The three main political parties in Zimbabwe on Monday July 21, signed what they all termed an historic agreement in which the parties declared and agreed to commit themselves to a dialogue with each other with a view to creating a genuine, viable, permanent and sustainable solution to the Zimbabwean situation. They also dedicated themselves to putting an end to the polarization, divisions, conflict and intolerance that have characterized that country's politics. A memorable event for Zimbabwe, no doubt.
Even before the ink had dried on the agreement, the so-called experts and commentators were already at it giving us their so-called expert opinions on what had just happened, what is going to happen and what is not going to happen. Georgina Godwin in London was very quick out of the blocks, pretending to have already collected and gathered her thoughts on the whole matter, and was on Aljazeera TV shortly after the signing, giving us her opinion, which was nothing more than her chaotic and half-baked thoughts.
What do you think led the parties into signing this agreement? The news presenter on Aljazeera asked for Georgina’s precious opinion. “Maybe because of the international pressure on Mugabe, but then again maybe because the MDC demands and preconditions have been met,” Georgina offered us her opinion. This despite the fact that President Mbeki said after the signing that no party had set conditions for the talks because all the three parties were ready and genuinely willing to engage.
Had Georgina even seen the text of the agreement signed in Harare? Obviously, not. If she had, she would have been aware that the preamble of that text contained the reason for the signing: the parties wanted to dialogue with each other with a view to creating a genuine, viable, permanent and sustainable solution to the Zimbabwean situation and to (put) an end to the polarisation, divisions, conflict and intolerance that have characterized the country's politics. But Georgina had to have a different opinion.
Many Zimbabweans would share President Mugabe’s statement to the effect that “As we begin the interaction, we shall be doing so as Zimbabweans, entirely as Zimbabweans, with the help of South Africa and that we cut off whatever were influences on us from Europe or the United States. We must act as Zimbabweans, think as Zimbabweans, be masters of our own destiny.” But Georgina would have us believe otherwise; “We have Jean Ping of the African Union and Haile Menkerios of the UN looking over the shoulders of the negotiators so you can not really believe what Mugabe says about not wanting outside interference,” she said. Georgina must know that the two gentlemen are part of a ‘reference group’ and will not be looking over anybody’s shoulder. That is not part of their mandate.
What many may not know is that Georgina Godwin is a white, self-exiled Zimbabwean who had it good all her life while the majority of black Zimbabweans got the wrong end of the stick. She lives in London and works for SW Radio, and calls herself a free-lance political analyst. The fact is she is a sworn critic of President Mugabe, like many of the so-called experts on Zimbabwe.
We should be prepared for many of such views from these so-called experts and commentators. But let us be thankful that the parties who signed the agreement on Monday in Zimbabwe agreed, in true African wisdom, that none of the parties shall, during the dialogue period, directly or indirectly communicate the substance of the discussion with the media, and shall refrain from negotiating through the media, whether through their representatives to the dialogue or any of their party officials. The parties must have been aware that there are many Georginas out there. This provision must be bad news to these so-called experts and commentators. For most of us, this is most welcome since it will save us from the half-baked, unsolicited, uninformed, biased comments from the likes of Georgina Godwin.
The South African-based eNews had its white male presenter asking one of its reporters to comment on the signing of the agreement in Zimbabwe, not because the reporter knew more than anybody else about what was happening, or much about what was going to happen, but simply because he holds the title of ‘senior reporter’ at eNews. “Mugabe did not shake Tsvangirai’s hand so warmly and did not look like he wanted to be there while Tsvangirai was quite relaxed,” we were informed by the senior reporter. Why on earth is that important to the whole negotiating process? I bet you if President Mugabe had vigorously shaken Tsvangirai’s hand, the reporter would have analyzed this as eagerness on his part to get the deal done. There is no winning with these ‘experts’!
We shall be endlessly bombarded with these unsolicited and unhelpful views of these mainly white, coloured and Indian experts and commentators who have never lived in Zimbabwe, live miles away or left the country many years ago. They all have a general and ready openness in expressing loudly what the Spirit in them pulls forth. Instead of educating the listeners, they simply bless them with their opinions. One of them, Kalay Maistry, was on Aljazeera saying that the provision prohibiting the parties from speaking to the media during the dialogue period won’t stop people looking at the issues. You can see they are in this just for the irritation.
The people of Zimbabwe are very clever, patient people - probably the cleverest and best educated people on the continent. Wait and see how they take off when the deal is done and they put all their energies into re-building their country. I can bet you the experts and commentators who say things now without foresight, hindsight and indeed eyesight, will tell you when that time comes that they always knew Zimbabweans could do it themselves. And there is always someone ready to pay these experts for their expertise on Zimbabwe. No wonder since these experts exude the friendliness of the salesmen con-artists.
Jendayi Frazer (I shall shortly tell you why I pity that woman) was also on Aljazeera commenting on the signing of the agreement in Zimbabwe. She said something like “There is nothing historic about it and it’s not really a breakthrough” blah, blah, blah. I pity this woman because in Amengeo Amengeo’s words, the US, conscious of its lack of racial credibility in the non-white developing world, has always sought to use black Americans as mouthpieces for positions and statements that coming from white Americans, would carry the baggage of America’s ongoing chronic race struggle. Hit the nail right on the head there brother! And there she was, Jendayi Frazer, right on cue. Jendayi obviously has never heard Ayi Kwei Armah’s saying that there is something so terrible in watching a black man trying at all points to be the dark ghost of a white man.
But wait for the British take on what just happened in Zimbabwe. We will be told that the sanctions have worked in bringing the ZANU (PF) Government to the negotiating table and that more are needed to make sure that ZANU (PF) is serious in the dialogue. As usual, the British and the Americans won’t have read the text of the agreement signed. And as usual, they won’t care a fig about what the people of Zimbabwe think or want.
The EU, the British and the Americans, the congenital partners of resistance who only listen when they are talking and who have kicked into the long grass the real issue on Zimbabwe (the justice of land re-distribution) have been so dishonest, hypocritical and imperialist in their commentary on the Zimbabwean situation if they had any shame they would now start digging a big hole in which to bury themselves when the dialoguing parties reach full agreement to return their country to prosperity. One thing for sure, the British and the Americans will not be getting any accolades from any of the negotiating parties during and after the talks, as the parties cut off whatever has been the influence from the European Union and the USA. Wait for it. The Americans and the British, as with many other so-called experts on Zimbabwe, have painted themselves into a corner. They have come uninvited and arrogant onto the Zimbabwean scene. When the music stops, they may be the only ones left without a chair. Oh, unless they are holding billions of dollars and pounds in their hands as they better be advised to be holding.
By Felix Maonera, a Zimbabwean-trained lawyer. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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