Happy Birthday to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who turns 90. He plans to celebrate in style in London, where he is enjoys unsurpassed iconic status.
As he parties with America and Europe's jet set, far from the grim reality of post-apartheid South Africa, Mandela may find it easy to forget his own people. However, poor Nelson has had to spare a thought for Zimbabwe. He ha
d no choice, the media has been hounding him about it. I bet he is fuming, his big day set to be spoiled by Mugabe- a man whose jealousy of Mandela's international standing is evident. The British media have been asking him about it, joining the politicians in calling on Madiba to condemn what is happening north of the Limpopo. The threat to strip him of the esteem they hold him in is thinly veiled.
I can understand Mandela's reluctance to acquiesce to the clamour of the chattering classes of British institutions. There's his image and credibility as an African stalwart- it would not do to appear as though he is being told what to say. And what short memories the British have; aren't they the same nation that were reluctant to confront the apartheid regime that incarcerated Mandela, and Thabo Mbeki's father?
Not to say that Madiba is a big fan of Mugabe. Until Thabo Mbeki, the ANC was never close to ZANU-PF. It's ally in Zimbabwe was ZAPU, the two parties and their founding leadership belong to the same generation of African nationalists. ZANU's South African friend was the P.A.C.
And at any rate, the Zimbabwean issue has been happening for years. I can understand Mandela's resentment at it being raised up at a time like this.
So, Mandela is in London, where he did finally say something about Zimbabwe. But his statements just add water to the Mugabe propaganda apparatus' claim- that anyone criticising him is simply saying what they have been told to by Varungu. Meanwhile, it emerges that Queen Elizabeth approved of the Foreign Office's decision to strip Mugabe of the knighthood she awarded him in 1994. Brian Matonga- who has said that he would not be where he is now were it not for the British and is married to a white woman- issued a statement to say that Mugabe doesn't care about the knighthood blah-blah as he has his own degrees etc. Mugabe's own statement was more reconcilatory- he said he respected the Queen, but didn't like the lot at 10 Downing Street. But the Queen is the glue that binds the various polities that make up the British Empire, sorry, Commonwealth. For all his posturing, I think Mugabe admires the Queen and the Empire, and would not refuse a chance to kiss the ass of a woman who refused to acknowledge the role played by her family in the Slave Trade.
At any rate, none of that is going to give us an economy, political stability, infrastructure and all the other stuff we badly need.
Oh, and by the way, only one other head of state has been stripped of a British knighthood; Romania's Nicolae Ceauşescu, who was executed a few days later. Hmm.
So, Zimbabwe went to vote. Most Zimbabweans did not want to vote. But there are thugs going around checking every one for the indelible ink. In some places, they want to see the reference number of your ballot paper. You don't want to not have it. It's not that the regime is encouraging us to vote, but a massive voter turnout- all of it voting for Mugabe- would perpetuate the delusion that he is popular.
Tsvangirai, pulling out of the elections did not stop the violence. But it did lose Matibili his knighthood, and we can hope that this will in turn bring on him what a similar loss did to Nick of Bucharest. We don't have much else to bank our hopes on. Maybe the Queen has special powers and can be the doom of an errant dictator in her Empire.
You know, I never though that I would use any swear word in reference to a Canadian, but there is this dickhead named Stephen Gowans. You may have read him in The Herald, as one of many non-Zimbabweans the desperate propaganda ropes in to maintain the delusion that Matibili enjoys international respectability. Still remember those bizarre nonsensical creatures called December 12 Movement or something telling us that Mugabe's was the "correct" government. Ghastly smile that woman had, they should ban transplanting horses' teeth to humans.
But back to my Canuck. Gowans is not a Black American, he's white. Normally, Ayinde Trinidad/Hotep/Whatever and co like to gripe about Whitey taking on the Black man's struggle- they won't even tolerate a bit of the tar brush, you have to totally Black before they let you in to their piss-house- but they have been pasting this man's blog pieces enthusiastically. Shows you how desperate they are;there's not enough Black people willing to write good things about Matibili, so let's relax the rules a little, just like chaps at The Herald have no choice but to bring in Ugandans and others to lecture us Zimbabweans about our own politics. I have nothing against Ugandans, but give us someone even the Ugandans have heard of.
Is Gowans sympathetic to the Black man's struggle? Like Osama Bin Laden, only when he can use it as a stick to beat up George Bush and western capitalists with. Is he a big fan of Mugabe? Only because the West has denounced him. So deep is his hatred for western capitalism that he ignores strong points of disagreements between himself and the depot he is lauding, such as the latter's declared belief that gays are "worse than pigs and dogs". I mean, I am no big fan of western capitalism, but that should not blind me to the fact that there is much being done in the Third World to weaken our capacity to confront the corporate onslaught.
Does he know what he is talking about? Well, you decide for yourself.
"The American revolutionaries, Thomas Jefferson among them, answered similar questions through harsh repression of the monarchists who threatened to reverse the gains of the American Revolution. There were 600,000 to 700,000 Tories, loyal to the king and hostile to the revolutionaries, who stood as a threat to the revolution. To neutralize the threat, the new government denied the Tories any platform from which to organize a counter-revolution. They were forbidden to own a press, to teach, to mount a pulpit. The professions were closed to them. They were denied the right to vote and hold political office. The property of wealthy Tories was confiscated. Many loyalists were beaten, others jailed without trial. Some were summarily executed. And 100,000 were driven into exile. Hundreds of thousands of people were denied advocacy rights, rights to property, and suffrage rights, in order to enlarge the liberties of a larger number of people who had been oppressed"
In his sick mind, Gowans finds in this justification for what Mugabe is doing to us. It is neccessary for the Revolution. How this account of America's Revolution can be compared to the situation in Zimbabwe is beyond any right thinking Zimbabwean. In America, people rose up against the elite and the uprising was violent. In Zimbabwe, the elite has risen up against the people and it has been a very violent uprising. You cannot compare these Tories to Michael Dube, Ngoni Knight, Headman Chitsungo, 4-year old Brighton Mambwera and so many others. The people in Zimbabwe who are being killed, raped, tortured and oppressed are not rich plutocrats determined to hold on to privileges assured by links with an unpopular regime. Not, that would be the Chinotimbas, the Mnangagwas, the Davieses-whose daughter is seeing Britain's Prince Harry-the Rautenbachs, the Briedenkamps.
If there are any parallels to be drawn, Gukurahundi comes to mind. The people of Matebeleland suffered this same massacre and brutality because they formed the base of Joshua Nkomo's support. Likewise, Matibili's terror has been unleashed on other parts of the country as punishment for not voting "wisely".
Gowans goes beyond the capabilities of Zimbabwean Mugabe-apologists. Most have chosen to pretend that there is any violence in the country at all. Some, like Mahoso, have gone on to invent thousands of "Rhodesians" waiting at the Zambian side of the border to invade our country. Before he started spewing such verbal diaorrhea, Mahoso used to walk. He used to eat in the canteen at the Polytechnic. Now he has a cushy job, employed at the expense of a tax-paying public who have made it clear enough times that they don't need his post, and he drives. This is the stuff Gowan's "Revolutionaries" are made of.
"When the MDC started in 2000, what a pity that they were addressing people in Sandton, mostly white people in Sandton north of Johannesburg instead of being in Dar es Salaam or Ghana or Abuja. They failed to make contact with Africa for so long. They were in London, we’ve just seen it again, Morgan Tsvangirai’s just been in America. Why isn’t he in Cairo? Maybe he needs financial support and he can’t get it outside of America or the UK and the same would go for (leader of an alternative MDC faction, Arthur) Mutambara. They have not done enough in Africa."
The reason Morgan is not in Cairo is because the Registrar-General has refused to issue him a new passport. The R.G. is a staunch Matibili supporter, remember during the Referendum how he told reporters he had to check with the President first before announcing the results? (Mind you, apparently, he tells his son in the U.K. that the situation in Zimbabwe is a disaster) Every bit of this article is flawed, and does not lend to the idea that Mr Gowans has a fucking clue what he is talking about.
This is a war between revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries; between nationalists and quislings; between Zimbabwean patriots and the US and Britain.
This wild claim, steeped in schizophrenia as with every thing else about this regime and its handpicked praise-singers from beyond the seas, goes against reality. That is not just my opinion. Indeed, if there was any thing like a revolution happening in Zimbabwe, it seems to have escaped the notice of the following people;Angelique Kidjo, Wole Soyinka, Wangari Maathai, Thomas Mapfumo, Salim Ahmed Salim, Boutros Boutros Ghali, Kofi Annan. Former and incumbent Presidents of many African nations, including Mugabe's peers such as Kaunda, have also said nothing about a Revolution, but expressed outrage at Mugabe's brutality towards Zimbabweans.
Who, who would you believe then? Some Doink-the-clown-faced Canuck or a growing panel of Africa's most distinguished sons and daughters?