By Dr Tafataona Mahoso
IN January 2019, the people of Zimbabwe were faced with a contradiction; groups who deliberately instigated and committed acts of terror against innocent neighbours and fellow Zimbabweans turned around and claimed their human rights; demanding to be treated with the same humanity and dignity in terms of constitutional provisions which they would not grant those they were targeting and victimising.
The terror unleashed on Zimbabweans in January 2019 was an enlarged version of what was attempted in March and April 2007.
At that time, US Ambassador Christopher Dell came to the defence of the terrorists.
In so doing, Dell deliberately ignored the Vienna Conventions as well as US anti-terror laws.
The MDC-sponsored terrorist attacks on Harare in 2007 included the petrol-bombing of two policewomen; the destruction of a Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) bus which was ferrying mourners from Granville Cemetery; attacks on the mourners who were on that ZUPCO bus; the torching of a mini-bus which had just arrived in Harare from Botswana; attacks on the passengers on that mini-bus who were also searched and robbed.
The manufacture of petrol bombs and devices for beheading security personnel in combat was also part of the plot.
The fact that the 2019 riots were more widespread that those of 2007 should force us to ask why.
The organisers of these so-called acts of protest announced their weeks of orgy against a police ban on such activities within Harare, a ban which was based on scientific evidence which could be confirmed by the sponsored illegal acts of violence and terror themselves.
The nature of weapons and tactics used went far beyond what would be needed to stage acts of civil disobedience.
But Dell reported all these events back to the White House as ‘democratic protests’.
Dell sought to hide from Zimbabweans the fact that in his own ‘land of the free’, the US, both so-called activists and organisers of these domestic terror activities would get prison sentences for domestic terrorism varying from a minimum of 15 years to a maximum of life imprisonment.
The life imprisonment sentence would be guaranteed for those who attacked occupied public transport vehicles or occupied houses.
If the investigations were to prove conclusively that those responsible for the domestic terror activities were being urged on and funded by the foreign forces or governments, the accused would also be tried under international terrorism laws if they were in London, Paris, Houston or Hartford and not Harare.
Our purpose is not to attack Dell or any of the foreign organisations supporting terror against us.
Our purpose is to educate our own people so that they do not duplicate and regurgitate the thoughts of racists and imperialists against themselves.
Section 801 of the US Patriot Act elevates terror attacks of the kind we saw a few weeks ago in Harare to the level of federal crimes, which means that it becomes the duty of the federal government of the entire union of 50 states to prosecute such cases. They are not left to states or counties (districts) to deal with.
That same Section 801 defines a domestic terrorist as:
– “Whoever willfully wrecks, derails, sets fire to, or disables a mass transportation vehicle or ferry; whoever sets fire to or places … a destructive substance, or destructive device in or upon or near any garage, terminal, structure, supply or facility used in the operation of a mass transportation vehicle or system;
–whoever removes fixtures from or damages, or otherwise impairs the operation of a mass transportation signal system;
–whoever interferes with, or disables a dispatcher, a driver, a captain or any person employed to operate or direct a public transport vehicle or system;
–whoever commits an act, including the use of a dangerous weapon, with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury to an employee or passenger of a public transport system;
–whoever conveys or causes to be conveyed a false alarm about impending danger or damage on a public transport vehicle;”
Section 802 of the same US Patriot Act further defines acts of domestic terrorism as:
“Those wilful criminal acts dangerous to human life, committed primarily
within the US, that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, or to influence a government policy by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.”
From what the white ambassadors based in Harare in 2007 were saying and doing, including the assumption of the role of cooks and nurses for the accused perpetrators of domestic terrorism; from what the MDC leaders have been doing and saying about their objectives; there is no question that the violence to which Zimbabwe was subjected to in 2007 and 2019 contained features of both domestic and international terrorism.
The use of foreign-based web-sites to incite and co-ordinate some of the violence would represent the international element.
Most Western states represented herein Harare would not tolerate for a minute any national or foreigner who willfully assumed the role of sponsor, cook and nurse for persons accused of organising or carrying out terrorist acts.
The US Congress, the framers of the US Patriot Act, expressed their ‘sense of Congress’ clearly in reference to the Section on asset forfeiture in terrorism cases, which is Section 806.
They said “…cash is the essential instrumentality of terrorism. The US Patriot Act attacks terrorism at its most vulnerable spot, its needs for financial support.”
Western NGOs and media do not tell the people of Zimbabwe the truth about how their countries deal with terrorists.
The assets which the US Patriot Act defines as subject to forfeiture include the following:
“Property, wherever located, which belongs to an individual or entity planning or engaging in domestic terrorism… or which affords the individual a source of influence over a terrorist organization….
Property which is acquired or maintained for use in the furtherance of acts of domestic or international terrorism ….
Property which is derived from or useful for the commission of acts of domestic or international terrorism committed against Americans….
All assets, foreign or domestic, of any individual, entity or organization engaged in planning or perpetrating any act of domestic or international terrorism against the US or citizens or residents of the US, or their property, and all assets, foreign or domestic, affording any person a source of influence over any such entity or organization….
All assets, foreign or domestic, acquired or maintained by any person with the intent and for the purpose of supporting, planning, conducting or concealing an act of domestic or international terrorism against the US, citizens or residents of the US, or their property.
According to Section 807 of the US Patriot Act, those found guilty of life-threatening arson against any dwelling are sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment.
Those who are convicted of causing property damage of more than US$100 000 are sentenced to a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Those convicted of giving material support to a terrorist or terrorist organization are sentenced to a minimum of 10 years; but if death should result from the sponsored violence, then a mandatory life sentence is required.
In fact, the US Congress was so serious about stopping terrorism within the US that it sought to safeguard the US Patriot Act against judges who might try to invalidate the whole on the strength of a single objectionable clause or section.
Therefore, Section 2 of the Act “…confirms that the Act’s provisions be given maximum effect and that should any provision be found invalid or unenforceable it should be severed and the remainder of the Act allowed to remain in effect.”
Dell was sent here by this same country to enhance relations between its people and the people of Zimbabwe.
In 2007, Dell seemed clearly to be bent on destroying those relations by encouraging terror attacks upon an elected Government and on those who elected it.
The media, even well-meaning media houses, have not helped the people by limiting the framing of the story to just acts of violence and leaving out the terror aspects.
According to this biased reporting, it is only the national state which is capable of unleashing acts of terror!
In most countries, the law makes a clear distinction between alleged acts of terrorism as already defined here, on one hand, and acts of alleged use of ‘excessive force’ by legitimate security personnel in the course of their work.
Those whose duty is to confront the domestic terrorists and to quell violence have guidelines and rules within which they are expected to operate under law.
If they injure or kill the violent people they seek to constrain or arrest, it amounts to a gross lie to equate such violent responses with the unprovoked, unsanctioned externally driven acts of domestic terror.
The courts may try both the domestic terrorists and the security personnel but under different laws and for different reasons.
Allegations of use of excessive force are not the same as allegations of domestic terrorism.
This paradox is not new when it comes to the application of the Eurocentric, linearist doctrine of human rights.
Indeed, the year of the promulgation of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1948, was the same year the evil policy of apartheid was officially promulgated and indeed the same year Israel’s on-going onslaught on Palestinians also unfolded.
MaDzimbahwe must ask themselves why and how this paradox persists.
In 2003, there was a 13-page document on the internet titled, Is Zimbabwe on the Brink of Genocide? Report prepared for ZWNEWS by an independent human rights consultant, January 2003.
That document was one of the most shocking expressions of white racist fantasy about the dark ‘other’ or the African since the days of slavery — selling white-funded genocide-mongering as human rights consultancy!
Contributors to the genocide-mongering report included Amani Trust, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, the Legal Resources Foundation and a strange body called Genocide Watch which in fact had no eyes for what has actually been done to Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan and only saw what genocide mongers said was about to happen in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans should not sweep the document into the rubbish bin and forget about it, just because the fantasised genocide which enemies of Zimbabwe wanted to happen by January 2003 did not happen and we are already through January 2019.
We should not ignore the paper just because the ‘brink’ or the ‘imminence’ of genocide was only in the minds of the white racist enemy and his African ‘house niggers’.
Such an interpretation, though nominally true, would be too simplistic.
It would not enable Zimbabweans to understand the document as a classic specimen of white racism and the devaluation of African life.
It would not contribute to our understanding of the reglobalisation of racism through white-controlled media in the New Millennium.
First, we must understand that in the African experience of the last 500 years (slavery, colonialism, apartheid, neo-colonialism and globalisation), racism means the drastic devaluation of African life and assets for the benefit of the whiteman who inflates the importance of his own existence and declares his right to play God.
Other dark races have been devalued and attacked too, the most recent being Serbs (Slavs), Iraqis, Afghanis, Libyans, Syrians and Palestinians. But it is the African whom the white racist seems to fear the most.
It is the African who has been the most consistent target of white racist megalomania for 500 years.