When the mighty ride roughshod over the weak

Minister Mzembi

Minister Mzembi

Nick Mangwana View from the Diaspora
The last few weeks have been quite eventful on both the domestic and international stages in Zimbabwean politics. We had a reshuffle of the Cabinet by the President. Reels have been written about that from the timing, the promoted to the relegated, new ministries formed and those dissolved or realigned.

But this column stayed away from it all. We elected a President and he has the power and authority to reconfigure his Executive branch of Government as he sees fit. It is that ability to exercise his own judgment which we chose, isn’t it? But regardless of who has exercised their discretion, there will always be a judgment. Decision will be questioned, ridiculed and approved.

Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi

That’s part of politics at the helm. If this column was to fail to resist the temptation to comment then it would just make an endorsement. The elevation of one Dr Walter Mzembi to the helm of Zimbabwe’s top diplomat is one that was given a full seal of approval by this columnist. Minister Mzembi has already proved his diplomatic prowess in getting the endorsement of SADC as their candidate for the UNWTO post.

The same exceptional diplomatic skill was on display when he was chosen as Africa’s man for the post. The full backing of the government was of course quite helpful. The bid gained rapid momentum and looked unstoppable as he globe-trotted, charming diplomats, presidents, prime ministers and even kings. What initially looked like a Utopian fantasy was briskly crystallising into a fantastic reality. The nation could dare dream. But there was cautionary pessimism still. How could someone, who then has been a minister in President Mugabe’s Cabinet be acceptable to all those who had made it their job to demonise him and his government for the great part of a decade and a half?

Five months later the President decided to leverage the experience and diplomatic contacts and alliances built around the UNWTO bid by deploying Mzembi to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most in the Diaspora approved. A lot of other objective compatriots endorsed. The first diplomatic jaunt was in Uruguay. What a dream start for the minister. While there, out of nowhere the President was appointed UN Goodwill Ambassador for Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Non-communicable diseases are conditions, which cannot be transmitted from one person to the other. These are conditions like diabetes, cancer, asthma and the like. Those who saw the President taking the flight of stairs at Zanu-PF HQ from the ground to the twelfth floor non-stop at the then age of 90 felt this was an inspired appointment.

This is because whether you love or loathe President Mugabe, you cannot dispute the fact that he has lived a healthy lifestyle and his longevity might have something to do with his genes but maybe a lot more to do with his lifestyle choices. Here was the right poster icon for these conditions. This is because a lot of these conditions are either triggered or aggravated or mitigated by lifestyle. And Zimbabwe’s numbers when it comes to these conditions are actually not so bad. His ambassadorial post was specifically for Africa where he is highly regarded and considered an eminent statesman.

So in the grand scheme of things, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director General, had just pulled a rabbit out the hat. This former Ethiopian Foreign Minister had shown immense bravery. But he had not factored in the level of backlash he would get from those who control the purse strings of the UN and its agencies. The blow-back was swift and telling. The British were the most vocal. They said this was a breach of American sanctions. The British media set the international tone. Soon some Zimbabweans went on camera; they started talking about cholera, typhoid, and maternity etcetera.

Dear oh dear. Typhoid and cholera are communicable diseases doh! None of these people bothered to say, hang on, why don’t we critically analyse President Mugabe’s national NCD policy before we turn to hysteria. Cancer is a menace, why don’t we check Zimbabwe’s own palliative care policy? How about Zimbabwe’s relationship with the United Nations agencies working in the country? Who cared? It was all politics at every level.

He who pays the piper calls the tune. There were no surprises when Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sheepishly rescinded the appointment. The first African to lead WHO could not push back against the sustained hegemonic pressure from those that predominate geopolitics. But like Minister Mzembi said, this reversal was a pitch for the overdue UN reform.

Where the UN idea was to foster global prosperity, what we have is a monstrosity used by the powerful to legitimise the imposition of their will upon weaker nations. We saw the UN being used to savage Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and destroy Libya. Nobody has ever taken responsibility for the catastrophe that was visited on this hitherto stable nation. Today we have a ragtag nation comprising balkanised fiefdoms of criminality and terrorism. The Security Council, which is the international body, which should be responsible for peace has endorsed more wars than it has stopped.

If those who set up this monster had been told that it would impose blockades that would end up killing millions of innocent souls, they would have puked in disgust. If they had foreseen that it would authorise the use of armed force as a default, they would have recoiled in strong distaste. But we are here now. We have this institution, which is now in the hands of superpowers in whose hands they have found a weapon with which to express their hubris.

It is the same hubris that attempted to impose sweeping sanctions against Zimbabwe in July 2008. If the Look East policy is judged harshly, July 2008 was capped its success. For it was then that in light of that policy, both China and Russia used their veto power to block more cruelty being visited upon the suffering Zimbabwean people.

But why did we come to that place where strong nations wanted to ride roughshod with the poor? There is no doubt this will remain a mammoth task because those that have enjoyed predominance in the institution for over 70 years are not ready to give up power. Those that advocate for change are too weak to push it through. Those that are powerful use money to impose their will upon the weak. And the weak nations have corruptible leaders, whose avarice always trumps principle at the end of it.

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  • Moe_Scyslack2

    This guy needs to be deported. Wherever he is. So he can enjoy his Mugabe nesu muno muZim.

  • yowe

    Hahahaha this has to be the worst journalist the Herald has ever employed.RGM does not deserve to be a goodwill ambassador his own country’s health system is destroyed.No one in a senior position in government uses local health institutions.RGM himself and his family go to Singapore.That is why there was outcry over the appointment.We have relatives who have died because of NCDs here simply because there is no medicine.It is ironic to have a man whose own people will most probably die if they a diagnosed with an NCD going around the world fighting the same diseases.You are a stupid journalist a pathetic sycophant woe unto you!!!

  • sky

    An excerpt from Answer to History a book written by former President of Iran (Shah of Iran) Mohammad Reza Pahlavi published in 1980 “The main lesson I learnt was that when you are weak you have got to be very patient. You have got to accept humiliation. You have got to take the worst kind of insults. But in your inner heart you have got to love your country, have faith in its people and believe in their destiny as well as yours. If you do so, there is always a little ray of hope left which kindles in your conscience and inspires you to make the best of the worst possible circumstances and save whatever little you can of your land and its inheritance. That is the key to human survival amidst overwhelming difficulties”

  • mtavundah/tsoto

    you have always displayed crass idiocy as you sing for your supper. its a matter of time…….

  • yowe

    Hahahaha YOWE!!!! Kunyarara kunovhara hupenzi…word of advice

  • muparavanda

    Go on keep singing for your supper with the rest of your ilk….what a pathetic lot!!

  • zvihutazvashe

    Criteria my foot. It was a dumb decision period just like your dumb contribution here!! Who cares about criteria when its clear to see that local healthcare has collapsed under him and its not getting any better anytime soon. Are you thick or what? You have the audacity to insult Zimbabweans when they are victims of a repressive regime presided over by your master!! Be an apologist, sing for the crumbs from your master’s table but dont you dare insult us! This old hag is the sole architect of our misery and yet in your cheerleading you have gone too far by your insults. Is it not enough that you have taken everyone to the stoneage and made us paupers? Kutozoda kuzviita munhu anofungawo….Dim wit!!!

  • Moe_Scyslack2

    Hanti ndiye arikuti all is well muZim because his hero is a greater leader? Ngaadzoke ka here awone zvirikuitwa na boss wake