By Tafadzwa Masango
“IT is not lack of democracy in Zimbabwe that worries Western elites, it is the fact that democracy has produced a Government that those in the halls of power in Washington and London wish to remove. What the West wants is to overturn democracy in Zimbabwe and impose a Government of its own choosing.”
This statement by Michael Barker in an article for Global Research on April 16 2008 still stands to this day.
Zimbabwe’s crime, in the eyes of Washington, is that it addressed the land question in favour of the indigenous people as opposed to a few white farmers.
Nowhere on the continent have Africans taken as radical a measure towards land reform as what happened in Zimbabwe.
Not only has Zimbabwe’s land reform been an inspiration for people in other African states, it has gained respect in countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia.
Closer home, we have seen some countries taking the first steps in attempting to redress the land question.
Coming to the issue of sanctions, a Kenyan author, Ngugi on November 4 2005 said: “Like Cuba, Zimbabwe is not a military threat to the US and Britain. Like Cuba in Latin America, Zimbabwe’s crime is leading by example to show that land can be redistributed – an independence with content. If Zimbabwe succeeds, indeed freedom and independence can have the content of national liberation. Like Cuba, Zimbabwe is to be isolated and if possible, a new government that is friendly to the West is to be installed.”
Another political commentator, Mick Collin observed that: “Zimbabwe’s Government has become a pariah regime not because it betrayed its people, not because of its violations of democratic norms or indulgence in corruption but because it bellied the hopes and expectations of imperialism. Unlike many of the regimes in Africa and elsewhere, the Zimbabwe Government, instead of serving the interests of the privileged sections of the population at home and imperialism abroad, has chosen the much more honorable and the much more difficult path of serving the vast masses of the Zimbabwean people and rendering selfless fraternal assistance to sister African countries under attack from imperialism.”
It is against this background that Zimbabweans should interpret the sanctions regime on them.
All the talk of democracy and the rule of law by Washington are a fashionable cover to perpetrate terror, subjugation and slavery of smaller countries.
By imposing sanctions and buying off sections of Zimbabwe’s politicians, the Americans are merely playing a game that they have perfected over the years.
Anyone with half a brain has to strongly question why the US would build a US$300 million compound in Harare, a structural behemoth believed to be one of its largest embassies in Africa and beyond and yet the same US has labelled Zimbabwe an outpost of tyranny, among other unflattering descriptions.
Zimbabwe is under sanctions for a reason and, until that objective is achieved, Zimbabwe will remain under sanctions just like Cuba.
Never mind the promises and false hopes that US diplomats make and raise at every turn.
Yes, at the official opening of the gigantic US Embassy, we have heard the words from the current US Ambassador, Brian Nichols, that: “This embassy not only demonstrates our long term commitment to partnership with the people of Zimbabwe but enables us to advance prosperity, security and stability as mutual goals in line with our Africa Strategy. May this occasion serve as a platform to further enhance and strengthen the co-operation between the United States of America and Zimbabwe.”
However, the truth is that the US Africa Strategy has nothing to do with Zimbabweans’ prosperity but more to do with US business interests, which is why the Trump Administration says that a small country in Africa poses a security threat to one of the most powerful countries on earth.
Where democracy appears to fit in well with US security and economic interests, the US promotes democracy.
Where democracy clashes with significant interests, it is downplayed or even ignored.
The US actually does not care about democracy because, if it did, then some of its closest allies would not be on the top of the list of human rights violators.
But then again, when it comes to human rights violations, the US tops the list both at home and abroad.
At a recent Cato Institute discussion, titled ‘Zimbabwe: Africa’s Shame and Opportunity’, panelists challenged the US and the EU on their imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
RTHK Washington correspondent Barry Wood, who was recently in Zimbabwe, indicated that there is a strong case that the sanctions do hurt the poor more than they hurt the ruling elite.
The so-called targeted sanctions line is hollow and it is the ordinary man, woman and child in Zimbabwe who is labouring under the sanctions regime.
Longtime critic Professor Steve Hanke even submitted that: “Sanctions don’t work.”
This point was reinforced by Gyude Moore of the Center for Global Development, who said: “Sanctions that target the people of Zimbabwe ordinarily is not going to work and in the long term is not going to help resolve the issues in Zimbabwe.”
The US sanctions regime on the people of Zimbabwe is not about economic and political reforms, it is not about democracy, because when the new dispensation came in, those were some of the first issues it started working on.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development alongside his counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, have been spearheading efforts to ensure that Zimbabwe is accepted back into the community of nations on the back of economic and political reforms in the country.
Instead of giving the country credit for the huge steps it has taken in terms of these reforms, the West continues to play hide and seek, changing goal posts at every turn.
Talking of changing goal posts, when the issue of addressing the Gukurahundi disturbances came up, driven by the usual local detractors at the instigation of their Western handlers, President Emmerson Mnangagwa did not flinch; he opened the door for the issue to addressed through the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
Now that it has become apparent that President Mnangagwa has nothing to hide, a new demand has been added to the list by the US.
What all this means is that, new demands will continue to crop up until the US has met its objective or up until Government says enough is enough.
Whichever way, the US hopes to have the last laugh because in the play of things, Zimbabwe is a long-term project.