Zimbabwe is a wake up call for Africa

The colonial destruction of Zimbabwe began in 1895. That was after that arch agent of British imperialism, Cecil Rhodes had said:
“The clearing of the land of savages could now be achieved in two to three years with the aid of a certain amount of machine guns. I contend that we are the first race in the world, that the more world we inhabit, the better it is for the human race.”
After Zimbabwe was seized through colonial terrorism and renamed Rhodesia, Britain offered to release its criminals in its prisons if they agreed to go to “Rhodesia” where they could have free land and gold mines for themselves and for the British Empire.
When that venerated patriotic woman, that heroic daughter of Africa “Ambuye” Nehanda organised the African resistance against British colonial terrorism, the imperialist invaders killed and hanged her. This was to demonstrate what happens to those Africans who opposed colonial terrorism.
In the 1960’s following the outlawing of their earlier liberation movements against British colonialism; Africans in Zimbabwe formed ZAPU and ZANU to intensify their liberation struggle. As it became stronger and included guerrilla warfare, the colonialists under Ian Smith, a colonial prime minister; declared their “independence” This was a rebellion against the British Crown. But Britain never crushed that rebellion of its European colonial settlers.
Thousands of Zimbabweans died in many battle fields until they won their liberation in 1979 through negotiations with Britain in which Robert Mugabe emerged as Prime Minister and later as President. There was also the Lancaster House Agreement through which Britain would buy land from its colonial farmers. The liberation movements were not prepared to buy their own land of their ancestors. It was taken from the Zimbabweans through the barrel of colonial guns.
Later Britain refused to pay money to buy land colonially seized from the Zimbabweans and to be returned to its African owners. This was in violation of the terms of the Lancaster House Agreement. ZANU PF government under President Robert Mugabe seized their land that had been taken away from their people through colonial terrorism.
In April 2004 an unexpected and strange source, Pik Botha who was apartheid colonial South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Minister from 1977 to 1994, wrote an article on Zimbabwe in April 2004. Among other things he said, “In my opinion, Her Britannica Majesty’s Government shares part of the blame. The land issue has a long history [in Zimbabwe]….
Cecil John Rhodes was irresistibly attracted by reports that King Lobengula’s Matebeleland [ Southern Zimbabwe] was rich in gold. He exhorted a concession from Lobengula which enabled him to obtain the Royal Charter for his British South African Company with mischievous objectives.
One of Rhode’s buddies, someone called Leander Star Jameson, led British troops on a plundering invasion of the vast regions north of the Limpopo. The force occupied Mashonaland [north Zimbabwe] in 1890, establishing Salisbury as their headquarters. In 1893 Jameson took Bulawayo [in South Zimbabwe] displaying their deadly machine guns against the Ndebele fighters.
According to Terrence Ranger of Oxford, most of seizure of land in Zimbabwe by white settlers took place between 1898 and 1923. The pillaging of land in Zimbabwe under British rule left scars which fuel demands for restitution.” (THIS DAY newspaper then published in South Africa 8 April 2004)
Pik Botha has pointed out that various attempts were made to resolve the Zimbabwe land issue within the Lancaster House Agreement, but in vain. Zimbabwe leaders including Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo accused the colonial power Britain of reneging on its promises and “Britain accusing Zimbabwe of neglecting to co-operate.”
It was not the first time Britain had protected the rights of colonialists against those of the African people. In South Africa through its Union of South Africa Act 1909, and Native Land Act 1913; Britain gave 93% of the African land to its 349,837 colonial settlers and only 7% to over five million African owners of the country. 6% was added to the five million Africans in 1936 through the Native Trust Land Act 1936 which is still 13% of African land according to Section 25(7) of “New South Africa” constitution
Indeed, on 20th July 1914 five leaders of the South African Native National Congress (SANCC) presented an African Petition to King George V. In that petition they demanded, “That the natives (indigenous Africans) should be put into possession of land in proportion to their numbers, and on the same conditions as the European race.”
There is no record that this King of England replied directly or indirectly. A sympathetic London daily newspaper however spilled the beans. It reported:
“In carving out estates for themselves in Africa, the white races have shown little regard for the claims of the black man. They have appropriated his land and have taken away his economic power and freedom and have left him worse than they found him…the blacks compared with whites are in proportion of four to one, but are in legal occupation of one fifteenth of their land…the deputation of natives now in England has appealed to the imperial government for protection.”
It seems however that the British colonial policy was always heavily influenced by its racist colonial settlers that were given land and authority in African countries through colonial terrorism. The colonial policy was racist. For instance, a British colonial official in South Africa, Glen Grey said in 1894:
“The Natives (Africans) are generally looked upon by Whites as an inferior race, whose interests must be systematically disregarded when they come into competition with their own and should be governed with a view to the advantage of the superior race.
For this reason, two things must be afforded to white colonists. Land…the Kaffir population [derogatory colonial term for Africans] should be made to furnish, as large and cheap a supply of labour as possible.”
In “Rhodesia,” Roy Welensky who had been honoured by the British as “Sir Roy” had already pronounced himself as defender of white supremacy. He said, “People who in their minds think that we might abdicate in ten to fifteen years…ought to prepare themselves for a rude shock.”
His colleague, Ian Smith put it more bluntly. He said, “Let me say it again. I don’t believe in Black majority rule ever in Rhodesia – not in a thousand years….”
At Lancaster House in London the British government did not take into account the deep-seated racism of its colonial settlers. The legitimate interests of the people of Zimbabwe were to be disregarded if they came into competition with those of the colonial settlers who ignorantly believed that they are a “superior race.”
Anyway, the dispute between Britain and independent sovereign Zimbabwe led Britain and its European Union partners to impose economic sanctions on Zimbabwe. This was under cover of “violation of human rights” by ZANU PF Government. But at the same time the European Union arrogantly wanted to observe Zimbabwe elections and decide if they were “democratic” or not. The European countries were by no stretch of imagination impartial in these elections. Their main objective was “regime change” and a government that would serve their European economic interests.
Their economic sanctions have of course, damaged the African country badly. They impoverished the people. There was also a time when the cholera disease broke out. Many Zimbabweans died because of inaccessible immunisation vaccine that could not be imported.
The whole world was told by Britain and its European Union partners that the purpose of economic sanctions was to punish the officials of ZANU PF Government. This was not true. It is the ordinary people that suffered and even died as a result of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by these Western countries including America.
It must be remembered that when sanctions were proposed against Ian Smith’s Rhodesia as well as against the apartheid colonialist regime in South Africa (Azania), Western countries were the first to oppose these sanctions vehemently. Their excuse was that the sanctions would harm “ordinary people.” But in Zimbabwe the “ordinary people” who were Africans became a non-issue.
China and Russia are the major countries that opposed sanctions against Zimbabwe. According to Global Policy Forum, it is the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Boutros Ghali who in 1996 called on the United Nations General Assembly to reconsider how it uses sanctions.
An American President Woodrow Wilson had in 1919 already said, “A nation that is boycotted is a nation that is in sight of surrender.” So the purpose of economic sanctions is meant for a nation to surrender and be dominated and economically destroyed. It is indeed shameful to impose sanctions on a developing country that was rapaciously colonially under-developed by Britain in the first place.
Gross injustice and racism is still practised by many Western countries in Africa. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI spoke the indisputable truth that has been hidden for centuries. He declared, “Our Western way of life has stripped Africa’s people of their riches and continues to strip them.”
Corroborating this fact, a member of the Scottish Parliament Mark Ballard affirmed, “Our relationship with Africa is an exploitative one. The West no longer needs to send standing armies in Africa to strip its resources because it can do it more effectively with multi-national companies.”
This is one of the reasons why African leaders who demand genuine liberation for Africa are dubbed “radicals,” “militants,” “extremists” etc. While those who continue to manage the country and its economic resources to the disadvantage of their own African people are called “moderates,” or “reasonable.”
The British humanitarian Blackhouse was not exaggerating or misinformed when he said: “Upon principles that cannot be too strongly reprobated, and which want radical reformation, Aborigines [indigenous Africans], have had wholesale robbery of territory committed upon them…and settlers have become receivers of stolen goods.”
Seven Western European countries were part of the inhuman brutal Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade or signatories to the Berlin General Act of 26 February 1885. They heard with jubilation their Belgian chairman Leopold at the Berlin Conference say, “We are here to see how we should divide this magnificent African cake.” Such countries have not a drop of legitimacy to lecture Africa about “democracy,” “human rights,” and “rule of law.”
When Robert Mugabe’s government allowed 4000 British colonial farmers to keep over twelve million hectares of farm land, Queen Elizabeth II honoured Mugabe with the title of Knighthood. Edinburgh University awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1994. In 1986 Massachusetts University had given Mugabe an honorary degree of LL.D. But when Mugabe’s government later raised the land question, the source of economic power and prosperity for a nation; these universities revoked their honorary degrees on Mugabe.
On 25 June 2008 the Queen of England too, revoked the Knight Grand Cross in order of Bath which she had in 1994 bestowed on President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe however, is one of Africa’s most educated Presidents. His knowledge is not depended on honorary degrees. He has seven earned academic degrees two of which he obtained while in the Rhodesian colonial prisons.
The people of Zimbabwe have made tremendous progress in education under the ZANU PF rule. Probably to inspire his people to seek and increase their knowledge; President Robert Mugabe himself, did his Master of Science in economics (M.Sc. degree) while already head of Zimbabwe government. This was after independence. His record of earned degrees is as follows:
1. Bachelor of Arts – B.A. (majoring in history and English) Fort Hare University 1951
2. Bachelor of Administration – B. Admin. University of South Africa
3. Bachelor of Education –B.Ed. University of South Africa
4. Bachelor of Science in Economics University of London (External Programme)
5. Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) University of London (External Programme)
6. Master of Laws LL. M. degree from the University of London (External Programme)
7. Master of Science in Economics- M.Sc.- University of London (External Programme).
Mugabe has 11 honorary university degrees from countries such as Nigeria, Tanzania, Russia and Mauritius. These countries have not revoked these degrees. In all, Mugabe has 18 university degrees excluding the three revoked by Western universities over ZANU PF policy on repossession of land by its Zimbabwean owners.
In conclusion it is important to remind that the present and future leaders of the African Union carry a huge burden of responsibility for Africa’s people on their shoulders. They must wake up. How long will Africa be bullied by former colonial terrorists?
This may be a bitter pill to swallow. But whatever wrongs Robert Mugabe may have committed; they are far outweighed by those of the authors of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, colonial stealing of African countries, riches, artefacts and under-developing Africa through colonial terrorism and racism.
Robert Mugabe was right when he told the United Nations General Assembly on 27 September 2013 “Our small country is threatened daily by covetous and bigoted big powers whose hunger for domination and control of other nations and their resources knows no bounds.”
He was not wrong when he told Britain and America,“ Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans, so are its resources. Please remove your illegal and filthy sanctions from my peaceful country.”
A good doctor does not treat a symptom as a disease. Africans too, must not take colonial effects for the cause of Africa’s problems. An African proverb is clear about this. “D o not look where you fell but where you slipped.” This means do not look at where you failed, but at why you failed.
Usually, these are two different places. Where we fell is not always where we slipped. Therefore, to solve a fundamental problem we must know the true cause of that problem. Otherwise we will keep on fumbling without success.
If so much was never stolen by colonialists, and damaged Africa so devastatingly, this Continent would be far ahead today economically and technologically. Damage to Zimbabwe in whatever form, has been more caused externally by desperate colonialists than internally. No African country has ever survived such inhuman and viciously sustained economic sanctions like Zimbabwe and for such a long time.
Western “democracy” has reduced the once stable economically prosperous Libya under Muammar Gaddafi to despicable national humiliation. It has reduced Somalia to ashes. It unjustly got Saddam Hussein of Iraq hanged for his county’s oil. This was all under the falsehood of “democracy.” Western “democracy” is responsible for the rise ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It has fermented terrorism throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world. This Western “democracy” has almost destroyed Syria.
Iran and North Korea are being distabilised for being not “democratic.” This is all for the inhuman purpose of Western European and American imperialist domination. Zimbabwe is a wakeup call for Africa. Western imperialism is not dead. Africa will be destroyed if Africa’s leaders do not strengthen this Continent’s sovereignties and become truly free independent nations with their own Pan African institutions and values.
Eurocentricity is not democracy. The Africentric view of the world exists. It must be upheld and respected. Africa must not again be enslaved and colonised under a false cover of “democracy” that is defined by former authors of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialism and racism.
The time for “co-operation” of horses and riders in which Africans are horses and others are riders must be banished from the African world. It is disrespectful of Africa and Africans. It is sinful, pagan and ungodly. Zimbabwe is a wakeup call for Africa. Africa is not a “child race.” END
(Dr. Motsoko Pheko is a historian, political scientist, theologian, lawyer and author of several books. He is former Member of South African Parliament and former Representative of the victims of apartheid and colonialism at the United Nations in New York at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.)

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