Obi Egbuna Jnr Correspondent
The US-EU alliance continues to make the same mistake when discussing the Zimbabwe question. They function from the premise that Mother Africa’s daughters and sons, who are not on their payroll and were not invented in their political laboratories, depend on them for our analysis of current developments or an interpretation of what is taking place on the ground.
The most recent US Congressional hearing on Zimbabwe entitled “The Future of US-Zimbabwe Relations” took place last week in the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill.
The testimonies were given before the US Committee on Foreign Relations Sub committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organisations.
The Chairman is the Republican Congressman Christopher Smith of New Jersey and the Ranking Member is Congresswoman Karen Bass a Democrat of California.
The three testimonies were given by Mrs Imani Countess the African regional programme director of the Solidarity Centre of the AFL-CIO, Mr Ben Freeth the executive director of the Mike Campbell Foundation and most importantly Mrs Shannon Smith the deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs of the US State Department.
For those who are no strangers to these hearings, which are presented and advertised as an exercise in diplomacy, the fact that the overall sentiment was rooted in panic and propaganda, certainly comes as no surprise whatsoever.
The US-EU alliance continues to make the same mistake when discussing the Zimbabwe question.
They function from the premise that Mother Africa’s daughters and sons, who are not on their payroll and were not invented in their political laboratories, depend on them for our analysis of current developments or an interpretation of what is taking place on the ground.
One of the most sterling examples of President Mugabe’s wisdom, is his constant plea to Zimbabweans in particular and Africans in general, not to hate our enemies, which suggests that when we truly understand the enemy, we recognise due limitations, hence, our victory is certain.
This begins with looking at Mrs Smith who in her opening remarks stated that Zimbabwe’s economy is failing and is being driven down not by international sanctions, but by national policies and rampant unemployment.
We must give credit whenever it is due, the Government and people of Zimbabwe should collectively praise Mrs Smith for stating at a Congressional hearing, that US-EU sanctions are not international in scope content or character.
Since the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 was pushed by Congressman Smith, and his now deceased colleague on the opposite side of the aisle the Democrat, Donald Payne, who also represented the State of New Jersey, the goal of US-EU imperialism has been to convince everyone that the sanctions on Zimbabwe have worldwide support.
The latest attempt by the US Government at concocting a political mystery has been the whereabouts of MDC-T activist Itai Dzamara, who Mrs Smith passionately stated her government stands with along with the people of Zimbabwe in defending the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
When Dzamara gained notoriety for presenting a letter to the Office of the President and Cabinet in 2014 demanding that President Mugabe should step down for failing the Zimbabwean people, he did it on behalf of Occupy Africa Unity Square Zimbabwe, which gained inspiration from the Occupy Wall Street Movement inside US borders.
For the sake of argument if Dzamara had gone to the US Embassy in Harare and presented a letter demanding the immediate lifting of US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, Mrs Smith and her boss John Kerry would have dismissed that in the same manner, the US downplayed Takunda Chingonzo asking President Obama during an interview at the US-Africa leaders’ summit last August where US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe were truly targeted.
As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, a crime that involved FBI and CIA and the New York Police Department’s Bureau of Special Services, all who value logic will recognise that a government that openly assassinates freedom fighters within its borders, can never be genuinely concerned about the safety of a political activist in a foreign nation.
The situation concerning Dzamara appears to come from the political playbook of Congressman Smith, who when he co-chaired the US Congressional Executive Commission on China, attempted to raise the profile of the Chinese economist and blogger Ilham Tohti, who during his imprisonment received the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith award for freedom of expression.
This same organisation allowed the author of Satanic Verses Salman Rushdie to establish a world voices festival.
This narrative suggests that when opposition parties and civil society groups can’t get the job done, the find gullible individuals hungry for 15 minutes of fame.
The background of Mrs Countess actually holds more weight than her testimony, prior to working at the solidarity centre, where she held a similar position with the recently defunct TransAfrica Forum, who under the leadership of Randall Robinson starting in 1977 falsely claimed to start and lead the anti-apartheid movement in the US.
Before Mr Robinson could locate South Africa on a map, the illustrious freedom fighters Dr WEB DuBois and Paul Robeson were doing this work in the Council of African Affairs, the Student Non Violent Co-ordinating Committee led protests outside of Chase Manhattan Bank due to divestment in South Africa in the 1960s.
Zimbabwe best remembers Mrs Countess from a Washington Post article in 2008 that falsely claimed on behalf of TransAfrica Forum, she was an election observer, and spoke with a high level zanu-pf official that told her the ruling party would do anything to hold onto power.
When questioned about this matter Mrs Countess stated that she never told the Washington Post she was an election observer. She however, refused to disclose the name of the Zanu-PF official, who expressed those sentiments off the record.
During her testimony Mrs Countess discussed the Solidarity Centre’s 15 year partnership with ZCTU which began with a quote from ZCTU’s think tank, the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe : “Zimbabwe’s economy is in deep decline, making it harder for average Zimbabweans to work and live, and leaving them less and less confident in their future.”
What Mrs Countess failed to show was ZCTU’s track record of manipulating history when it suits them, we are talking about an organisation that published “Zimbabwe: Beyond the Enclave Inclusive Growth and Development”, and created ANSA (Alternatives to Neo Liberalism in Southern Africa)
The claim by ZCTU is that “never have so many policies been made in the name of the people without benefiting them”, which was in reference to the land reclamation programme and the indigenisation and economic empowerment bill.
This rhetoric comes from an organisation that took blood money from the US-EU alliance Westminster Foundation for Democracy to create MDC, and catapulted the career of former Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who politically speaking is the laughing stock of all of Africa.
Obi Egbuna Jnr is the US Correspondent to the Herald and a US-based member of ZIMCUFA .His e-mail is [email protected]