Not surprisingly we have over the last few days received a lot of comments on Zimbabwe. We offer you a sampling.
Commenting on Bill Fletcher's article "Zimbabwe: Black America must not be silent" [http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/47437] Ben Laauwen writes:
"With all due respect, I think that most of the "African Americans" have little more in common with the Zimbabwe population than the colour of their skin. The interest of Americans in the happenings in Africa does not seem go much beyond oil reserves and other resources with every now and than a shipload full of food to silence the collective conscience. The political credibility is even worse. Iraq (middle East in general) and the stance on environmental issues have dented the image of the USA beyond repair as long as Mr Bush occupies the White House. Whenever the UK opens its mouth on Zimbabwe, mr Mugabe gets a fit and -for him- for valid reasons.
The MDC, like them or not, are the only option for the Zimbabweans to get out of the current situation…other than fleeing to neighbouring countries. Their voices are not being heard as many are too scared to go home to vote. Underlying tribal issues are being exploited by Mugabe. The latest is a shipload full of light weaponry has arrived in Durban from China. The shipment is destined for transport over land to Zimbabwe and the SA government seems to approve this. Luckily, our labour unions are making their voices heard and might refuse to handle the containers. Why South Africa as the normal shipping port of arrival for sea transport is Beira in Mozambique?
Generally speaking, America, black or any other shade, has no understanding of the result of forced implementation of the Western democracy model in Africa. In South Africa, we are all watching the close friendship between Mugabe and Mr Mbheki with growing disbelief and suspicion. Many suspect that SA could be next under a continued ANC government. Just watch this space."
But Joanna Tomkins finds merit in Fletcher's analysis and writes:
"I really enjoyed your [Fletcher's] article. I have worked and traveled a lot in Zimbabwe. I don't quite understand why this is the view of African Americans. I'm not African, but I share your view.”
And in a South Africa discussion group, Peter Waterman writes:
“As usual, a sophisticated and sensible analysis by Bill Fletcher.
I take issue with him at one point only: - “There is something that I believe that African Americans can and should do, and in some respects it might represent an important chapter in our continuing relationship with Zimbabwe. This is a variation on a proposal I made once before. We should offer to assist the African Union in mediating the talks toward a peaceful resolution of the on-going crisis. Specifically, the Congressional Black Caucus should contact the African Union and offer to constitute a mediating team to work with the African Union. This should not be interference and should not be construed as interference, but it could be a genuine act of solidarity.'”
In the first place, the AU is going to show little interest in such an approach from the African American Community - however this is defined. It is more likely to be hostile to such.
It would, however, be even worse if the AU embraced such an approach! This because it would represent a success for a civil society lobbying of a bloc of states, and a bloc that has so far portrayed itself as a club of elite statespeople.
I would prefer to see any African American community allying with (not lobbying thus) unions, NGOs, academics and other civil society actors. This could be confined to Africa or, as far as I am concerned, be spread through the South and even be global in reach.
I understand, however, that this particular US community might wish to confine itself to an African constituency.”
And on Gordon Brown, Zimbabwe and British Imperialism, Michael Baingana writes:
The political danger in falling prey to Gordon Brown's imperialistic designs through the MDC is far, far, worse for Zimbabwe and Africa, than tactically foregoing electoral democracy as a means of holding out against Britain. The very last thing Zimbabwe needs at this time, and always, is to fall under a British sponsored MDC government.
Independence is a far greater priority for Africa than "democracy"; in fact without independence, democracy is definitively impossible. And that is the glaring weakness in the MDC option - it is a British puppet party which has been receiving millions in British support to oust Mugabe, so that the Whites can reclaim the land. It is a Trojan Horse.
An MDC government under British patronage (as indeed it would be) would throw Zimbabwe back to the days of colonialism and make a mockery of the Chimurenga (I,II and III) and the millions of lives that have been lost. This is why Mugabe is absolutely justified in saying Tsangirai will never be allowed to rule Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile Patrick Mookeenah writes that:
“Thabo Mbeki is not far from a political suicide. Political mistake on political mistake with his wrong strategy to win Polokwame election last year.”
But we give the last word to Chris Ajuma who responded to Tajudeen Abdulraheem's Pan-African Postcard [http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/panafrican/47575]. Ajuma says:
Adding your voice to the critics against Mugabe coming from you is good if only to help save the pan- Africanist movement of which you and Mugabe belonged.I mean the more Nkrumahist militant wing that can be distinguished from the more philosophical and liberal nature of African unittary vision embodied by the actions, if less rhetorics of Mwalimu Nyerere.
You are not saying anything new to help us debunk the myth of Mugabe the man and prententer to the redeemer of African colonised pyche. From his dressings Mugabe is a bundle of contradiction. It is laughable how a man who addresses national occasions in a three piece suit in "perfect" English accent can claim to be a redeemer of a colonised psyche! Right the opposite. Mugabe has provided us the challenge to adress some of the disturbing projections made by Frantz Fanon about the malignancy of colonialised psche among Africa's political elite and its leadership in particular.
Why do you illuminate Mugabe's acquisation of seven university degrees as proof of anything positive? Why would anyone pursue 6 bachelor's degrees in humanities when the normal trend would be for a serious scholar scholar to crack a masters and then do a PhD hence attaining academic authority and then move on to publishing?
The parading of Mugabe's six degrees (unless you gave him one I know of only six and they were all by correspondence) are some of the first symptoms of Mugabe's megalomania: a sickness that Zimbabweans and African are paying dearly by the hour. Worshipping of secondary values with foreign origins by African elites is one of the continent's greatest cultural and mental woe.
After 50 years of independence Africa's leading scholars would rather cite a minor fellowship in a foreign university as a sign of achievement as almost more important than their home-based degree.
In a revealing interview with Baffour of New African about 3 years ago I showed a young Kenyan the the cover picture: "He looks more like the president than Mugabe" my cousin said pointing at Baffour's Ghanaian national costume. For a country that's so culturally rich and given the important role of dress identity to the generation of first African-state independent leaders - recall Mwalimu, Kaunda, Nkomo, Mobutu - Mugabe's clinging to his former master's traditional attire attest to his tragic alienation from hiw own culture.
Mugabe is a disjunct from whatever perspective you look at the man. He needs spiritual rehabiliation more than anything else.