Zimbabwe: Western duplicity exposedHerald Reporter
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 - herald.co.zwMs Deborah Bronnert
THE sincerity of Western governments' re-engagement efforts has been thrown into question amid revelations that the American and British governments have been bankrolling quasi-political groupings masquerading as NGOs yet they are de facto appendages of MDC-T.
British ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Deborah Bronnert, who has been talking concerted re-engagement, and her American counterpart Bruce
Wharton, have been implicated in funding MDC-T appendages and seconding staff from key American media organisations to work in the Prime Minister's Office ahead of harmonised elections due on or around the expiry of the inclusive Government on June 29.
Highly-placed sources at the British embassy in Harare revealed that Ms Bronnert is funding the quasi-political groups masquerading as NGOs to the tune of US$2 million to launch an advocacy campaign programme code-named "Feya Feya" ostensibly to demand a "free and fair” election in Zimbabwe.
The funding, which is being channelled through the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, will — among other things — be used to convene a Leaders Conference at Pandhari Lodge in Harare on May 30 and 31 where the quasi-political groups will draw up a list of demands pertaining to the holding of the harmonised elections.
The George Soro's-funded Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa has also released US$36 000 towards the conference to be attended by 200 people drawn from pro-MDC-T civil society organisations like the Coalition Against Corruption and Institute for a Democratic Alternative In Zimbabwe that was recently busted for impersonating police officers.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson Thabani Nyoni switched off his phone when contacted for comment last night.
MDC-T has adopted a strategy of passing its appendages as bona fide civil society organisations in a bid to give weight to its endless demands for "reforms".
For instance, the Coalition Against Corruption, which claims to be a civil society organisation, is closely linked to the PM's Office given that its chairperson, one Terry Mutsunga and his deputy Privilege Masvanhire all work from 14 Bath Road, home to the Institute for a Democratic
Alternative in Zimbabwe, another appendage of the PM's Office masquerading as an NGO.
The conference is expected to precede the launch of "Feya feya” which would be modelled along the framework of the Global Advocacy Campaign to feed into MDC-T's demands for a free and fair election.
The British embassy has so far released US$200 000 towards the campaign which has been used for logistical and other preparatory activities ahead of the launch of the programme to be co-ordinated by a Serbian ‘governance expert" by the name Borjan who will operate from Pretoria, South Africa.
A British embassy source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ms Bronnert believes she can lull Zanu-PF to sleep by talking re-engagement while waiting to spring a surprise ahead of the elections.
"In Shona we call it chikuku vata-vata which lulls an enemy in order to spring a surprise. She (Ms Bronnert) hopes to spring a surprise.
"She believes she can succeed where her predecessors have failed in abetting the regime change agenda," the source said.
Not to be outdone, the US embassy has engineered the seconding of two staffers: Associated Press photographer Tsvangirai Mukwazhi and Wall Street Journal correspondent Farai Mutsaka to work in the PM's Office for the next three months.
Mukwazhi, who doubles as the chief photographer for the Daily News, will be heading a Picture Network Centre which he will be directing from his base in the PM's Office in Harare but which will be networking with photojournalists throughout the country to compile images, real or contrived, that will be used to trash the political environment.
Mutsaka's role, could not be ascertained, though it is most likely that he will be compiling dossiers for the visual campaign along with Mukwazhi. Mutsaka is news editor at the Daily News.
Funding for the Picture Network Centre was raised by Dr Alex Magaisa, political advisor to Mr Tsvangirai.Daily News Group Editor-in-Chief Paul Gama denied knowledge of the planned deployments.
Zimbabwe Media Commission chief executive Dr Tafataona Mahoso said they will comment after the planned deployments.
Presidential spokesperson, Mr George Charamba said they were aware of the developments.
‘'This is a matter we are very much alive to. The officers have not been deployed as yet but we are watching. It also raises key questions for these American media institutions that purport to employ them," Mr Charamba said.
The British and US embassy shenanigans come amid reports that the MDC-T which has been lobbying for a postponement of elections in light of several recent surveys pointing to a Zanu-PF victory in the elections, is not expecting to win and has now shifted attention to trying to discredit the elections.
Western efforts to prop the MDC-T ahead of the elections reportedly invlove infiltrating strategic institutions a development that saw South Africa's ruling ANC is investigating claims that one of the activists chosen to revive the ruling party's youth league, Braam Hanekom, was linked to the MDC-T.
The Sunday Times quoted Hanekom, a nephew of Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom, and a prominent member of the league's national task team, confirming camapaigning for the MDC in 2002 though he denied membership.
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu confirmed that the party was investigating whether Hanekom had ever been a member of the MDC and whether this contravened party policy.
Efforts to get comments from the British and American embassies were fruitless last night as the phones went unanswered.http://www.herald.co.zw/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78555:western-duplicity-exposed&catid=37:top-stories&Itemid=130