Why is Zimbabwe under Western sanctions?

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By Godobori

RIGHT from the onset, the West never supported the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that was signed by Zimbabwe’s main political parties because ZANU PF was part of the agreement. The West has accused ZANU PF of ‘bad governance’, ‘dictatorship’ and ‘abuse of human rights’ and, incredibly, the former United States of America (USA) President, George W Bush, and his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have described Zimbabwe as constituting ‘an unusual threat to the foreign policy of the USA’. For those ‘reasons,’ ZANU PF must be excluded from the process that seeks to find a solution to Zimbabwe’s future. But what are the real reasons for the West’s interventionist and disruptive policy? What ‘crimes’ has ZANU PF committed to warrant such a concerted and vicious response? These are important questions to raise because Zimbabwe is such a small and insignificant country in global terms. Michael Barker, Global Research, April 16, 2008, has sought to explain the reasons by observing that “Zimbabwe’s crime in the eyes of Washington is that it jettisoned the ruinous structural adjustment programme several years ago, rejected the neoliberal economic model and redistributed land on a more equitable basis”. Barker went further to argue that: “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.” Nefta Freeman, one of a number of pan-Africanists who have defended Zimbabwe profusely over the years, has explained why the West wishes to exclude ZANU PF from political power: He says: “Nowhere on the continent have Africans taken as radical a measure towards land reform as we have in Zimbabwe. “And not only have Zimbabwe’s land reforms been an inspiration for people in other African states, they have gained respect in Diaspora countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia.” Giving another reason why ZANU PF has been targeted for regime change, Freeman thinks that the West is offended by its pan-Africanist stance demonstrated by its military assistance to Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) before the GPA was created. In this respect, Freeman correctly notes that: “No other African state is upholding such a cooperative position at this time… President Mugabe openly condemns imperialism with the boldness and clarity we have only come to expect from leaders such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez… No other African leader is doing what he is doing right now, and because he is, Zimbabwe stands as an inspiration to African people the world over.” (Elich, Global Research, September 6, 2006). These observations, that trash the concocted allegations against ZANU PF were confirmed by a French delegation to the European Union which, in July 2010, uncharacteristically decided to dump the ‘democracy’ alibi and gave the real reasons why the West imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe. The French delegation’s honest but arrogant statement was quoted by Nathaniel Manheru (Saturday Herald, 17 July 2010) in a review of the visit by Zimbabwe’s re-engagement team to Europe comprising Ministers Mangoma, Misihairabwi and Chinamasa. The three ministers who went to Brussels seeking the removal of sanctions and the normalisation of relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union were told in no uncertain terms that: “One, it is not about democracy, the MDC or some such nebulous ideal that we have sanctions against Zimbabwe. It is about our interests, individually as countries, collectively as the European bloc. Two, it is not about the progress that you make under the GPA or the Inclusive Government. It is about our reading of it, in relation to our interests, singly and collectively. Only when these two points are satisfied, will sanctions go.” The French and European interests that Zimbabwe allegedly threatened or jeopardised have to do with the land reform programme which did not only democratise land ownership, but effectively put an end to white greed on the farms. The other aspect of concern to the French, and therefore the European Union, is Zimbabwe’s loud demand for a 51 percent shareholding by citizens in every business operating in the country worth US$500 000 and above. The matter which has since been legislated and effectively alters and redefines the terms on which future business relations between Zimbabwe and Africa’s erstwhile colonisers will be conducted, is detestable in the West for reasons of their greed and a desire to perpetuate an unequal relationship between the people of Africa and those of the West. Zimbabwe is right and all Africans on the continent need to wake up to the reality that Western countries built their economies on the rich mineral resources of the African continent which they have continued to expropriate for more than 100 years of colonialism and neo-colonialism. While the resources, the raw materials, come from Africa, the factories to process the minerals and other natural resources are built in Europe and the USA. This exploitative relationship between the African owners of the resources and the Europeans ensures a situation of rapid development in the West and perpetual stagnation and a vicious cycle of poverty on the African continent. Because the Western economies are structured to be dependent on African raw materials, the West has come to believe that it is their right to continue to pillage African resources for their own convenience. In the same vein, the West has come to believe that any Africans who demand that the resources of their countries be exploited to the benefit of the indigenous people of those countries are deviant and therefore must be neutralised or eliminated. Their leaders must be removed from power because ‘they have become a serious threat to the foreign policy of the USA’. President Mugabe and ZANU PF have been targeted for regime change precisely because they have dared to challenge the West’s predatory and primitive view of the African people. They have claimed ownership of their country’s natural resources. And for that reason they are sanctioned, demonised, intimidated, isolated and excluded from power. In President Mugabe’s place, there must be someone schooled in puppetry and the art of preserving white privilege. This is the reason for the suffering that Zimbabweans are going through and may have to endure for some time to come. One fundamental lesson the liberation struggle has taught Southern Africa is that imperialists do not appreciate reason and logic. It is thus foolhardy and a waste of time for Africans to hope that, sometime in the future, the West will hold a conference at which it will be agreed to leave African resources to the Africans. The West understands the language of war. They only negotiate meaningfully with one whose knobkerrie is raised in the air to fight. In this respect, Zimbabweans have to stand together and appreciate the fact that while we won our political independence 31 years ago, the struggle for economic independence is yet to be won. In this respect Zimbabweans in particular, and Africans in general, must just get used to the idea that economic liberation will not take place through negotiations with the West because the white man only negotiates when he is cornered. By way of emphasising the importance of unity in the struggle for African economic emancipation, it is necessary to point out that the countries of Southern Africa have so far survived several disruptive imperialist designs in Angola, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe only because they have remained united. They have also consistently been able to correctly define their common enemy in the blurred atmosphere of mirages introduced by the West. In this respect it is very important for the countries of the region to appreciate the importance of backing Zimbabwe’s economic revolution as the benefits will accrue to the rest of the region faster. It will be hoped the countries of the region decide to work with Zimbabwe in its endeavour. What is certain is that, other African countries will follow Zimbabwe’s example to own and control their resources sooner than later. Victory is assured!

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