|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
In this interview with Radio Netherlands, one of these critics, Moeletsi Mbeki, head of South Africa's Institute of International Affairs and brother of President Thabo Mbeki, takes that argument a controversial step further:
RN: "And is that because they've focussed on lining their own pockets rather than increasing development and production within their own countries?"
"That's precisely the reason. You see, after the Second World War, what the colonialists had to do, they had to woo the Africans, they had to be nice to the Africans to help them to grow more coffee, more cotton and more tea, because they needed to export these to the United States in order to be able to buy American machinery. The African rulers - once they used the people to get into power and once they consolidated their hold on power - then turned around and started exploiting the very same people who had helped put them in power."
RN: "We talk a lot about democracy now, do you believe that democracy abounds at all in sub-Saharan Africa, or is that again the political system which is at fault and is keeping people in poverty?"
"You see democracy is good, we are all in support of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa and all over the world. However, what we are now finding out in sub-Saharan Africa is that democracy does not change the power relationship between the producers, who are the people who create the wealth. So the people who hold state power, that is the political elite, continue even under democratic dispensation to exploit the small-scale producer. They also even, incidentally, exploit large-scale producers like oil companies."
RN: "You've also criticised South Africa's treatment of Zimbabwe, saying that South Africa had been too soft on Zimbabwe."
"I think, if we had been tougher with Mr Robert Mugabe from day one, when he started rigging the elections, we wouldn't be where we are today."
RN: "Of course, essentially, you are criticising your brother. Is this something that you talk about with your brother?"
"I'm not criticising my brother, I'm criticising the government. You know, South Africa is a democratic country, my brother is not the one-man ruler of South Africa."
RN: "Well what other steps could South Africa take to get Zimbabwe to changes its ways?"
"There are many, many things. For example, we have been subsidising Zimbabwe with our electricity. They have been on many occasions unable to pay for it, and we turn a blind eye and let them not pay. So there are many things that we could do; pressures we could put on the Mugabe government to change its ways."
RN: "Do you advocate then international interference to try to improve the democratic process and try to initiate better governance?"
"There is international intervention in Africa any way. Because, for
example, there was a suggestion last week, I think by the German government,
that refugee camps should be built in North Africa to stop the flood of Africans
who, because of the economic meltdown that is happening in sub-Saharan Africa,
are now flooding across the Mediterranean into European Union countries. Italy
is putting a lot of pressure on Libya to stop Libya being used as a staging post
for a flood of illegal economic migrants flooding into the European Union. So
there is already intervention in African affairs by other countries. Secondly
the donors to African countries – ten years or so ago – started putting a lot of
pressure on African governments to abandon one-party states, to introduce
multi-party democracies. We are now at another stage. Yes, we have nearly 40
countries that have multi-party democratic elections, but this is not adequate
to address the power of the producers in Africa. So, we need a second stage in
terms of the democratisation process of sub-Saharan Africa, and it will involve
intervention, it has involved intervention by outside powers, because the elite
in Africa are creating a