commanding officers stopped the madness.
At the beginning of Chimurenga II in 1971, there were many stories of Rhodesian soldiers bringing empty sacks into battle supposedly to stuff captured wriggling guerrillas.
They didn’t believe we were human beings.
So really, there is nothing surprising about Roy Bennett pretending the killings they did in the villages were justifiable and that it was taking back our land that was criminal.
The British Ambassador, Deborah Bronnert, threw away diplomatic etiquette and called it theft.
“My government will not pay for land that Mugabe stole from the commercial farmers,” she famously said in an interview more than a year ago.
What makes one angry is the assumption that we do not have the capacity to understand that giving land title, as they did with ours, does not legitimise their theft.
And like her counterparts Bruce Wharton and Aldo Dell’Ariccia, they believe they can trample and abuse our institutions and systems because we are inferior to them and we have no right to complain.
There are other historical examples to highlight the attitude of our former colonisers, even from the missionaries, the ultimate embodiment of benevolence, that are equally chilling.
Such as the foreboding story of Father Beihler from Chishawasha in 1897 recommending to Lord Grey, the Administrator of Rhodesia, that the only hope for the Shona people was to kill everyone over 14 years of age.
The Australians modified the philosophy to deal with their own problem with the Aborigines at the turn of the last century: They took away children from their parents to mould them into new gleaming persons they fantasised; loyal, acquiescent and subservient.
In his reply, Lord Grey described Father Beihler’s suggestion as ‘rather pessimistic’.
There was a false sense of compassion about the communication of the two men; as if they were not talking about the extermination of an entire people; as if they were talking about some sort of mercy killing to redeem the Shonas from themselves.
And to imagine one of them was a Catholic priest!
Recently, there was a spirited attempt by the same Catholic Church to try and put Father Beihler’s alarming sentiments into a ‘proper perspective’, to sanitise his horrible proposed solution, but it was hopeless.
Of late, the church has identified the Shona/Ndebele divide as fertile ground to breed tensions between the two people. It was the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice that produced the Gukurahundi Report in 1988 where the figure of 20 000 people killed was first mentioned.
The report does not provide any evidence to arrive at that figure.
The official number of people who were killed in the country during the liberation war with the Rhodesian Security Forces between 1966 and 1980 is estimated to be 30 000.
Therefore comparatively, an almost equal number of people were killed in Matabeleland during Gukurahundi between 1981 and 1986.
Of course the white man’s assumption when dealing with us has always been on the basis that we lacked the capacity to question things.
They say the EU Ambassador, Aldo Dell’Ariccia, was summoned to Foreign Affairs to apologise.
Even if he did, what difference does it make?