‘West responsible for chaos in Africa’

11 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
‘West responsible for chaos in Africa’ Dr Naledi Pandor

The Herald

Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor

Zimbabwe’s long held position that Western countries should not dictate to African countries how they should run their affairs has been reaffirmed by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor.

Speaking on Tuesday during a Press conference with visiting United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is on a three-nation African tour, Minister Pandor added that Western countries, along with private security companies scrambling for Africa’s mineral resources, were largely to blame for the instability and challenges with democracy being experienced on the continent.

“You are coming in and seek to teach a country that ‘we know how democracy functions; we come to tell you (that) you do it will work for you’.

“I think it leads to defeat so we need to think in different ways,” said Minister Pandor.

Since year 2000, Zimbabwe has flatly refused to be dictated to by global powers, which sought to effect regime change by financially supporting NGOs and opposition parties.

The West has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe with the hope of making the “economy scream” and turn citizens against the ruling Zanu PF.

In his address during Heroes Day commemorations, President Mnangagwa said his administration remains committed to upholding the “democracy bequeathed to us by our fallen heroes and heroines”.

He said Zimbabwe was unrelenting in its pursuit to entrench Constitutionalism, rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights.

“The heroes we honour fought for the democracy and the equal access to justice we are enjoying as a country.

“Let us therefore, individually and collectively, protect it from all forms of abuse and desecration, more so by those who never came to our help during the brutal oppressive years under white settler colonial regime,” said President Mnangagwa.

Turning to interference by Westerners, Minister Pandor said Africa’s minerals were promoting instability on the continent. “I also think that one of the lessons we also need to learn and perhaps draw lessons from, is the reality that there has been a lot of external interference in Africa and a lot of that external interference has fuelled conflict in many African countries, has fuelled instability, has supported opposition groups against liberation fighters and so on, you know the history, perhaps better than myself.

“This is a reality so in my view, while there maybe concern about Wagner Group or (Van) Dyck (which was another security group which in Mozambique, there is also concern about countries that have mineral interests in African countries.

“They are there as a destabilising force. So I think we need to look at the full plethora of problems that give rise to insecurity, bad governance and the absence of democracy on the African continent. It’s not a one-country problem. It’s a world phenomenon which results from Africa’s rich mineral wealth that has made it a significant target of external players that don’t always have the interests of Africa at heart,” she said.

On Africa’s bullying by the West to support its causes, including wanting to force African countries to condemn Russia for its special military operation in Ukraine, Minister Pandor there has been a “sense of patronising bullying toward ‘you choose this or else’”.

“We may differ in terms of economic power and ability to influence development in different parts of the world, but what will make the world work is if we respect each other.

“This is very, very important and one thing I definitely dislike is being told either ‘you choose this or else’. When a minister speaks to me like that, which Secretary Blinken has never done but some have, I definitely will not be bullied in that way, nor would I expect any other African country worth its salt to agree to be treated,” she said.

The US recently sought to frog march Zimbabwe into criticising Russia’s special military operation, a move vehemently opposed by President Mnangagwa. The President recently said he would not support sanctions on another country when Zimbabwe has been negatively affected by Western sanctions.

In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Trust president Dr Norbert Hosho said the comments by Minister Pandor were “consistent with the view we should all embrace as Zimbabweans, the view that as a sovereign nation, we should all be driven by the quest for self-determination”.

“The need to resist all forms of bullying and coercion can, by no means be over-emphasised. If a country does not make its own choices, and its peoples’ opinions are not respected by other territories, then the country will be still far from freedom and hence the need to really fight for total freedom.

“It is unfortunate that external interference in domestic affairs of countries, particularly developing countries endowed with valuable natural resources, has been rampant over the years and the interfering countries’ purported mission to address issues of democracy and human rights is only a thin veneer covering a thick layer of hypocrisy,” said Dr Hosho.

Political commentator Mr Goodwine Mreriwa said Minister Pandor made “a bold Pan-African statement against the US’s ‘either you are with us or against us’ mantra, which undermines the sovereign rights of African countries to independently shape their domestic and foreign policies.

“It is naked bullying for the US to enact extra-territorial laws with punitive measures against countries perceived to be undermining American interests. Zimbabwe is a victim of illegal sanctions. Consciousness of the history of our liberation struggles in Southern Africa explains why Russia and China continue to shield us against Western aggression,” said Mr Mreriwa.

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