Thursday, June 28, 2007

How will Brown handle relations with Zimbabwe

When Nicholas Sarkozy won the French elections in May, Africans held their breath. This was the man who, barely a year before, had called immigrants from the western and northern parts of the continent, “rabble” needing “a power hose” to cleanse them off the streets of Paris and other French cities.

But to his credit, Sarkozy took advantage of his inaugural speech as new French president, to invite African leaders to talk about “this common problem” of immigration. You could hear the collective sound of air being let out of millions of African lungs at that very moment.

If any of us from English-speaking Africa, particularly the southern tip, might have felt removed from that situation, we now have our own to ponder.

Gordon Brown has just taken over from Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. Blair and his policies were rather harsh on Africa, so it is safe to say not many on the continent will miss him.

But we have his closest ally now to content with. He has not said much yet, particularly on the burning issue of Zimbabwe, which has always been the centre-piece of Britain’s relations with Africa.

Is he going to engage Mugabe or not? Is he going to offer some carrots to Mugabe to play ball and relieve the people of Zimbabwe from their suffering that has lasted exactly the same period that Blair was in office? If he offers carrots, is he going to bring sticks with the carrots?

Being a Blair protégé himself, will he pile up only sticks like his predecessor or will he be his own man when it comes to Zimbabwean issues?

The way Brown is going to handle the Zimbabwe issue will dictate the way Africans in general and southern Africans in particular will regard him – an ally or an enemy.

The way he handles the Zimbabwe issue could easily define Brown’s legacy in the same way it tainted Blair’s, but lest we say too much, suffice to say we humbly await The Honorable Prime Minister to speak on the issue.

Lets hear your views!!



Coster said...

Its too early to really say how Brown is going to handle the Zim situation. At least Blair was not too harsh with Zim immigrants.The majority who followed procedures benefited from UK's hospitality. We just have to wait and see what stance Brown will take. Zimbabwe needs serious economic support. Its governance, we all know who should GO.

Inno said...

I think you make gratuitous assumptions that do not exactly sit squarely on target. To begin with, it is not accurate to say Blair's Africa policies were harsh. For the record, Britain has been far ahead of any other country in the EU on Africa, refer to development aid and fair trade initiatives championed by Britain particularly during its presidency of the G8 and EU. Judging it alongside its western peers, Blair's Britain scores much better. Don't let Bob's animosity towards and trenchant propaganda against Blair cloud your grasp of the historical record. It is fair, of course, to say that Blair's Zimbabwe policy itself was a dismal failure if by success we mean the capacity to retain Britain's influence and leverage in Zimbabwe. Secondly, Brown is not Blair's protege, he's not a spawn of Blair if that's what you mean. From the outset Brown has been his own man, far mor, indeed, than Tony Blair has been, in that he is regarded as THE intellectual dynamo behind the New Labour project and the one possessed with the superior intellect and technocratic competence. The fact that Blair's premiership was referred to as a partnership or a marriage testifies to Brown's pivotal position in the New Labour government.
Thirdly, i think it is rather inaccurate to inflate Zimbabwe's strategic importance to Britain to "legacy" proportions. Mugabe has made his opposition to Britain his raison d'etre but it doesn't mean Britain accords Mugabe and his Zimbabwe similar strategic importance.
Do i think Brown will be any different to Tony Blair? Yes. I don't think Brown sees himself as the moral crusader Blair thought himself to be. In short, Blair's liberal interventionism will find no equal expression in a Brown govt. Brown is primarily about the economy, therefore he will, in my view be possessed with a desire to see Zimbabwe working again. But, being that as it may, he will not climb down from the predominantly western liberal position that Mugabe is a detestable dictator and his govft is guilty of gross human rights abuses. He will demand reforms, quietly, in return for assistance. There will be no moral hectoring from Brown, i guess, but there will be a firm demand for positive democratic reforms, indeed as part of the Nepad initiative that informs the envisaged cooperation between the west and Africa as expressed thru such British initiatives as the Africa Commission.
That's my take.

thanks for giving me this opportunity to express my views on your blog. Keep it going mate.


Chofamba Sithole
Leeds, UK

KGODFREY said...

When a child spills a glass of milk,what does a parent do?Do they yell,do they tell the child to clean-up,do they teach the child how to handle the glass or do they tell them to go to their room right away?
Each of the resultant responses have positive and negative effects on both the child and the parent.
Rather than focusing on whether Brown would be better than Blair,we should be focusing on bettering ourselves to make our country better.
We should not wait to hear what Brown would do.He is not our God or anything.British foreign policies have been a pain since they landed on our soil and even after we kicked them out the country, their policies still do affect us till this minute and we still look up to them,who is Brown?The question we should be asking ourselves is who are we?What are we doing in Britain as immigrants and why do we claim their immigraton policies need to be reviewed and yet we also say the Zimbabwean economic policies are rotten.
We leave our country for greener pastures and only to complain about immigration policies.What is our strugle?Who are we fighting?Do you honestly think Britons would give an ear to an immigrant from Zimbabwe.Listen to yourselves because you see one Brown behind the naked curtain.

KGODFREY said...

Vakuru vakati"Ziva kwaunobva nekuti kwaunoenda husiku".
These are very strong words.
My business partner's father is a retiring senator and he said exactly the same words that a war veteran from Zimbabwe said to me five years ago(ironic isn't it?).
Here is what we need to do,we all know that the western countries believe in humanity,rights and democracy right.Let's demo kuti vabvise masanctions and allow fair trading ne Zimbabwe.I have verified some of the facts i got from this senator and i cannot divulge them because it was an off-the-record discussion.He does not even agree with policies on Africa but who is he to defend or support Africans,he is simply doing a job for his country period.That is why Mugabe is like what he is today my fellow country man.
Don't be afraid because i know that most of you cooked lies about our government JUST FOR MAPEPA but look we are harming ourselves,families back home and our very own country.
Kana zvinhu zvikanaka kumusha then there is no need yekuchemera mapepa edzimwe nyika when we have our own(ekumusha).Let's not be blinded by life out here because it was never ours,not ours and will never be ours.

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KGODFREY said...

Thot this was an interesting piece....
> Greetings to all of you.
> Let me go straight to the crux of the matter "...hee
> Mugabe ,hee Tsvangson
> ,hee the Zim economy is bad,hee the IMF,the World
> Bank... etc. "
> These are words we hear every day from people
> complaining and finding
> something/someone to blame for their poverty. I do
> agree that these
> people/entities have their portion of the blame but
> surely noone holds
> another man's destiny in their hands except muridzi
> wacho. Kana ukanyatsoda
> anything or success,kuda chaiko chaiko,kwete zviye
> zvekuita chance,surely
> there will be a way out of these economic and
> financial doldrums, for there
> is NO power as great as love or passion.
> Let me give you a few examples of the power of love.
> 1. God the Father loved the world so much that he
> sent his son Jesus to die
> as a ransom for man's sins,thereby rescuing mankind
> from the throes of sin
> and hell.How many of us are willing to make such a
> supreme sacrifice for
> something ?
> 2. The African loved his land back such that he
> sacrificed himself to
> liberate it from the imperialist,who had colonised
> the rest of Africa.From
> 1957,when Ghana attained its independence and Kwame
> Nkrumah declared that
> Ghana's independence alone wouldnt be enough when
> the rest of Africa was
> under the imperialist, to 1994 when South Africa
> attained its liberation,the
> African proved that love and passion for anything
> right cannot be stopped by
> might.
> 3. Strive Masiyiwa felt that the African needed to
> use cellular
> technology,he had to challenge the constitutionality
> of the monopoly of
> PTC,had to sell his house and Mercedes to finance
> the legal wrangles and now
> look where he is. Econet Holdings is now an
> international player. Nigel
> Chanakira also sold his house to start the
> prestigious Kingdom Financial
> Holdings.
> Now, u guys always complain,".... hee the economy is
> bad,hee this or that" ,
> but how many of you have a business proposal, how
> many can formulate a
> business plan so that even if the govt and IMF were
> to avail the loans that
> u want,u would be in a position to start a business?
> Iye zvino vazhinji
> vanoti chekuita chacho ndicho chisipo,u dont even
> have a plan ! Then how do
> u expect the govt to create employment when u
> yourselves do not have a
> business idea,u just want to be employees vanotuka
> management kuti hee haisi
> kuwedzera mari.
> If u get a bonus,u buy leather sofas,flat screen
> TVs,WIZTECH,home theatres,
> 5 CD changer HI-FIs,four plate stoves etc but hamuna
> mari dzebhazi izvozvi
> nemaHome Theatre enyu iwayo.MaDouble Door fridges
> enyu haana nyama,u are not
> even baking or grilling/braaing nema4 plate stoves
> enyu iwayo. U take your
> girlfriend neshamwari yayo kunospenda cash, maSmall
> House hobho,kana muri
> vakadzi munogeza neLotion,hairstyles mogadzirwa
> nemukaka nemazai, outfit
> after outfit but capacity yeCash chaiyo chaiyo
> dhen'e.
> If u have been listening to Shingi Munyeza,CEO of
> Zimsun,u may have heard
> him talk about selling one's dining room
> suite,invest the money on a well
> researched and calculated business venture and
> creating a capacity to buy
> even ten more dining room suites but imi
> munotya,munobva mabatirira pane
> zvishoma izvozvo zvamuinazvo. Inga Jesu akatora five
> loaves and fed jahwi
> revanhu kukasara about 12 baskets of left overs
> wani. Dai maitenga peanut
> butter grinding mills,welding machines and
> grinders,water pumps etc paya
> pamaiwana bonuses or shares surely by now mungadai
> mave kutaura
> zvimwe,musingachemi mari yebhazi chaiyo. U could
> have employed vafana or
> hama dzenyu marovha ari kumba uko kwete zvenyu
> zvekuti hee vaMugabe havasi
> kucreata employment. I tell u no country will ever
> be economically strong
> through the govt efforts alone but through the
> enterprising citizens. Do u
> think Japan yakabudirira becoz of its govt, no not
> at al, but through vanhu
> vacho vanoda kukiya kiya...kwete kukiya kiya
> zveNgoda (diamonds) or forex or
> fuel zvenyu izvi but real business. Problem is u
> guys are not patient with
> money,u want get-rich-overnight deals but I tell u,
> u wont really be rich.
> VanaChiyangwa vamunofunga kuti vakapfuma neForex
> deals hazvisi izvo,vane big
> engineering and construction firms...Pinnacle
> Properties and has been in the
> business game for a long time ...kubva paya vachiri
> kutengesa vegetables
> kusvika vave President of AAG.
> So nyaya iripo guys ndeyekuti have a passion,love
> starting and running
> businesses. Until we do real business,starting with
> SMEs,then Zimbabwe will
> remain in the doldrums.Even if Tsvangson or anyone
> rules, imi muine
> mentality yenyu iyoyo it will still take long for
> real prosperity. U can
> still do business even in this challenging
> economy,ECONET yandambotaura
> yakatanga under VaMugabe and is still prospering
> under vaMugabe,zvino imi
> munoti hee vaMugabe ngavatange vabva ndipo
> pamunozoita business...imika imi
> ! Hameno.
> Be positive and know for a surety that God is there
> for each and every one
> of you,he doesnt want u all to leave the country but
> make a HELL lot of Zim
> $$$$$$ in Zimbabwe.
> Talk to me if u want more business ideas coz I have
> got plenta.

Raviro said...

It is high time that as African People we rid ourselves of the dependence mentality. As Zimbabweans we must accept our own mess and reconstruct our nation irregardless of what our former colonisers think or do. As long as we continue to believe that our former coloniser has better resources and intellect to help us solve our own problems, we will remain poverty striken. Brown or no Brown, Blair or no Blair, Bush or no Bush, Zimbabwe must be rehabilitated. We should also desist from the tendency of blaming Mugabe for everything. Are we also not responsible? True change comes when we all accept that we have not done so well and need to make a concerted effort to improve the situation. Mugabe did his part, and whether we like it or not, he is not all bad. The guy really has a point. It only takes for you to come across racist whites who are still finding it difficult to accept the black person as a human being for you to understand this. I am not racist myself, but I really believe that for the whole racial thing to end, black people can play their part. Our responsibility lies in earning worldwide respect as intellectuals, successful businesspeople, just rulers and presidents who do not have a reputation for begging, but can generate enough resources to finance their own economies and also the needs of disadvantged parts of the world.