Consequently it has also become the party’s central ethic and thus its only remaining moral defense. And as the country prepares for the constitutional consultation process Zanu (PF) ‘s leadership has begun re-arguing it chiefly for the purpose of mobilizing the party’s base. Zanu (PF)’s current use of neo-colonialism and/or pan-Africanism started in 2000 as a way of explaining the economic decline the country was going through at the time. Their central argument was, and still remains, that the problems in Zimbabwe are as a direct result of the UK and the US neo colonial ambitions.
They argue that the UK’s opposition to land redistribution in Zimbabwe has been the central driving force behind the so-called sanctions that have been imposed on the country.
Zanu (PF)’ s leadership has since become very skilled in framing almost every situation in terms of neo-colonialism and/or neo imperialism. And this thinking has become so pervasive within Zanu (PF) that most of its members believe that they are involved in a war to preserve not only their own but also Africa’s independence. This situation in turn allows the party’s leadership to manipulate the sentiment and to an extent the actions of party members to its own benefit.
This is evident in a recent article by Tafatawona Mahoso published in the Sunday Mail on January 17, 2010. He argues that the UK and the US’s appetite for global control is largely to blame for Zimbabwe’s problems and that they base their right to do what they want through the use of rhetoric of human rights, good governance and the rule of law. He also claims that the Zimbabwean government is now being prevented from enforcing law and order by certain international laws. He goes on to accuse a number of Zimbabwean NGO’s for being part of a neo colonialist agenda to drive Zanu (PF) out of office. For reasons of space, however, there is no need here to go through the merits of this argument. Suffice it to observe that Mahoso is using the concept of neo-colonialism as a political tactic, albeit a sinister one.
Mahoso is seeking to appeal to prejudices against the UK and against white people in general. The power of his rhetoric lies in the fact that it relays mainly criticism against Westerners, which gives him the advantage of appearing objective. This allows him, or rather, Zanu (PF) to blame others and not themselves for what has happened in Zimbabwe. Which in turn gives the impression that Zimbabwe’s freedom depends on Zanu (PF), and exists because of them. This is a highly emotive message and in the hands of Zanu (PF) ‘s leadership it has become a powerful tool with which to manipulate those actions of the party’s cadres that the leadership can benefit from.
In denouncing human rights, in claiming that the UK and the US are preventing the Zimbabwean government from enforcing law and order and in naming Zimbabwe based individuals and groups as being part of a Western funded conspiracy against Zanu (PF), Mahoso is giving the impression that his country is under siege and the government is hugely overwhelmed and can no longer freely defend itself. In doing so Mahoso is signalling that Zimbabwe’s independence now solely rests on its cadres and in naming individuals and NGO’s he deems troublesome, he is essentially providing them with a target list. This is in many ways a mobilisation call but it is also both incitement and also a moral argument in support of organised political violence. In doing this Zanu (PF)’s leadership is attempting to empower its cadres and to signal that the party will keep a blind eye to certain activities as long as this benefits the party.
Most Zanu (PF) members and voters are unaware of the extend to their leadership’s deception. Most seem unaware that the idea of fighting against neo colonialism as argued by their leadership is not the means for the realization of the their material dreams. The idea offers not money, not schools, not hospitals and not a better life but only hope, hope of spiritual well-being, an immaterial good. They need to begin to accept that they are being used and that the longer they keep on accepting their leadership’s dubious argument the longer they suffer.Post published in: Opinions