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We won't be governed by ignorance

The Reason Wafawarova
OBERT GUTU thinks the EU-Africa summit held on the 2nd and 3rd of April was "high profile and high level," and that it was "childish" for Zimbabwe to boycott the "historic visit to Brussels."

Gutu clearly thinks it is childish to have the integrity to reject unwarranted patronising behaviour, and he believes it is the epitome of European maturity to deny an invited guest the right to travel in the company of his wife.

Many family men across Africa left their homes to fight the white man during the colonial era because they thought it was disrespectful to be forced to remove their hats for European children, among a whole lot of other humiliating impositions from the superiority-addicted Europeans.

Robert Mugabe is one such man who left his family and languished in the white man's jails because he refused to be insulted by the selfprofessed superiority of the European, more so in his own backyard. Any African man worthy the name knows that you do not cross the line and go unharmed when it comes to one's mother, wife, or even sister.

These female relations are so sensitive in the African culture that only one with suicidal tendencies will dare insult an African man along the lines of his mother, wife or sister. Even Obert Gutu cannot stand that, and he knows it is not childish to be offended by an insult of this nature.

After over a hundred years of colonial domination the Europeans seem to know well how best to insult an African man, and it's a pity that Africans like Gutu often cheer them on, many times for a fee, sorry dependency.

Gutu showered Foreign Affairs deputy minister Chris Mutsvangwa with platitudinous praises for his radio interview rampancy against his Ministry's boss and permanent secretary, both accused by the former of causing gross embarrassment to the Presidency by dignifying European 'supremacy' through an uncalculated move to launch a visa application for the First Lady without first establishing the mood of the Europeans.

Mutsvangwa's conniption was obviously worsened by the unenviable fate of the role of deputising, and much of his asperity was nothing more than anger venting at two characters he views as obsessed with control monopoly.

He barely touched on matters of foreign policy, apart from capitalising on a revisionist error to hit hard on his perceived opponents, or is it work place tormentors?

For refusing to be patronised by Europeans, and subsequently boycotting an event where Zimbabwe was set to be treated as a nation of lesser beings, Obert Gutu laments that we belong to a country whose foreign policy is run by "political clowns," and "visionless bureaucrats." In his opinion we must be dead serious in our determination to be visionary in availing ourselves to the superior West. He calls it globalisation, which he says rules "whether we like it or not."

He argues, "it is Zimbabwe that needs the world rather than the world that needs Zimbabwe," incautiously suggesting that the EU-Africa relations make up his idea of the world. Obert Gutu belongs to a political party where ignorance at the top has dismally failed to govern knowledge at the lower ranks, and he is one ardent cadre still so committed at perpetuating the rule of ignorance - parading himself as the weirdest legal mind in the history of Zimbabwe's law school, alongside Douglas Mwonzora, who has recorded a five-track praise-singing musical album presuming the immortality of Morgan Tsvangirai.

Of course, in the history of humanity, it is knowledge that governs ignorance, not vice versa, and that is why Tsvangirai is the failure he has become. It is not his fault that he is demising. It is just the fate of ignorance, and no amount of praise singing or idolisation can redeem one from foolishness.

Africa is the only continent where Europe still has a strong influence, and we must view the EUAfrica relations in this context. Firstly the EU has flatly refused to name these relations EU-AU relations, precisely because Europeans do not want to create an image of equality in this partnership. There is power in naming and verbalising, and it is very important that a notion that says the African Union is an equal regional partner to the European Union is not created. It is poor strategy for Europe to undermine the myth of their supremacy, and clearly they are not about to do that.

Rather, let us have EU-Africa summits where the verbalised relations are of a united Europe dealing with an individualised Africa. Our unwary African leaders fall over each other endorsing this kind of patronisation, and at this scale of political naivety, novices like Gutu can be forgiven with a light heart. The first EU-Africa summit was held in 2000 in Cairo, and thereafter the event was postponed for the next seven years, mainly because of the impasse over the Zimbabwe/ Mugabe sanctions.

The recent boycott of the summit by Zimbabwe is an extension of these tenacious relations that started with Zimbabwe's land acquisition policy of 2000, and in this context it can only be Gutu who is being childish in his political analysis. We then had the Lisbon summit of 2007 where Zimbabwe was grudgingly invited after the AU threatened a wholesome boycott in protest, forcing Britain's Gordon Brown to do a counter boycott in protest - in the process sanctioning himself over an event held on his own continent, making a huge fool of himself.

This was followed by the 2010 Sirte summit in Libya, and what we must ask ourselves are questions related to the politics of these summits, especially in view of China's glaring incursions in Africa. We can only be foolish if we underestimate the effect of competition over access to the resources of Africa.

In 2008, the European Commission published a strategy document on raw materials titled, "Raw Materials Initiative - Meeting Our Critical Needs for Growth and Jobs in Europe."

This title fits very well into the politics of the 19th century, where under the concept of New Imperialism Europe sought colonies as a strategy to meet its critical needs for raw materials. In 1884-85 the Berlin Conference was held, leading to the partitioning of the African continent where Europeans drew national boundaries for today's African countries at a European table, for Europeans, and over the collective will of all Africans.

The critical need for raw materials is still the driving force behind Europe's interest in Africa, and it is now 130 years after the Berlin conference. Africa is still willing to be hosted by Europe in newer versions of the Berlin conference like the so-called EU-Africa summits. ObertGutu is even convinced that such gatherings make up the world. We are the reason of where we stand as Africans in international relations. In the 2008 EU document, the Europeans commit to new rules and to ensuring compliance with international law in effecting the contentious Free Trade Agreements and non-preferential agreements.

But how does one talk free trade with a partner they so wish to dominate and control? Interfering in the compositions of who makes up delegations for African leaders and pretending equality of partnership must be seen for what it is - an ill thought insult misplaced in the colonial belief that the African mind is infested with primitiveness and ignorance. What comes out of the EU document is that there are 14 critical raw materials needed by Europe, and Africa has all of these. Zimbabwe has a majority of them. The EU wants to fight export restrictions for these raw materials, and Zimbabwe is at the forefront of pushing for value addition to Africa's raw materials.

It is not surprising that Zimbabwe's policy on resources has generally been denounced by the West as "unsound," and in the European context this makes some sense. The policy is for the benefit of Africans, not for appeasing those who wish to pillage the continent. Sadly, Zimbabwe celebrates being admitted to the Antwerp Diamond Auction group as a huge diplomatic and political victory, as if the country is incapable of holding its own auctioning of the precious stone. Mbada's CEO says there is no known reason why Zimbabwe is not holding its own diamond auctions. Post-colonisation has some of the most striking ironies and contradictions one can ever imagine.

Instead of bargaining hard on the strength of possessing the critical raw materials needed by Europe today, African leaders of today behave like the West African chiefs and kings that helped a few hundred Europeans export millions of slaves during the slave trade. Then Africa saw it fit to sell human souls to the highest bidder, and today Africa gives away its Godgiven resources in the name of aid and foreign investment - concepts over which Africa has no control whatsoever.

Temba Mliswa even thinks taking an investor to an uncle cabinet minister is some form of consultancy, and brags that he "does not come cheap." He explains something about his uncle being "the leader of Manicaland." The uncle in question is no more than a highranking Zanu-PF official who happens to be a Minister of State in the President's office, responsible for Presidential affairs.

Apart from the route of corruption, one wonders how this uncle becomes a factor in investment matters, and of course it is very hard to understand his locus standi as a "leader of Manicaland," given that he is not the designated Provincial Affairs Minister of that region.

Mliswa pumps it up vigorously as an emancipation ambassador for the African cause, but he freely takes helicopter rides across the country scouting which resource to give away to the European next - all in the name of entrepreneurship and black empowerment. He wants a fee for helping foreigners fleece the country of its resources, and only reclaims his African revolutionary hat when the deal flops in his tiny dirty hands.

That Mliswa has the temerity to call for a Press Conference where he freely chronicles a series of corrupt activities involving himself and other people without remorse is a sign of where we stand as Zimbabweans over matters of accountability. He claims to have vital information over alleged bribes given to known officials, and all that does is provide comic relief for the public, and no interest whatsoever is elicited from our law enforcement agents.

And Mliswa preaches accountability too, bragging that he belongs to the school of knowledgeable parliamentarians that does not give it easy to a blundering and corrupt executive.

If only Billy Rautenbach had met his side of the deal with Mliswa, we would be looking at a multi-million dollar corruption case right now, (if ever it was going to come to light), and Mliswa would undoubtedly be fighting from the white man's corner in defence of his own personal interests.

We cannot match the machinations of a determined Europe with the kind of corruption that reigns in Zimbabwe today, and with dependency- minded people like Gutu and Mliswa littering our political landscape.

Gutu believes in subordination to dominant global powers in order to attract aid and job-creating investment and he is proud of his convictions. We do not need jobcreating investment in Africa. We need wealth-creating investment. Mliswa believes he can offer foreign investors expensive courier services to the offices of corrupt government officials all in the name of consultancy, and he has the audacity to declare, "in Zimbabwe this is what we call normal business." Really?

Zanu-PF must not mix its mandate as a political party with its role as a national administrator, and the party must remind the likes of Mliswa that the administration of the country is governed by the country's constitution, not by power structures within Zanu-PF - themselves currently so chaotic and factious that even President Mugabe has publicly revealed his shock.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

REASON WAFAWAROVA is a political writer based in Sydney, Australia.





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