Okello Oculi:

Professor Paul Zeleza's short commentary over Zimbabwe
raises two main points of interest worthy of comment;
namely:the common post-colonial African problem of
"how to construct an inclusive citizenship"; and the
call for us to support what he calls "the ordinary
people of Zimbabwe struggling for a democratic and
developmental state".

On the first issue, it is a proposition which is
deceptive in both its factuality and intent. The core
problem in Zimbabwe is for its dominant white racist
economic class  to gain from Amilcar Cabral's
prescription that  old, bitter, combative and
externally supported white ruling classes in Zimbabwe
(and elsewhere in Southern Africa) to materially,
mentally and emotionally "commit class suicide" for
the benefit of that region's progress. For a ruling
class which held power in Southern Rhodesia from the
early 1920s to 1980, it is not easy to accept the
cruel logic of the mathematics of democracy, i.e. the
black majority winning elections and putting in power
those they wish to see as leaders. Plato would agree
with them in condemning this tyranny of political
arithmetic, but it is a tyranny they harvested much
happiness from for many decades when the power of the
gun, and not that of democracy's arithmetic, ruled
that land.  Now that democracy reigns (even with
allegations of rigging as recent American Presidential
elections have shown), the old ruling class must face
the responsibility of coming forward with clean hearts
to construct a new society based on creative,
multiracial, democratic class suicide. In this regard,
it was most gratifying that it was a white female
athlete who won gold for Zimbabwe in a swimming event
at the last Olympic games even though she was living
in Canada and could have taken the easier option of
running for Canada. Instead, she insisted on her
Africanity and a citizen of a multi-racial Zimbabwe.
It is almost certain that the bulk of the old racist
oligarchy condemned her. This is the "inclusive
citizenship" which Paul Zeleza should address and not
pretend that the problem in Zimbabwe in similar to
that of the Shagari and Buhari regimes in Nigeria
throwing out Ghanaians living in Nigeria because
opposition parties were likely to give them voter's
cards, or had indeed done so, in tightly fought
national elections.

This matter feeds into his cry for "the ordinary
people of Zimbabwe" who are "struggling for a
democratic and developmental state". The records show
that the villains in Zimbabwe were the white
businessmen, bankers, and farmers who in the early
1980s urged President Mugabe to take the "structural
adjustment policy poisons of the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank for, as they argued,
Zimbabwe to stand a chance of competing against an
impending South African economic invasion with the
looming end of apartheid.

  Their calculations were that the resulting measures;
notably: the  retrenchment of civil servants, freezes
on new jobs against new graduands coming out of
secondary schools and universities; and withdrawal of
free healthcare services and subsidies on access to
education, would all rebound against Mugabe. If the
anticipated new discontent among urban blacks was
matched with Mugabe's failure to deliver to "war
veterans"  access to land held by white settlers,
Mugabe's "revolutionary credentials in the eyes of his
own people would wither in the wind and dust of mass
disillusionment. Meanwhile,the white ruling classes
would laugh and cheer from their segregated
recreational clubs.  British and American governments
seem to have bought into this plot.

The realisation of this possibility seems to have
dawned on Mugabe late; hence his panic. We also know
(from admission on Nigerian television by President
Olusegun Obasanjo), that in 1990 African leaders
appealed to President Mugabe not to be tough on
reclaiming land from white farmers for fear that their
kin in South Africa would refuse to free Nelson
Mandela from 27 years in prison  and thereby black the
run to black majority rule in South Africa. The cards
were clearly in the hands of the West; including the
Scandinavian countries who sat licking their lips
merrily in the shadows of the United States and
Britain against Mugabe.

The struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe is not defined
by a struggle against the end of landlessness for the
black majority. The British elections have just ended.
It involved a three-way fight between the New Labour,
the Liberals and the Conservatives. The three were
struggling for democracy against each other's
definition of what is best for the majority of the
British people. The Conservatives probably hold New
Labours concerns for the welfare of the African and
Asian immigrants in great contempt, but they will not
rant about the failure of democracy because their
contempt lost the elections. What chracterises the
struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe is the urgent need
to defeat the rejection by the former white ruling
classes of the legitimacy of the victory of a party
which mobilizes the historically dispossesed black
majority into holding power; and using that power to
make democracy a truly "government of the people, by
the people, and for the people". This should be
followed by the young white lady who won gold for
Zimbabwe as a Zimbabwean getting elected to Parliament
as a ZANU_PF candidate.

The British electorate have just whipped Tony Blair
with much anger. The New Labour lost a majority of 161
seats in the former British Parliament. Now they have
only a majority of 67. Commentators want to insist
that he was punished over his support for American and
British oil interests in Iraq. His support for the
racist minority white farmers and absentee landlords
(some of them being members of the British Parliament)
and corporations in Zimbabwe, are either played down
or totally ignored. Yet that electorate was also
served with torrents of protracted racist radio and
television pictures and reportage (by the British
media) of black Mugabe's police and "war veterans"
brutalizing white British farmers and their families.
The historic injustice and undemocratic character of
the white settler "ownership" of land was treated with
studied silence. Prime Minister Tony Blair's reneging
on previous commitments to provide the money for
paying off white farmers whose lands were to be taken
back, for the benefit of landless blacks, was covered
up. The electorate was clearly as difficult to fool
over Iraq as over Tony Blairs cynical, deceitful and
downright racist policies towards Zimbabwe. When the
party workers who were out looking for votes in the
street corners, pubs and playgrounds, and among new
mass black and white worshippers in pentecostal
churches realised that Blair's policies towards
Zimbabwe and African debt slavery was losing them
votes, they urged the New Labour leaders to come up
with pro-African initiatives, notably: creating the
"Commission for Africa"; making offers of debt
cancellation, and returning the billions of pounds
hidden in British banks by corrupt African leaders, if
they party was re-elected. The measure of their
success is in the arithmetic of election results.

  Put brutally, open or silent support for Tony Blair's
  racist policies towards Zimbabwe and Africa have sent
ninety four (94) former Labour members of parliament
rolling into the dust of defeat. There is a vital
lesson here for Paul Zeleza.