"I hope and believe that the people of Zimbabwe will hear one message from this House today, that we stand with them at this moment of opportunity for their country and that we share their demand for a democratic future. For obvious reasons, the fragility of the current situation means that I, and I am sure all Honourable Members, will want to choose their words carefully, given the risk that what we say will be distorted....Mr Speaker, no one in this House would want me to hand Zanu-PF a propaganda coup...", David Miliband, M.P., British Foreign Secretary, statement to the Commons, April 2008
It would appear that Mr Miliband should have taken his own advice, and chosen his words carefully lately. These have been distorted, and effectively given Zanu-PF a propaganda coup. Even the appendix in Zimbabwe's political corpus (or should that be corpse considering the viability of just about every other organ?) Professor Arthur Mutambara dusted his soapbox and came out in a tirade against the British. Most of us had even forgotten about him. And how they have been crowing over it! According to the Herald, this was the ultimate proof that it is the MDC that told the British to impose sanctions.
Reason Wafawarova, who has reduced Zimbabwe's options to just two-homeland or death- and chose Australia and life for himself, came out questioning whether MDC-T is a democracy or aristocracy. If you think the heading is meaningless, you haven't seen the opening remarks. Objectively, of course, Wafawarova is an excellent writer in the finest Orwellian tradition. Orwellian as in Ministry of Truth doublethink, that is. "David Miliband, the British foreign and Commonwealth secretary articulately enlightened the whole world in the clearest of terms that the British foreign policy on Zimbabwe is "above all" guided by the MDC-T leadership." Did he now, Reason?
The Herald even came out with an "expose" on the Bilderberg Conference. I know it was trendy in the 1920s, but most intelligent folk cringe now when they see conspiracy theories aired in mainstream newspapers. But most intelligent folk do not read The Herald any more, unless, like me, sometimes they absolutely have to. As one friend puts it, "It's like a prostitute, you know she's probably got some fungal infection or worse, but she's there, and you got a few dollars to spare and you're lonely and no one need know." Disturbing, yes, but so is a newspaper that reinvents reality constantly.
Pet hate, the smug pseudo-revolutionary Dr Tafataona Mahoso, has brought out Klein again. He must not have noticed that Zanu-PF's own policies are tantamount to an application of The Shock Doctrine on Zimbabwe.
All these are just words, of course. The real action has been the threat by Zanu-PF to abandon the GPA talks unless MDC-T calls off the sanctions. According to them, it's no use saying that a Zimbabwean party cannot dictate foreign policy to the British Government because the British Foreign Secretary told the Commons that his Government will get advice from the MDC on when to lift the sanctions.
Does anyone, whether in Zanu or opposition, seriously believe that MDC can tell the British what to do? Whether the British can tell MDC what to do is still being contested in saner circles, but has been established as fact by Herald House and Homeland-or-Death Wafawarova and a dozen fringe "Pan-African" groups in America. Given by the media furore over the matter, I suppose the answer to my question must be a sad yes.
They are being called British sanctions, but they are in fact EU sanctions. They were imposed on Zimbabwe not because of the land issue, but came after the Mugabe regime refused to allow an EU elections observer team to visit polling stations. The EU is accusing the Mugabe regime of undermining democracy in Zimbabwe. I don't need to refer to articles or cut and paste stuff from the net for that one- I was in Zimbabwe at the time and can state that the Mugabe regime was in fact undermining democracy. Whether the EU was right in imposing sanctions is something I will not say.
Fast forward to the GPA. I have opposed the GPA from day one because I felt that there was insincerity on both sides. (OK, 3 sides but no one really voted for Mutambara, you know) It struck me that Zanu is going for it because it is a time buying measure. In fact, for the last decade all they have been doing is buying time. And MDC is in it for the fact that they may be getting tired of the struggle and want a taste of the good life that being a Zimbabwean Government minister offers. For Zanu, the GPA was never meant to reach its declared objective- free and fair elections.
David Miliband's words have given them something to grope on in their desperate bid to prevent free and fair elections from ever happening.