Please Mnangagwa make up your mind – are the Brits brutal colonists or beloved friends?

Being ruled over by the Zimbabwe regime is like being locked up in the same room with a manic schizophrenic.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

One never knows what those in power will be feeling, thinking or behaving from one minute to another – apparently swinging from one mood to another, in utter confusion and indecision.

How else are we supposed to conclude when we have a government that cannot make up its mind on seemingly simple issues, as whether the British are our fiends or foes?

Such flip-flopping has now become more pronounced and a permanent feature of the ruling elite over the past few years – ever since President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa came to power in November 2017.

At one moment, in what may be characterized as the depressive episode – the nation is never given rest, repeatedly reminded of how the British are brutal colonists, who savagery plundered our resources and enslaved or subjugated our people – resulting in the vulgar enrichment of the European power, whilst leaving us in unimaginable poverty and suffering.

As such, these were not our friends – but, foes, who actually owe us big time.

These negative sentiments were brought back to the fore at the recent passing of the UK (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) monarch, Queen Elizabeth II – who was accused by those aligned to the ruling ZANU PF party, some calling themselves Pan-Africanists, of epitomizing the dark legacy of British and European colonial powers.

We were told how our resources were callously pillaged – even shown the opulent precious stones on her crown (allegedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars), and the grandeur of her palaces – and, gory images of our ancestors chained together, or subjected to some humiliating tasks, such as carrying members of the British royal household across rivers in Africa.

Of course, the crème de la crème was the reference to so-called ‘economic sanctions’ supposedly imposed on Zimbabwe – deliberately ignoring that virtually all of these travel bans and assets freezes, put in place in 2001, on a few individuals and entities (accused of human rights abuses and corruption) had been removed by the British.

In all these unrelenting barraging and bombarding, the Zimbabwean main opposition CCC was not spared either – portrayed as the darlings and puppets of these ‘nefarious Brits’ – who were being used to bring back colonial domination, through ‘regime change machinations’.

To cap it up – all our economic and political challenges in Zimbabwe are to be blamed squarely on the British and their local ‘sellouts’ – who have been labeled, saboteurs, bad apples, and anything distasteful under the sun.

In fact, there were so much sickening expressions of joy and celebration at the death of the regnant – with some going as far as declaring that they would never mourn someone who symbolized the cruelty and wickedness of the British Empire, since her reign also covered that era of colonialism.

Then, only a few days later, the same Zimbabwe ruling elite, and their sycophants – after Mnangagwa received an invitation to attend the queen’s burial in the kingdom – we witnessed, in utter disbelief and shock, as the mood swiftly changed to a manic episode.

Now, being part of world leaders gathered to mourn this lady – whom, barely a week earlier they had been taunting and denigrating as ‘evil’ – was suddenly an honour for Mnangagwa, and a sign of a warming relationship with the erstwhile colonizer.

In fact, this invitation was (as has become the norm with anything British) headline news on state media, and trended on social media – a most embarrassing phenomenon, considering that many other world leaders had similarly been invited, but were not singing on top of the mountain about it.

If anything, others are elated over the potential of signing major deals with global powerhouses – with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa currently on a state visit to the US, where he will be hosted by President Joe Biden at the White House.

Yet, the Zimbabweans are overjoyed and excited about being invited to attend a funeral!

This is the same exhilaration we have been disturbingly witnessing of late – the most recent being the few second handshakes with then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November last year), and former Premier Tony Blair, in Kigali, Rwanda, two weeks ago.

It was even more ridiculous watching the huge grin on the president’s face – this, for the men whom we are daily told are the authors of our unspeakable impoverishment and suffering.

Both of these were wildly celebrated by the ruling establishment in Harare – a feat clearly not shared in London, since we never observed any excitement exhibited by either Johnson or Blair, with none of them ever posting anything about the handshakes.

In the midst of what undeniably appears embarrassing desperation, on the part of our leaders in Zimbabwe, to be accepted by the British – the rest of us are left confused as to what is our official foreign policy regarding our former colonizers.

Are they our friends or foes?

Is Zimbabwe celebrating the death of a villainous monarch, or mourning the passing of a beloved queen?

It surely does not help the nation having a schizophrenic leadership in power – whose thoughts, feelings and behavior can change with the wind.

But, then, maybe we should not be unnecessarily perturbed after all – as I have asserted severely themselves before that, this supposed ‘loathing’ of the British in particular, or the West in general, was purely a result of a feeling of aggrievement at being dumped by ‘the white world’ – which, the Zimbabwe ruling elite had always adored and admired, and whose love they craved.

The falling out at the turn of the millennium – after the chaotic and oftentimes, violent land reform program – left the ZANU PF regime feeling empty and dejected by this loss of the affection of those whom they held in reverence.

The ‘anger’ aimed towards the West has always been a facade, and huge farce – more in the mould of a jilted lover who begins to disparage his lost lover, more out of ‘sour grapes’ than genuine hatred.

Yet, once an opportunity arises for the restoration of relations – the Harare administration jumps onto it, like a hungry dog thrown a bone.

I guess it is not easy undoing the decades of colonial brainwashing, to the effect that whites were more superior to black people.

In spite of fighting against colonial rule, and the subjugation and segregation of blacks – we should never underestimate the power of deep-rooted (oftentimes, subconscious) notions of whites being superior and better, as such having their friendship and association a symbol of status and great pride.

Clearly, the Mnangagwa administration has not been spared this phenomenon.

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: [email protected]

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