On the 25th October, as shall become the norm into the foreseeable future for as long as the burden of illegal sanctions still subsist, the whole region once again echoed the refrain; ILLEGAL SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON ZIMBABWE MUST GO! This refrain shall be repeated wherever opportunity avails across the whole wide world until those who imposed them yield. Since the inaugural campaign on the same day last year, the anti-sanctions movement has gained momentum.
Sanctions must go unconditionally not least because they don’t have a place in civilised society. They are a direct affront to a nation’s Sovereignty. Well-meaning citizens of the world have already begun to unite in the struggle to end abrasive unilateralism of this kind.
The protest expression of collective discontent slated for this historic date is sadly not shared by a tiny minority in our midst who have chosen to side with the oppressor, despite the indubitable history of cruel exploitation and plunder dealt not only to Zimbabwe but to the global South. Yet beyond the banal, there are hard lessons to be learnt around the anti-sanctions movement, especially as it reflects on the greater geo-political terrain obtaining in the region and the world.
The opposition has been wrong-footed once again. They have disregarded a rudimentary didactic that is true for International Relations as it is for all other strategic disciplines, that danger travels faster over short distances, hence one is wont to right relations in their neighbourhood first before courting far flung acquaintances. Regional alliances speak to the future of cooperation among nation states. On the anti-sanctions debate, the MDC is now a solitary red dot amidst a sea of progressive states in SADC, who have taken a stand to oppose pernicious illegal sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe. The MDC is now badly isolated because it has chosen to stand with the Americans, something which has baleful consequences on a wide range of regional strategic issues for them as an opposition political party. States in SADC are now the wiser, after the Libyan debacle. Libya was a hard lesson in regional and continental defence and security cooperation, that if you support the cause of the oppressor, you must number the days before your own subjugation at the hands of that same oppressor.
The Zimbabwean Government on the other hand has made extensive inroads in getting the message out into the region on the illegality of these so called targeted sanctions. One can now observe countries in the region closing ranks in defence of their own. The MDC has resultantly taken a distinctly alien position not shared region wide, in the process losing the little legitimacy and goodwill they may have retained hitherto. But it gets worse for them. It is now obvious that they have worked themselves into a fix that makes them hostage to fate. For them, to denounce sanctions is to stand with the people, but it also means joining hands with political foes, chief among them their political nemesis ZANU PF, something pride refuses them. They would rather engage in a struggle to the death, a struggle bereft of reason, rationale and logic. There is no victory to be won, if there was one it would be a pyrrhic victory, and as one thinker observed, a victory at such a high cost is no victory at all.
In taking this position, the opposition is showing itself as ideologically indisposed towards acceding to the urgency of addressing material considerations of the majority, by redressing social injustices for which the land question was the most sensitive. As such the MDC becomes a national and regional security threat with the propensity to sow seeds of doubt and discord among the rank and file as their preferred instrument of choice. The Patriot Bill, soon to become law should straighten out these ugly creases on the national garment.
But worse still, the position taken by the MDC takes the hue of a blatant attempt to negate the sacrifices of revolutionary icons who include Robert Mugabe, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Samora Machel, Nelson Mandela, among many other leading lights in a constellation of nationalists and pan Africanists. They now stand in opposition to a whole collective history of a people.
The MDC will henceforth be correctly seen as an instrument thrust in our midst to derail a whole generation’s aspirations, whose brazen attempt to annul a cause for which live and limb were lost in mortal combat against a centuries old foe stands in contempt of a continent’s centuries old travails and injuries which are yet to be atoned for. They are here to do their masters’ bidding, to re-shackle us who are now free. It is a lesser crime to fall among a motley crew of misguided elements for a season, than to display insolence at this grand scale. Their pattern of treachery is clearly formed out, their history is checkered. Yet even then, despite all these failings there still is room for rehabilitation, after all the revolutionary creed rests solidly on the ethos of reorienting and instructing the wayward.
The fatal defect of this position is that the MDC has put itself at the service of a declining world power. America can no longer straddle across the globe without losing balance and tipping over. It just doesn’t possess the leverage and power it once threateningly hung over the heads of smaller states like the sword of Damocles. The US has to project power over a long distance and even then its arm is now no longer as lethal. Its receding frontier of dominance is giving way to new alliances while reinvigorating old ones in Zimbabwe’s favour especially in the global South. Sooner or later, the Americans must give in, at which point the final implosion of the MDC will set in.
ZIDERA ostensibly stands for the upholding of democratic values and for the advancement of democratisation, yet the fact of the matter is that for the Americans the outcomes of democratic processes in our territories cease to be viewed as democratic when they are not compatible to the economic and geo strategic interests of the West. The Americans have arrogated to themselves the right to define democracy, which definition shifts in tow to the dictates of their foreign policy. To please them must of necessity mean to prostrate a country before their altars that consume state after state without satiation. They seek to govern the world by exercising tyranny even through proxy.
In the case of Zimbabwe, the American agenda to illegally depose a democratically elected government through crippling sanctions, stratagem and political proxy is hardly the hallmark of a benign world super power. America is neither benign towards us nor is it still, thankfully, an unchallenged super power. The anti-sanctions movement is thus an indictment on American overt and covert aggression.
It is utterly futile to expect the Zimbabwean Government to abandon and renege on the post-colonial righting of past injustices, outcomes which positively affect the material circumstances of the majority indigenous populations. There is no justification in hobbling a whole economy while seeking to depose a democratically elected Government to placate a small number of racist commercial farmers who in their estimate are worth everything, deserve everything and stand above scrutiny. Zimbabwe could not side step an obligation it owed to the landless masses even in the face of abrasive resistance from powerful western nations and amidst the spectre of retribution that this resolve inevitably invited.
Zimbabwe is grateful to its sister republics in the SADC region and beyond who have been unrelenting in their support of this cause. After all, they have shared with the country the pain inflicted by the brunt that reprisals encapsulated as illegal sanctions imposed on its people. They have done so knowing full well that Zimbabwe’s fate, should they abandon it, could befall them in future. The frontline states well understood this dictum during the prosecution of armed struggles across the region. With this hindsight, it must be known that the struggle Zimbabwe is waging today must not be confined within its territory alone. Instead, nations across the world must have to, at some point, gather the same courage we summoned, and confront the monster we are confronting and overthrowing today. For such we stand ready to support. Zimbabwe stands ready to oppose oppression wherever it is to be found, for as long as it exists. The struggle of the oppressed is our struggle, and inversely, our struggle is also theirs to bear. Our strength lies in standing together.
In this vein, the 15 SADC countries, nay, the 55 countries of Africa are not only geographically contiguous. Instead, land hunger manifests itself everywhere across the continent. The need for restitution is ubiquitous. On this basis the regional and continental cooperation exists to extricate the states of the global South from the grip of tyranny. It is no happy accident that Zimbabwe has received so much international support, notably from the UN itself. The UN after all is the acceptable arbiter of all international disputes, but it too has been spurned by the headstrong Americans.
We are now witnessing the anti-sanctions movement growing in leaps and bounds, our ranks have swelled and we have gathered momentum as we consolidate to push back the tide that had appeared for a while as about to overrun us.
It is regrettable that there are still some among us who continue to play truant to the tutelage of reason and logic, who wilfully forget that the West has no moral stead to instruct us on democratic principles that they themselves continue to violate as they seek to further their interests, while undermining the stability of our country.
Those who desecrate the cradle of the independent African State by supporting the imposition of illegal sanctions, openly repudiate the values that underlie that independence in its present form and in the aspirations it seeks to attain in future. Those who hope to govern in that future must today demonstrate that they possess at least some modicum of foresight coupled with strong historical underpinnings, conscious of the horrendous experiences dealt the African at the hands of a marauding extractive white terror.
Our friends and allies, and those who want to be counted as such have already shown their hand in standing with us in support of the Anti-Sanctions movement.