MDC’s civil disobedience tactics cheap publicity stunt
By Obi Egbuna
While the latest demonstrations in Zimbabwe led by MDC faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai have achieved absolutely nothing, on the other hand they exposed a lot.
The obvious thing is that the MDC was responding to pressure from Britain and the United States to destabilise Zimbabwe because their masters have invested a lot of time and money in the opposition over the past eight years only to realise that they have failed to unseat the Government.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s legacy in relation to the African continent will mainly be defined by whether or not he was able to force an illegal racist regime change in Zimbabwe, and his sidekick, United States President George W. Bush, is looking for any victory on foreign policy to shift focus away from the Iraq debacle.
President Mugabe’s two-word response — "Go hang" — to Western critics of his Government demonstrates to Africans worldwide that we at least have one head of state in Africa that does not toss and turn in bed all night worrying about validation by the imperialist powers.
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell has three main issues on his plate before Bush makes his exit from office.
Firstly, he must do everything to make sure Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara reunite the MDC at all costs. Secondly, he will be corresponding with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to exaggerate political violence in Zimbabwe and blame it all on Zanu-PF.
Lastly, he will be working with the International Crisis Group to articulate why the Bush administration is justified in increasing sanctions on Zimbabwe. But Zimbabweans will not be fooled by Tsvangirai and MDC’s so-called Save Zimbabwe Campaign and are too busy with their bread and butter issues.
Thanks to his willingness to be the scapegoat Bush and Blair need to have on the ground in order to convince the entire world that by imposing sanctions they are responding to the wishes of the people.
Tsvangirai and the MDC are too brainwashed to understand that using civil disobedience tactics when you are financed by the two most violent warmongers on the planet is at best a cheap publicity stunt.
How dare a neocolonialist operation like the MDC try to use positive action as a strategy only a few days after the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana’s independence! This is an attempt by Tsvangirai to politically reinvent himself before Bush and Blair leave office.
If he and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions’ Wellington Chibebe fail at provoking confrontations with the police, even the Voice of America and BBC might ignore them. Besides, Trudy Stevenson, an MDC Member of Parliament, was severely beaten up by her own membership last year and also another MDC MP David Coltart publicly exposed that youth members in the MDC were planning to kill their director of security Peter Guhu a couple of years ago.
This led to the spokesmen of both factions — Nelson Chamisa (for Tsvangirai) and Gabriel Chaibva (for Mutambara) — openly debating which faction was more violent. This means African organisations in the Diaspora should really do their homework and resist the temptation of grabbing a few headlines which they are guaranteed to receive if they blame President Mugabe and Zanu-PF for all political violence in Zimbabwe.
Before his resignation from the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People as their president and CEO a few weeks ago, Bruce Gordon sent President Mugabe a letter expressing their concern over alleged police brutality against demonstrators, and, more recently, the executive director of Trans Africa Forum Nicole Lee emphasised the responsibility that Zimbabwe’s Government had to protect the basic human rights of its citizens.
These remarks have serious political implications.
For starters, if they only issue public statements when the MDC and other opposition groups in their opinion are on the receiving end of violence in Zimbabwe, it means they are aligned with them politically or are strongly considering moving in that direction; and, most importantly, they have learned nothing from those who callously validated Mangosuthu Buthelezi in South Africa and Jonas Savimbi in Angola many years ago.
The propaganda war being waged by the US and its European Union cohorts against Zimbabwe has forced Africans to arrive at one conclusion: Any organisation in our community which hasn’t spoken out about the sanctions against Zimbabwe can keep their opinions to themselves. The concept of criticism is a dialectical exercise and some of us have become so intoxicated by our own critiques that we abandon the responsibility to defend a government and people who expect and deserve our solidarity as opposed to excuses to justify abandonment.
The MDC is not a balloon but is definitely full of hot air and Tsvangirai has taken false promises to new unprecedented heights. Last year he promised his British and US sponsors a cold winter of discontent.
When that failed, he then went to the United Kingdom and held a Press conference with Labour MP Kate Hoey urging United Nations intervention in Zimbabwe, only to see former Secretary-General Kofi Annan endorse President Mugabe’s recommendation for former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa to mediate between Britain and Zimbabwe.
The opposition paper called the Zimbabwean leaked a story last year that Tsvangirai was scheduled to be meeting with Botswana’s President Festus Mogae which was to give the appearance he represented legitimate opposition in Zimbabwe, only to see Mogae open the Harare Agricultural Show last August and sign a new agreement of co-operation between the two governments reaffirm his support for the land reclamation programme in Zimbabwe and praise Zimbabwe for being its second biggest trade partner next to South Africa.
At the beginning of the year, the Financial Gazette had an article entitled "Tsvangirai talks tough" in a rare occasion an opposition paper indirectly suggested he had more bark than bite.
Tsvangirai and the MDC also seek to exploit the religious and spiritual tradition of his people to revive his dying support. Why else would these demonstrations attempt to incorporate a prayer?
Why has Tsvangirai never rescheduled the meeting with the church leaders in Zimbabwe that were cancelled due to his father’s death, where the topic of discussion was supposed to be an appeal for him to stop calling for the West to intensify the sanctions against his own people?
Even though Tsvangirai’s speeches and political thoughts lack substance and any real vision, his strength is in disguising himself.
During his time in the ZCTU, he tried to convince forces outside Zimbabwe like the AFL-CIO, Congress of Black Trade Unionists and the US Deputy Assistant of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Jeffrey Krila that President Mugabe and Zanu-PF were out of touch with the working class and only he was in touch with their aspirations.
With the help of imperialist Press he is presently doing his absolute best to reappear as the Dalai Lama in Tibet, which is almost as amusing as when Savimbi wore fatigues to give the public appearance Unita was a guerilla movement and not a CIA-trained and financed group of mercenaries and assassins. The African community in the Diaspora has to make a distinction between examples of military repression and violence and vigilant efforts to defend sovereignty.
The coups and assassinations that imperialist forces have orchestrated in every corner of the planet speak volumes because actions do speak louder than words. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah’s government in Ghana and 2008 will mark the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Maurice Bishop in Grenada.
The premature statements some of our organisations have been writing about Zimbabwe make you wonder: After all of these years, what have we truly learned? Under the guise of civil disobedience, Tsvangirai is seeking total anarchy and confusion. After the outcome of parliamentary elections in 2005, the MDC called for power outages countrywide as a way to show dissatisfaction with the results.
The publicity that Tsvangirai and the MDC receive is contingent on how much chaos their demonstrations can stir up. This is what the Blair and Bush administrations expect and demand of them.
The MDC will learn the hard way that in Zimbabwe, the people don’t accept civilian neocolonialism and an alternative to military neocolonialism. While he is not shooting people in cold blood like his political twin Savimbi, the blood of every Zimbabwean who dies or starves courtesy of sanctions is on their hands.
President Mugabe is known and respected worldwide for his defiance and strategic brilliance, therefore if he and Zanu-PF arrive at the conclusion that the MDC is threatening the national security of Zimbabwe, anything short of giving them unconditional support is compromising the future of the nation.