AFRICAN FOCUS By Tafataona P. Mahoso
THE Herald newspaper did well on May 28 2008 when it alerted the nation
to the meetings being held in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe,
meetings being convened by two US ambassadors (James McGee and Patrick
Kelly Diskin) and the UK ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Andrew Pocock.
The white Anglo-Saxon axis is in panic over Africa; and Zimbabwe is at
the epicentre of the white tremors currently wearing the black faces of
James McGee and Morgan Tsvangirai. Not only did these ambassadors follow
the same route Morgan Tsvangirai has been travelling since the March
harmonised elections; Diskin and Pocock have, in fact, followed McGee
and Tsvangirai back to Zimbabwe as the campaign for the June 27 run-off
But is there a panic? Why is there a panic? There is a panic because
these ambassadors have been co-ordinators of what the US expert
saboteur, John Perkins, calls the "CIA jackals" phase of the regime
change project against Zimbabwe. There is panic because the key
activities of the "CIA jackals" in the last month have produced results
which have backfired on the sponsors. What do we mean?
We mean that, on the political surface these activities were supposed to
start with the turning away from South African shores of the Chinese
ship bringing weapons for various Sadc countries; and reach a climax
with the misnamed "xenophobic attacks" on alleged Zimbabweans in South
Africa which were supposed to be echoed by equally horrific Selous
Scouts-styled attacks on resettled peasants and farmers in Zanu-PF
strongholds inside Zimbabwe.
The aim was to project Zimbabwe as a country which was such a grave
menace to itself and its neighbours that UN Secretary- General Ban
Ki-moon would be left with no choice but to go back to the UK-US demand
that Zimbabwe be brought before the UN Security Council, which the UK
would chair anyway.
In all these surface political activities and the accompanying media
publicity, the victims of intra-community violence in South Africa and
the victims of sponsored violence inside Zimbabwe would be portrayed as
opponents of President Mugabe. That was the meaning of The Standard
story: "Zimbabweans: beaten and killed at home and away", on the front
page on May 25 2008.
And while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would be doing Britain’s bid
against Zimbabwe at the Security Council, former UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan would also be given the set of political events needed to
justify agitation for a Kenya-style government of national unity (GNU)
in Zimbabwe. Such a GNU would rescue Tsvangirai from the massive
backlash which he has provoked in the whole region since the March 29
The same week as The Standard story attempting to portray all victims of
violence at home and abroad as opponents of President Mugabe also saw an
unusual number of stories on the so-called government of national unity:
"GNU unavoidable, says Mnangagwa," The Standard, May 25; Annan pushes
for GNU," Zimbabwe Independent, May 30; "Makoni calls for transitional
government," Zimbabwe Independent, May 30; and "Zanu-PF, MDC in secret
GNU talks," Zimbabwe Independent, May 23 2008.
Beneath this political propaganda surface, there is the economic war
whose contours are shaped by the US sanctions law against Zimbabwe: the
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act.
The two levels are, however, inter- dependent. The engines of inflation
in Zimbabwe are embedded in the sanctions regime and in the structure of
the neo-colonial economy; but the resulting inflation is open, public
and experienced daily and openly, just like the political events on the
In his Black Book of American Intervention in Chile, Armando Uribe
concluded that the political supremacy of US-led imperialism depended
both on military control and economic control. Security and military
control was the main objective of the empire’s public institutions while
economic control was the main objective of its private and corporate
institutions. Uribe concluded thus: "Dividing and bringing internal
confusion to all the structures of the dominated country, beginning with
the political and administrative, is a deliberate activity of the public
and private agents of imperialism."
Put another way, a country dominated by imperialism suffers the great
disadvantage that, whereas the public and corporate sectors in
imperialist countries are united in their objective of world domination,
the public and corporate sectors in the dominated country are usually
This antagonism explains why, in Zimbabwe, for instance, the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Zimbabwe National Chamber
of Commerce have refused to condemn and resist the illegal economic
sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, unlike in apartheid South Africa and
Rhodesia during UDI, where they saw their role as part of the Western
domination of Africa and therefore helped break the sanctions on behalf
of imperialist and white settler interests.
A correct interpretation of Uribe’s observation therefore is that when
imperialism undermines the economy of the targeted country it generates
facts and effects which feed its propaganda against that country’s
political institutions and leadership. Likewise, when imperialism
engages in propaganda attacks on the public institutions of the targeted
country, the propaganda or psychological war also generates "facts" and
effects which also undermine the economy.
This fact makes the acknowledgment of political sanctions while denying
economic sanctions against Zimbabwe a merely academic exercise or part
of the strategy to deceive the people.
Causes of the White Fright
There are many reasons why the regime change camp and its sponsors are
in panic mode over Zimbabwe.
The first reason is that the successful examples after which Zimbabwe
was supposed to model itself, Kenya and South Africa, have become
problematic. The death of more than a thousand people and the
displacement of many more in Kenya after the abortive elections of
December 2007, rendered Kenya ineffective as a model for Zimbabwe to
follow in terms of neo-colonialist discourse.
The so-called "xenophobic attacks" on migrant workers in South Africa
was originally meant to be blamed on Zimbabwe and to galvanise
anti-Zimbabwe sentiment throughout the region. The violent attacks on
migrant workers would have been blamed on Zimbabwe while South Africa
itself would be pictured as a shining example of economic and political
success, which explained why so many Zimbabweans left Zimbabwe to go
But the opposite has happened. The majority of migrant workers affected
have turned out to be Mozambicans, and this is hardly a surprise. But
the countries with affected nationals have turned out to be many more
than Zimbabwe. They include Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana
Instead of generating anti-Zimbabwe hysteria, the attacks have exposed
the limits of South Africa’s "Rainbow" ethos and provoked a fresh
Pan-African backlash against the opposition forces and media driving the
More specifically, the fact that Morgan Tsvangirai was the only
opposition politician from outside South Africa who openly tried to
exploit the clashes further, and to use them against the Government of
Zimbabwe, has focused suspicion on foreign-sponsored opposition parties
in the region. This is so when observers look back and see the same
forces behind the turning away of the Chinese ship in the same country a
month before. At that time US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi
Fraser threw herself into the middle of the controversy surrounding the
turning away of the Chinese ship.
In other words, the series of orchestrated events were supposed to end
with Zimbabwe sitting before the UN Security Council and the US and UK
being given that body’s permission to intervene directly in Zimbabwe.
Instead, the orchestrated events have produced what we saw on the front
page of The Herald newspaper of May 30 2008: "Stop meddling in Zimbabwe,
Mbeki tells Bush".
The second reason for the white fright is that the personalities who
were to be deployed against Zimbabwe have found their assignment
completely overshadowed by much bigger and more urgent developments: UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has found himself having to deal with a
real and much bigger crisis caused by cyclone Nagis in Myanmar. From
there he has had to attend to yet another real natural catastrophe in
the form of the aftermath of the earthquake in China.
The white racist opposition in South Africa, led by the Democratic
Alliance, has tried hard to make Zimbabwe the main issue in the
intra-community violence taking place in that country. But this has
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has also found it impossible to continue
hammering at the mote in Zimbabwe’s eye while covering up the log in
South Africa’s own eye. The intra-community attacks on Africans there
have been quite horrific and unlike anything ever seen in Zimbabwe. So,
whatever challenges Zimbabwe may be facing, they are not what the
white-sponsored opposition forces in the region say they are; which is
to say that the regime change forces are the wrong players to resolve
A third cause for the white fright is the failure of the "blitzkrieg"
which the MDC and its white sponsors unleashed on Zimbabwe just before
the March 2008 harmonised elections.
One effect of the foreign Euro-American sponsorship of African
opposition parties is that they are forced to adopt a "blitzkrieg"
approach to election campaigning and propaganda.
The "blitzkrieg" approach was developed by Adolph Hitler and the Nazis
of Germany. It has been inherited by the new rightwing movements of the
West who now sponsor regime change around the world.
A "blitzkrieg" approach requires big and fast lies or propaganda; it
requires doing and achieving the regime overthrow "ka one", meaning fast
and at once. Everything is done so big and so fast that most countries
are unable to pick up the pieces or explain what has actually happened.
The Zambians are still not sure how they discarded former president
Kenneth Kaunda and his United National Independence Party (UNIP) so
fast. The Kenyans have found that everything fell apart so fast that
neither a re-run nor a run-off could be undertaken. The only thing that
was possible was to forget the messed-up elections and go to the
negotiating table. This is what the MDC’s sponsors had prepared for
Zimbabwe in 2008.