DOES criticising Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s controversial choice of Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture amount to raising the sceptre of racism against whites?
In the same vein, is it racist to merely remind those among us with short or treacherous memories that Bennett is a former member of the Rhodesian Selous Scouts who served in the similarly murderous Rhodesian infantry whose indisputable agenda was to entrench the ideology of white supremacy over blacks by torturing, maiming and killing freedom fighters while terrorising and subjugating blacks in this country in the vain hope of defeating the liberation struggle?
These and other related questions have come to the fore of national debate following the publication by this newspaper of a racially motive article, “Moyo raising the sceptre of racism” (November 13 to 19).
While the article itself did not contain anything worthy of a response or comment, its packaging and layout betrayed what could be interpreted as a despicable attack on free speech in the interest of public debate.
The article in question purported to be a rejoinder to a recent contribution made by this writer to the Financial Gazette and the NewZimbabwe.com website which categorically and unapologetically maintained that Tsvangirai’s nomination of Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture is an unacceptable insult to our country’s liberation struggle and the legacy of national independence.
In packaging that article, this newspaper astonishingly inserted Bennett’s picture with a scandalous caption that said “Roy Bennett…persecuted for being white”.
This was contrasted with a picture of this writer which was outrageously captioned “Moyo…takes refuge in racism”.
In the circumstances, the title of the article and the captions of the pictures that were inserted in it were arguably defamatory and thus beneath the high standard of fair and balanced media coverage which has come to be associated with this otherwise leading newspaper.
It is preposterous in the extreme for anyone to suggest that recalling Bennett’s undeniable membership of the murderous Selous Scouts as a Rhodesian infantryman is tantamount to racism.
Just how does a fact, even if disgusting, become racism? Is there anyone out there who does not know of the wicked atrocities and massacres that were committed by the Rhodesian infantry and Selous Scouts in this country and in the refugee camps in Zambia and Mozambique during the liberation struggle between?
With the obvious answers to these questions in mind, it is clearly outrageous for anyone to claim that this writer was “taking refuge in racism” when he strongly objected to Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s nomination of Bennett as a Deputy Minister of Agriculture and when he warned of dire electoral consequences for the MDC T should that nomination succeed given Bennett’s unacceptable background as a former active member of the Rhodesian infantryman and Selous Scout whose toll of combined massacres and atrocities is yet to be fully appreciated.
For the sake of perspective it is important to note that while this newspaper’s racially emotive packaging of the story in question might be an isolated editorial incident, it is nevertheless a telling example of an emerging and orchestrated MDC T propaganda ploy whose treacherous purpose is to brand by definition as “racist” anyone who criticises former Rhodie whites who, like Bennett, hold key and very influential positions in the MDC T.
The fact that there are many more Rhodies behind the MDC T, who are very influential as fundraisers and not as officeholders, makes this propaganda trick even more sinister.
It is also notable that, with the author of the article in question as a case in point, virtually everyone from the MDC T who has written on the Bennett issue uncritically defending white Rhodies and attacking this writer has an Ndebele surname.
Of course people are who they are or perhaps even who they say they are. But a well documented Selous Scout tactic is to create pseudo events—such as fake violence that is typically blamed on opponents—and the use of crude propaganda penned by Rhodies and peddled by their tribal puppets under ethnically convenient pseudonyms.
There’s more to be revealed soon about this unfolding ethnic strategy with its origins in Rhodesia. It seems that just like Rhodesians say they never die, they think the same is true of their dirty tricks like manufacturing pseudo political violence and using ethnic pseudonyms in the media to peddle revisionist propaganda whose not-so-hidden import is that white Rhodesia was better than black Zimbabwe.
Arguably, there is a context to this and it is that, as the twist of history would have it, the same international powers that supported the illegal and racist Rhodesian regime are now actively supporting former Rhodesians in the MDC T, such as Roy Bennett, and they are presenting these Rhodies not only as human rights victims of Zimbabwe’s historic land reform that was launched in 2000 but also as the new champions of democracy in our country.
This is the essence of the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy Act (Zidera) whose lead sponsor was the late US Senator Jessie Helms who unashamedly distinguished himself as a rogue stalwart of the Rhodesian racist cause before and after this country’s heroic independence in 1980.
It is not a coincidence that, within the Zidera scheme of things, the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe is supposed to have started in June 2000 when Zimbabweans embarked on the Third Chimurenga which also happened to be the time when Rhodies like Bennett thought they could form or join the MDC T and use it to stop the historic land reform programme with the support of the same Europeans and Americans who did not support Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle in the first place.
But the record shows that the 2000 land reform programme was not stopped. No wonder there have been spirited efforts to shift the MDC T paradigm from stopping the programme to reversing it. Bennett is supposed to be the MDC T’s point man for the reversal to benefit former white farmers with their roots in Rhodesia.
This is why the MDC T and its sponsors want him to be inside what they cynically call “the belly of the beast” as deputy minister of agriculture whom they believe has the Selous Scout ruthlessness and motive to derail and subvert the historic land reform programme from within the coalition government in the Rhodesian interest.
There is nothing racist about pointing this out or making the argument that, as a former member of the Rhodesian Selous Scouts, Bennett is not suitable to serve as a minister of any kind in any government in independent Zimbabwe.
Indeed, to expect Bennett to serve as a government minister in Zimbabwe today is as unacceptable as having somebody like the notorious apartheid killer Eugene de Kock serving as a government minister in President Jacob Zuma’s ANC cabinet.
In the end, it is instructive that those who claim that such arguments are racist are also the same self-righteous elements who claim to be the champions of free speech and democracy as if they are unaware of their sickening double-standards. The time has come to expose these elements for the charlatans that they are.
Moyo is Zanu PF MP for Tsholotsho.
By Jonathan Moyo