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Thursday, 3 April 2008

The Zimbabwe Resque Brigade...

The Financial Times has some advice on what needs to be done next, in anticipation of the fall of Mugabe:

So what can be done?

If you lack a stick, then use a carrot. As Zimbabweans prepare for a final heave, their bravery needs to be supplemented by hope: hope that stems from evidence that their future will be marked by a rapid improvement in their wretched circumstances.
Of course, long-term recovery measures must be decided by Zimbabweans themselves; but short-term relief can be assembled in days. Preparation should take the form of an emergency aid conference, convened irrespective of the outcome of the current crisis, ready to be implemented when democracy returns. Donors would be asked to make public commitments to funding or supplying Zimbabwe’s desperate needs: fertiliser for agriculture, raw materials and spare parts for industry,
medicines for clinics, fuel for transport.

On the agenda would also be ways to kick-start the country’s hard-hit tourist industry, once a leading foreign exchange earner and an important employer. Perhaps this could take the form of a one-off offer to foreign visitors of a holiday, at cost, in one of Zimbabwe’s many game parks.

Britain’s Department for International Development should invest the £30m (€38m) it has earmarked for an orderly land reform programme in a commercial farming centre, located on the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border, where dispossessed farmers might regroup to use their expertise.

Meanwhile, newspapers could lead an appeal for books; magazines and academic journals could provide free subscription to the country’s schools and universities and libraries.

This package of measures would be published and made available to every Zimbabwean, telling them what the future holds. Who better to co-ordinate the programme than the Commonwealth, that near-moribund association of 50-odd countries, linked by a history of association with Britain? It was a Commonwealth summit in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, in 1979 that helped lay foundations for Zimbabwe’s inde­pendence elections the following year.

5 comments:

  1. I can't keep it in in nore more: The West is having it's wet dream. This article makes for alternatively comical and sad reading. The irony is too much for me to handle. Regime change has been accomplished; pax brittanica/Americana/EU runs triumphant. Last night a female BBC TV reporter couldn't but utter the wish topmost on their list "perhaps white farmers can retake the farms and other assets appropriated by the state" - I am paraphrasing. This is what this episode has all been about - together with the coal, diamonds, gold, chrome, platinum and fantastc weather Zimbabwe posseses: the commodities rush in is in full force. Let those with eyes see and those with ears hear. The economic powers that be in the West, the moneyed classes, place "property rights" before anything else, not democracy, not human rights. Very sad and tragic for Southern Africa. Don't believe all this hype equating Mugabe with Hitler, Saddam, Stalin and any other ogres they can conjure. These are the same guys that supported without apology atomic apartheid in South Africa, and a racial caste system in Namibia and Rhodesia just yesterday. They are unreconstrcuted worshippers of capital, and care not a whit about historic justice. Zimbabwe has been the perfect couldron where race and economics intersect. It is a true lesson of what the powerful countries will do to you should you vear from orthordoxy.

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  2. Anonymous,

    The economic powers that be in the West, the moneyed classes, place "property rights" before anything else, not democracy, not human rights.

    Very sad and tragic for Southern Africa. Don't believe all this hype equating Mugabe with Hitler, Saddam, Stalin and any other ogres they can conjure. These are the same guys that supported without apology atomic apartheid in South Africa, and a racial caste system in Namibia and Rhodesia just yesterday.

    'Property rigths' and 'rule of law' are just euphemisms for white privilege.

    Where were they, when it was time to secure the property and human rights of the African people, when they were evicted from their land? Nowhere. Where is the compensation for African people, who lost their land and their cattle, and were carried off in bondage? Nowhere, not even in the "Willing Buyer, Willing Seller" scheme.

    Margaret Thatcher refused to implement sanctions on South Africa.

    This is the real land grab, and I hope that Britain will get it's comeuppance.

    If they or the MDC think that they can evict 250,000 African people from the land, there is going to be a civil war.

    They are unreconstrcuted worshippers of capital, and care not a whit about historic justice.

    And they're racists. Why does she think that African land is better off when not in the hands of Africa.

    Some of these theories go very deep.

    You know, on the old MDC website, they had some condescending remarks about how the land issue was 'emotional', and how the land had to be returned to 'it's owners'.

    If Tsvangirai tries to pull anything like that, I think there is going to be bloodshed.

    Fortunately, most of the white farmers have gone, so the MDC might have a harder time getting them to return. That is the only upside I can see.

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  3. While there's surely considerable amounts of racist sentiments behind the calls for respect of the priopriety rights of the white farmer, I think Anonymous is right to call it capital worship. After all, let's not forget that the same calls for the restoration of propriety claims were made for the French noblesse or the Russian aristocracy long after their respective revolutions. And Iranian, Ethiopian, Cuban or even Chinese landowners still openly dream about their fiefdom.
    So don't blame all reactionary arguments on racism.

    And beyond that, there are people out there who saw a trade-off between efficiency and justice (both desirable things) and who thought the redistribution could have been handled differently.


    The land issue is emotional though. Your reaction or the crazy commentary you hear on BBC proves it.

    The millions of Zimbabwean, especially the educated ones, who had moved to the cities and had no interest in farming couldn't care less about who owns the farms, except for emotionnal reasons. They worked and still work in banks, factories and various other industries. The only impact farming had on their lives was the economic activity it generated and their food prices.

    In any case, since it's impossible to go back in time, some new arrangement will have to be made to strike a balance no matter how much foreigners are cheering for a side of the equation or the other.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Random,

    My point was that the MDC's description of the land issue was condescending - toward the Zimbabwean people.

    And for the rule of law - that is just a pretense, as the actions described below show.

    According to the MDC's old manifesto, land ownership was to be carried out by a lands tribunal. Well someone isn't waiting for that:

    http://www.herald.co.zw/inside.aspx?sectid=32880&cat=1
    White former farmers threaten blacks with eviction
    Herald Reporters

    AN increasing number of white former commercial farmers are reportedly threatening resettled black farmers throughout the country with eviction from their farms or face the wrath of an anticipated "incoming MDC government". In Chiredzi, white former sugarcane farmers and conservancy operators have reportedly returned in their droves, threatening to repossess their plots in anticipation of an MDC victory. This has raised fears and apprehension among a host of newly-resettled farmers who benefited under the Zanu-PF Government’s land reform programme.
    Read more...

    ReplyDelete
  5. And for the rule of law - that is just a pretense, as the actions described below show.

    No it doesn't. Sure, some people will want to act outside of the framework but that doesn't make the framework invalid.

    After all, the fact that militias and mobs invaded farms outside of the redistribution process or that croonies profited from it doesn't make you (or me) think that land reform is just a pretense.


    And I still don't see what about the MDC's description is condescending to the Zimbabwean people.

    ReplyDelete

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