Unmasking Chester Crocker

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WHILE the major highlight of Chester Crocker’s involvement with Zimbabwe has been his much publicised ‘make the Zimbabwe economy scream’ statement, the reality is that the American politician has links that stretch as far back as Rhodesia, his brazen endorsement of apartheid South Africa and support for Jonas Malheiro Savimbi’s UNITA.

But it is his continued interference in this country’s affairs, which cannot be read as concern for good governance or human rights violations, as he wants the world to believe.

It cannot, in the same vein, be taken at face value because under the veil of the man, who purports to be a champion of democracy, is in fact a person, who is being driven by a chronic desire to restore the Rhodesian old order in Zimbabwe.

Here is why.

Crocker is a Rhodesian son-in-law having been married to Saone Caroline Crocker, who was born on January 11 1943 in Bulawayo.

She was the daughter of a white Rhodesian, who owned a farm in Guruve. 

In 1979, he made it clear that he felt uncomfortable with ‘giving’ blacks power as they would claim a stake in the economy.

This was on the eve of the first elections in independent Zimbabwe in 1980.

This is according to the March/April edition of the Rhodesian Viewpoint which was published in the US by the Rhodesian Information Office, titled ‘Congressional observer bid fails’.

“Crocker’s answer to this argument is substantially contained in his answer to above,” reads the report in part. 

“He makes the additional point that the advent of a black government will change the picture in two respects. First, it will give blacks something more to fight for, apart from a decent government salary, than they have had up to now.”

In order to stop blacks in Zimbabwe from fighting for a decent salary through such programmes as the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme from which he lost his plantations in the Eastern Highlands, and economic empowerment, Crocker became instrumental in the formation and subsequent support of the opposition MDC.

A May 21 2000 report in The Guardian titled ‘British cash behind bid to combat Mugabe’ brings to the fore both Crocker’s supposed ‘subtle’ role to that effect as well as his economic interests in Zimbabwe.

“The Zimbabwe Democracy Trust, whose patrons include former Tory Foreign Secretaries Malcolm Rifkind, Douglas Hurd and Geoffrey Howe has been accused of using the organisation as a cover for promoting the interests of Western multi-nationals in the troubled region,” reads part of the report.

In April 2000, ZDT held a meeting with the late MDC founder, Morgan Tsvangirai in London where they confirmed their support for him.

The Guardian report goes on: 

“According to ZDT literature, the organisation ‘has the simplest of goals: to help the democratic will of the people flourish’. But The Observer can reveal that several of the patrons of the newly formed trust are directors of companies which have substantial commercial interests at stake in Zimbabwe. ZDT keeps its membership secret for fear of reprisals from the Mugabe regime, but The Observer has discovered that they largely come from the white business community in Zimbabwe.

The former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Crocker is another patron – a director of Ashanti Gold Fields, which owns Zimbabwe’s largest gold mine. When approached by The Observer, he said: ‘I have nothing personally to gain from supporting the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust. They were reaching out for like-minded people and I am like-minded.’”

In Zimbabwe, Ashanti used to own Freda Rebecca Mine.

Below is the Ashanti Goldfields Company Limited, which confirms how sophisticated the white supremacy is, in so far as its economic interests are concerned.

The legal name of the Company which is the subject of this 20-F is Ashanti Goldfields Company Limited (“Ashanti”).

Ashanti was incorporated in Ghana, West Africa on August 19, 1974.

Ashanti was incorporated and continues to subsist under the Ghana Companies Code 1963 (Act 179). 

The Company’s registered office is Gold House, Patrice Lumumba Road, P.O. Box 2665 Accra, Ghana and its telephone number is 233 21 772190.

In 1897, an English company named Ashanti Goldfields Corporation

Limited (“AGCL”) was founded and began to develop a mining concession in the area of the Company’s current operations at Obuasi. 

Several years later, underground mining began at the site and has continued to the present. 

In 1969, AGCL became a wholly owned subsidiary of Lonrho Plc, now called Lonmin, a UK listed company which had interests in mining, hotels and general trade in Africa. 

Following the Lonmin acquisition in 1969, the Government of Ghana acquired 20 percent of AGCL from Lonmin in exchange for the Government of Ghana’s agreement to extend the term of the Company’s mining lease over the concession area.

Lonmin has a wretched history of looting in Zimbabwe.

The company was founded on May 13 1909 as the London and Rhodesian Mining and Land Company Limited (LONRHO) to acquire mining rights in Northern and Southern Rhodesia, now Zambia and Zimbabwe and the company looted minerals with no restraint in the two countries. 

In 1962, Tiny Rowland became the company’s leader and it went on to buy hotels, media houses and properties across the globe.

Which is why Crocker’s resentment of ZANU PF has become palpable over the years and his destabilisation of the southern African region more pronounced.

His business interests and those of his colleagues feel threatened by the towering presence of nationalism in Africa.

This is the threat he did not see when the US opposed UN sanctions against Rhodesia.

Crocker supported the US Congress motion to continue buying chrome from the sanctioned Rhodesia.

Prior to Crocker’s open intervention in Zimbabwe, he had been involved in the South Africa and Namibia dispute which led to the rise of the Savimbi induced terror activities in Angola.

Between 1981 and 1989, Crocker sold the world a dummy through the lie that his ‘linkage’ strategy would bring to an end South Africa’s occupation of Namibia.

Crocker gave the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola as a condition for the US’ support of South Africa’s withdrawal from Namibia.

The signing of the withdrawal agreement paved way for the rise of Savimbi’s UNITA, which would go on to control Angola’s mineral rich areas such as the Cuanga Valley, where diamonds were abound.

Crocker famously described Savimbi as ‘one of the most talented and charismatic of leaders in modern African’ in what ranks as one of the most bizarre endorsement of terrorism by the US. 

It should be borne in mind that Crocker, using the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) where he was the chairman, openly supported apartheid South Africa under the guise of what he said was ‘constructive engagement’.

Constructive engagement entailed that the white minority in South Africa be used as a beacon of democracy in the region.

Crocker secretly averred that his government takes a softer approach in dealing with the white minority.

Below is his brief profile taken from the American Academy of Siplomacy: “Chester A. Crocker is the James R. Schlesinger professor of strategic studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and serves on the board of its Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. 

Dr Crocker’s teaching and research focuses on international security, conflict management, and mediation strategy.

From 1981 to 1989, Dr Crocker served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. 

He developed the strategy and led the diplomacy that produced the treaties signed by Angola, Cuba, and South Africa in New York in December 1988. 

These agreements resulted in Namibia’s independence (March 1990) and the withdrawal of foreign forces from Namibia and Angola.

Dr Crocker serves as Chairman of the Board of the United States Institute of Peace, an independent, nonpartisan institution created and funded by Congress to strengthen research, education and training on the peaceful resolution of international conflict. 

He also serves on the boards of ASA Ltd., a NYSE-listed, closed-end fund focused on gold mining; and Modern Africa Growth and Investment Company, LLC. 

He is a member of the Board of Directors of Ashanti Goldfields Company Ltd., the Board of Visitors of the National Defense University in Washington and of the Foundation Council of the Geneva-based Henri Dunant Center for Humanitarian Dialogue. 

Dr Crocker consults as advisor on strategy and negotiation to a number of US and European firms.

Dr Crocker’s previous professional experience includes service as news editor of Africa Report magazine (1968-69) and staff officer at the National Security Council (1970-72) where he worked on Middle East, Indian Ocean, and African issues. 

He first joined Georgetown University as director of its Master of Science in Foreign Service programme, serving concurrently as associate professor of international relations. In 1976, he became director of African studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He has lectured and written on international politics, US foreign policy, mediation and negotiation, African affairs, and post-Cold War security issues.

He has appeared on numerous television shows, as a dinner or keynote speaker at conferences in the US, Europe and Africa, and as a witness in Congressional hearings. 

His book, High Noon in Southern Africa: Making Peace in a Rough Neighborhood, was published by Norton in 1993. 

Born in New York City in 1941, Dr Crocker received his B.A. degree from Ohio State University (1963), graduating Phi Beta Kappa, with distinction in history. 

He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.”

To many Zimbabweans, his ‘testimony’ before the House of International Relations Committee Subcommittee on Africa Washington, DC, June 13, 2000 titled ‘Situation in Zimbabwe’ presents deep rooted resentment of majority rule in the country.

Said Crocker:

“…..the other choice is to work through all appropriate channels for a change in power in Zimbabwe after a flawed election, resigning ourselves to the likelihood that Zimbabwe is slated to become Africa’s Romania and Mugabe its Ceausescu. 

That regime, it will be recalled, was ended by the actions of the people of Romania, and the same may ultimately happen in Zimbabwe if the recent patterns of official conduct continue. 

Hence, our role under this approach ought to be maximally discreet and low-key in order to avoid giving the Mugabe regime the sort of external adversary which dying, authoritarian regimes crave in order to stave off their inevitable demise. 

Under this approach, we would treat Zimbabwe like the pariah it appears almost to want to be, disengage from official relationships and government-to-government programming of any sort, and wait for the pressures to mount … helping where we can without distorting the political equation.”

Zimbabweans must continue to defend their country, especially in the wake of the renewed aggression by the US, which the likes of Crocker stand for.

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