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- ▼ November (8)
Monday, November 26, 2007
'I am ashamed of my African leaders' says Tanonoka J Whande
Mmegi, Botswana Friday, 23 November 2007
TANONOKA JOSEPH WHANDE
And what a shame it is, indeed!
African presidents are busy buying suits and bow-ties to impress those who make suits and bow-ties when they attend a summit where, in spite of the continent's wealth, they are going to beg like no subway beggar has ever begged before.
It is a shame.
In a published letter to Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva, (Mmegi, November 16, 2007), I pleaded and urged Silva and his government to justify their invitation of Robert Mugabe in contravention of European Union travel bans on Mugabe and his lieutenants because of their deplorable human rights violations.
I pointed out that since Portugal had chosen to invite Mugabe, Portugal should put Zimbabwe on the agenda and, thus, possibly offer an effective alternative to Gordon Brown's stand of isolating Mugabe.Portugal, of course, is barren of human rights decency in foreign lands and is doing things that fly in the face of the EU and thereby neutralises the EU's policies.But I am, however, humbled that, early this week, the EU itself leapfrogged over Portugal and demanded that Portugal, which holds the EU presidency, puts Zimbabwe on the agenda.Many people feel rewarded, especially me.Even then, for now, I dare stand and demand for Mugabe's complete isolation. There should not be any letting up until the dictator is uncoiled.
The EU says 'No Mugabe' on its soil because of the transgressions he is committing against innocent people but Portugal says 'yes.' It is clear to me that African dictators are not the only ones who violate constitutions and collective agreements.ZimOnline reported that the European Union had "agreed to have the human rights situation in Zimbabwe put on the agenda for a summit with African leaders set for next month."It went on to say that EU foreign ministers met last Monday in Portugal to discuss, among others, the 8-9 December Europe-Africa summit and resolved to give a "clear and tough" message to President Mugabe on his government's human rights record" and then further quoted an EU official as having said that Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands had pushed for "a real discussion on human rights and governance in Zimbabwe" during the summit."We will organise a debate (at the summit) so that Mugabe can receive a clear and tough message," an EU official said.
That's all I wanted.
Thank you, Lord!
I, however, feel extremely embarrassed that Europeans have to arm-twist Africa's inconsiderate presidents into taking note of the atrocities being committed in an African country called Zimbabwe. The EU is trying to do something to bring some relief to the long suffering Zimbabwean people while those occupying state houses across Africa appear to approve of sadistic practices of their fellow heads of state.
I declare that African presidents are a horrible and ghastly disgrace and I wish they could boycott the Portugal summit for whatever reason because none of them represents or espouses African people's attitudes.Africans are not sadists nor are they warmongers but our so-called presidents are a totally different species, offering the world a false picture of Africa.African presidents are collectively responsible for the deaths and mayhem in Zimbabwe, Darfur, DR Congo and elsewhere on the African continent for, if they do not wish to assist, they should leave those who have the desire to assist to do so.
When my life and family are under threat, shall I, being African, insist on the unwilling African president Thabo Mbeki to rescue me while a foreigner is already doing something to save us before being even asked?Two weeks ago, Mbeki said he was quite satisfied with the negotiations that he is chairing between Mugabe and the opposition. That is very encouraging; wouldn't you say, especially considering the deaths and violence being perpetrated by Mugabe on defenseless people? On Wednesday, Mbeki said he would make a whistle-stop visit to Zimbabwe en route to Uganda for the Commonwealth meeting.
He said he would be talking to Mugabe's representatives and those who represent the opposition. To Mbeki, Zimbabwe is an afterthought. I was under the impression that serious negotiations were being held in South Africa.Three days ago, South Africa's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad, parroted his master's voice and said that South Africa "is happy with the progress that has been made regarding efforts to resolve the problems currently facing Zimbabwe."While Africa, and, indeed, the world, is still trying to clear the unpardonable cobwebs from the atrocities of Rwanda, where men, women and even children along with priests and nuns went mute and attempted to cover up atrocities, we now have South Africans actively denying and covering up the maimings and political murders in Zimbabwe.
What progress are the South Africans always spouting about that we don't know of? Or are they saying they are satisfied with the daily political violence and death toll? What kind of progress is it when the other half of the negotiating partners does not report any such progress but complains?The day Pahad made that obviously false statement of satisfaction, Zimbabwean parliamentarian, Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) expressed his party's concerns over current talks being brokered by South Africa in a report he presented to the on-going ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Kigali.
So why are the South Africans, yes, including their president, lying about the situation over these talks?
And a day before Mbeki and his crony lied to the world about progress in Zimbabwean mediation talks, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, had urged Mbeki to pressure Robert Mugabe to end political violence and repeal tough security and press laws. It is surprising that so late into the negotiations, the MDC is still begging for an end to political violence and the repeal of repressive laws.
No talks should have been started while such serious curtailments existed. However, I am curious to know what 'progress' Mbeki and Pahad are talking about?Portugal and South Africa, two countries that have always connived to save renegade leaders in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, should be warned not to play exterminator games with Zimbabweans whose lives are already at stake.South Africa should be aware that Zimbabweans view it, especially Mbeki, as a co-oppressor with Mugabe. Zimbabweans are well aware that it is South Africa, especially Mbeki in his personal capacity, that stands between meaningful assistance to end the repression, mayhem and killings in Zimbabwe and the continued suffering and murder of the innocent people in our country.SADC, and indeed the world, rightly defer the Zimbabwean issue to South Africa.
It is protocol. It is diplomacy and it is getting more and more people killed in Zimbabwe because South Africa, because of Mbeki, is impotent and is preventing the emancipation of the Zimbabwean people. Without South Africa manning the doors, freedom could long ago have poured into Zimbabwe. Without South Africa protecting a murderous dictator, the issue could have been laid to rest a long time ago.
I salute the European Union and I deplore so-called African presidents who, with a colonial mentality of always imitating what former colonisers did, are still at the stage of oppressing their own people. I chide all African presidents for their short-sightedness. I rebuke them for bringing shame to the continent.Oppressing the 'natives' appears to be the only thing these presidential charlatans learned from the former colonisers. I do declare and say that I am ashamed of all African leaders.
Robert Mugabe is twice the man they are, for Mugabe parades his evil and frolics in it proudly and publicly yet the other African leaders try to hide their evil but expect the world and the people to applaud just because, in every respect, they are all a few thebes short of a pula.African presidents should wake up and rescue Africa.
Whatever happened to our pioneering spirit? Where is that individual and personal initiative so prevalent among early pioneering leaders that we used to see as we tried to dislodge colonialists?We have always given our support to our leaders, mostly against our will, but look at what they are doing to Africa against our will.
I am a son of Africa and am totally ashamed of all my African leaders.God have mercy!
Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean writer.