WESTERN countries, led by some elements within the British Parliament, the House of Commons and the US have launched a withering attack on the Zimbabwean military and the country’s leadership in general through their flimsy attempt to bring Zimbabwe back under global spotlight over last month’s violent demonstrations.
Britain, the US and several Western countries are accusing Zimbabwe’s military of ‘violating’ human rights, among a coterie of allegations.
The development comes as Zimbabwe has embarked on an aggressive engagement and re-engagement drive with the world, that has seen the global community warming up to Harare.
But the attack on the military, which has been in the offing for the past two decades, involves weakening the security sector, discrediting Zimbabwe and cajoling President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa into another Government of National Unity (GNU) with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, among other things.
From 2009 to 2013 Zimbabwe had a GNU that failed to revive the country’s economy that was, and is, still reeling from economic sanctions which were imposed on Harare on December 21 2001 and February 18 2002 by the US and EU respectively.
A GNU would provide easy access into Government and security operations as was the case with British intelligence agents Andrew Chadwick and Charles Heatly during the so-called inclusive Government era.
Chadwick, with the assistance of the Department for International Development (DFID), ran parallel structures for the late Morgan Tsvangirai, then the country’s Prime Minister, including the little regarded Prime Minister’s Newsletter published in Bath Street in Avondale, Harare.
He was subsequently unmasked as an MI6 agent spying on behalf of the British Government.
In 2009, Heatly crafted a document titled Roadmap to Elections which the MDC wanted to pass as a Government policy document.
Heatly also crafted the ill-fated 100 Days Plan MDC-T policy document which again the opposition tried to smuggle into Government for implementation but the document failed to see the light of day.
Some British parliamentarians have now resorted to their destabilisation tactics.
On two occasions last week, members of the anti-Harare Labour Party pushed for debate on what they alleged was the ‘bad’ situation in Zimbabwe.
The Labour Party has since 1999 shown open hostility to Zimbabwe, with former leader Tony Blair failing to hide his disdain for the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme in the country.
On Tuesday this week, the Parliamentary Committee on International Development Committee, met at the Thatcher Room in the UK at 10am to again discuss the ‘situation’ in Zimbabwe.
Panelists to the hearing included Jocelyn Alexander, Stephen Chan and one Simukai Chigudu.
The agenda of the hearing was as follows:
“The IDC is holding an urgent evidence session on the situation in Zimbabwe. Following the recent violent crackdown by Zimbabwe’s security forces, this session allows the Committee to explore how the UK and DFID in particular should respond.”
Presenting what she said was ‘evidence’ on Zimbabwe, Britain’s Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, said her country must increase sanctions on Zimbabwe over Government’s reaction to last month’s demonstrations.
“Specifically with regards to sanctions, the committee may be aware that the process of rolling over the EU (European Union) sanctions has just come up and the UK has been urging that it is not the right time for us to allow the sanctions to expire,” Baldwin said.
“And my thinking is that since the recent developments, our case would be that actually we think they might be a case for widening it to include further individuals. We have been aware that the President has said that heads will roll, we have not seen any specific head rolling. That might be a good example of the kinds of the people who could be included in the sanction regime.
“UK will not be able to support Zimbabwe’s application to re-join the Commonwealth because we (UK) don’t believe in the kind of human rights violations by the security forces.”
It is, however, not clear whether Baldwin’s utterances are representative of British thinking (official policy) on the situation in Zimbabwe.
This comes as Vice-President Kembo Mohadi revealed last Saturday during a ZANU PF Thank You Rally in Mt Darwin, that foreign agents from Western countries were physically involved in the violent demonstrations that took place in the country last month.
What has been of interest to Zimbabwe is whether the British Government has been involved in Tuesday’s discussion and debates that have been conducted on Zimbabwe in the House of Commons.
So far they have remained studiously mum on the matter but a word or two, as we said last week, would do so much to calm the nerves of an already agitated Zimbabwe.
Yet it was the interest generated by the audacity of British parliamentarians to put Zimbabwe up for debate in the House of Commons as if Harare was their personal property that has exacerbated this animosity.
Kate Hoey, a Labour Party MP, vigorously pushed for Zimbabwe to be discussed in the British Parliament.
Hoey’s resentment has been a matter of public record and it was not surprising
that she was at the forefront of denigrating Zimbabwe.
“Will the minister confirm that to Her Majesty’s government, and particularly the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, have learnt a lesson from what I would call the ill-advised cosying-up to the Zimbabwean leadership, which owed its position, power and loyalty to the military and political machine that manoeuvred to install it and not to the people of Zimbabwe through a free and fair electoral process?” Hoey said in the House of Commons last week.
“I will not go into more detail; the minister knows what I am talking about. There is no doubt that our embassy in Zimbabwe had become too identified, rightly or wrongly — I think wrongly — with ZANU PF.”
Interestingly, the Foreign and Commonwealth has a curious history of dabbling in this country’s affairs.
In 2000, the Blair Government admitted to working with the opposition MDC, a party they helped form on September 11 1999.
The British Government also revealed that they were sponsoring the MDC through the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).
The Foundation then received £4,1 million from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) although it claimed it was ‘an independent public body’, which had in its 13 years of existence, worked “…to achieve sustainable political change in emerging democracies.”
Its goals and methodologies were to work ‘with and through partner organisations to strengthen the institutions of democracy, principally political parties, parliaments, NGOs, trade unions and free media’, all of which, in its view, ‘must be strong for democracy to flourish’.
Details of the funding were published on the Westminster Foundation’s website.
Herein lies Zimbabwe’s concern in so far as Hoey and company are concerned.
The Americans too are complicit in this fiasco
From January 14 to 16 2019, the country witnessed devastating terror attacks that had been initiated by the MDC Alliance and ZCTU with the support of the US and some British officials.
The perpetrators of the heinous crimes left a trail of destruction that included looting, burning of privately owned cars and buses while shops belonging to citizens were either burned or looted.
Strangely, there was deafening silence from the West on these criminal activities, raising suspicion they were indeed working with the rogue opposition elements as Government has said in the past weeks.
What has triggered the supposedly stern rebuke on the country’s security forces from the West has been the swiftness with which they reacted so as to restore order in the country.
Threats of culling of re-engagement efforts and cutting diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe have been thrown around by those elements in the British Parliament, the US and some sections of the media in Zimbabwe.
But our view is that, if they want to normalise relations with the State of Zimbabwe that process should also include the Head of State because anything outside that is pure skulduggary.
In the past, they have viewed Zimbabwe as a State without a Government and have proffered aid through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) yet it is those outfits that have been fomenting strife in the country.
The British Government must come clean on this matter and make their position clear on whether they are working with those belligerent elements or not.
The fight is from all over, with the US also joining in the fray against Zimbabwe.
While they have been attacking Government, history has shown that the US has, in the past, used its security forces to effect regime change in its perceived enemies’ countries.
In his report Regime Change: How the CIA put Saddam’s Party in Power, published on October 24 2002, Richard Sanders highlights America’s complicity when it comes to achieving their goals.
“Another very good example of a CIA-organised regime change was a coup in 1963 that employed political assassination, mass imprisonment, torture and murder,” reads Sanders’ report in part.
“This was the military coup that first brought Saddam Hussein’s beloved Ba’ath Party to power in Iraq.
“At the time, Richard Helms was Director for Plans at the CIA.
“That is the top CIA position responsible for covert actions, like organising coups.”
US President Donald Trump has said he would not hesitate to send troops to Venezuela where serious protests are being carried out against that country’s leader, Nicolas Maduro.
The US has not denied allegations that it is working with opposition leader Juan Guaido to carry out those demonstrations in Venezuela.
On January 2 2019, Trump sent American troops to Gabon, ostensibly to protect US citizens and diplomatic facilities should violence break out in Kinshasa, the DRC’s capital.
But if the US can ‘protect’ its citizens and facilities across the globe, what stops Zimbabwean security from doing the same, especially where police stations, citizens and vehicles were under attack from the MDC Alliance hoodlums.
Justifying his deployment of US soldiers to Gabon, Trump told Congress in a letter in early January that the first batch of 80 troops had arrived in Libreville on January 2 2019 ostensibly to ‘…protect US citizens and diplomatic facilities should violence break out’ in Kinshasa, the DRC’s capital
Another example is the British-America pact on Iraq.
According to Noam Chomsky in an article published by The Economist on November 19 1994, “…there were no passionate calls for a military strike after Saddam’s gassing of Kurds at Halabja in March, 1988; on the contrary, the US and UK extended their strong support for the mass murderer, then, also ‘our kind of guy’.”
It goes deeper.
On the eve of the March 29 2008 elections, Blair’s predecessor Gordon Brown personally wrote and signed a letter to the Vice-President of British Law Society — one Holroyd on February 4 2008.
The letter sought to respond to a plea for British funding of the opposition in Zimbabwe, followed by serious lobbying by the MDC-affiliated Law Society of Zimbabwe to its equivalent, the British Law Society.
Last week, the Law Society of Zimbabwe held a demonstration in the capital against what they claimed was abuse of justice delivery system in the country.
The prime targets of that poorly attended demonstration was President Mnangagwa and his deputy VP Constantino Chiwenga.
And the history of the MDC shows that in its formative stages, the beleaguered party was formed on the back of violent demonstrations that rocked the country in the late 1990s.
This is captured in the original MDC Constitution where Article 3 specifically states that its main mandate was to overthrow ZANU PF from power, not to rule Zimbabwe.
Curiously it did not mention what it would do after gaining the power; neither did it explain how it intended to overthrow ZANU PF from power.
Last month’s demonstrations, whose organisation and tact point towards serious training, are telling in many ways.
We wait to see if the British Government will come out in the open and state its position on Zimbabwe.