@JAMWANDA2 ON SATURDAY: White skin, black masks!
Self-fulfilling, self-annulling prophecy
Two developments caught my attention this week. One is a Brenthurst Foundation scholarship invitation to young Africans intent on pursuing postgraduate studies.
Brenthurst Foundation is owned and financed by the Oppenheimers, and recently commissioned some outlandish opinion survey on Zimbabwe’s 2023 Harmonised Elections.
The cellphone-based opinion survey granted Chamisa undisputed lead in the plebiscite, provided the elections “are run in a free, fair and credible way”! Here was a clever caveat; it allows the Foundation to honourably retreat from findings of its abysmal opinion survey when results reveal a terminal defeat for Chamisa.
The elections, The Foundation can always say, were not run in a free, fair and credible way! Some kind of self-fulfilling and self-annulling prophecy. But that’s to wander off my real point.
The Brenthurst Foundation have christened their scholarship “Machel-Mandela Fellowship Programme”, to suggest it is done in honour of Graca Machel and late Nelson Mandela! Graca is part of the Foundation; Mandela is, too, by some perplexing posthumous decision!
Remoulding young Africa for imperialism
Africans who fit the scholarship bill must “show a passion for Africa and a keen interest in new thinking and strategies” for transforming African economies.
Above all, they must exhibit a “broad knowledge of African politics and economics”! Key jewellery draping the Brenthurst Foundation are African statesmen and former Heads of State and Government, chaired of course by former Nigerian President Obasanjo.
Several such highly-placed retirees and grandees are from our region.
The list is embarrassing, and may very well suggest erstwhile leaders once thrown into penury, easily pawn their soul to the devil! We should look after our former leaders, please Africa!
Who dares attack Africa’s grandees?
Add to that the stature of Graca Machel and late Nelson Mandela, and you realise the aura with which the Oppenheimers have dressed their foundation is nourished both by grey hair and by grave, by living icons and by our revered ancestors!
One cannot think of a more powerful, conquering symbolism deployed to protect the Oppenheimer project. In one master-stroke, the Oppenheimers have put a knife on patriarchal figures who held Africans together, and Africa now falls apart! Which African dares throw the first stone?
Which African dares cast to any aspersions — real or imagined? Since when have ancestors ever erred in African cosmology? Just how do you attack a Foundation defended by a phalanx of Africa’s doyen-statesmen and women, both alive and dead, without risking idolatry, abomination and apostasy? Just how?
Liberal no more
The second development came to my notice indirectly; it came via the Thursday issue of the well-regarded British Guardian Newspaper.
Historically, this paper cut its teeth in liberal values and politics which, generally, were regarded as sympathetic to Africa and Africans.
I won’t go as far as saying politics that were pro-Africa and Africans. That would be too profligate. More so post-Cold War.
The British Guardian retreated from this mealy liberal flavour; it has since become right wing, just like the rest, while pretending to be liberal, worldly and reader-driven. Again, all that is besides the point.
British Guardian and the Gates
The British Guardian runs a regular column titled Global Development, which is sponsored — the word they use is “supported”! — by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Its Thursday instalment was on western aid to Africa, as seen and read against the Continent’s standards of (mis)governance.
The article was written by two Africans who call themselves investigative reporters; these are Emmanuel Mutaizibwa and Ngina Kirori.
I haven’t established their nationalities, which doesn’t seem to matter anyway.
Both appear to take enormous pride in swapping their African identities for some ennobling one called ZAM-NET Foundation.
Stories for change
Priding itself as a Foundation which specialises in “stories for change”, ZAM reveals it was founded only in 2007, in Amsterdam, Holland. Strangely, it claims it was founded as part of Dutch solidarity movement “with the struggles against apartheid and colonialism”!
Legislated apartheid ended in 1994, even though the legacy of apartheid lives now and forever. African’s last colony, Namibia (South Africa never regards itself as a colony!), gained Independence in March 1990.
Quite how an organisation founded in 2007, and of all countries in the Netherlands, itself the source of the Afrikaner tribe which spawned apartheid, pledges solidarity “with struggles against apartheid and colonialism”, simply beggars belief.
Not that we didn’t have organisations in Holland which organised against apartheid; we had, several too!
But judging by ZAM’s self-confessed focus, this is not one of them. In any event cannot be, by its date of birth.
It focuses on what it calls a “Kleptocracy Project”! Now, I am still to see any Dutch, let alone Western, scholarship which pastes the noun “kleptocracy” on the forehead of apartheid’s founding men and women. Or on apartheid and colonialism as systems of racial colonial plunder.
The term seems indelibly attached to post-Independence Africa, to dog African rulers and leaders with the unfailing regularity of an identity-conferring surname. Especially those who fall out of favour with the West.
It is a convenient shorthand whose use releases Europe from the burden of mustering indicting evidence or proof!
However virtuous any African leader starts his career, chances are he winds up a kleptomaniac, especially as he wakes up to his duties and obligations to his own people!
Lonely Africans in all-western universe
To further buouy its claim to anti-apartheid and anti-colonialism, ZAM vaunts and lauds itself for organising the “Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in collaboration with the International Theatre of Amsterdam”.
Further, its long list of Dutch and European board members, office-holders and functionaries, is broken by a few African names strategically sprinkled to give ZAM a local, continental flavour.
You meet names like Zakes Mda, Mpho Tutu, Angelique Mbundu and Stephen Kafeero.
These few are then thrust forlornly in an otherwise all-western universe! Here in Zimbabwe, their investigative reporter is our own Brezhnev Malaba. We are superbly represented!
Paying our oppressors!
The article in question claims to have emerged out of a thorough survey spanning over several months, and covering five countries, namely Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya.
The survey was on Western aid and governance of the Continent.
In particular, it sought to gauge African attitudes to Africa’s aid-giving donor partners, in the wake of that aid.
Overall, what it found was damning: Africans are bitter that by not insisting on proper governance and full accountability, western donors were in fact “paying” and rewarding “our [Africa’s] oppressors”!
A sin made more heinous by these Western donors’ reluctance to align themselves with African media, civil society groups and the opposition, themselves custodians of clean, accountable governance on the Continent!
Donors, please run us; we are Africans!
Says the report: “People are imploring institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF to enforce transparency and accountability mechanisms and punish corrupt governments.
“They want development partners to take note of the research and the evidence compiled by African media and civil society groups that show corruption and bad governance . . . Western development partners must stand with civil society groups that want to hold the governments accountable”, including channelling funding to these as opposed to kleptocratic governments!
Who dares impugn?
Again, who dares impugn an organisation rooted in solidarity with “struggles against apartheid and colonialism”, and armed with such a retinue of Africa’s high and might, Africa’s grandees?
Who dares challenge an organisation which “organises the annual Mandela Lecture in collaboration with the International Theatre Amsterdam”? Who?
New Lugards and Shepstones
A clear picture emerges.
A new western tact in a global order where western hegemony now stands challenged, and where Africans have recourse to other partnerships founded on different values, is that of the West using seemingly compassionate entities funded by equally seemingly a-political corporate entities and figures, to press home the same old colonial foreign policy goals.
In place of Lord Lugards and Shepstones, new imperialism uses the Gates and Oppenheimers to justify and police neo-colonialism.
And to invest in outlooks that staunchly defend the same. To make this strategy unassailable, former statesmen and women of Africa, often living sparse in after-office dispensation, are enlisted and co-opted as faces of such structures.
Our elder statesmen and women thus lend an aura of legitimacy to what, in essence, is an anti-Africa/African agenda, indeed a continuation of the same, old colonial agenda.
Much worse, they are used as thongs for whipping genuine incumbent African leaders who do not serve imperialism.
Even dead icons are resurrected for that purpose, thus making the project foolproof: from cradle to the grave, in life and afterlife!
This is an incredible turn of events; one quite sinister and lethal, particularly in the face of an unsuspecting Continent.
What riled me as a Zimbabwean is to have my country and people co-opted into a narrative which falsifies existential realities.
Why would a survey of this sinister nature pretend to have sampled opinion in Zimbabwe; pretend to have engaged the national mind of this country?
Zimbabwe is not a recipient of any donor aid; hasn’t been since the mid-1990s. It gets nothing, not even a farthing, from the IMF or the World Bank.
How does one sample opinion on the subject of aid from a non-aided people, Nation and Country?
How do donors invoke arguments of aid to audit our governance systems when they do not exist on our ledger?
We seem in the middle of a litany of falsehoods presented as time-honoured surveys!
Such mendacity, such duplicity! And to have one of our own paste their name on such lies?
What is it which stokes and drives such death-drive, such gross self-attack reminiscent of Freudian Thanatos (death-drive)?
Humanity baffles me; better I retreat into my world of braying donkeys!