THE opinion in the current state-controlled Sunday Mail edition by Professor Jonathan Moyo, supporting his octogenarian handler President Robert Mugabe, headlined “Obama uses UN to garner votes” has exposed Zimbabwean leaders as inadvertently promoting right-wing views and stereotypes about Africans in a bid to divert attention from their failures.
Report by Garikai Chimuka, Netherlands-based analyst
Moyo, now in the habit of attacking foreign leaders after his recent assaults on South African President Jacob Zuma when he has nothing useful but praises to say about those running our country, launched an unnecessary offensive on United States President Barack Obama, exposing his anger at anyone criticising and standing up to dictators.
In an attack apparently driven by malice and resentment of the realisations of a young African-American leader who rose to the most critical leadership position in the world and his refusal to indulge dictators, Moyo cynically described Obama as someone who has no ideas beyond the teleprompter (also called an autocue) he uses in his speeches.
Moyo’s noises bear a striking resemblance to the racist attacks on Obama by the right-wing “Tea Party”. Moyo conveniently forgets that even his boss, Mugabe, also uses prepared speeches, not on the teleprompter but on paper since he is allergic to technology, besides being bankrupt in terms of ideas.
To describe Obama’s electrifying and presidential speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week and his exemplary conduct as president since he took office in 2008 as confused and a campaign gimmick for US elections actually exposes Mugabe and Moyo as hopeless charlatans who have now joined the reactionary Tea Party in maligning blacks they don’t agree with.
Mugabe, who recently lunged at Jamaicans from nowhere, and Moyo can’t appreciate Africans who achieve greater things than themselves and hold different views from theirs despite their pretence of being champions of the emancipation of black people.
After a proud black Jamaican team, led by Usain Bolt, electrified the Olympics in London by setting and breaking world records, Mugabe out of the blue made scandalous remarks denigrating Jamaicans, while perpetuating racist stereotypes against them despite that they fought for their freedom and also helped others in doing the same.
Without any cause, Mugabe senselessly launched astonishing attacks on Jamaican men, describing them as hopeless drunkards, marijuana-smokers and school dropouts, Moyo’s favourite phrase which he uses to insult those he disagrees with in the media, at a time when the whole world was still basking in the extraordinary exploits and glory of Bolt and Yohan Blake at the recent Olympics.
Such irresponsible remarks about black people coming from Mugabe and Moyo are just sickening. To Mugabe and Moyo, blacks are only successful and progressive if they are endorsed by them.
But what is most outrageous is the similarity of their statements to those often made by racists about blacks.
Throughout his installment, Moyo arrogantly, while trying to defend Mugabe, tried to present Obama as an ignoramus. He uses the same script that the discriminatory “Tea Party” has been using against Obama and by extension all black people.
It’s not rocket science that the “Tea Party” has been behind the racist attacks on Obama, making ridiculous allegations including that he did not even go to Harvard, his is not even a lawyer and demanding that he produces his original birth certificate and academic transcripts.
Mugabe and Moyo can’t afford to join this charade to denigrate Obama educationally, philosophically or in terms of leadership.
Obama attended Occidental College, but received his undergraduate degree in political science (specialising in international relations) from Columbia University, an Ivy League member currently ranked ninth in the US. He also graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School where he also served as president of the Harvard Law Review. The Harvard Law School is ranked the second best Law School in America after Yale.
How can Moyo claim in all seriousness that someone with such a phenomenal record who came out of Harvard, taught law at Chicago Law School, practicised and rose to become the first black US president in history against all odds has no ideas of his own? These are the kind of insulting narratives one would expect to hear from the bigoted “Tea Party” mouthpieces, not any self-respecting black person.
Moyo also accused Obama of using the UN to campaign for votes in the November elections. The irony of this wild allegation is perplexing. For God’s sake, Obama understands better than Moyo can ever do how to campaign and win elections in the US.
That is why he flew directly from the swing state of Ohio and then flew straight to another battleground state of Virginia. If he wanted to use the UN as a campaign platform as Moyo naïvely suggests, then why did he not spend the whole week there campaigning? Was Mugabe also campaigning at the UN?
Surely, Moyo, for all his pretence to know everything when clearly he doesn’t, can’t teach Obama how to campaign and win elections in the US.
Further, Moyo inadvertently exposed the vacuous nature of Mugabe’s hypocritical UN speech. The focus of Mugabe speech was primarily to try to blunt Obama’s address and momentum (which is why he prefaced it with a reaction), while reinforcing the messages of the “Tea Party”racists who have been making false allegations about Obama’s person, leadership and policies.
Mugabe’s Muammar Gaddafi monologue and Moyo’s pathetic attempt to belittle Obama by borrowing themes, refrains and style from the racially prejudiced “Tea Party” was a damp squib and huge disappointment.
Chimuka is an analyst based at Wageningen University, The Netherlands.