Africa and Aboriginal Tuesdays: Obama's Zimbabwe Stance by Obi Egbuna
The United States Congress and Senate have drafted two concurrent resolutions on the political developments in Zimbabwe.
On March 26, the House of Representatives introduced House Concurrent Resolution 100 and on March 29, the Senate introduced the same document as Senate Resolution 25.
The resolution begins with the following words: "Condemning the recent violent actions of the Government of Zimbabwe against peaceful opposition activists and members of civil society."
In the Senate, the document was presented by presidential hopeful and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, while in Congress it was tabled by Congressman Tom Lantos of California, who is the current chairman on House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Obama had five co-sponsors in the Senate, most notably Senator John Kerry; and on the Congress side, Lantos had 31 co-sponsors, including seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus: Donald Payne, the chair of the CBC’s Africa Brain Trust, Diane Watson, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Diane Watson, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Chaka Fattah.
While a strong argument can be made that Zimbabweans are arguably the most politically astute Africans on the continent, which means they understand how their own brothers and sisters in such significant positions would help George W. Bush accomplish his misplaced mission to effect illegal regime change in Zimbabwe, this does not mean they will accept it lying down.
Within the last two months, there have been many debates in the African community within the US in relationship to Obama’s credentials and his genuine commitment to his own people’s struggles. In the wake of his decision to submit this resolution, we now know where his loyalties lie. He might have Kenyan blood running through his veins, but in a quest to make history in the US he is willing to let Zimbabweans starve, suffer or even die.
The CBC, because of the influence of Payne, appears 100 percent committed to attacking Bush on his policies on Iraq but giving him unconditional support in his quest to overthrow the Government of President Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF.
It is a known fact that throughout our history when a presidential election is approaching, there is an established code in our community that in order to prevent the Republicans from maintaining control of the White House, grassroots organizations are asked to ignore contradictions taking place within the Democratic Party.
When more Africans in the US become increasingly aware that Obama introduced this resolution on Zimbabwe in the Senate, many will try to convince the masses that he is simply being strategic; and if he gets in the White House, he will be in a position of power and with his love for his African heritage, he will do what is in the best interest of Zimbabwe.
We already know that elected officials who come from the ranks of our community have more of an allegiance to the Democrats than to their own people in the US, let alone the mother continent of Africa. Obama’s more experienced colleagues in the CBC will stress to him this hypocrisy is essential to survival in mainstream politics.
At the grassroots level, we are going to have to apply the strategic recommendation of Malcolm X, where he said we must control the politics of our own communities. Therefore, since presidential hopeful Obama and the CBC stand by Bush on Zimbabwe, we must let our community know they are speaking for US Imperialism and not for us.
Obama and the CBC members in Congress probably feel they are politically superior to (Southern African Development Community) Sadc on Zimbabwe. I say so because it is not a coincidence that the resolutions spearheaded by Obama and Lantos were introduced in the same time frame that Sadc conducted its extraordinary summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, at the end of March.
Quoting Sadc, the Obama and Lantos concurrent resolution states: "—we believe the crisis has reached a point where Zimbabweans need to be assisted to find an urgent solution to the crisis that affects the entire region", and goes on to quote Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa as saying: "—quiet diplomacy has failed to solve the political chaos and economic meltdown in Zimbabwe".
Lantos and Obama’s resolution leaves out the most important points that Sadc made on Zimbabwe: the appeal for the lifting of all forms of sanctions on Zimbabwe; that Britain should honor its compensation obligations made at the Lancaster House Constitutional Conference; and the region’s solidarity with the Government and people of Zimbabwe.
If the Bush administration has resorted to quoting Sadc heads of state and government in its propaganda war against Zimbabwe, that means President Mugabe and Zanu-PF have scored yet another diplomatic victory against the Siamese twins of global-dominance: Bush and Tony Blair.
The African world must look at these measures for what they are: attempts to prevent Zimbabwe from defending itself politically and undermining the foundation of its defense strategy.
The reference to the MDC as "peaceful" speaks volumes about what Lantos and Obama seek to accomplish as imperialist mouthpieces with this resolution—it seeks to dispel the notion that President Mugabe and Zanu-PF have no right to have national security measures in place even if Tsvangirai and his followers are using petrol bombs on innocent citizens and police stations.
One cannot overlook that all of a sudden Congressman Payne is planning a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe. These are the same people who turned down President Mugabe’s offer to have them observe the presidential elections five years ago which Sadc endorsed as free and fair.
While the West is well aware of Zimbabwe’s ability to assist comrades and neighbors in need militarily as with Operation Sovereign Legitimacy in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sending troops to assist Frelimo (Mozambique’s ruling party) defeat the Renamo insurgency in Mozambique, the whole purpose of bankrolling the MDC’s so-called Save Zimbabwe Campaign is to create and maintain anxiety and panic in the country.
We saw at the end of last year former Minister of Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo attempt to drag Gukurahundi into Parliament in the hope of fomenting tensions between the Ndebele and Shona-speaking people.
Our people throughout Africa and the Diaspora also must take into consideration that part of the propaganda efforts around Zimbabwe is to cause conflict within the ranks of the ruling Zanu-PF. Why else would Western media allege that Vice President Joice Mujuru and her husband Retired General Solomon Mujuru are opposed to President Mugabe?
Why would books by Edgar Tekere, Fay Chung, the wife of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, and Enos Nkala’s posthumous project be published, and mooted at this point in Zimbabwe’s development?
The history of modern Africa shows no political party overwhelmed by its internal disputes can hold off Imperialist forces when they are openly gunning for confrontation. This is the main reason President Mugabe’s retirement is the main focus of Blair and Bush.
This is because as long as President Mugabe presides over Zimbabwe, he can teach the masses about all the dirty tricks the enemy uses and his ability to remain in power really has them befuddled and devoid of a concrete plan B.
The other consistent trend among all those who attack President Mugabe and Zanu-PF is that they haven’t been to Zimbabwe recently and have no correspondence with the Government whatsoever. When President Mugabe comes to the United Nations General Assembly in September, no CBC member will meet with him.
The African representative of Amnesty International Kolawole Olaniyan, who recently begged Sadc to condemn Zimbabwe, has not held talks with any officials, so who provides him with the information on the alleged human rights violations he can’t stop taking about?
The executive secretary of the Southern African Trade Union Co-ordinating Council, Moses Kachima, just made an appeal to Sadc as well citing alleged abuses of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions members as a basis for the isolation of Zimbabwe.
Last week, the BBC reported that the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, one Pius Ncube, publicly stated that he and the MDC would form another government in Zimbabwe. We are sure this was music to the ears of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
When these people discuss Sadc, they must not look at the structure and its diplomatic make-up in isolation from the fighting tradition these countries come out of. Then, and only then, will President Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe’s significance to the African revolution be understood in its proper historical context.
Whatever Zimbabwe must do to strengthen its national security in the face of neocolonial opposition, we support them every step of the way.
The writer is a member of the US-based Pan African Liberation Organization and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article appears in The Black Star News.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
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