I have always maintained that the hatred, by the Zimbabwe ruling elite, of the main opposition MDC – ever since its formation in 1999 – went far beyond the emergence of a strongly formidable political rival, who posed a real threat to ZANU PF’s grip on power.
No, it was much more than that.
This was about jealousy. Pure, unadulterated jealousy and envy.
And, we all know what that can do to a person.
In fact, in some cultures, jealousy and envy are equated to witchcraft – since, someone consumed by this gnawing and vile vice can easy be driven to kill the object of his hatred.
Let us remember that, before falling out of favour with the United Kingdom – Zimbabwe’s ruling elite remained darlings and ‘blue-eyed boys’ of our erstwhile colonial masters – long after attaining political independence in 1980.
As a matter of fact, whilst the Zimbabwe regime was busy barbarously and brutally butchering tens of thousands of innocent civilians, as well as maiming, raping, orphaning, and displacing hundreds of thousands more, in the Matebeleland and Midlands provinces – largely, based on their ethnicity – they were being welcome with open arms in London, Washington, and several other Western capitals.
I remember frequently watching on television the then prime minister, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, being bestowed endless accolades – from honorary degrees, to being knighted by the queen of England – for his ‘exemplary leadership’, in spite of his hands dripping with the blood of innocent Zimbabweans.
So, what changed?
Well, a new darling came onto the scene in 1999…the MDC.
Yet, it was not the formation of the MDC that drove the UK, and her allies, into bed with them. No, not at all!
I honestly do not believe that the West had any hand in the opposition party’s creation – as ZANU PF was still pretty much the West’s favourite – but, then they did the unthinkable, which led to the huge acrimonious ‘divorce’.
The violent and chaotic fast track land reform program – which was an unplanned, but panicked reaction to the new MDC’s apparent huge following in the country, especially after the government-sponsored proposed new constitution was roundly rejected by the majority of Zimbabweans in a 12 and 13 February 2000 referendum.
ZANU PF feared a real possibility of losing the June 2000 general elections.
What the Zimbabwe regime had done by repossessing land from white commercial farmers was a huge betrayal to their long-standing agreement with the UK – to guard, protect, and serve Western interests in the country, a feat they had faithful carried out for twenty years.
Yet, by grabbing white-owned land, they had infuriated their masters – leading to the messy divorce, and the subsequent targeted punitive sanctions on certain individuals and entities (and, not the country as a whole, as had been the fallacy for two decades).
That is when a new ‘partner’ was found in the MDC.
When the so-called ‘Second Republic’ came into power, after the military coup d’etat in November 2017 – which is widely suspected to have received a tacit green light from the British, in order to remove the ‘main problem’, Mugabe – his predecessor (Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa) sought to reestablish the previous 1980 and 90s ‘horse and rider relationship’, whereby, ZANU PF would be restored as the darling, who would faithful do London’s bidding.
No wonder the swift signing of the so-called ‘Global Compensation Agreement’ on 29 July 2020 – which pledged to pay billions of dollars to displaced former white commercial farmers – despite the immense economic suffering faced by the majority of ordinary Zimbabweans.
This is the real ‘war’ between the Zimbabwe ruling elite and the main MDC opposition.
ZANU PF leadership’s intense hatred of the MDC – which borders on hysteria – was largely of a ‘jilted lover’ angry with the new younger ‘sweet sixteen’.
Which explains the shocking euphoria surrounding the visit by Mnangagwa to the UK – for the 26th UN (United Nations) Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, Scotland, running between 1 and 13 November 2021.
In spite of the fact that this is a UN summit – where every world leader should be invited, including sworn enemies of Western countries, such as Iran and Venezuela – that has, nonetheless, not deterred Zimbabwe’s ruling establishment from wild jubilation, with the president himself not hiding his excitement.
I even understand that a Gala would be hosted for Mnangagwa by the Zimbabwe (ZANU PF) community in Scotland.
What, however, took the last breath out of me was yesterday’s clearly enthusiastic declaration by the president that he was not only ‘invited by Boris Johnson (British prime minister)’, but also he (Johnson) had indicated that he ‘might meet’ with Mnangagwa.
Wow, I never thought our leaders would be so excited about the possibility (note that this was a ‘might’) of meeting the leader of our erstwhile colonizers.
I have never seen such anticipation, even when visiting South Africa, or Mozambique, or Namibia – but, the UK.
One would be excused for assuming that he had been invited to visit Heaven by our Almighty God Himself!
Is there any wonder why it is so easy for Western powers to simply ban these ‘rebellious’ rulers from travelling to their countries, as they know that this would be sufficient punishment – considering how our leaders regard these places as ‘Heaven on Earth’.
This should also explain the real push for the lifting of what are clearly targeted travel and financial restrictions on several top officials and their cartel friends – accused of human rights abuses and massive corruption – as it is all about the indescribable desire to be welcomed back into Western capitals.
It has never been about the suffering ordinary people – since, these sanctions were never targeted directly against us – a fact even intimated by the UN Special Rapporteur, Alena Douhan, who pointed to their ‘unintended consequences’.
In a nutshell, the ruling junta is seriously hoping to be ‘taken back’ by, and reconciled with, their former masters – so that, they can revert to the 1980 and 90 years, whereby they could massacre and brutalize their own citizens, whilst the West looked aside (and, even awarding them), as long as their interests in Zimbabwe were protected, guarded, and served by our leaders.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured