I am a black and not uncritical supporter of Zanu-PF. I find criticism of Mugabe from Western politicians and media disingenuous. I find the nature of criticism from black people alarming. I do not believe critical black people are ignorant of the covert, neo-colonial agenda by white, political and economic elites. Indeed, I believe they accept that they are supporting it. Many describe Mugabe as a "brutal dictator". Even senior UK politicians last year argued for armed intervention. Yet, by early 2002, human rights groups reported that 160 people had died in Zimbabwe because of the conflict. In contrast, within a few weeks of the 1973, CIA-backed, anti-democratic coup in Chile, 35,000 people had been killed. To describe Mugabe as one of the world's worst dictators is outrageous and disingenuous.
Dear Pambazuka readers
WHERE ARE THE BLACK CRITICS OF MUGABE WHO ARE INDEPENDENT OF THE WEST?
I am a black and not uncritical supporter of Zanu-PF. I find criticism of
Mugabe from Western politicians and media disenguous. I find the nature of
criticism from black people alarming.
I do not believe critical black people are ignorant of the covert, neo-colonial
agenda by white, political and economic elites. Indeed, I believe they accept
that they supporting it.
Many describe Mugabe as a "brutal dictator". Even senior UK politicians last
year argued for armed intervention. Yet, by early 2002, human rights groups
reported that 160 people had died in Zimbabwe because of the conflict. In
contrast, within a few weeks of the 1973, CIA-backed, anti-democratic coup in
Chile, 35,000 people had been killed. To describe Mugabe as one of the world's
worst dictators is outrageous and disenguous.
Critics have been said over the past two years that Mugabe is "starving his
people". Yet, most of Zimbabwe's staple diet comes from black farmers and not
the white-owned farms that are subject to his land reform. And despite,
his "starvation", there are no credible reports of mass starvation.
Critics say Commonwealth's observer group report support their claim that
Mugabe stole the last election. Yet, there were many groups. The Russian
Federation missions stated: "The conclusion that results of voting reflect the
will of the majority of the Zimbabwean electorate, has been endorsed by
observer missions and teams from African countries, the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and other
international organisations." Critics are deliberately supporting white
Commonwealth nations who decided the result before elections.
Critics support the Movement for Democratic Change as the authentic voice of
black Zimbabweans. Yet, the MDC have a former Rhodesian soldier, David Coltart,
as their secretary for legal affairs They have received millions of Zimbabwe
dollars from British-based organisations, the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust and the
Westminster Democracy Foundation.
In March, during the MDC's demonstration to bring down the Government, Zanu-PF
report that their 'hired thugs' beat up people going to work and in Harrare
burned a bus taking children to a play centre. In Kadoma, they blew up bridges,
petrol bombed shops and caused over $300m damage.
Do Mugabe's black critics deny a Western campaign to depose Mugabe? According
to the Zimbabwe government, Britain complained to the European Union about
Zimbabwe because of the land reform programme and its action in DR Congo. In
1998, a group called the Conflict Prevention Network, gave the European Union's
Africa Working Group a report, 'Zimbabwe - A Conflict Study of A Country
Without Direction'. They said that civil society, trade unions, NGOs, urban
uprisings, discontent in the army and Zanu-PF could be used to depose Mugabe.
London's Royal Institute of International Affairs at a meeting in January 1999,
considered a military coup and upheaval in the streets. While a US State
Department meeting in March proposed using the NGOs, dividing Shonas and
Ndebeles, and generally making Zimbabwe ungovernable. In 2001, Bush brought in
the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which instructed US officials
in international financial institutions to oppose any loans to Zimbabwe and to
fund an "independent and free press and electronic media in Zimbabwe."
US$6million was granted to aid "democracy and governance programmes".
The Zimbabwe Government claims the International Monetary Fund refused to
cooperate with them and subsequently, this discouraged other financial
institutions. The result was a decline in foreign trade, denial of credit and
an explosion of unemployment of up to 70 per cent. Foreign investment slumped
from US$426 million in 1998 to US$5.4 million in 2001.
It is probably the case that the killings, torture and human rights abuses
perpetrated by Mugabe supporters are largely aimed at MDC activists and their
partners, rather than the non-active civilian population. MDC supporter are
clearly have support from the West and wealthy white farmers. Mugabe's black
critics pretend they do not. MDC supporters also seek to mislead people into
believing that the whole population are targets of Zanu-PF human rights abuses.
In Britain, in May, 300 black people attended a conference on Zimbabwe. In
their internet report 'blacknet' stated: 'This was a testament to the strength
of feeling among Blacks in Britain on the Zimbabwe issue. They are saying that
Zimbabwe is not for recolonisation and Blacks are not going back into slavery.'
South Africa's ANC Youth say: 'In our country, those who are opposed to
President Mugabe today are the same people and forces who were opposed to the
struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe.' Mugabe's black critics would have
some credibility if they sought to distance themselves from these forces. They
do the opposite and rush to support them.
Simon Hinds, London N4