Unpacking the 2016 Chatham House Report


MOST of us are still to come to terms with the fact that The Royal British Institute of International Affairs called Chatham House is increasingly becoming more and more interested in the affairs of our country.
The question on everyone’s mind is: Why particularly focus on Zimbabwe and not other countries in Africa and beyond?
This institute has hosted quite a number of our politicians, including the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti and more recently, Joice Mujuru.
The same institute has sponsored research projects on Zimbabwe and published several reports concerning the affairs of our country, including the latest Report of 2016 titled, The Domestic and External Implications of Zimbabwe’s Economic Reform and Re-engagement Agenda.
This Report is a follow-up to another Report of 2014 titled: Zimbabwe’s International Re-engagement; The Long Haul to Recovery.
The 2016 report is a 45-page document meticulously chronicling our current economic challenges, our attempts to address these challenges by engaging the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), as well as some of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs).
It also looks at the economic sanctions imposed by the West and how these need to be both updated and co-ordinated by the same Western countries ostensibly for the good of Zimbabwe.
The objective is not to remove the illegal sanctions, but to use them as part of the stick and carrot policy!
The question remains: Why particularly focus on Zimbabwe so much?
To answer this question we need to recall that Chatham House was mandated by the British establishment to generate ideas meant to underpin the formulation of policies and processes which would bring about regime change in Zimbabwe.
We also need to recall that the political isolation which followed our row with the British Government over our Land Reform Programme and the subsequent economic sanctions which were imposed by the West against Zimbabwe were all part of a regime change agenda.
Therefore, the ideas underpinning the regime change blueprint were originally concocted at Chatham House and then cascaded up to Government level and then everywhere as a package of anti-Zimbabwe policies of the West.
In a sense, therefore, one can argue Chatham House is a think tank of the British establishment now functioning like a modern version of the British colonial office.
And the reason is simple.
Because Zimbabwe quit the British Commonwealth, which in the main continues to promote Britain’s economic interests in its former colonies, it got Chatham House designated as its overseer when it comes to generation of ideas which feed into policy formulation on Zimbabwe.
Put differently, it is important that our politicians and academics are made fully aware of the fact that Chatham House is not an ordinary academic think tank seeking knowledge for the sake of it, but a strategic Western outfit feeding directly into policy formulation processes designed to sustain Western economic hegemony in the world.
And it seeks to play its role by utilising some of the very voices and opinions of subalterns as credible sources of research material!
Kunonzi kukanga nguruve nemafuta ayo.
This partly explains the role being played by one of the co-authors of both the 2014 and 2016 Chatham Reports, a Zimbabwean, Knox Chitiyo and also the role being played by all those Zimbabweans invited as guest speakers at Chatham House.
This seemingly ‘accommodating and open-minded’ approach which goes to the extent of consulting Zimbabwean locals gives some veneer of legitimacy and creates some semblance of objectivity to whatever anti-Zimbabwe ideas are proposed by Chatham House.
In the preface to the 2014 Chatham House Report on Zimbabwe, one of the key players at Chatham House, Richard Dowden, confesses that the failure by Britain to effect regime change in Zimbabwe represented one of the most outstanding defeats in British foreign policy during the last 60 years.
And he regards this failure as symbolising the waning of British influence in Africa and the world.
Dowden’s pessimism concerning this failure to impose the British will on Zimbabwe is understandable in so far as British political proxies in Zimbabwe had suffered a crushing electoral defeat in 2013.
Zimbabwe had not only outfoxed Britain in Africa, that is in all matters diplomatic and political, but had survived the non-stop British inspired demonisation of Zimbabwe by the West as well as the economic sanctions.
As for President Robert Mugabe, he has lived long enough to see the back of all his political tormentors, such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, who left their political offices in disgrace.
And he has lived long enough to tell the story of the unrelenting Western onslaught on Zimbabwe to fellow Africa leaders.
In brief, President Mugabe and his country have become a symbol of African defiance, defining for the second time in African history the limits of Western power in Africa.
In the same report, Dowden goes on to cheer himself up a bit by suggesting in a more or less wistful manner that the only area in which Britain retains some sort of influence, especially in Africa, is in the educational sector.
He identifies Africans as people who blindly continue to revere British education in this day and age and goes on to suggest that Britain should take full advantage of this African mindset that is in essence deeply colonial in order to continue promoting British interests in Africa.
In light of the above, it is obvious the 2016 Chatham House Report represents a resurgence of British hopes that Zimbabwe can actually be made to capitulate after all, that is if the West, in particular Britain, the US and Canada re-calibrate their sanctions policy against Zimbabwe.
The report urges these countries to come up with some ‘fresh thinking’ so that their economic sanctions policy becomes a more sophisticated weapon, able to hurt when it is necessary to do so and to reward Zimbabwe with bait money when it is opportune to do so.
The aim, according to the report, is to shepherd Zimbabwe away from ‘the hard-line patriotic ‘liberationism’ (sic) to a more pragmatic economic liberalism’.
It is important to note here that while the British retain their patriotic ‘liberationism’ which guides them to vote for Brexit, the same British are demanding that we forgo our patriotism in favour of liberalism.
The latter demands that those Westerners who provide capital in Africa own everything, assets, profits and all, while those who provide the labour and resources in Africa, that is Africans, get next to nothing in return.
In other words, the report is recommending that if Zimbabwe wants to normalise its relationship with the IMF, WB and IFIs, it has to go back to a colonial status quo first and forget about its indigenisation policies.
This is why in the 2016 Chatham Report, the land reclamation movement in Zimbabwe is not regarded as a necessary revolution which had to take place, but a mistake which should be revisited and revised in favour of those who have money, those who always turn out to be Westerners, but this time re-branded as ‘investors’.
The 2016 Chatham Report is diabolic in its intent to re-colonise and is designed to apportion blame to the victims of economic sanctions imposed by the West.
It is full of detail which is not always inaccurate.
But the same report remains deliberately slanted to obliterate the obvious link between the illegal economic sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe by the West and the economic difficulties which we are experiencing today.
Instead, the sanctions are mentioned as mere incidental details and not as the cause and therefore the framework of the current economic suffering.
It is thus an utter disgrace that a fellow Zimbabwean, one Chitiyo, participates in authoring such a misleading report, in the process giving legitimacy to a British propaganda document whose conclusions are not meant to respect Zimbabwean wishes at all.


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