By Ken Mufuka
African leaders do not differentiate between acting out and taking action to solve a problem. Acting out involves standing there (kumira apo), adopting a defiant attitude and posture, and then uttering defiant words which will attract attention.
This comes from a Bantu custom which allowed an unhappy spouse to stand in the village square and tell everything. Usually, the threat of shaming and shunning alone was enough to cause the elders to seek a remedy as a pre-emptive measure.
While Zimbabwe’s Mukuru is a master at acting out, he is beginning to win over some admirers. The attention sought is usually negative, but it can be ignored. The acting out is its own reward.
Mukuru attended the United Nations sponsored Oceanic Conference in Mexico which started on May 14, 2016. The conference ended that Friday without a speaking spot in his favour.
Even then, a government spokesperson found some comforting words in defense of the expedition. Mukuru took a powerful delegation of ministers which spent time at sea side rather than at the meeting.
What followed was pure posturing, a position which students of African culture will study for years to come.. The subject was entitled; “Our Oceans, Our Future; Partnering for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal No 14.”
The trip to Mexico, according to the Zimbabwe spokesperson, came on the back of “launching a successful implementation of the specialised maize production and import substitution initiative otherwise known as command agriculture.”
Never mind the fact that Mukuru did not participate in any meaningful way, or that Zimbabwe had no oceanic proximity.
But that is to miss the point of posturing, which is self-fulfilling.
The conference in New York, which started this week, is the mother of all oceanic conferences. Zimbabwe is determined to make its mark. Already Zimbabwe has justified the large numbers of its delegation which included Mukuru’s toddler grandson as preparatory in gleaning useful information which can be applied in the Mukosi-Tokwe in-land lake region.
Numbering a goodly 70 persons was truly the watershed for Zimbabwe. Mukuru expects to be a shining star there. The cost, at $1 500 per person per diem, is exorbitant for a poor country like Zimbabwe. Despite experiencing good rains, close to four million inhabitants will need food aid.
I have studied no less than 10 addresses at the United Nations. A common thread is the cursing out of Great Britain and the United States for imposing “illegal sanctions” on Zimbabwe.
By the time Zimbabwe reaches for the podium, half the world delegations have left the chamber, some in solidarity with the imperialists and others out of boredom.
The idea that Zimbabwe’s problems have become unmanageable since 2000 because the populace was not allowed its choice of representatives in a free election escapes him.
The problem was “the unilateral economic sanctions as a foreign policy tool” imposed by the United Kingdom and the United States. The blame belongs to the US and Britain.
In 2015, the problem was the imposition of gay rights on the world. “We are not gays,” he blurted. In 2016, the problem was the “the burden of the punitive and heinous sanctions imposed” on Zimbabwe.
It escaped Mukuru that the late Ian Smith went through a rigorous sanctions regime, but produced a self-contained prosperous economic community that was the envy of Africa.
The issue here is that, while Africans want African solutions to their problems, they seek to exclude European and US interests, while simultaneously assuaging these same countries for financial support and investment.
When South Africa was invited to a G8 Summit in Japan in 2001, Japan sought Thabo Mbeki’s input on how the economic super powers can speed up Africa’s development. Mbeki gave the idea serious thought and came up with the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).
The African split personality prevented from seeing that if those problems originated with European imperialism, he should not seek their support.
Mbeki’s proposal, like that of Mukuru, was bound to fail on the fact that both lacked peripheral vision. Firstly, there is the split personality of the African colonialite. He married the new NEPAD to his poetic dream, I am an African.
Building a new economic order against the wishes of the industrial moguls is not a task for poets, as he should have learnt from Otto Von Bismarck.
Mbeki sought the approval, participation, and support of the very people whose order he wished to destroy. Michel Camdessus of the World Bank and trade globalists like Mike Erwin from South Africa itself chaired some of the meetings. British Prime Minister Tony Blair promised financial support which never materialised.
A third assumption was that European interference in African politics allowed self-imposed dictatorships to continue. The opposite was in fact true. African dictatorships were impervious to local pressures and therefore could only be overthrown with foreign support.
Mbeki allowed the international conglomerates like Anglo-American to relocate their head offices to London. Likewise, Mukuru effectively restricted Mutumwa Mawere’s and Strive Masiyiwa’s indigenous globalist companies from flourishing.
Mukuru’s pilgrimage to New York, based on the concept of shaming the opponents is a self-defeating exercise and a waste of time. Ali Mazrui thought that this concept, where one hates the imperialist with all his heart and might, yet makes annual pilgrimages to their shrines seeking for their love and approval, comes from the desire of the colonialist to be the bwana. The Financial Gazette