via Zimbabwe problems are a pointer to areas where Africa still ploughs darkly in denial December 6, 2013 By Andrew M Manyevere
Eyes have not seen and ears will not hear the cries of the African woman, child on her back with luggage and personal belongings in her hand and a line of children behind; in night queues as they struggle to escape one regime to another in quest for peace and safety they never find. I have said and will say this till Africa comes out of this vicious circle of denial.
I watched the drama of Entebbe airport invasion in Uganda by Israel in the early 1970s with disquiet and lamentation at how ignorant Africa can arrogantly pride herself on none existent powers to world contemporaries who know how to crush them twice over without any retaliation. Thank God for the United Nations (UN Peace Keeping declarations) otherwise temptations to invade other nations is greater given leaders who are at war with their own people yet keep blaming others unashamedly for their shortcomings.
Simple illustration of how war can be ignited suffice here. Take a simplistic but realistic context in which international relations scenario unfolds and borrows from usually. When two kids are playing, peace will only exists if one supposedly weighs her/his strength and realizes to keep calm than excited in the face of challenge from a bully. Peace among children only comes when children, and not parents, accept the need for peace as the after effects of respecting age and strength of their counterpart or contemporaries. That simple skill is absent in many of the current Africa leaders. Lessons have shown pride coming always before the fall.
Yet, by the same token, there is none other than the dictators who run back to the imperial masters for protection or defense reinforcement when faced with a home insurrection in a form of either a coup deta’t or civil rebellion from citizens. Where they are supposed to give in and call for re-election, dictators have sunk their hills in and kill ruthlessly and deny any call for help by the civilians, branding such call as puppetry to the western powers. Where is logic or fairness coming in here?
The dynamics show why, for example, former president of Tanzania, the late Julius Nyerere, had support of the nation of Tanzania to invade Uganda. The only time when Africa responded to the voice of the people without western invitation or suspect for assistance from the west. It takes resolve, honesty and integrity to carry such an international threatening task against a government bullying her own people. The situation is similar in many respects to the circumstances South Africa and Zimbabwe find themselves facing. A ruthless dictator in Zimbabwe with thousands and thousands of people emigrating daily if not hourly from Zimbabwe to South Africa. Despite of this, it is disappointing that Thabo Mbeki joined by Mjuoma (all past presidents) still find it hilarious, to day-dream of a never existing past situation, ignoring real conditions of inhumanity facing many Zimbabweans today. This denial beat sane and normal thinking person, as to why any right thinking leadership could sink so low in national disgrace.
The reason why I brought in the invasion of Uganda by Israel to rescue their people is to show how laud we speak to self-protection when actually we are playing political bluffing. National determined to self-protection comes from what we see share as a people and not from the spoils those in leadership would share while using us a gimping in aimless battles. Often, on the African soil, armies are built to fight against citizen’s rebellion against government than for defense against outside attack. Outside attacks are often precipitated by poor governance internally and the unpopularity of a dictatorial government forcing herself on people. This hypothesis will show that 1960 western approach to the world politics has differed vastly to the twenty first century politics. The political strive is no longer against open and flagrant colonial control as against self-imposing leadership who violet people mandate and bribe few to sing songs of support for the government of the day. People have felt strangers in their own village, and isolated as sell outs for support to an opinion. Food has been used as a political weapon to isolate opposition against supporters.
Land allocation has been used as a weapon to isolate none supporters from supporters. While on surface it appears quiet in the rural settings in Africa, the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard the suffering Africa puts her citizens through to foil free choice as an option for democratic rule. In Zimbabwe Zanu has not known any better way to command support than brutal force of violence, and clandestine enforcement of night visits on people to beat, rape and take their belongings. Come day time no one can dare witness against violence committed in the night unless you want to be on exile to Mozambique, South Africa or Zambia the following morning. From Cape Town in the South and Cairo in the North, the plight of an African woman left alone with her children has not been fully documented.
There is no strong record of African governments criticise each other for mishandling the lives of the common people, apart from that of the late Julius Nyerere and possibly Kenneth Kaunda. The political chorus on support for corruption and open ill treatment of the ordinary citizenry in Africa by the African leadership at most forums, implied or explicitly, is embarrassing. They firstly deny any reprisals of citizens as western propaganda and never admit any outside investigation to verify the act of sodomy and violence that takes place under their watch. They claim that for the western nations to carry investigations on their governments, is like taking Africa back into colonial era. This is a shameful if not criminal distortion. Africa has remained silent irrespective of its ugly treatment of her citizens. The fact that we have poor media explain in part the absence of serious reports on ills committed by governments.
Africa is full of corruption, weak legal system and media; and fear for change of leadership is also underlined by the fear of the evil acts of government being exposed. If we get to work on acceptance of change of government democratically, we begin on the road to growth and political maturity. It reminds me of the words of Idi Amin Dada when in the early 1970s, at Makerere University as student, we challenged his government for the first time ever. Addressing us in what was called freedom square at the University, General Amin declared that he had not been elected into government but had used force take over government. If we-students, wanted to dispose him, he suggested that we be ready for a battle. He called for a battle of students and army engagement, and called on student commanders to come out and lead their army as he intended leading his army against student’s naked rebellion against his government. Needless to say I was the only none East African student leader who worked on student rebellious march in the streets of Kampala (together with other Eastern African student leaders).
Political bullying is the weapon African leadership have enjoyed using against her own peaceful unarmed people to perpetuate the legacy of undemocratic leadership and the resistance to home elections by blaming the west for instigation on political opposition formation. Its thirty going to fifty years after colonial rule demise and the African leadership has not acknowledged a single mistake in ruling. They are emerging so fortified to defend the politics of no opposition as the best model for African economy and tradition. Even where opposition exists, I bet it is nominal than functionary. Once it becomes functionary it is declared the puppet of the western nations. This ingenious and dishonesty position should be easy to get away from, even though many poor governments on governance, have stood together to oppose any strong opposition as puppet of the western nations.
Puppetry or not, the truth be told that growth has its ups and downs. What is so violently wrong is why African leadership use power as a tool to seed corruption and corruption to extend the stay in power for malicious leadership. People are blind to the wrongs of leadership because they are gullible to promises which never come to fruition. Poverty makes people subject to more poverty as hope is that malicious leaders could just be their salvation drivers.
We need an engine to drive the agenda of change as a noble cause from among honesty and dedicated Zimbabweans both inside and outside the country to share power through open and transparent elections. We need an independent umpire for elections and a world supervised peace keeping force to root out fear dramatized in people for the last thirty years. The need for collective effort must be greater than struggle for leading without plan but to be led into situations. When the eyes which have not seen see and the ears hearing begin hearing correctly, then those who want to help will find it possible to help Zimbabweans build their redemption plan. It is dishonesty to say Zanu has the capacity to do what is right any longer.
The condition and state of the country is already sad to watch slide into a failing economy. Much wealth discovery in the country instead of blessing all people has been a monopoly of a few. Had Zanu spared the lives of some of our prominent citizens who died close to announcing facts of distortion, the picture of where the rot is would be clearer today. The fact that some of our great citizens have died mysteriously has robbed us the answers to some of the syndicate of corruption existing in the country today. The fact that Zimbabwe is on the top most list of corrupt countries, while relative should indicate to the management indiscipline growing among those accountable for governance in Zimbabwe.
Let me end on this joke that highlights impressions and images leadership and the way they handle state mirrors on the dignity of the country. A corruption machine was manufactured to test the level of corruption each country was. In every country the machine detected corrupt levels. But when it came to Zimbabwe the machine disappeared showing the sophistry of corruption. This is why I say the eye have not seen or ears heard, only Zimbabweans know the depth of their plight. The answer is imminent. Corruption if not controlled will kill itself. Corruption and violence, even though they leave a horrible mark and threaten people to show some compliance, cannot live for ever unlike peace that lives for ever. Peace is the epicenter of democracy, breeding in turn, transparency and social justice and politico-economic stability.