Vigilance key in re-engaging the West


THE buzzword these days is re-engagement, as emissaries are being dispatched daily to Harare waving the white flag.
Carefully worded speeches are being proffered, and a new beginning, free of acrimony and full of mutual respect, are being touted.
It is envoy after envoy.
Last week, the British Minister of State for African Affairs, Harriett Baldwin, was in the country.
This was the second delegation the British Government has dispatched to Zimbabwe in two months since relations between Harare and London soured over 17 years ago.
Next in the line are the Americans.
The White House is dispatching a powerful delegation comprising Senators and Congressmen.
They will be in the country from February 19 to 22.
And then the Russians.
The list is endless.
The world is coming to Zimbabwe.
While it is good news for our economy that Zimbabwe is open for investment from anywhere in the world and is ready to re-integrate into the global economy, business partnerships must be mutually beneficial.
There must be no strings attached.
Zimbabwe should enjoy fruitful business partnerships — on a win-win basis.
As the British and Europeans are re-engaging, they have to know that Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation that has a choice in economic and political affairs.
It will not be pushed around, condescended to nor demeaned.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe should re-embrace and ‘kiss’ the West with eyes wide open.
In times like these, when Zimbabwe is a centre of attraction, many countries and multi-lateral companies will try to sneak in their own agendas, taking advantage of the status quo.
The re-engagement process must be constructive, well-meaning and adding value to the future prospects of Zimbabwe.
It is no secret that, for whites, the partnerships between them and blacks have always been similar to those of ‘horse and the rider’.
When Godfrey Huggins became the first Federation Prime Minister, he publicly characterised the partnership between blacks and whites as one between the horse and the rider.
“The relationship that exists between whites and blacks is the same that exists between the rider and his horse,” said Huggins.
“They do not eat or sleep together, but there is a working relationship between them.”
When evening comes, the rider goes into his comfortable house, while the horse is sent to the stables.
Huggins’ attitude towards black Africans is illustrated in his July 28 1954 speech to the Federal Assembly against a motion to enforce equal treatment of the races.
“You cannot expect Europeans to form in a queue with dirty people, possibly an old mfazi with an infant on her back, mewling and puking and making a mess of everything… It is perfectly obvious to anyone that the system we have in Southern Rhodesia at the present time is the most satisfactory to both sides and it is certainly impossible to alter it until the Hon leaders of the African people have cleaned up their brother Africans a bit; and then we can perhaps consider it.”
A leopard does not change its spots whether in summer or winter. 
The West is, after all, deadliest when it appears friendliest.
Remember former French President Nicholas Sarkozy orchestrated the brutal murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi shortly after hosting him in Paris, and squeezing election campaign funding from him.
Gaddafi ‘abundantly’ gave €50m (US$61m) to fund Nicolas Sarkozy’s successful 2007 campaign for the French presidency.
Gaddafi transported Libyan cash to the French interior ministry at Place Beauvau in Paris, headed at the time by Sarkozy, on three occasions between November 2006 and January 2007.
In May 2007, Sarkozy was elected president.
The payments continued even after Sarkozy was elected president.
The West approached Libya with various ‘sweeteners’, presenting reports indicating the errors of Gaddafi’s ways and gave ‘recommendations’ as well as ‘best’ solutions to solve his ‘problems’.
They ‘warmed’ up to Gaddafi the ‘dictator’; suddenly the West felt it better and best to‘re-engage’ Libya and iron-out ‘misunderstandings’.
And Gaddafi, among other costly moves, abandoned his country’s nuclear programme.
It was a fatal decision that left his country exposed in terms of security.
While Zimbabwe is overwhelmed with the re-engagements, Government should keep an eye on those who may sneak in agendas that will crash the whole essence of re-engagement.
When an enemy suddenly tosses in the sponge, one is advised to increase vigilance.
Even history has taught us that much in the 1975 ceasefire.
The Rhodesians breached the agreement that had been made for a non-military solution to the conflict: Détente.
Détente period saw a series of meetings organised by South Africa’s John Vorster and it presented a ‘false hope’ for a peaceful settlement to the internal conflict in Rhodesia.
Whereas the liberation movements stuck to the terms and spirit of the ceasefire, the Rhodesians continued with their war efforts.
Taking advantage of a lull in the armed struggle for that period of the year 1975, Vorster, instead, helped Ian Smith strengthen his armed forces.
He also helped Smith restock ammunition and supplies.
Rhodesian Security forces had to regain the psychological as well as the military ground lost to the guerillas and this they deceptively did during the ceasefire period.
His apartheid Government went on to give direct support to the Selous Scouts and the Rhodesian Airforce.
Hence the mistrust in the 1979 British-brokered talks between Smith and the liberation armies of ZANLA and ZIPRA.
Vigilantly, the two liberation armies did not fully trust both Britain and Smith, and elected to play it safe by retaining a sizeable number of their guerilla forces back in the rear — just in case!
The rest of the guerillas only came to a liberated Zimbabwe when the coast was clear.
Your long time enemy cannot suddenly be your friend.
It should be remembered that the US, in particular, crafted a specific legal instrument, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) (S. 494) in 2001.
Zimbabwe is still under US sanctions.
The country’s diamond transactions are being sabotaged by ZDERA.
Under ZDERA, American companies and the government still vote against any applications for grants from any international financial institution such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and multi-lateral development banks such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development as well as the Inter-American Development Bank.
The Zimbabwe Defence Industry is also still under sanctions.
And the recent visit by British Minister Baldwin should not be underestimated.
To the Zimbabwe Government, she pledged support and promised good bilateral relations, while to NGOs she instantly dished out US$7 million ahead of the elections scheduled this mid-year.
Those who are scheduled to receive the funding are NGOs involved in the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Prior to all previous general elections, NGOs have been interfering in Zimbabwe’s national politics.
In Zimbabwe, foreign-directed and funded NGOs act as the ‘Trojan horse’, storm troopers and force multipliers for their subversive agenda.
And it should not be underestimated; it is soft power that eventually succeeded in Libya, which had for years resisted domination and exploitation by the West.
After threats of military attacks and economic embargoes failed to dislodge Muammar Gaddafi, the West changed tack.
The struggle for power is far from over.


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