Pan Africanism : Independence and Democracy in Zimbabwe...

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Aqil, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    By Obi Egbuna

    The Zimbabwean ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Simbi Mubako, recently held a press conference on April 13th at the National Press Club in Washington DC. Ambassador Mubako used this as an opportunity to respond to allegations - made by both the Bush and Blair administrations and MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), the main opposition party in Zimbabwe - that the parliamentary elections held on March 31st were undermined by intimidation and corruption on the part of the ruling party ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe National Union Patriotic Front).

    In his remarks, Ambassador Mubako highlighted several important points. He began by informing everyone present that it was expected that the ruling party would win two-thirds of the parliamentary elections, and it was certainly no surprise to anyone who followed the elections inside the country, elsewhere in Africa, or abroad in nations such as the U.S. and Britain. He then went on to say that the MDC had the option of boycotting the elections altogether if they chose to do so. As recently as Feb. 3 MDC announced they would not boycott the elections, but at the same time they toured African and European countries claiming they would do the exact opposite.

    Dr. Mubako also mentioned the third political party, ZANU-NDONGA - which has consistently been represented in parliament - also opted to participate in the elections, and praised the government for being in compliance with SADC (Southern African Development Community) principles and guidelines governing democratic elections when preparations for elections began. Dr. Mubako then went on to discuss the significance of favorable election reports from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Union of African States, and the Southern African Development Community, which is the regional structure all southern African countries fall under and adhere to.

    The press conference also had other participants. Omowale Clay and Roger Wareham from the December 12th Movement, and Dr. John Tremble from the All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party. The December 12th Movement was the only grassroots organization in the African-American community given an official invitation to observe the elections, and Dr. Trimble had spent a year in Zimbabwe courtesy of a Fulbright grant arranged by Howard University where he is a Professor. Clay and Wareham gave the elections overwhelmingly favorable reviews and complemented everything from the way votes were counted to the peaceful behavior displayed by the country's citizens. Mr. Clay and Mr. Wareham also mentioned the use of indelible ink during voting and the extension of voting hours from eight to twelve at the polls.

    Dr. Trimble remarks focused on the elections he witnessed in 2004 and the impact of the Zimbabwe government's land reclamation campaign, not only in Harare, but in other surrounding cities and the villages. These accounts were necessary to include especially since the NAACP, then under the leadership of Kweisi Mfume, decided not to make their observance report of the 2002 presidential elections in Zimbabwe available to the public. Ambassador Mubako, when asked about that report, claimed it was very favorable and felt the NAACP could have helped Zimbabwe a great deal if the report was published and used to intensify discussions held inside the African-American communities inside U.S. borders.

    The issue of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) becoming more vocal and active around political developments in Zimbabwe was raised by Attorney Ronald Isaac, representing the National Conference of Black Lawyers, whose organization drafted a resolution two years ago highlighting the flaws and contradictions of the sanctioning of Zimbabwe by the Blair and Bush administrations. This was a good point for Attorney Isaac to raise because the invitation accepted by the NAACP three years ago to observe the presidential elections mentioned earlier was initially offered by President Mugabe to the CBC, and they declined. However, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and then Congressman Earl Hilliard both called for an alternative resolution to the Zimbabwe Democracy Act, which justifies the existing sanctions.

    I believe the energy spent questioning the CBC's participation on this issue should be channeled towards working closely with their staffers - who formulate their agendas and action plans in the first place - to make sure Zimbabwe is no longer overlooked. If the organizers on the grassroots level stay on top of this, our work will not be reduced to the usual practice of using an African country's suffering as an excuse to sling mud at Republican presidential administrations for the sole purpose of putting Democrats back in charge of the White House.

    We must also encourage the National Conference of Black State Legislators and World Conference of Black Mayors to help Zimbabwe more at this point in history. The Mayors of Atlanta and Selma, Ms. Shirley Franklin and Mr. James Perkins, are interested in developing and maintaining sister-city projects in Zimbabwe. South Carolina delegate Joseph Neal wants to develop a sister-state project with Zimbabwe, and you also have a City Councilman, Mr. Samuel Davis in Columbia, SC who wants to develop a sister-city project in Zimbabwe.

    The media outlets we have at our disposal, whether we are talking about television, print or radio, could be a valuable tool in this fight, especially since the State Dep't-sponsored Voice of America has a designated studio to focus exclusively on the vilification of President Mugabe. This comes as no surprise because they march to the drum of the BBC, which is the springboard of Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair - who is the world's biggest opponent of President Mugabe.

    In conclusion, the main criticism of Mugabe's government are human rights violations, which translates in the U.S. and Britain as a "lack of democracy." This is a country that allocates 25.24% of the national budget to this area, which has led to the establishment of 10 technical colleges, 12 universities, and a literacy rate of 94%. Zimbabwe also became the first African country to elect a female Vice-President, Joyce Mujuru, who was one of the highest-ranking guerrilla leaders during the armed struggle for independence against British colonial rule.

    The Zimbabwe government is also the only one in the world that uses 3% of the country's income tax to finance a national AIDS Trust Fund to combat the AIDS pandemic in the country, which is 24.6% of the adult population. The country has 900,000 AIDS orphans, and by the end of the year the government is expecting an additional 160,000 children to be added to this list.

    The straw that breaks the camel's back is the courageous Land Reclamation campaign that has given land back to 350,000 families in a country where the average family comprises of six people. The government confiscated 12 million acres of land from 4,500 European commercial farmers. The British and the U.S. are not pleased with this, especially the darling of the West, South Africa (even though independent for 11 years has yet to address why whites still own and control 83% of the land), and Namibia, independent for 13 years, monitored Zimbabwe very closely before they decided to develop a land reclamation campaign of their own. The U.S. ambassador to South Africa, Jendaye Frazier, who was Condoleezza Rice's top aide when she was National Security Advisor, called for the invasion of Zimbabwe in her first public statement! This was right after Blair threatened to give the main opposition party the equivalent of $200 million towards the parliamentary elections. I wonder how Nigerian President Obasanjo feels when the Union of African States - which he currently presides over - recently sent a team to observe the elections in Zimbabwe, received a complete endorsement, especially since he decided to give the white commercial farmers who lost land in Zimbabwe asylum in Nigeria. There was also a case of Nigerian diplomats in Harare having clandestine meetings with the government's opposition last summer.

    As Catholics elect a new Pope and the demand to re-evaluate the role of the United Nations as the World's Court, Africans and poor people all over the world have the chance to defend the integrity of the people and government of Zimbabwe, no matter who it threatens or offends...

    (Obi Egbuna is a member of the Pan-African Liberation Organization based in Washington DC. He can be contacted at [email protected])
     
  2. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Zimbabwe Forges Ties With China...

    Mugabe Hails China Relations in 'Look East' Drive

    HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe vowed on Wednesday to forge stronger ties with China, saying the Asian giant had emerged as a key force in his government's efforts to revive an ailing economy.

    Mugabe, estranged from the West mainly over his controversial drive to seize white-owned farms to give to landless blacks, has over the past several years sought to strengthen economic ties with African, Asian and Muslim countries under what he calls a "Look East" drive.

    On Wednesday Mugabe put into service two of three 52-seater aircraft bought from China to boost Zimbabwe's meager fleet, which are expected to fly domestic tourism routes. "Today's ceremony...gives further expression to our efforts to turn around our economy, and is symbolic of our resolve to foster even stronger ties with our friends in China who have always supported our cause," Mugabe said. "Today we rejoice that China is steadily becoming the largest foreign investor in Zimbabwe, while certainly growing as one of our largest trading partners," he added.

    The MA60 planes were manufactured by Chinese firm AVIC 1, part of a state-owned group that produces more than 1,000 military and passenger aircraft a year. Zimbabwe officials have not said how much the planes cost. The third plane has not been delivered yet.

    Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies critics' charges that his government's policies, including the land seizures, have destroyed a once-booming economy, leading to chronic fuel shortages and, of late, frequent water and electricity supply cuts in urban areas. The veteran leader argues that domestic and foreign opponents of his land reforms, led by Britain, have deliberately sought to sabotage the economy.
     
  3. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    These People Make Me Tired

    Independance from Britain? Please don't make me laugh.

    Maybe I am not understanding things correctly but I'm just wondering why these so-called Zimbabwean organizations have acronyms for English words--MDC, ZANU-PF, SADC. That right there tells me that they are not even using their own language. so how can they be controlling their own destiny?

    For Bush to have the bodacity to question the integrity of another country's electins goes far beyond what I can reasonably bear. For the Zimbabwe government to act like he has the right to question them this way shows that they are far from independent.
     
  4. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Peace sister. English is the official language of Zimbabwe, being that the country is a former British colony. However, the Shona and Ndebele dialects are also spoken.

    This is not true sister, as evidenced by the following article:

    Zimbabwe Doesn't Need Anglo-Americans to Validate Elections, Declares President Mugabe

    By Amos Malupenga

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has declared that his country does not need the Anglo-Americans to validate its elections. Addressing thousands of Zimbabweans and international visitors who gathered at National Stadium on Monday to celebrate Zimbabwe's 25th anniversary of independence, President Mugabe said democracy had come to his country during the last 25 years not as a hand-down from Europe but as a natural offshoot of their struggle.

    He said Zimbabweans had made their democracy and owed it to no one, least of all the Europeans. "Until we beat them on the battlefield, Britain and her kith-and-kin here would not concede voting rights to Africans," President Mugabe said. "The one-person-one-vote we have enjoyed since 1980 is a gain from our liberation struggle. Let it be forever remembered that it was the bullet that brought the ballot. Our polls have not needed Anglo-American validation. They are validated by fellow Africans and friendly countries from the Third World. "That is our humane universe, not Europe, not America. We never agitate to observe their elections and therefore let them keep away from our affairs. We thank Africa for her support as we prepared for our polls. We thank all the political players and their supporters for heeding the call for peace. We thank our people for ensuring peace through out the entire election period. This is as it should be."

    The United States and the European Union have declared Zimbabwe's March 31 parliamentary elections not free and fair.

    President Mugabe said in the last 25 years they had learned that democracy could not grow well on the soil of racial poverty and inequality. He said genuine democracy could not co-exist with structural deprivation and racial inequality, and could not be an escape from addressing the national
    question. He also said they rejected such a model of democracy because it was meant to give the oppressed an illusion of power and control. "The historical fact of land, at the heart of our liberation struggle, necessarily forges this vital connection in our political circumstances," President Mugabe said. "In Zimbabwe land governs the ballot. It is a symbol of sovereignty; it is the economy, the source of our welfare as Africans. It remains the core social question of our time as it was the main grievance on which our liberation struggle was based."

    President Mugabe said Zimbabwe today rejoiced that the fundamental goal of its struggle had been achieved and land had come to its rightful owners. He said Zimbabweans were now happy and fulfilled and that this was all that mattered to them. "Let the grief and bitterness that has visited Europe following the repossession of our land heal on its own, in its time," President Mugabe said. "Zimbabwe is in Africa, not Europe."

    He said Zimbabweans took pride in the fact that they had opened their independence with a demonstration of compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation that was unexampled in European history. He said they proclaimed a policy of national reconciliation upon independence and forgave the colonizers' heinous sins and atrocities against Zimbabweans. The President said this confounded all expectations and fears of retributive justice against Rhodesian war criminals. "By this policy their war crimes stood forgiven, expiated by not restitution or even a show of contrition on their part, but simply by our own forgiving consciences," President Mugabe said. "Against that bitter history, we still gave our hands, gave our hearts and our love to the erstwhile oppressor in a clear demonstration of African humanity. Today Ian Smith, himself a racist Rhodesian incarnate, still lives a free man. "Out of this policy we built peace, healed weeping wounds, pacified restless souls of all those disconsolately bitter and deeply injured. Yes, we freed the oppressor. Who, in the Anglo-Saxon West, would have done what we did?"

    President Mugabe said that during the last 25 years, Zimbabwe had expanded education at all levels and trained more teachers, such that children were educated. He said this had enabled them to record a literacy rate of well over 86%, thereby facilitating the country to surpass - in education - most nations of the world.

    President Mugabe said the biggest challenge facing his country today was the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which had strained the health delivery system. However, he said definitive steps were being undertaken to address the challenge, including the local manufacturing of ARVs as well as subsidies for HIV-related drugs and treatments. He said despite this challenge, achievements in the health sector had been enormous and they could only make improvements.

    President Mugabe said that although the country had recorded a lot of successes in almost all sectors, things had not been all rosy, especially with the specter of drought which had repeatedly visited the country. He said they had invested heavily in harvesting water, but not much had been done to harness that water for irrigation purposes. "We thus suffer repeated 'wet' droughts," President Mugabe said. "Increasing irrigable land is the surest insurance, and no effort will be spared from this very year. While our detractors claim that our economy has not done that well, we are happy that it has delivered spectacularly on our social goals, thereby laying a firm foundation for our future growth policies. It has delivered on education, health, infrastructure, water, energy and communications. These happen to be prerequisites for an economic take-off. True business has not expanded as fast as we would have wished and much remains to be done for that to happen."

    President Mugabe said until recently, the economy had suffered a general rise in inflation, and price instability and businesses had either closed or contracted. He said wages had been eroded while unemployment had risen, with punishing interest rates dissuading investments of business
    expansions. He said their experiments with the ruinous economic structural adjustment program appeared to have unleashed mayhem in the economy, although they were now a lot wiser and were clear about the way forward. He said although the economic turnaround had been generated by the Reserve Bank's championed reforms, an emphatic supply response needed to remain sustainable with agriculture growing and expanding.

    President Mugabe said the hostility Zimbabwe had faced from Western countries in response to their land reforms had taught them to diversify their source and export markets. "We have turned east, we have turned to our region and other sub-regions on our continent," President Mugabe said. "With this support, we have started building a mutually beneficial partnership that will help us build a strong national economy: our ultimate goal."

    He thanked all those that had stood by and supported Zimbabwe through thick and thin and he promised never to fail them. "Gone are the days when Africa produced tragic revolutions," President Mugabe said. "We have to defend our own space by any means necessary. We have to defend our policies and pursue them unhindered. Africa for Africans. Long live the African Union."


    http://mathaba.net/0_index.shtml?x=192662
     
  5. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Tell Me Shumptin Good

    ^5 to brotha President Mugabe! This the way I love to hear my people talk. What a man! Zimbabwe is in Africa not You're Up!

    Thanks Brotha Aqil. That made my day pretty.
     
  6. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You're quite welcome my sister...
     
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