Letters 11/05/06

Guilty of shallow analysis
EDITOR - Arthur Mutambara's statements in response to questions from the media at the Gweru Press Club on 22 April cannot go unchallenged. I have been an admirer of Arthur's since I met him when I was a first-year law student in June 1991.
But I

have been increasingly dismayed by Arthur’s apparent lack of humility as well as by his and his supporters’ apparent inability to take criticism. I have become particularly concerned about various statements that seem to be the result of shallow analysis and pseudo-intellectualism.
His statements that the MDC had in the past chosen the wrong allies, and that they should not have allied themselves with the West because our combatants were trained in China and Russia and Cuba, reveal a superficial understanding of recent history, and a failure to appreciate realpolitik.
That the interests of Cuba, China and Russia, and, I would add, North Korea, coincided with ours at a particular point in time does not make them our natural allies for all time. Nor does it mean that the UK, the US, and others who did not contribute directly to the armed struggle are our natural enemies forever. In any event, I am sure that there are many in government who could tell Arthur that even when not training combatants, those same countries that he now scorns provided political asylum to many of our exiled comrades.
And if our foreign policy is to be determined on the basis of who provided direct support to our armed struggle, why then is Arthur supping with Mbeki, as South Africa supported Smith? And surely, it cannot be that the regime has changed, because that is equally true of the regimes of the countries that Arthur says the MDC should not be associated with.
I would encourage Arthur and his advisors to look beyond convenient sound-bites and cheap rhetoric. Intellectuals of the stature of Arthur and his advisors must surely be aware of the extent to which Africa was used as a pawn in the fight for influence during the Cold War? Cuba, Russia, China and North Korea were unstinting in their largesse: they plied African nations with slogans and AK47s for the same reasons that the Western powers turned a blind eye to the excesses of dictators such as Mobutu, Sekou Toure, and Kamuzu Banda.
And it is worth noting that even as the worthy allies that Arthur lauds were training our combatants, Russian medical students were being taught that Africans were genetically-inferior to other races, and their people were being told that communism was necessary to save Africans from their own savagery.
The challenge for small developing nations such as Zimbabwe in the aftermath of the Cold War is to ensure that our foreign policy reflects our national interest, which must be rooted in the imperative of development, and not in the outdated slogans that formed the preambles to Soviet-era Solidarity Pacts.
PETINA GAPPAH, Switzerland

Why I chose Mutambara
EDITOR – May I explain my reasons for saying yes to a position on the national executive of the Arthur Mutambara branch of the MDC. My first reason is an underlying gut feeling that this is the right thing to do. I have peace within myself as do my family and most of my spiritual and activist mentors.
I have always trusted my gut feelings and even though this is taking a huge risk and diving into unchartered waters it feels right. This decision was not made on a whim but after a lot of thought and consideration.
I have always believed in the MDC hand so much and that was my driving force in all I did for my country. Now I realise that it is not actually the hand itself but the qualities it stood for which is where my heart lies. Qualities of truth, justice, non-violence, transparency and all-inclusiveness.
These qualities, I feel, are present in the Arthur Mutambara team. At the cost of losing popularity, power and numbers, these founding MDC members have chosen to go with what they believe in. They have not compromised. Yes they have a new leader about whom I don’t know so much, but I trust those who called him and he will be watched carefully by us all as he watches us. We are all at risk of ridicule, of misunderstanding and misrepresentation by those who hate or fear what we believe in. Throughout history those who stood for what is right have risked that, why shouldn’t we.
It is difficult swimming against the current tide, especially if the tide feels familiar and very much a huge part of my life, but I know to be true to who I am, to not compromising my beliefs, I must make this choice.
I will not be destructive or judgemental of Morgan’s team and I promise that my goal and vision is unflinching … to give my all to remove the Zanu (PF) regime and to fight for freedom and democracy for all Zimbabweans. To serve and listen to the people of Zimbabwe in all I do. May God be with us all.

A white betrayal?
EDITOR – If the statements purportedly made by the CFU and reported in the Sunday
Mail concerning the U-turn made by their organization and their change in attitude to the Government Land Reform are true, and if we farmers and ex-farmers accept this plan and attempt in anyway to reconcile with the Zanu (PF) government then we will really be in big trouble with the majority of Zimbabweans and the rest of the democratic world.
We will be guilty of a great betrayal to all the people who have suffered, died and been murdered over the past six years, and further more this will mean that we fully accept rule by dictators.
What a let down I feel ashamed for some people. I do not believe that anybody or an organization has the right to even suggest this U turn without first asking all Zimbabweans if they agree to it. Africa has suffered for generations from these dictators, its long past time to say no to them.
People worldwide are trying hard to bring change to Africa and we whites suddenly turn round and say its ok! Zimbabwe is the example and we have to win this war for the sake of all in Africa, I firmly believe that there is a lot more resting on the end result of this dictatorship than we think.
I say no to any U TURN and I am not doing this out of bitterness, but because it is the right thing to do. I do not want my ranch given back to me by this government, I want democracy and then I will get my ranch back or be compensated for what was done to my people and me.

Discipline and dignity
EDITOR – Democratic resistance is the key to bringing normality to the abnormal political situation brought about by the ageing and geriatric dictator and his cronies. The Zimbabwean populace has lost faith and confidence in elections since these have since the referendum of February 2000 been very un-free and unfair.
All our freedoms have been forcibly taken away from us and this has hampered us a lot. The only way is to embark on mass peaceful protests. The whirlwinds of our revolt should shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. At the moment there is pitch darkness. Time is not on our side. Action, action, and more action please. But we should make sure that our peaceful protest does not degenerate into physical violence. Discipline and dignity are required. Let’s meet physical force with soul force. For leadership, Morgan is always there. He is such a charismatic leader who has special ways of influencing his followers.

ZBC roadblock to collect licences
EDITOR – Shopping in Zimbabwe has its warmer moments. If one can hold out long enough, the produce will be brought right to one’s doorstep! Along with many people in Zimbabwe, I have an aversion to paying for my car radio license, the reason being, I never listen to local radio stations. In addition radio licenses are normally purchased at a Post Office where queues and I do not have happy connotations and consequently I “forget” to purchase a radio license until I am compelled to do
so ….
However I had no choice in the matter recently when the wrath of the law descended upon me during a fully-manned 10-person roadblock comprising several law enforcement officers and several Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation licensing employees.
It was a cordial affair, pay half a million on the spot, or get down to the ZBC town office and pay half a million dollar plus an extra quarter of a million dollar fine.
Cash or cheque both quite acceptable and out came a giant license book festooned with no less than four colours on good bond paper, so each license probably cost more to print than the cost of the license.
However being of the lazy variety especially on a chilly winters day, I asked the charming official if I needed to bring HeeHoo’s car down so I could get him a license too in these comfortable surroundings. Oh no need, said she, how many do you want. The thought of the saving was too great for my capricious mind and so I bought licenses for all the cars, all the office cars and a couple for good friends. All I had to do was write the license number in later and I could also pay by cheque.
Such home comforts. Into the car climbed the official and industriously began to write out dozens on licenses for me in a most affable and efficient manner. No need to queue, no need to even get out of the car, no need to carry around a giant sack of money to pay for it all either, such excellent service from His Majesty’s Government.
HEY HO! Harare

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