EDITORIAL COMMENT: Imperialism’s reminder to Zanu-PF

President Mugabe has told Africa in general and Zimbabweans in particular what’s just been confirmed by America: imperialists don’t forgive, they don’t forget. That is especially so in dealing with what they consider insolent former colonies seeking to chart an independent development path. President Mugabe’s warning is proved beyond doubt in a letter of January 28, 2016 by US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations chair Bob Corker to America’s secretary for Treasury, Jacob Lew, concerning Zimbabwe.

In the letter, Corker demands restoration of the rule of law, respect for private property, free press, freedom of speech, end to human rights abuses, a legal and transparent land reform and subordination of the security forces to civilian authority before the country can qualify for lines of credit. He also wants steps taken “to hold accountable those responsible for the massacres of more than 20 000 people in Matabeleland in the 1980s and the disappearance in March 2015 of human rights activist Itai Dzamara”.

Several issues stand out starkly out of these demands. The first is captured by the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Dr Christopher Mushohwe in his reaction to the letter. He noted that; “What lies at the heart of the US foreign policy towards Zimbabwe is the vain hope for regime change through sanctions-aggravated social conditions, which the US hopes will benefit the opposition.”

True, and let us not delude ourselves about “vain hope”. These people don’t forgive and they don’t forget. It is us who are more inclined to drop our guard in the “vain hope” that all the “sins” such as the land reform are forgotten and forgiven.

More importantly, Zimbabwe’s economic recovery is seen as fatal to all American plans to achieve regime change and bring about a pliant regime. Hence all our efforts to clear the country’s debt, the ostensible reason for withholding lines of credit by the IMF and the World Bank, are being blocked.

It is therefore naïve to think the IMF’s Staff Monitored Programme can have a positive outcome or that it’s being done in good faith. Corker has just let the cat out of the bag. Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa would do well to read Corker’s letter. He needs a very long spoon at dinner with the IMF.

Secondly, mention of Dzamara is no more than a feint. The real issue is Gukurahundi, but not for human rights reasons. It is one emotive issue which imperialists have used over the years to keep Zimbabweans divided along ethnic lines. They have deployed the opposition MDC in its various mutations and NGOs in their many shades to keep this issue alive.

A united Zimbabwe is harder to fight than an internally divided one. In their eyes, the land reform programme has rendered everyone equally guilty. Only ethnic politics based on past grievances appear to endure. Attempts to break up the Unity Accord of 1987, come as a welcome bonus for these merchants of chaos, division and global genocides.

Thirdly, since its resounding victory in the July 2013 harmonised elections, zanu-PF has been engaged in what now amounts to mindless internal wars because there was apparently no more serious external threat, with the local opposition lying comatose. Those fratricidal wars seem endless, leading to the expulsion of former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru and her cabal of supporters who together have become the darling of the local private media. They are viewed as reformists challenging the hardline zanu-PF personified by President Mugabe.

Corker’s letter should serve as warning to those who imagine the “People First” tag cleanses them of their Zanu-PF “sins”. America and its allies are keen to lay their hands on all those associated with Zanu-PF. That includes everyone associated with Gukurahundi, everyone associated with the land reform and everyone associated with the military, hence the President’s plea for unity. That you now call yourself People First won’t save you once Zanu-PF is out.

Corker’s letter should be a timely warning to zanu-PF: the external enemy hasn’t forgotten nor forgiven the land reform programme.

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