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Zimbabwe: What the West Doesn't Want You to Know

By Navaya ole Ndaskoi
September 27, 2007

I am responding to a putrid article on Zimbabwe by Dr. Richard E. Mshomba, Professor of Economics at La Salle University in Pennsylvania U.S.A., published in Arusha Times on July 14, 2007.

Professor Mshomba wrote, 'President Robert Mugabe has single-handedly ruined Zimbabwe with his mismanagement of the economy and his iron-fisted rule.' You do not mean it, Mshomba! One man cannot single-handedly ruin such a huge economy.

Mr. Professor, a fast rewind of history is inevitable if we are to fairly discuss the Zimbabwean predicament. In 1492, Columbus, the other Mshomba who doesn't ask for directions, got lost and 'discovered the New World.' He was soon followed by swarms of Europeans who could no longer withstand abject poverty, bitter winters and wars.

When these poverty driven Europeans arrived in America, they found Indians living on the land well endowed in all types of natural resources. The European cavemen gunned down Native Americans just like wild dogs. Europeans invasion of Africa was also followed by massive cruelty. Millions of Africans were enslaved, raped and murdered. The dimension of man-inhumanity-to-man in that era has had no equal anywhere since.

In Southern Africa, the pink men led by Cecil Rhodes invaded Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans fought against this beastly occupation. The British won only because of the superior gun. The unfortunate leaders of the Zimbabwean defense forces of the 1890s were hanged from treetops. That was how the British took land and 'ruined Zimbabwe.'

The fighters, led by a commandant called Gabriel Mugabe went to the bush and inflicted serious pain on Brits and their kin and kith in Zimbabwe. The British government got up from a deep good sleep and saw crystal clearly that they will never defeat the determined African liberation forces. Safe haven for the traumatized Brits? The Lancaster House Constitutional 'talks.' Thinking that Africans were fools the British government made evergreen promises. African heads of frontlines states made a technical retreat in Lancaster, especially on land. They knew the double standards of the British government.

Leaders of the African liberation movement knew that if they maintained their hard position that land must be fairly distributed to all Zimbabweans they could be making the liberation struggle in South Africa and Namibia very difficult. The 'whites' in those occupied territories would have appealed to their European and American allies to prevent another Zimbabwe. Obviously 'whites' must have thought that so long as they retained land and controlled all wealth in Africa, there is no problem if an African is President.

African leaders advised Mugabe to ignore the land question until when South Africa and Namibia were freed. The land issue was put to rest for a while. Without the wisdom of Nkurumah, Nyerere, Kaunda, Mugabe, Obote and millions of Africans, Mandela would have been hanged by Boers and today South Africa would still be under apartheid. That is why whenever I read Crusaders for Liberation by J.K. Nyerere my heart swells in anger, especially when I see Mandela, Nujoma, and all other South Africans, Namibians and Angolans not helping Zimbabwe out of economic hardships imposed by the UK and the US! The Kiswahili saying is correct after all, 'help a donkey and its thanks are kicks!'

On 16 October 1997, Nyerere addressed the South African Parliament in Cape Town. He reminded the parliamentarians: 'When we were struggling here, South Africa still under apartheid, and you being a destabiliser of your neighbours instead of working together with them to develop our continent, of course that was a different thing. It was a terrible thing. Here was a powerful South Africa, and this power was a curse to us. It was not a blessing for us. We wished it away, because it was not a blessing at all. It destroyed Angola with a combination of apartheid; it was a menace to Mozambique and a menace to its neighbours... When we had the Cold War, boy, I tell you, we couldn't breathe.'

History is a good subject Mr. 'Professor of Economics'! Namibia became independent in 1990. South Africa was also finally freed in 1994. Mugabe revived the land issue promptly. The conservative British government refused to honor its own promises.

By 1997, around 4,000 white commercial farmers still owned 70 percent of the best land in Zimbabwe leaving nothing to ten million Africans. In 1997, the Labor Party assumed power and Tony Blair became Prime Minister. Mugabe's actions were immediate. He reminded Blair of the vacuous promises made by the British government at Lancaster House. Clair Short, UK Secretary of State for International Development, wrote a poisonous letter in 1997 to the Zimbabwean government distancing Brits from the stinking mess created by their ancestors. Then the West declared Mugabe 'a dictator.'

Sure, African leaders have been unable 'to hold Mugabe accountable and pressure him to respect the rule of law and democratic processes.' The reason is that they have fresh memories of the criminal plunder of Zimbabwe and thousands of Zimbabweans killed by Smith, backed militarily and economically by the UK, the US and the West generally.

On December 15, 1965, Tanzania and many other African countries broke diplomatic relations with the UK because Britain refused categorically to look at its stinking history and she ignored treason committed by dictator Ian Smith. If you want you could read and understand this issue better in J.K. Nyerere's Crusades for Liberation.

You do not fairly accuse Mugabe of 'his iron-fisted rule.' Europeans would have pounded to pulp the skull of anybody that treated them the way Smith and his junta treated millions of Africans. He exiled and later imprisoned Mugabe, for eleven years! Sadly Mugabe has never even questioned him. Get me, if Hitler was resurrected today Europeans would send him straight to the gallows! Imagine Mugabe is a living Saint. Want proof? Remember the way Americans, Brits and the West humiliated President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. In 1990 Americans invaded Panama and overthrew President Manuel Noriega of Panama. Then jailed him! I could multiply these examples if I had space.

Did I read 'democratic processes'? Which democracy are you talking about? On June 28, 2007, I got up in the morning and heard that a certain Gordon Brown was Prime Minister of Britain. No elections! His friend, Tony Blair, just gave him the seat as if it was his personal horse. I did not see the Bushes, the Blairs and all the Mshombas jumping mad about this miscarriage of democracy happening at No.10 Downing Street!

In 2000, a-son-of-a-Bush called George and brother to the governor of Texas called Jeb Bush, rigged the elections and became President. I did not hear the ruckus of the Mshombas and all 'Professors of Economics' organizing to overthrow Baby Bush.

Now just because Hillary Clinton is a wife of another former American president, she might become president. Imagine what will happen to Mugabe if his wife or son declared today that they wanted to contest for presidency in Zimbabwe in 2008.

I have never heard Mugabe 'blaming the West for all the problems in Zimbabwe.' The Horn, East and Southern Africa were recently gravely hit by a series of droughts. Mugabe often speaks of these disasters and he does not manufacture droughts. Tanzania, a country with so many 'development partners' and which now depends on 'donors' more than ever before, was also hard hit towards the end of 2005. Power blackouts became our way of life. The country had to move the bowl around, like all beggars do, to ask for help.

The Bushes and the Blairs have for several years sanctioned Zimbabwe because of the honorable decision by Mugabe to give land to the landless. These sanctions are responsible for most problems in Zimbabwe. What would be of Tanzania without foreign aid, leave alone under economic sanctions? Interestingly, Zimbabwe has endured.

Many African leaders like Mugabe 'are also accused of corruption.' No system is perfect. The British government is accused for corruptly licensing British aerospace systems to sell jets and radars to free-spending countries like Tanzania and Saudi Arabia. Recently, a Bush appointed a Wolf, despite world protests, to head the World Bank. That Wolf was chased back to the Bush. At issue was the role Mr. Paul Wolfowitz played in securing a promotion and a substantial pay rise for his domestic partner, Ms. Shaha Riza in 2005.

You may be the author of Africa in the Global Economy which you gloat of being 'a Choice Outstanding Academic Book.' Having read your article, I presume that the book too might as well be one of those I read holding my nose with a handkerchief.

So Professor, if you deserve that respect, stop your squalid attempts at aping the Western-media style of reporting, which begets a bizarre, sadistic and pointless soap opera void of logic. In Detained: A Writers Prisons Diary, Ngugi wa Thiong'o argued that 'Intellectual slavery masquerading as sophistication is the worst form of slavery.'


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