Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Why Zanu-PF is under siege

17 Oct 2021 at 08:59hrs | Views
If Africans knew even half their history, they would understand the reason why they continue to stew in poverty, misery and disillusion while other parts of the world are swimming in prosperity, happiness and hope.

Sadly, the inherited, rigged education system in most African countries, which was designed as the 18th century British historian and politician Thomas Babington Macaulay had prescribed, has been able to successfully produce an African intelligentsia that is — as Macaulay would have envisaged — African "in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect".

Most African countries now have their fair share of coconuts — those who are black in skin colour only, but thoroughly white in terms of values, ideals, taste, mannerisms, culture and worldview.

Only when we learn about our rich history, culture, ideals, including critical epochs that have defined the unenviable circumstances the continent currently finds itself in, would we be able to appreciate the forces that are always setting up Africa to fail every time and at every turn.

Technical assassins

For example, while most people might be familiar with the name Thomas Sankara, few actually know who he was and what he stood for.

Last week, his memory was resurrected by news that the trial of 14 people, including former Burkina Faso president Blaise Compaoré, accused of assassinating him on October 15, 1987 had finally begun, exactly 34 years after the heinous crime.

You see, this handsome and idealist Pan-African Burkinabe army captain, who incidentally rose to power through a coup on August 4, 1983, was driven by a burning desire to materially transform the miserable lives of his fellow countrymen in this dusty and barren wasteland of the Sahel.

The progress he made was nothing short of remarkable.

Under his watch, literacy rates rose from 13 percent to 73 percent, wheat output more than doubled from 1 700kg per hectare to 3 800kg per hectare, which made the country food self-sufficient.

He also built roads and railways and mobilised villages to build medical dispensaries.

Also, at a time when it was still unfashionable, he embarked on a comprehensive social programme to free women from harmful patriarchal and cultural practices such as genital mutilation and forced marriages, and increasingly recruited them to senior positions in the civil serve.

And similar to what John Pombe Magufuli would later practice after assuming the reins as Tanzania's president in 2015, Sankara embraced austerity by eschewing the creature comforts that come with power.

It is, therefore, not surprising that after ditching the government fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, he made the Renault 5 — the cheapest car in Burkina Faso at that time — the official service car for ministers.

He actually did all this and more.

Although the radical transformation caused a lot of discomforting upheaval, especially from social classes and landed interests that felt threatened, it was Sankara's anti-imperial campaign to remove the debilitating vestiges of colonialism that made him a marked man.

In his declared war against neo-colonialism, he wanted to get rid of the lingering influence of former colonial master France in West Africa and also pushed for African countries to form a united front against repaying debt, arguing that this was inherently unfair, particularly for a continent that had been bankrupted by centuries of both the slave trade and colonialism.

His speech at the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) — now African Union (AU) — in July 1987 was especially poignant.

"We think that debt has to be seen from the standpoint of its origins," he charged, adding: "Debt's origins come from colonialism's origins. Those who lend us money are those who had colonised us before.

They are those who used to manage our states and economies. Colonisers are those who indebted Africa through their brothers and cousins who were the lenders. We had no connections with this debt. Therefore we cannot pay for it.

Debt is neo-colonialism, in which colonisers transformed themselves into ‘technical assistants'. We should better say ‘technical assassins'."

Four months later, Sankara was killed and his body was dismembered and buried in an unmarked grave.

As the tribunal sits in Ouagadougou to try the assassins and establish the exact circumstances surrounding his death, we can only hope that the real conspirators, schemers and plotters — and not the black faces and hands that carried out the deed — are outed and brought to justice.

Already, this seems unlikely.

While French President Emmanuel Macron made a commitment in 2017 to declassify information relating to the assassination, only three batches of documents have been sent to Burkina Faso, and, interestingly, none from the office of François Mitterrand, who was president at the time.

Well, for now, three decades later, Burkina Faso remains trapped in begriming poverty and is actually regarded as one of the poorest countries in the world.

What a shame!

Ghost of Lumumba

What is, however, clear is that Sankara was killed for the same sin committed by Patrice Lumumba, the DRC's first prime minister after independence, who was assassinated on January 17, 1961 for daring to push out imperial forces and use the African country's fabulous mineral resources to improve the living standards of ordinary wananchi.

According to Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, who is professor of African and Afro-American studies at the University of North Carolina in the United States, "to fight him, the US and Belgium used all the tools and resources at their disposal, including the United Nations secretariat, under Dag Hammarskjöld and Ralph Bunche, to buy the support of Lumumba's Congolese rivals, and hired killers."

If you need to understand the sheer political intrigue that culminated in Lumumba's assassination, you have to read the book by the US former CIA station chief in the DRC, Lawrence Larry Devlin, which is aptly titled "Chief of Station, Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone" that was published in 2007.

It chronicles how the US initially tried to eliminate Lumumba under orders from US president Dwight Eisenhower and eventually supported the coup by Mobutu Sese Seko, which ushered in a disastrous 30-year rule for the fledgling country, all because the US and its allies wanted to maintain a strategic foothold in the mineral-rich DRC.

Not many are aware that the uranium used in the two atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan — sadistically nicknamed "Little Boy" and "Fat Boy", respectively — during World War II were actually from Congolese mines.

Well, 61 years after independence, ordinary people in the DRC — with an estimated mineral wealth of US$24 trillion — remain poor while foreign multinational companies continue to pillage its resources.

Continued threat

These two anecdotes on Sankara and Lumumba are not references of a bygone era but they represent a continued threat to individuals and countries who dare challenge imperial forces, whose neo-colonial projects and schemes continue to condemn Africa to an uncertain future.

This is why Muammar Gaddafi — however queer he was — was assassinated on October 20, 2011 for trying to switch from the petrodollar system of selling Libya's oil in US dollars.

And the involvement of the French intelligence agents in his demise should be also instructive.

This is also why Eva Morales, the former president of Bolivia, which has massive lithium deposits, was toppled on November 10, 2019 for trying to keep his country's mineral wealth out of the hands of the greedy West.

The same playbook was unsuccessfully tried in Venezuela, which has one of the largest oil deposits in the world.

If one is to read Donald Trump's former national security advisor John Bolton's book, "The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir", they will be able to appreciate how America is now weaponising sanctions to oust Maduro.

On page 242 of the book, Bolton makes an interesting, but not surprising, revelation: "On January 30 (2019), my office filled with people . . . to listen to Trump's call to Guaidó at about 9am.

Trump wished him good luck on the large anti-Maduro demonstrations planned for later in the day, which Trump said were historic. Trump then assured Guaidó he'd pull off Maduro's overthrow, and offered as an aside that he was sure Guaidó would remember in the future what had happened, which was Trump's way of referring to his interest in Venezuela's oil fields."

Curiously, it also shows how the US, through its embassy in Caracas, tried to coordinate efforts through using the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Church, serving government officials, the military and other security agents to oust Maduro.


But, while Maduro still stands, Venezuela's economy continues to scream.

Even when it recently tried to recover its gold worth US$1 billion held by the Bank of England to bankroll its fight against the coronavirus, its efforts came to naught because of the sanctions.

It is the same playbook being used to try to oust the Zanu-PF Government, which is the envisaged endgame of ZDERA.

Not only did the land reform programme rattle the West's vaulting interests in the region, but Harare's seeming alignment with a rising China — considered an adversary by Washington — has put it in the crosshairs of these self-appointed rulers of the world.

This is why Zimbabwe has the distinction of being among the eight African countries, including Burundi, Congo, Mali, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, still under US sanctions after Sudan recently capitulated.

And this also why there is still a continued and determined push to ease out Zanu-PF.

Well, 2 021 years ago, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, was killed not only because of his teachings, but because his popularity presented a real threat to the paranoid Roman Empire, which thought he will mobilise people to overthrow it.

Should we tell our African compatriots who now want to sound and act more ‘democratic' than the West that our real struggle remains reclaiming our culture, values, principles and ideals?

If only they knew and studied their history.

If Africans, more so the current generation, knew the horrors, impact and prejudice caused by centuries of exploitation and interference in African affairs, they could not only be calling for debt cancellation, but reparations, which are long overdue.

They would also chart their own way to prosperity.

Cry my beloved Africa.

Bishop out!

Source - The Sunday Mail
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
More on: #Mureza, #Cav, #Prim8