RWANDAN President Paul Kagame has described China’s donation of a new African Union (AU) headquarters as a reflection of Africa’s bigger problems.
Kagame said that while the Chinese donation was welcome, African countries should focus on working towards economic independence that allowed them to be in charge of their own affairs.
“China donated this to the continent for the use of the continent –– but it is very pathetic …the continent of Africa, very rich in terms of all kinds of resources, and Africa being where it is today, is a problem,” Kagame said.
“Maybe you can see it in terms of this donation, but the problem is much bigger than that..”
We couldn’t agree more. How can we be proud that a building as symbolic as the AU headquarters is designed, built and maintained by a foreign country? Where are the African architects, engineers and builders in all this?
The only contribution by Africans to this enterprise was the usual cheap labour. Yet we complain when foreign actors interfere in our internal affairs.
The Nyasa Times reports that embattled Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika, whose government is dogged by economic and governance challenges, last week flew to Harare “seeking wisdom” from President Robert Mugabe on “survival tactics”.
The Times quotes a senior Malawian official who goes on to state that: “The president was consulting his comrade to seek wisdom since President Mugabe has been in the situation Malawi is facing when donor funds dried up.”
Here are some interesting facts Cde wa Mutharika could do with knowing: Zimbabwe is now a net importer of grain, wheat and other food products, a far cry from the “bread basket of Africa” tag.
Thanks to President Mugabe’s policies, Zimbabwe has no currency of its own, having to resort to the currencies of “imperialists”.
That cannot be the place to seek “wisdom” can it Cde wa Mutharika?
Meanwhile, Nigerian Nobel Prize winner for literature, Wole Soyinka, said heads of state who are trying to cling to power suffer the same fate as the dictators who were swept away by the Arab Spring.
Soyinka cited the example of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and President Mugabe, describing both of them as “irremovable octogenarians” who try to hold on to power “when clearly they have already served their time”.
“But what happens to them to think that if they leave power, the earth will stop spinning?” Soyinka asked.
According to the Nobel prize winner: “In the end, those who treat their people as inferior, with their clans, will face the same kind of violence that we have seen in what we have noted in the Arab world.”
ZBC “analysts” this week were at it again. This time they were slamming Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai whom they accused of being “double-faced”.
“Political analysts have blasted Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for using lies and political grandstanding in order to assume political office,” we are told.
“This follows his failure to fulfil promises he made to civil servants when he was soliciting for their votes and soon after assuming political office.”
Political “analyst” Jonathan Kadzura, who apparently found time from his busy schedule as chairman of the floundering AirZim, described Tsvangirai as a “trickster” who took advantage of the plight of civil servants to enter into office.
Meanwhile AirZim shudders with the spectre of liquidation hovering above the airline. We wonder what AirZim employees think of their chairman on whose watch the airline has become a laughing stock.
We were amused by an opinion piece on the ZBC website penned by an anonymous writer. Entitled “Rushwaya: we will never trust her with our balls again”, it gored into former Zifa CEO Henrietta Rushwaya for being a “sell-out” because of the Asiagate scandal.
“And so from 2007 (god knows what happened prior to that) until 2010 the ‘iron lady’ of Zimbabwean football was grazing to her pocket’s content every time the warriors were on an international assignment.
“Together with her lieutenants, she made sure the country’s representatives had as many international assignments as possible, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, where she would engineer, directly and indirectly, the Warriors’ defeat in matches that have now become known as ‘Asiagate’,” the writer notes.
Muckraker thinks the writer should have also chastised the media, including ZBC, which hung on every word Rushwaya said without so much as a whisper of a query.
The article ends with the words: “Rushwaya should never be allowed anywhere close to our balls. We will never trust her with our balls again!”
Phew! Thank goodness for that!
Seasoned diplomats in the Soviet era would be skilled at reading between the lines of Pravda and Izvestia to understand what the real story was.
That is what is happening now. Experienced diplomats read between the lines in the Herald and Sunday Mail to find out what the official mind is thinking.
For instance, we are being told President Mugabe was the authentic voice of African nationalism at the AU summit in Addis Ababa. He paid tribute to the founders of the OAU and compared their role with that of today’s leaders who were in many cases, he charged, simply fronts for Western powers.
In particular Mugabe castigated France and its president Nicolas Sarkozy for its role in the Libyan revolution. The Libyan NIT regime should never have been admitted to the AU summit, he fulminated, because they hadn’t passed the democratic test of elections.
Two points here. Is Mugabe qualified to talk about elections given Zanu PF’s role? And why should African nations be expected to speak in indulgent terms of Col Muammar Gaddafi who attempted to slaughter his own citizens? It was precisely because Africa did nothing that Nato intervened.
Mugabe was evidently horrified by the circumstances of Gaddafi’s demise. But Zanu PF propagandists couldn’t care a less about the murderous behaviour of the Gaddafi regime in its final year.
As for Mugabe draping
himself in the mantle of the AU’s glorious past, we were told that the summit didn’t exactly embrace this narrative. It was in the corridors of the conference centre where sympathy was expressed for Mugabe’s stance. And, it seems, there was not much of it there either!
One significant report told us Zimbabwe’s bid to secure support for early elections made no headway. Very simply, African states are fed up with this whole charade of Zimbabwe seeking support outside the parameters of the Sadc process. Those days are over. There is only one escape now and that is the GPA. That is the position of the AU and Sadc. No bleatings in Addis will change that.
And there is no point hoping Michael Sata will make a difference. His maladroit remarks will create a momentary diversion but it won’t be long before his regional colleagues spell out the cold realities.
There is nothing democratic about holding elections when the country is not ready for them; when violence and electoral chicanery persist. The whole purpose of the Sadc engagement was to avoid a regional contagion. Sata needs to understand that.
The GPA was agreed to by Zanu PF. They signed along the dotted line. Why should they be allowed to escape from those terms now things are not going their way? Mugabe derives his legitimacy from the GPA. Why does Sata think it’s okay to renege on that?
Muckraker was surprised that the Herald editor let a bit of a howler through this week. Isdore Guvamombe fired a broadside at ZUJ, describing it as a “circus” and challenged its leaders to prove him wrong. This was in the context of the death of journalists.
“They must prove this villager wrong by telling the nation or the fraternity what they have done for Freedom Moyo,” Guvamombe declared. “It is akin to giving a button stick to a clown who abandons the track and runs into the mountains. This villager does not wish to follow into the mountains, grab the button stick and continue the race.”
Leaving aside the issues raised, which are entirely legitimate, Muckraker would ask Guvamombe what a “button stick” is and whether it is any relation of a baton stick? We would also remark that when quoting from Eddison Zvobgo it is important to properly attribute the quote in question.
In the same edition of the Herald on Monday, we learn there is another of those dubious Zanu PF organisations popping up its head. This one is called the “Patriots of Zimbabwe” and is headed by one Dr Patrick W Mamimine. It is clear this “patriot” is tasked with filling space in the Herald. But In doing so he raises some interesting issues.
He quotes President Mugabe for instance as saying “If the choice were made, one, for us to lose our sovereignty and become a member of the Commonwealth or remain with our sovereignty and lose the membership of the Commonwealth, I would say let the Commonwealth go.”
What Mamimine appears not to know is that Mugabe and his ministers made frantice efforts to prevent Zimbabwe’s eviction from the Club in December 2003. All that the organisation required from them was that they adhere to elementary tenets of good governance and human rights as set out in the Harare Declaration of 1991. Our sovereignty was never in doubt.
This, it appears, was a step too far. Most members from both the old Commonwealth and the new agreed that if Zimbabwe could not conform to its principles then it should go. Zimbabwe jumped before it was pushed to avoid humiliation.
Afterwards its publicists attempted to portray this episode as a victory for the old “white” Commonwealth. Obviously it was difficult to pin that tag on Nigeria. Or Barbados!
Zimbabwe, by the way, is still in violation of the Commonwealth’s norms and won’t be readmitted any time soon.
Meanwhile, perhaps Dr Mamimine could tell us something about his outfit, unheard of before now but making its appearance when an election is looming. What a coincidence! Who was it that said “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon made some intreresting remarks at the AU summit in Addis Ababa. He said the Arab Spring was a reminder that leaders must listen to their people.
“Events proved that repression is dead,” he said. Police power is no match to people power seeking dignity and justice.”
These remarks came as Zimbabwean journalists were threatened with arrest if they questioned the police chief’s term of office!
Also last week, an outfit called the Zimbabwe National Youth Service Graduates Association, a Zanu PF-aligned youth militia, invaded Kuimba Shiri bird garden at Lake Chivero demanding that the owners put up a portrait of President Mugabe. They also objected to the birds being held captive.
A similar invasion last year by war veterans had resulted in Vice-President Joyce Mujuru intervening. She said it would never happen again. The ZTA also denounced last year’s invasion.
“Why are the police not investigating this?” owner Gary Stafford said. “This is political and a clear case of trespassing.”
Please don’t let us hear again about Zimbabwe’s declining tourism sector being a victim of sanctions. This was self-inflicted damage by Zanu PF thugs.
On the subject of lawlessness, we were interested to hear Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s remarks on white magistrates leaving the country at Independence, in what he termed a “mass exodus” leaving the country literally without magistrates.
He was addressing the Joint Command and Staff Course at the Staff College in Harare. We would have welcomed his views on the exodus of white judges. What led to their departure after 2000 and in particular what were the circumstances of Chief Justice Antony Gubbay’s exit from the bench?