Recently in Zimbabwe, the new administration, which has taken power from Robert Mugabe, has been on an aggressive drive to seek re-engagement with its erstwhile enemies under the aegis or mantra that “Zimbabwe is open for business”. What is yet to be known is to what extent is Zimbabwe opening up to global capital.
The global corporate powers are stampeding over each other to come and explore vast business opportunities, which Zimbabwe has. Zimbabwe is endowed with vast mineral resources and some of which have never been exploited yet.
What is disturbing are the conditions, which are being set now as a basis to bring capital to Zimbabwe, exploiting the country’s desperate state including the negative consequences of capital flight in the country over the years. Some of the conditions like the United States’ recent demands on the forthcoming elections are a direct violation of democracy and sovereignty of Zimbabwe by the government of Donald Trump. It is tantamount to interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. These are conditions set for the removal of the economic sanctions on Zimbabwe. The lifting of sanctions is what ordinary Zimbabweans have always wanted, but unconditionally .We are not for conditions that compromise the self-determination of the Zimbabwe people.
The conditions set seek to give political and electoral advantage to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition and the neo-liberal political party, which was created by Western imperialism to dislodge the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), the ruling party. Whilst the Zimbabwe government is capitulating to capitalism, in the eyes of the West, MDC would be more amenable and accommodative to the neo-liberal dictates than the [current] ZANU-PF government. This forms part of the global strategy of neo-colonisation of Zimbabwe, which seeks to impose a new era of slavery and looting of African resources.
The United States is constructing a US $200 million embassy in Zimbabwe, which is widely believed to be one of the biggest in Africa. They are constructing in a country that it (US) says poses an unusual and extra ordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States. The construction project is extra ordinary and eyebrow raising given that the country is reeling under the devastating impact of sanctions, which the US imposed through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001. Zimbabwe is still on the economic hit list of the USA up to this day, something is fishy here. Only time shall tell.
This is a cause for concern as we also learn that the government of Ghana has permitted the USA army to establish a military base in Ghana; this will allow the USA unrestricted access to a chunk of Ghanaian land, military facilities and information to the United States military .By occupying Ghana, the first independent African nation, it is undermining the achievements of the African liberation struggle. This struggle to the independence of Ghana and the creation of its nationalist government led by Kwame Nkrumah was instrumental to the fight for independence of several African countries.
The illegal sanctions of the US government and the European Union against the Zimbabwean people seek to destroy its economy, erode the revolutionary gains and liquidate the working class layer of our society and break the democratic will of our people. Blockades and sanctions are crimes against humanity carried out by the international capitalist system and are severely hurting the Zimbabwe people by sabotaging their productive, commercial and financial processes preventing access to food, medicines and essential commodities.
As if this is not enough, there has now been an escalation of demands by the white farmers who were dispossessed of their land during the Zimbabwe land revolution that addressed and brought about closure to the skewed land colonial imbalances where 90 percent of the arable land in Zimbabwe was in the hands of only 4500 white farmers.
The evicted white farmers have tabled a US $9billion compensation claim before the Zimbabwe new administration, for assets and land expropriated during the land revolution. This claim was submitted shortly after the inauguration of President Mnangagwa. They are also pushing for international arbitration in Singapore.
The Zimbabwe government must also quantify the damages incurred by the country when the white settlers killed our ancestors and forcibly took their land and demand reparations unconditionally. These same white farmers are the same people who added their voices to the call for illegal economic embargo on Zimbabwe .The government of Zimbabwe lost almost US $42 billion due to the impact of economic sanctions.
Zimbabwe should revisit the Lancaster House agreements; Britain has an obligation to compensate the white settler farmers, which they reneged. This should be done without debt or liability accruing to the people and government of Zimbabwe. These demands by the disgruntled Zimbabwe white farmers are coinciding with the South Africans demand for expropriation of land. The overtures are meant to scare and intimidate the landless South Africans from doing what is morally right for the Black people.
Who will compensate Africa for colonialism? This is a ludicrous demand. These farmers benefited from stolen loot, they are the ones who should be compensating us instead. Robin Cook and Claire Short of Tony Blair’s Labour government messed up the compensation agreement signed at Lancaster House. These white farmers should direct their anger to Britain and must be compensated under that agreement
*Mafa Kwanisai Mafa writes from Zimbabwe