Friday, 13 November 2009

Article Says `Greedy Colonial-Racist Interests` Caused Zimbabwean Crisis

Article by Udo W. Froese: “The Race for Zimbabwe`s Resources”


Greedy colonial-racist interests are `the common historic cause for Africa`s woes, including those of Zimbabwe, Udo W. Froese writes in this week`s Pambazuka News. The `Rhodesian lobby` has `to date worked hard at destabilising and isolating Zimbabwe` in order to retain its `interests in agriculture, mining and resources`, Froese argues. The Movement for Democratic Change`s links to this lobby and to the West, Froese suggests, make the party a `non-starter`. `SADC heads-of-state would find it difficult to support an old colonial, race-based order, where their kith-and-kin have no access to land and the wealth of their land,` writes Froese.


It is much clearer today in 2009 that every African country governed by a former popular black African struggle movement against Caucasian international Western colonialism, is under severe pressure. This includes particularly those countries that trade with China, who bear the brunt of the interfering US/UK/EU/Canadian/Australian/Israeli punishment. African countries included in this unfair war-of-attrition and destabilisation are Kenya, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Madagascar and of course, Zimbabwe.


During the times of the Cold War there was a balance of power between the Soviet Bloc of nations and the international West. History reveals that `the Soviet and Cuban intervention was to undermine China`s influence in Africa rather than to help the MPLA (Angola`s ruling party) to win for its own sake, or even to weaken Western influence`. In fact, this is documented as early as in April 1976, in two essays in the book After Angola: The war over southern Africa - The Role of the Big Powers by Colin Legum, and How the MPLA won in Angola, by Tony Hodges.


It is recorded history that the Chinese backed Zimbabwe`s President Robert Mugabe in his struggle against colonial British Rhodesia.


RACE FOR ZIMBABWE`S RICHES


Meanwhile, the Rhodesian lobby has finally come out in full force. Their influential lobby, well used by the international West, has to date worked hard at destabilising and isolating Zimbabwe in order to retain its interests in agriculture, mining and resources, otherwise also known as `land`.


Their henchmen have been deployed and have thrown their considerable weight behind the protection of the forever hopeful deputy minister of agriculture in Harare, the MDC`s Roy Bennett, as well as the CEO of British mining company African Consolidated Resources plc (ACR), Andrew Cranswick. Both have made their respective contributions to political party MDC-T, led by Morgan Tsvangirai.


Bennett, a white commercial farmer in Zimbabwe, is a known funder of the MDC-T. Researchers in history and politics delved into the background of Roy Bennett as well as that of Andrew Cranswick. They claim that Bennett was a member of the notorious Selous Scouts. Bennett also served as a policeman in Ian Smith`s Rhodesian government.


His colleague, David Coltart, revealed that Bennett had served in the British South African Police, founded by the British arch-conqueror of Africa, Cecil John Rhodes.Roy Bennett was also a member of Ian Smith`s Rhodesian Front (RF) political party. As soon as that had fallen apart, Bennett assisted to create two white, right wing political parties and later threw his weight behind the MDC, urging his fellow Rhodesians to follow suit.


Then there is Andrew Cranswick, the Rhodesian born Zimbabwean, shareholder and CEO of the British mining company, African Consolidated Resources. In their admission to the London Stock Exchange`s AIM, on 30 June 2006 ACR plc stated under the sub-title `Operational Focus` in paragraph seven:


`Zimbabwe is a highly rich mineral province - in 1975 the country was ranked as the fifth largest gold producer in the world. Zimbabwe also has one of the best documented geological databases of the world`s developing nations, with a sophisticated mining environment and continues to possess an excellent logistics infrastructure when compared with most other African states.`


Andrew Cranswick publicly threatened that Zimbabwe is under US/UK/EU/Canadian/Australian/Israeli sanctions, `a fate that would befall anyone who dared to take a stake in the diamond fields (of Marange)`. ACR plc took over the diamond claim of Marange in Zimbabwe from De Beers. The global diamond cartel distanced itself from its diamond fields at independence of Zimbabwe in April 1980. Only two years ago, Cranswick and his British ACR went into operation of Marange.


Zimbabwe`s ministry of mines as well as the judiciary would be well advised to re-visit the agreement De Beers entered into with the Rhodesian regime. It would make good sense if an astute team of expert researchers and mining and contractual law specialists would re-visit the transfer of the diamond mining rights from De Beers to ACR plc in 1980.


It would also make good business sense to investigate the agreements since then and whether or not the land had been dormant and thus, the DeBeers `sale` of the Marange licenses would by now have been forfeited. Which government and which ministry signed those mining rights over to ACR plc, when and under what conditions?


Meanwhile, ACR offered the Zimbabwean government (whom exactly?) an equity partnership in this venture and still seems to await a response. According to Cranswick, `the board remains hopeful that good sense will prevail and the deposit can be exploited for the good of all Zimbabweans`. Zimbabwe`s minister of finance, the MDC`s Tendai Biti, backs the aforementioned approach.


It is the same similar tactic the world diamond cartel, De Beers, has pushed through in many of the diamond producing countries. These include Botswana (DebTswana), Namibia (NamDeb) and South Africa (De Beers).


It seems Zimbabwe would have to follow that example. Until this has happened the diamond cartel will stop at nothing to discredit Zimbabwe`s diamond industry. Zimbabwe could be facing expulsion from the international diamond community and the Kimberly Process Certification. The diamonds could even be declared as `illegal blood and conflict diamonds`.


THE STRUGGLE FOR SUCCESSION


Zimbabwe`s president Mugabe expressed his disapproval of senior officials` involvement in the diamond industry. He described it as an industry where `suspicion could easily be raised`. Mugabe asked, `How do you become involved in this sort of thing when you are a Politburo member, partnering white businessmen, why?`


Retired general and war hero, Solomon Tapfumanei (directly translated: How did you get this rich?) Mujuru, alias Rex Nhongo, is the only Politburo member who is publicly known to have a direct interest in Zimbabwe`s diamond fields. As a Zanu PF member of parliament he serves on the board of the diamond field, River Ranch Limited.
General Mujuru is allegedly also a close friend and business ally of Andrew Cranswick. His legal counsel at River Ranch Limited is George Smith. Smith is a retired judge who served under Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe as a cabinet secretary. It is interesting to observe that Mujuru`s role is never publicly questioned, as he remains a war hero. Meanwhile, he has amassed great wealth over the years.


The Zanu PF committee of Matabeleland North under its governor, the current minister of mines, Obert Mpofu, also comprises Solomon Mujuru, Thoko Mathuthu and former minister of finance, Simba Makoni.


It is further alleged that Mujuru is often labelled as Zanu PF`s `kingmaker`. This misconception seems to come from some of his loyal army supporters. If this would be the case, President Mugabe would have long been ousted, as the retired general is certainly not on the side of the president.


The fugitive director of the failed NMB Bank in Harare, James Mushore, is Mujuru`s nephew. Mushore allegedly exposed the rather limited influence of his uncle when he flew to London early 2004.


Despite his wife, Joyce`s position as deputy president of Zimbabwe, retired General Mujuru`s political influence seems waning. According to well-informed sources, Mujuru has no presidential ambitions, yet wants to have his ally as president of Zimbabwe.


But, Mugabe`s criticism of Politburo members` participation in Zimbabwe`s diamond run seems to have marginalised Mujuru further. His wife Joyce is of lesser influence than ever before, the same senior sources say. Like in most African countries, the above-mentioned financially and politically ambitious elite could at best be described as the `native assistants of the G-8`.


Dr Tafataona Mahoso, head of Zimbabwe`s Media Commission described the above scenario in an article of the New African news magazine aptly, `The Africans in these business bodies are mainly managers or subsidiary shareholders of a residual Rhodesian rump capital which does not want a proper African national business class.` In fact, such behaviour undoes what Mugabe tried to build in his lifetime.


THE HISTORIC OUTCOME


In above context, the likes of Tsvangirai, Biti, Mukoko, Bennett, Cranswick, the Rhodies and their MDC simply are non-starters, despite, or most likely because of their aggressive support of the international West.


Their sponsors push them. It is realistic fact that not one of the heads-of-state of the SADC region will allow any one of them to mislead them, no matter what Tsvangirai tells Mozambique`s Guebusa, South Africa`s Zuma, Angola`s Dos Santos or DR Congo`s Kabila. The `Government of National Unity (GNU)` stands. That`s fact too. SADC heads-of-state would find it difficult to support an old colonial, race-based order, where their kith-and-kin have no access to land and the wealth of their land.


The international West led by Washington DC and its sanctions against Zimbabwe ordered the MDC-T`s Tsvangirai to take out the chestnuts from the burning fire. In other words, Tsvangirai would have to get his party colleague Roy Bennett out of the serious trouble he finds himself in. Honestly now, which head-of-state would allow that?


Meanwhile, the Zanu PF-led government under President Mugabe remains under international Western pressure in their hope for a `regime change`. And of late, the diamond industry is being used to assist.


The foreign-funded and owned `civil society` has long showed its hand as the tool to implement destabilisation on a grand scale. The foreign ownership of `civil society` and their aims and goals for all SADC members are also known to the respective heads-of-state.


A further tactic to isolate Zimbabwe from the SADC raised its ugly head. A Namibian on-line community publishes its virulent attacks against Zimbabwe`s diamond industry on the Internet. After some research, the reality came to the fore - it is just another tactic to destroy the relations between the two countries and isolate Zimbabwe further. When Zimbabwe`s senior minister Emerson Mnangagwa visited Windhoek, Namibia recently, his hotel room was broken into and all his belongings were stolen. Both above mentioned actions are not Namibian. Namibia`s name is being abused.


All of Africa`s wars, strife and problems are of typically ruthless materialistic nature. But, they are not an African creation. Greedy colonial-racist interests are the common historic cause for Africa`s woes.


(Description of Source: Oxford Pambazuka News WWW-Text in English -- Pambazuka is the Kiswahili word for dawn, and is an “authoritative pan-African electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa.” Its publisher has regional offices in South Africa, Kenya, and Senegal; http://www.pambazuka.org/en/)


Article Examines Post-Colonial Europe-Africa Relationship
newzimbabwe.com
Thursday, December 20, 2007


Article by Mutumwa D. Mawere: “The EU-Africa Relationship Post-Colonialism”


The controversial EU-Africa summit is now history but will forever be remembered for the Brown-Mugabe debacle that at the safe signified an attempt by former colonies to negotiate a new and just post-colonial engagement with former colonial masters.


Post-colonial Africa`s enduring growing pains have been opportunistically explained to be a consequence of the economically and politically unjust colonial order whose foundation was anchored by a race-based constitutional order and asset ownership architecture.


In Africa today, there is no better ambassador for Africa`s case against its former colonial powers than Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe who has emerged rightly or wrongly as the champion of a colonially injured continent. Land ownership patterns in post-colonial Zimbabwe, like many other African states, still exhibit colonially defined and determined arrangements.


It is a known fact that land ownership in Zimbabwe was race-based and that the ownership of economic assets had not been democratised until the land reform program. The reaction of the British and American government to the alteration of land ownership using non-market instruments has provided the Zimbabwean government with a useful currency to expose the hypocrisy of former colonial powers who are accused of building their own functioning democracies with stolen wealth from the colonies.


The Brown-Mugabe standoff provided an opportunity for Africa to speak with one voice about the real feelings in the corridors of power in the continent about the colonial legacy and its purported debilitating impact on the transformation of the continent. There is a feeling among many Africans that Zimbabwe is a victim of an imperialist conspiracy and the treatment given to Zimbabwe is then seen in a larger context of the north-south dialogue, rich-poor relationship, and finally the lack of accountability and responsibility for the colonial injury meted against colonial subjects for the benefit of the colonial powers.


The generally perceived notion that any rich person is necessarily arrogant and a beneficiary from the suffering of the masses; is no different from how the rich countries are regarded by the former colonial subjects. The poor countries often see their salvation in the poverty of the rich countries and they see their role as that of any government -- of robbing the rich to pay the poor although the poor often end up with no benefit from the state.


Even African heads of state and government who are often accused of being arrogant by their citizens; see the arrogance of the rich nations but are blind to their own arrogance and dictatorial styles. The reaction of African states to the EU on trade, investment, security and human rights issues is no different from the reaction of African citizens to their own governments. Why is it that even the worst African governments are blind to their own abuse of the state but are quick to point a finger at the very countries that they rely upon to reduce the frontiers of poverty in their own countries?


It has been successfully argued and accepted by African heads of state and government that the Zimbabwean crisis has a colonial and bilateral context that should not be ignored in the interests of advancing a new relationship between Africa and Europe.


Some argue that it is futile to advance a historical argument about the ills of colonialism as a basis for advancing the interests of a post colonial Africa. What makes the relationship between Europe and Africa complex even if one accepts the colonial injury argument is that most of the national budgets of post colonial Africa are largely funded by European tax payers!


Even Zimbabwe still relies on donor funds to finance its development challenges. In as much as the Sino-Africa relationship may have spurred Europe to ignore Gordon Brown`s objection to Mugabe`s invitation, it is ironic that China has not emerged as the supplier of the much needed untied budgetary financial support to post colonial Africa .


Africa still needs Europe to address its poverty challenges and it is obvious that Africa and Europe share much more than the economic injury that still overshadows any conversation between the two parties.


Many Africans still have a love-hate relationship with their former colonial masters as would be expected in any master-servant relationship. This kind of relationship is not different from the relationship between slaves and their masters, post-abolition of slavery, when many slaves found themselves electing to remain as slaves because they could not think of any viable alternative.


The outcome of the just concluded Lisbon summit exposed the fundamental problem between Africa and Europe where the former wants to be treated as an equal partner while accepting that it needs the latter to pay its important bills. The development agenda of Africa is still to a large extent premised on foreign direct and portfolio investment and less on domestic capital formation.


Europe is forging ahead with unity and has over the years been able to craft a new order that seems to elude Africa. The historical contribution of Europe to global civilisation even if the ills of colonialism are put in their proper context is quite significant and, indeed, the institutional and legal framework that informs post-colonial Africa is a direct inheritance from Europe. We still are challenged in developing our own institutions to drive Africa`s transformation objectives.


The core principles of equality, social justice and opportunity for all remain the common values that Europe and Africa purport to share and yet European citizens find themselves freer than their African former slaves even after the advent of uhuru. Who will deliver the fruits of these principles to post-colonial Africa? Why are African leaders so insecure even when the opposition is weak, divided, and its constituency rarely stretches far outside the middle class? What is obvious is that the leadership in Africa does not trust citizens to use democracy as a means to achieve these principles. The child (democracy) is judged by many in power to lack maturity to handle such a complicated task without the supervision of the liberators.


Post-colonial Africa has emerged as more authoritarian, paternalistic and corrupt than the colonial system. Europe has functioning institutions and the remnants of European institutions in Africa are still intact to the extent that indigenisation and empowerment initiatives seek to accommodate previously disadvantaged individuals to other people`s functioning institutions rather than creating a new African reality owned and controlled by Africans themselves.


As Africa seeks to define its own agenda as a united formation, the story of the United Kingdom is instructive. It would be simplistic to say that the absence of Brown in Lisbon signifies the end of the British Empire. Zimbabwe may not be a colony again but there are many countries that are grateful for the contribution of the British to their own circumstances and have used the English heritage to advantage.


In 1707 through an Act of Union whose tercentenary was celebrated this year, the United Kingdom was created and forged out of rain-swept islands 22 miles off the European Continental littoral to form a single nation state that has changed the world indelibly. Although the UK`s population of 60 million accounts for less than 1% of the global population, it is nevertheless the world`s fifth-largest economy. The United Kingdom continues to occupy a foremost position in global politics and economics.


The Act of Union was an inspired recipe for giving Britain a critical mass that has allowed it to achieve greater things that the individual constituent nations would not have been able to do on their own. The Scots helped to build the British Empire and the rest is history.


Sterling is one of the world`s greatest currencies and the union ranks as the respected and sought after address of world financial services. The UK contributed to the Industrial Revolution and one of its greatest exports almost ranking with the unicameral and bicameral representative institutions has been the English tongue. Today the English language comprises some of 500,000 words, more than thrice the number of any other tongue. Europeans who speak English now outnumber those who speak French by three to one.


The framers of the modern UK were visionaries who were clearly ahead of their time. They created a military, economic and cultural platform that allowed them to export their values and systems abroad while maintaining a sound and just constitutional order at home that is still prevailing. The British Empire has gone through some fundamental changes in the last one hundred years and yet the British have managed to reinvent themselves without looking back as many of its former colonies are fond of in their attempt to explain away their failure to adjust and reduce the frontiers of poverty in their countries.


Brown could afford to boycott the Lisbon summit not only because the UK is a principal financier of the EU project but also it remains the largest benefactors of Zimbabwe notwithstanding the public grand standing. To the extent that African countries cannot survive without donor support, it would be naive for African governments to forget who pays the piper.


What is even more shocking is that across the political divide of African states, the financing of political parties is also provided largely from without. The opposition parties are structured and modelled around accessing donor funds than in responding to their citizens. Equally, the ruling parties who receive donor funds through budgetary support often use such funds to entrench themselves in power by pretending they are the source of funds for development.


African citizens have often taken the easy way out after receiving expensive education by going into the Diaspora. The tax base of Africa is daily marginalised by the brain drain and yet such brain trust is not often trusted by African governments who are keener to engage foreign investors than their own investors. Can you imagine a summit of African heads of state and government meeting to discuss how to make African an attractive investment destination for its citizens?


Europe may not have the land and minerals but it has understood what is required to capture the imagination of its citizens. In the final analysis, the success of Europe in the post-colonial era cannot be explained exclusively on the back of simplistic notions of exploitation of colonial resources. If the islands that constitute the UK can be resilient and be relevant in a globally competitive environment, then surely Africa should reflect critically on what it needs


(Description of Source: London newzimbabwe.com WWW-Text in English -- London-based website with news and information on Zimbabwe, critical of government policies, billing itself as the “best Zimbabwe news site on the world wide web”; Internet: http://www.newzimbabwe.com)


Zimbabwean Article Says African Politicians Operate in `Unaccountable` Manner
newzimbabwe.com
Monday, December 15, 2008


Commentary by Mutumwa Mawere: “Who Really Controls Post-Colonial Africa?”


Who controls post-colonial Africa? As we approach the end of this remarkable year, we can only pause to think about the future of the continent at a time when the architecture of the global financial system has been shaken at its foundation.


Interests at play in each domestic economy have so far largely informed the responses to the global financial crisis. The majority of African states has adopted republican constitutions and, therefore, should ideally be controlled by citizens and yet the reality suggests otherwise.


The role of citizens in monitoring their democracies is less pronounced in post-colonial Africa as it was during colonialism, as power has tended to be concentrated in the hands of professional political actors.


Such political actors who derive their legitimacy from the universe of citizens through democratic elections have tended to operate in an opaque and non-transparent and unaccountable manner.


With few exceptions, the bureaucracies in post-colonial Africa are staffed with professionals whose educational qualifications are comparable to any developed state.


The role of citizens in making Africa more democratic has largely been undermined by the professionalisation of the post-colonial state.


The change in the control of Africa from the colonial elites to professional state actors in the post-colonial state has created a situation where state actors are not accountable for their decisions and actions.


Although the post-colonial African state is manned largely by professional elites, the drivers of African economic progress are not Africans in the main.


Actors that are domiciled outside the continent control the enterprises that control the majority of African resources.


The generally acknowledged egregious abuses of the state in Africa can be located in the fact that the trustees i.e. political actors holding tremendous power and wealth, are not accountable to the people that determine the form and shape of African democracy.


The concentration of power in a few hands raises a series of unanswered questions including: Who should monitor the state actors? How do we protect citizens from institutional abuse? Is fiduciary duty i.e. in terms of parliamentary oversight, enough to assure appropriate behavior by state actors?


The experience of many post-colonial African states has exposed the fact that citizens have no real protection against abuse by state actors. The people who control the significant resources of Africa have no interest in interfering with domestic political issues.


African political parties can hardly be described as functioning institutions with checks and balances. The disconnection between Africa`s ruling elites and citizens is not dissimilar to the disconnection between shareholders of African corporate institutions and the people who manage the enterprises.


African corporate institutions are also not accountable to their stakeholders. The rise in fiduciary capitalism that has been witnessed in many developed states in response to market failures has not been transmitted to Africa where capital markets are not generally open to the majority of the citizens.


The long-term holders of power in corporate Africa are not indigenous people and the power, if it exists, is concentrated in public and cooperative pension funds, corporate and union pension funds, mutual funds and bank trusts with individuals playing a small if not insignificant role in the power value chain.


The transition from owner founders to managerial capitalism and on to fiduciary capitalism has not been possible in post-colonial Africa principally because of the attitude towards business adopted by many African state actors.


In the absence of a critical mass of domestic economic players, the post-colonial state has had to intervene as shareholder, market corrector and referee. In the three respects, the state in post-colonial Africa has failed in providing leadership least because most of the state actors are not equipped to appreciate the dynamics of a capitalist system.


We know that many African states believe that they are not in control of their destinies. Instead of taking ownership of their future they normally choose to place blame for lack of progress in reducing the frontiers of poverty on third parties.


To the extent that black Africans are in the majority and are largely in control of the business models that serve the African consumers, it is logical to assume that its majority citizens effectively control Africa.


However, a view is strongly held that the future of Africa is not in the hands of Africans and the few that have escaped Africa and are now living and working outside the continent have not helped in changing this perception.


It would be wrong to hold the view that companies that operate in Africa notwithstanding the domicile of the holders of the shares are not African. Corporate institutions are also citizens and unfortunately many of such citizens continue to refuse identify with the environments that provide them with income.


To the extent that a bad operating environment in Africa threatens individual and corporate actors, it is remarkable that the opposition to state abuse in post-colonial Africa has largely emanated from foreign state actors and a small group of non-state actors including labor movements.


Post-colonial African state actors as feared by colonial actors are not responsible to the people who elect them to the extent that donor states have had to fill the vacuum to the long-term detriment of African democracy.


However, such intervention to the extent that African progress is directly related to donor support can hardly be considered to be interference especially when we have failed to come up with viable alternatives that advance African causes.


(Description of Source: London newzimbabwe.com WWW-Text in English -- London-based website with news and information on Zimbabwe, critical of government policies, billing itself as the “best Zimbabwe news site on the world wide web”; Internet: http://www.newzimbabwe.com)

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