About CCM

This blog has a political dimension. All progressive views and suggestions based on positive social cultural, political change and development in Kenya are welcome.

CCM Management



13 thoughts on “About CCM

  1. The secretary general of chama cha mwananchi ccm welcomes you to our newly launched blog.

    This blog has a political dimension. All progressive views and suggestions based on positive social cultural, political change and development in Kenya are welcome.

    On behalf of the party, I take this opportunity to say

    Posted by sec gen chama cha mwananchi | June 10, 2007, 7:46 pm
  2. I would like CCM to pose just one question to Hon Raila: if his father faulted majimbo, Mzee Jomo faulted majimbo, Moi saw the light did a Saul and faulted majimbo; what makes majimbo so attractive to him that he forgets that it can annihilate the same country he is aspiring to lead?

    Posted by CHEGE WA THIARI | October 14, 2007, 3:31 pm
  3. Kenyans must uphold National Integration and not National disintegration

    Being election season, it has no doubt revealed the extent of our inside rots. In the name of democracy (Demonstration of craziness), we are primitively and highly engaged not on healthy discussion about our past, present and future but on savage and primitive talk on tribalism. Everybody has taken sides, unfortunately and shamefully including the media. Instead of demonstrating maturity, civility and greater understanding of what our needs are, we are dip in mud tearing each other for foolish conviction about ethnicity.

    If Kenyans were conscious enough, our focus and national commitments as people of Kenya should have been, to dedicate all our efforts to consciously, tirelessly and with conviction, build a united nation. But given that many Kenyans are suffering from cargo cult mentality (believe that a train full of all those goodies they dream off can only be delivered by one of their own rather than believe in hard work) However, the any progressive mind knows for sure that, we cannot afford the balkanization of Kenya along ethnic lines in the name of Majimbo while else other nations of the world are merging to build awesome economic power blocks. We must churn tribal politics since tangible evidence show that tribalism does not help the entire ethnic group but rather only helps to propel and sustain selfish and greedy individuals into position of power.

    Any further development should be pegged on sheer realization and conscious appreciation of our cultural diversity, incidentally, comprising of different ethnic groups and realize that majority do share equally myriad of social, political and economic difficulties facing our country, regardless of ones ethnic background.

    This however, means that we people of Kenyan must uphold unity by accepting that we together belong to this country and that tribalism is here to stay. We are bound to come together and elect best leader there is among us and not the astute tribalist because its all about our future.

    Perhaps, nothing exposes Kenya’s problem of national integration, more vividly than the word Tribe. It was first introduced by the British colonialist who elicited our consciousness to look and think of ourselves not as Africans but as distinct tribes. In their endeavor to implement divide and rule policy they successfully planted tribal prejudice in Kenya. Unfortunately our politicians savagely continue to embrace tribalism at one time as a friend, reject it as an enemy at another and finally smuggle it through the back door as an accomplice.

    It is no wonder that ethnicity mentality has driven some tribes to think that; they are poor because they “other tribe” are rich. They believe they are rich because they stole and they stole because they hold power. They solution they provide is to use primitive ethnicity as campaign tool to get to power and hold back the rich so that the poor can get rich.

    It is therefore clear that we will always face difficult in fronting a common national candidate as chief executive of this nation due to primitive tribal based evaluation of our leaders as the prerequisite of acceptance as a candidate. This election will be the worse ever in Kenyans history, as Kenyans are once more digging in, preparing to do what they know better, crucifying their heroes and rewarding their traitors. How funny it is that the greatest value we accord our leaders lies in how nasty he is on tribal preaching.

    Only God will help Kenyans as ignorance takes control, by voting from a point of ignorance instead of informed and well balanced minds. We must be ready to face the aftermath choke once our hopes are shattered by electing bad leaders in the name of parties and tribes. We will therefore painfully learn that we exist not as tribes but distinct individuals and that our success is in our hands.

    {Keep it up, I would appreciate to know more about CCM}

    Posted by Kaniaru Kibiru | October 27, 2007, 7:45 am
  4. Its Clear

    Kenyans must uphold National Integration and not National disintegration

    Being election season, it has no doubt revealed the extent of our inside rots. In the name of democracy (Demonstration of craziness), we are primitively and highly engaged not on healthy discussion about our past, present and future but on savage and primitive talk on tribalism. Everybody has taken sides, unfortunately and shamefully including the media. Instead of demonstrating maturity, civility and greater understanding of what our needs are, we are dip in mud tearing each other for foolish conviction about ethnicity.

    If Kenyans were conscious enough, our focus and national commitments as people of Kenya should have been, to dedicate all our efforts to consciously, tirelessly and with conviction, build a united nation. But given that many Kenyans are suffering from cargo cult mentality (believe that a train full of all those goodies they dream off can only be delivered by one of their own rather than believe in hard work) However, the any progressive mind knows for sure that, we cannot afford the balkanization of Kenya along ethnic lines in the name of Majimbo while else other nations of the world are merging to build awesome economic power blocks. We must churn tribal politics since tangible evidence show that tribalism does not help the entire ethnic group but rather only helps to propel and sustain selfish and greedy individuals into position of power.

    Any further development should be pegged on sheer realization and conscious appreciation of our cultural diversity, incidentally, comprising of different ethnic groups and realize that majority do share equally myriad of social, political and economic difficulties facing our country, regardless of ones ethnic background.

    This however, means that we people of Kenyan must uphold unity by accepting that we together belong to this country and that tribalism is here to stay. We are bound to come together and elect best leader there is among us and not the astute tribalist because its all about our future.

    Perhaps, nothing exposes Kenya’s problem of national integration, more vividly than the word Tribe. It was first introduced by the British colonialist who elicited our consciousness to look and think of ourselves not as Africans but as distinct tribes. In their endeavor to implement divide and rule policy they successfully planted tribal prejudice in Kenya. Unfortunately our politicians savagely continue to embrace tribalism at one time as a friend, reject it as an enemy at another and finally smuggle it through the back door as an accomplice.

    It is no wonder that ethnicity mentality has driven some tribes to think that; they are poor because they “other tribe” are rich. They believe they are rich because they stole and they stole because they hold power. They solution they provide is to use primitive ethnicity as campaign tool to get to power and hold back the rich so that the poor can get rich.

    It is therefore clear that we will always face difficult in fronting a common national candidate as chief executive of this nation due to primitive tribal based evaluation of our leaders as the prerequisite of acceptance as a candidate. This election will be the worse ever in Kenyans history, as Kenyans are once more digging in, preparing to do what they know better, crucifying their heroes and rewarding their traitors. How funny it is that the greatest value we accord our leaders lies in how nasty he is on tribal preaching.

    Only God will help Kenyans as ignorance takes control, by voting from a point of ignorance instead of informed and well balanced minds. We must be ready to face the aftermath choke once our hopes are shattered by electing bad leaders in the name of parties and tribes. We will therefore painfully learn that we exist not as tribes but distinct individuals and that our success is in our hands.

    {Keep it up, I would appreciate to know more about CCM}

    Posted by Kaniaru Kibiru | October 27, 2007, 7:49 am
  5. Habari gani Brothers and Sisters, first of all I would like to Thanks and Congratulate the CCM Party for boldly being at the forefront of fighting for Justice and Equality in Kenya in spite of the palpable implications of the global system of Racisim/Whitesupremacy in our Country and indeed the Developing World. Mine is just a quick question to the Leadership of the CCM Party and that is whether they plan or are planning to advocate for a revolutionary change in Kenya’s current Eurocentric ‘Education System’ where our children’s curriculum is composed of a diet of romantic lies about Europeans role in ”Civilising Afrika and bringing us back to the path of humanity from the hills of Congo where we apparently came from”, of course there is the occasional mention of Afrikan Nationalists like Chaka Zulu and Emperor Menlik the 2nd but there is a shocking paucity of the significant role that Afrikans played in the World before the emergence of Europe as a Social/Political entity with World recognition! I am talking about the Nile Valley Civilisations of Ta-Seti, Kemet, Nubia, Kush, Puanit and Khart Haddas and the contributions that our Afrikan ancestors made in the fields of Science, Architecture, Mathematics, Medicine etc which most if not all of our children have never heard in their G.H.C Lessons! If Kenya is to be successfully transformed by bold parties like CCM, I firmly believe that we therefore need to invest in the complete Reappraisal of our current ‘’education system’’ and replace it with an AFRIKAN CENTRED EDUCATION SYSTEM that will begin to teach our children about the roles that our Afrikan Ancestors played in the development of the Sciences, Mathematics, Philosophy, Architecture, God Consciousness, Marine Sciences and also teach them about the socio-economic effects of the Afrikan MAAFA – (Enslavement, Colonialism, Racism, Imperialism) and how it has continued to plague our societies, cultures and economies. Such a system should incorporate the teachings of Afrikans like- Dr Cheikh Anta Diop, Dr John Henrick Clarke, Dr Frances Cress Welsing, Dr Theophile Obenga, Dr Yosef Ben Jochannan, Dr Naim Akbar, Dr Amos Wilson, Dr Ali Mazrui, Proffesor Ngugi wa Thiongo, Dr Molefi Kete Asante, Dr Marimba Ani, Dr Leonard Jeffries, Brother Walter Rodney etc If such an Africentric Education system is implemented, I believe that it would have the effect of placing us as a society on a platform that would begin our process of ‘’ Breaking The Chains Of Our Mental Slavery’’ as you have poignantly pointed out in your manifesto!!

    Asante Sana and Hotep.

    Brother Kamau Wa Ngunjiri.

    Posted by Kamau Wa Ngunjiri | October 27, 2007, 7:32 pm
  6. Ndugu Ngujiri

    Welcome to CCM. Surely we need people like you who think ahead of time. We shall surely teach Kenyan children their real history once CCM comes to power. In doing this we need sober minds like yours. Get in touch with CCM.

    Posted by Dick Kamau | October 28, 2007, 3:30 pm
  7. Hello,
    I went through the site and was impressed. I am vying for a parliamentary seat and would like to visit your Hqs in Nairobi. Please give me your physical adress.thanks

    Posted by Murimi Njogu | November 14, 2007, 1:54 pm
  8. Hi MURIMI

    Thanks for visiting our blog. Our Nairobi office is at DURUMA ROAD, DOWN TOWN TOWERS BUILDING, 7TH FLOOR. ITS NEAR COAST BUS OFFICES.

    YOU CAN ALSO CALL +254 727 20 95 97.

    Posted by Dick Kamau | November 28, 2007, 8:49 pm
  9. Have a nice day !

    Posted by bibomedia | February 27, 2008, 11:04 am
  10. Nine Reasons why so many Afrikans support Barack ObamaPosted by Ifayomi on June 9, 2008 at 4:00am

    Previous Post View Blog Posts

    This blog is an abbreviated version of an essay that you will be able to find on my website http://www.houseofknowledge.org.uk next week

    Here is the list of reasons why so many Afrikans support Obama:
    1. Rugged Individualism and the American Dream. Many US citizens of all hues believe in ‘The American Dream’. This dream suggests that in the US, like no other place on Earth, it is possible to achieve one’s dreams (almost always financial) and achieve untold wealth. It is the classic rags to riches story embodied by individuals such as Oprah Winfrey. It suggests that with hard work and talent all things are possible. Now of course there are many instances of people achieving this type of success however the wider social narrative is based upon a half-truth which is particularly condemning of groups such as Afrikan-Americans. Since success is purely bound up with individual worth, it naturally follows that groups such as Afrikans in the US who ‘underachieve’ educationally, economically etc. must be deficient in some way (culturally or genetically). This explanatory paradigm diminishes the importance of social and structural factors such as race, class, gender, disability etc. And locates the blame in the ‘failing’ individual or group. Despite this and the reality that social mobility is in fact lower in the US than in many other rich countries a large number of Afrikans in the US are strongly attracted to these ideas which they feel are embodied by Barack Obama.

    2. An obsession with messianic leadership. Many Afrikans have a strong attraction for messianic leadership and there has been steady supply of such leaders to satisfy the collective appetite. Messianic leaders are usually highly charismatic individuals who have the ability to inspire and motivate large numbers of people. Their fatal flaw is the idea they promote that they have a hotline to the Creator, that they are divinely inspired and hence their utterances and ideas are not theirs but rather the truths of God. In this world the messianic leader becomes a transmission vehicle for imparting divine wisdom and hence becomes beyond criticism, both internally and externally. Indeed the leader’s followers will often responds with extreme hostility, sometimes even violence to anyone who dares to question their leader. Since all people have flaws and make mistakes the group can develop no further than the leader’s abilities. Of course all subsequent leaders are then forced to embrace prophetic status lest they discredit the group’s founder. Now, Barack Obama does not fit the aforementioned mould or scenario except that he is highly charismatic, rather he is the object of many Afrikan’s desire for a saviour type figure to singlehandedly lift the group out of its bondage. Hence he is clad in metaphorical heroic garbs and even the mildest evidence based criticism of Obama brings a sharp rebuke from his supporters.

    3. An inability to distinguish between the symbolism of change and the substance of change. As Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report identifies in his above quoted article, Obama has done everything in his power to distance himself from ‘Blackness’ in order to reassure Whites. It is therefore ironic that the more he runs away the harder many Afrikans chase him down. Too many Afrikans have short memories. There were at least three Afrikan emperors of the Roman Empire; however the nature of the Roman Empire remained unchanged. Similarly, be they Afrikan, a woman, disabled or all three; one individual does not fundamentally change the institution. The best example of this is Margaret Thatcher, elected as Prime Minister of Britain in 1979. Thatcher was no different to any of the White men who proceeded or followed her and paid no particular attention to the needs of women and in particular poor women in the UK. She was elected despite being a woman not because she was a woman. Just as if Obama is elected it will be in spite of being Black and not because of being Black. To sum up this point, melanin is necessary but not sufficient to lead Black transformation.

    4. A misunderstanding of how government in the US works in practice. James Petras (2007) describes the commonly held view and the alternative reality. “The high school text book version of American politics is that the major political parties and candidates present ideas to the American people on public policy, and the people choose which ideas will rule the country. In this textbook version of things, the politicians take interest groups into account in formulating their ideas. These interest groups include business, labor, religious, civic and other organisations. No one of them is dominant. This is the ‘pluralist’ view of American politics.
    In actuality, something very different happens. The people in key positions in financial, corporate and other business institutions establish the parameters within which the politicians, parties and media discuss ideas. These people constitute a ruling class. Their composition changes according to which sector of these business institutions is dominant at a given point in history……Rules change with shifts in power within the ruling class. (Petras 2007: 15) Therefore Obamaites are deluding themselves if they think he can bring about any significant transformation in the workings of the US government. He was selected and allowed to come this far because the ruling class – what George Bush referred to as “my base” – have been reassured that he knows how to play by their rules.

    5. A misunderstanding of how racial/ethnic groups compete with each other. In my book ‘Why Willie Lynch Must Die’ I wrote extensively about inter-ethnic competition and the basis for group success. Too many Afrikans believe that success is a ‘me’ game whereas it is in fact a ‘me’ and ‘we’ game. Groups need to co-operate internally and compete externally. Obamaites seem to believe that having your most talented individuals working on behalf of your oppressor and competitor is the route to group success. They seem to believe that these individuals will be able to force Caucasians to repent and make a space for us and we can all live happily ever after. The fact that there is no evidence to support this proposition seems of little importance. Claude Anderson identified Identity, Trust, Co-operation and Accountability as critical in building sound communities. Identity is founded in culture and it culture that is the springboard for group success not talented individuals (who are located in all ethnic groups).
    6. A deep-seated, often unspoken, need for Caucasian approval. Many Afrikans across a range of ideological positions and beliefs crave the approval of Caucasians. This is made clear when one observes how much energy Afrikans use to protest about some racial insult or slur from any Caucasian as well as the amount of time Afrikans will expend arguing with Caucasian racists about whether we are inferior (culturally, genetically or both) or not. People secure in their identity and peoplehood don’t engage in such futile non-productive activity. If they are unhappy about something they take action that hits their enemies where it hurts e.g. economic boycotts. However because so many of our people are deeply insecure about our collective – as opposed to individual – merit, any crumb of approval offered by the dominant group e.g. an Oscar for Halle Berry for selling us out in the film ‘Monsters Ball’ is seized upon with glee as a sign of group progress. Principles and integrity go out of the window in the desperate fight for Marsa’s approval and hence even war criminals such as Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice become pin ups for Black ‘progress’. Obama as President becomes the ultimate symbol of White approval and hence the idea touches many Afrikans at the core of their being.

    7. The lesser of two evils justification
    This is normally the final justification when all other arguments are exhausted. He is not as bad as ‘Hillary’ or McCain we are told. Well that is setting the bar just about as low as is possible! The lesser of two evils still leaves you supporting evil.

    8. The ‘undercover brotha’ hope
    This is perhaps the most desperate and least plausible of reasons for voting for Obama. In the classic film ‘The Spook who sat by the door’ the lead character joins the CIA as a seemingly obedient integrationist Negro and then later on returns to the hood to use his training to transform gang members into guerrilla fighters. In this vein I have heard it suggested that once Obama becomes President he will reveal his true Black self. We’ll see!

    9. An obsession with ‘Black Firsts’. The Negro version of the history of Afrikans in the US is obsessed with ‘Black Firsts’ and individual ‘successes’. This is strongly linked to the need for Caucasian approval and each Black First is greeted joyously as taking us that bit nearer to the Promised Land. However when one examines the group’s functionality one sees that Black Police Chief have not reduced the murder of Afrikan young men by Police Officers, Afrikan Directors of Social Services have not halted the disintegration of the Afrikan family and Afrikan politicians (certainly on a national or state level) have delivered precious little to Afrikan communities. ‘Black Firsts’ are little more than putting sticking plaster over a cut jugular.

    Claude Anderson suggests that building our group is like building a five storey building. You have to build the first level before you can build the second and so on. In his metaphor the five stories of the building are Economics, Politics, the Criminal Justice System, Media and Education in that order. Whilst I might quibble with some of the ordering of the other floors I certainly agree that economics provides the ground floor. If you do not build your ground floor i.e. a strong economic base, it will be impossible to build the other floors on thin air. This is what Afrikans in the US – and other places continue to do – ask for what they want and beg for what they need. If you are a minority you have to have strong economic leverage and be able to deliver a bloc vote in order to influence national politics. Since Afrikans in the US do not have the former and 90% of those who do vote; vote Democrat, without the promise of anything in return, Obama; like all the rest of the senior national US politicians will continue to ignore us as a weak and irrelevant group. Its quid pro quo and if you don’t have any quids there is no pro. That is the inconvenient truth.

    The only sensible reason to support Barack Obama is if you support his policy positions. The idea of voting for someone because he has an Afrikan parent and looks like people you know is frankly daft. Clarence Thomas (the Supreme Court Justice) has two Afrikan parents and supports the torture of prisoners to gain information by the US army and police. You could not find a more egregious Uncle Tom if you tried. Are we really so defeated that all we can cling to for hope and solace is the meagre, melanated representationalism that Obama represents? Do 40 million people have to live vicariously through one man who does not even recognise them as a group worthy of attention? I would rather a Caucasian of principle than an Afrikan of rhetoric in the White House any day.
    The strangest twist to the whole Obama saga is that many – but by no means all – people like me who are sometimes accused of being obsessed with ‘race’ don’t support Obama, whilst many of those Afrikans who profess colour-blind liberalism have jumped on the ‘race’ horse and are riding it with gusto. Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed!

    © Ifayomi Grant http://www.houseofknowledge.org.uk
    09 June 2008
    If you use excerpts from this article please acknowledge its source and do not misrepresent the thrust of the piece.
    Independent Afrikan writers need the support of independent minded Afrikans!

    Anderson, C (2001) Powernomics – The National Plan to Empower Black America, Bethesda, Maryland: Powernomics Corporation of America
    Ford, G. 04 June 2008, Obama Resigns From Black Nation, Black Agenda Report
    Grant, P.I. (2007) ‘Why Willie Lynch Must Die and other Essays’, Navig8or Press: Nottingham, UK
    Petras, J. (2007) ‘Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire – Bankers, Zionists, Militants’, Clarity Press Inc. :Atlanta, GA

    Posted by kimathi | June 12, 2008, 4:58 pm
  11. ZIMBABAWE AT WAR By Stephen Gowans This is a war between revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries; between nationalists and quislings; between Zimbabwean patriots and the US and Britain. Should an election be carried out when a country is under sanctions and it has been made clear to the electorate that the sanctions will be lifted only if the opposition party is elected? Should a political party which is the creation of, and is funded by, hostile foreign forces, and whose program is to unlatch the door from within to provide free entry to foreign powers to establish a neo-colonial rule, be allowed to freely operate? Should the leaders of an opposition movement that takes money from hostile foreign powers and who have made plain their intention to unseat the government by any means available, be charged with treason? These are the questions that now face (have long faced) the embattled government of Zimbabwe, and which it has answered in its own way, and which other governments, at other times, have answered in theirs. The American revolutionaries, Thomas Jefferson among them, answered similar questions through harsh repression of the monarchists who threatened to reverse the gains of the American Revolution. There were 600,000 to 700,000 Tories, loyal to the king and hostile to the revolutionaries, who stood as a threat to the revolution. To neutralize the threat, the new government denied the Tories any platform from which to organize a counter-revolution. They were forbidden to own a press, to teach, to mount a pulpit. The professions were closed to them. They were denied the right to vote and hold political office. The property of wealthy Tories was confiscated. Many loyalists were beaten, others jailed without trial. Some were summarily executed. And 100,000 were driven into exile. Hundreds of thousands of people were denied advocacy rights, rights to property, and suffrage rights, in order to enlarge the liberties of a larger number of people who had been oppressed. [1] Zimbabwe, too, is a revolutionary society. Through armed struggle, Zimbabweans, like Americans before them, had thrown off the yoke of British colonialism. Rhodesian apartheid was smashed. Patterns of land ownership were democratized. Over 300,000 previously landless families were given land once owned by a mere 4,000 farmers, mainly of British stock, mostly descendents of settlers who had taken the land by force. In other African countries, land reform has been promised, but little has been achieved. In Namibia, the government began expropriating a handful of white owned farms in 2004 under pressure from landless peasants, but progress has been glacially slow. In South Africa, blacks own just four percent of the farmland. The ANC government promised that almost one-third of arable land would be redistributed by 2000, but the target has been pushed back to 2015, and no one believes it will be reached. The problem is, African countries, impoverished by colonialism, and held down by neo-colonialism, haven’t the money to buy the land needed for redistribution. And the European countries that once colonized Africa, are unwilling to help out, except on terms that will see democratization of land ownership pushed off into a misty future, and only on terms that will guarantee the continued domination of Africa by the West. Britain promised to fund Zimbabwe’s land redistribution program, if liberation fighters laid down their arms and accepted a political settlement. Britain, under Tony Blair, reneged, finding excuses to wriggle out of commitments made by the Thatcher government. And so Zimbabwe’s government acted to reverse the legacy of colonialism, expropriating land without compensation (but for improvements made by the former owner.) Compensation, Zimbabwe’s government declared with unassailable justification, would have to be paid by Britain. In recent years, the government has taken steps to democratize the country further. Legislation has been formulated to mandate that majority ownership of the country’s mines and enterprises be placed in the hands of the indigenous black majority. The goal is to have Zimbabweans achieve real independence, not simply the independence of having their own flag, but of owning their land and resources. As a Canadian prime minister once said of his own country, once you lose control of the economic levers, you lose sovereignty. Zimbabwe isn’t trying to hang onto control of its economic levers, but to gain control of them for the first time. Jabulani Sibanda, the leader of the association of former guerrillas who fought for the country’s liberation, explains: “Our country was taken away in 1890. We fought a protracted struggle to recover it and the process is still on. We gained political independence in 1980, got our land after 2000, but we have not yet reclaimed our minerals and natural resources. The fight for freedom is still on until everything is recovered for the people.” [2] The revolutionary government’s program has met with fierce opposition – from the tiny elite of land owners who had monopolized the country’s best land; from former colonial oppressor Britain, whose capitalists largely controlled the economy; from the United States, whose demand that it be granted an open door everywhere has been defied by Zimbabwe’s tariff restrictions, investment performance requirements, government ownership of business enterprises and economic indigenization policies; and from countries that don’t want Zimbabwe’s land democratization serving as an inspiration to oppressed indigenous peoples under their control. The tiny former land-owning elite wants its former privileges restored; British capital wants its investments in Zimbabwe protected; US capital wants Zimbabwe’s doors flung open to investment and exports; and Germany seeks to torpedo Zimbabwe’s land reforms to guard against inspiring “other states in Southern Africa, including Namibia, where the heirs of German colonialists would be affected.” [3] The Mugabe government’s rejecting the IMF’s program of neo-liberal restructuring in the late 1990s, after complying initially and discovering the economy was being ruined; its dispatch of troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help the young government of Laurent Kabila defend itself against a US and British-backed invasion by Uganda and Rwanda; and its refusal to safeguard property rights in its pursuit of land democratization and economic independence, have made it anathema to the former Rhodesian agrarian elite, and in the West, to the corporate lawyers, investment bankers and hereditary capitalist families who dominate the foreign policies of the US, Britain and their allies. Mugabe’s status as persona non grata in the West (and anti-imperialist hero in Africa) can be understood in an anecdote. When Mugabe became prime minister in 1980, former leader of the Rhodesian state, Ian Smith, offered to help the tyro leader. “Mugabe was delighted to accept his help and the two men worked happily together for some time, until one day Mugabe announced plans for sweeping nationalization.” From that point forward, Smith never talked to Mugabe. [4] Overthrowing the Revolution The British, the US and the former Rhodesians have used two instruments to try to overthrow Zimbabwe’s revolution: The opposition party Movement for Democratic Change, and civil society. The MDC was founded in September 1999 in response to Harare announcing it would expropriate Rhodesian farms for redistribution to landless black families. The party was initially bankrolled by the British government’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy and other European governments, including Germany, through the Social Democratic Party’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Ebert having been the party leader who conspired with German police officials to have Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht murdered, to smother an emerging socialist revolution in Germany in 1918.) Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who had been elevated from his position as secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to champion the West’s counter-revolutionary agenda within Zimbabwe, acknowledged in February 2002 that the MDC was financed by European governments and corporations, which funneled money through British political consultants, BSMG. [5] Today, the government of Zimbabwe charges NGOs with acting as conduits through which Western governments pass money to the opposition party. The MDC’s orientation is decidedly toward people and forces of European origin. British journalist Peta Thornycroft, hardly a Mugabe supporter, lamented in an interview on Western government-sponsored short wave radio SW Africa that: ‘When the MDC started in 2000, what a pity that they were addressing people in Sandton, mostly white people in Sandton north of Johannesburg instead of being in Dar es Salaam or Ghana or Abuja. They failed to make contact with Africa for so long. They were in London, we’ve just seen it again, Morgan Tsvangirai’s just been in America. Why isn’t he in Cairo? Maybe he needs financial support and he can’t get it outside of America or the UK and the same would go for (leader of an alternative MDC faction, Arthur) Mutambara. They have not done enough in Africa. [6] A look at the MDC’s program quickly reveals why the party’s leaders spend most of their time traipsing to Western capitals calling for sanctions and gathering advice on how to overthrow the Mugabe government. First, the MDC is opposed to Zimbabwe’s land democratization program. Defeating the government’s plans to expropriate the land of the former Rhodesian elite was one of the main impetuses for the party’s formation. Right through to the 2002 election campaign the party insisted on returning farms to the expropriated Rhodesian settlers. [7] The MDC and Land Reform These days Tsvangirai equivocates on land reform, recognizing that speaking too openly about reversing the land democratization program, or taxing black Zimbabweans to compensate expropriated Rhodesian settlers for land the Rhodesians and other British settlers took by force, is detrimental to his party’s success. But there’s no mistaking that the land redistribution program’s life would be cut short by a MDC victory. “The government of Zimbabwe,” wrote Tsvangirai, in a March 23, 2008 Wall Street Journal editorial, “must be committed to protecting persons and property rights.” This means “compensation for those who lost their possessions in an unjust way,” i.e., compensation for the expropriated Rhodesians. Zimbabwe’s program of expropriating land without compensation, he concluded, is just not on: it “scares away investors, domestic and international.” [8] This is the same reasoning the main backer of Tsvangirai’s party, the British government, used to justify backing out of its commitment to fund land redistribution. The British government was reneging on its earlier promise, said then secretary of state for international development Claire Short in a letter to Zimbabwe’s minister of agriculture and lands, Kumbirai Kangai, because of the damage Zimbabwe’s fast-track land reform proposals would do to investor confidence. Lurking none too deftly behind Tsvangirai’s and London’s solicitude over impaired investor confidence are the interests of foreign investors themselves. The Mugabe government’s program is to wrest control of the country’s land, resources and economy from the hands of foreign investors and Rhodesian settlers; the program of the MDC and its backers is to put it back. That’s no surprise, considering the MDC was founded by Europe, backed by the Rhodesians, and bankrolled by capitalist governments and enterprises that have an interest in protecting their existing investments in the country and opening up opportunities for new ones. Civil Society There is a countless number of Western NGOs that either operate in Zimbabwe or operate outside the country with a focus on Zimbabwe. While the Western media invariably refer to them as independent, they are anything but. Almost all are funded by Western governments, wealthy individuals, and corporations. Some NGOs say that while they take money from Western sources, they’re not influenced by them. This is probably true, to a point. Funders don’t dangle funding as a bribe, so much as select organizations that can be counted on to behave in useful ways of their own volition. Of course, it may be true that some organizations recognize that handsome grants are available for organizations with certain orientations, and adapt accordingly. But for the most part, civil society groups that advance the overseas agendas of Western governments and corporations, whether they know it or not, and not necessarily in a direct fashion, find that funding finds them. Western governments fund dozens of NGOs to discredit the government in Harare, alienate it of popular support, and mobilize mass resistance under the guise of promoting democracy and human rights. Their real purpose is to bring down the government and its nationalist policies. The idea that Britain, which, as colonial oppressor, denied blacks suffrage and dispossessed them of their land, is promoting rights and democracy in Zimbabwe is laughable. The same can be said of Canada. The Canadian government doles out grants to NGOs through an organization called Rights and Democracy. Rights and Democracy is currently funding the anti-Zanu-PF Media Institute of Southern Africa, along with the US government and a CIA-linked right wing US think tank. While sanctimoniously parading about on the world stage as a champion of rights and democracy, Canada denied its own aboriginal people suffrage up to 1960. For a century, it enforced an assimilation policy that tore 150,000 aboriginal children from their homes and placed them in residential schools where their language and culture were banned. Canadian citizens like to think their own country is a model of moral rectitude, but are blind to the country’s deplorable record in the treatment of its own aboriginal people; it’s denial of the liberty and property rights of Canadian citizens of Japanese heritage during WWII; and in recent years, its complicity in overthrowing the Haitian government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and participation in the occupation of Afghanistan. As for the United States, its violations of the rights of people throughout the world have become so frequent and far-reaching that only the deaf, dumb or insane would believe the US government has the slightest interest in promoting democracy and human rights anywhere. Consider, then, the record of the West’s self-proclaimed promoters of democracy and human rights against this: the reason there’s universal suffrage in Zimbabwe and equality rights for blacks, is because the same forces (that are being routinely decried by Western governments and their NGO extensions) fought for, bled for, and died for the principle of universal suffrage. “We taught them the principle of one man, one vote which did not exist” under the British, Zimbabwe’s president points out. “Democracy,” he adds, “also means self-rule, not rule by outsiders.” [9] Regime Change Agenda The charge that the West is supporting civil society groups in Zimbabwe to bring down the government isn’t paranoid speculation or the demagogic raving of a government trying to cling to power by mobilizing anti-imperialist sentiment. It’s a matter of public record. The US government has admitted that “it wants to see President Robert Mugabe removed from power and that it is working with the Zimbabwean opposition…trade unions, pro-democracy groups and human rights organizations…to bring about a change of administration.” [10] Additionally, in an April 5, 2007 report, the US Department of State revealed that it had: — “Sponsored public events that presented economic and social analyses discrediting the government’s excuse for its failed policies” (i.e, absolving US and EU sanctions for undermining the country’s economy); — “Sponsored…and supported…several township newspapers” and worked to expand the listener base of Voice of America’s Studio 7 radio station. (The State Department had been distributing short-wave radios to Zimbabweans to facilitate the project of Zimbabwean public opinion being shaped from abroad by Washington’s propagandists). Last year, the US State Department set aside US$30 million for these activities. [11] Earlier this year, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that the UK had increased its funding for civil society organizations operating in Zimbabwe from US$5 million to US$6.5 million. [12] Dozens of other governments, corporations and capitalist foundations shower civil society groups with money, training and support to set up and run “independent” media to attack the government, “independent” election monitoring groups to discredit the outcome of elections Zanu-PF wins, and underground groups which seek to make the country ungovernable through civil disobedience campaigns. One such group is Zvakwana, “an underground movement that aims to resist – and eventually undermine” the Zanu-PF government. “With a second, closely related group called Sokwanele, Zvakwana’s members specialize in anonymous acts of civil disobedience.” [13] Both groups, along with Zubr in Belarus and Ukraine’s Pora, whose names, in English, mean ‘enough’, “take their inspiration from Otpor, the movement that played a major role in ousting Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia.” [14] One Sokwanele member is “a white conservative businessman expressing a passion for freedom, tradition, polite manners and the British royals,” [15] hardly a black-clad anarchist motivated by a philosophical opposition to “authoritarian rule,” but revealing of what lies beneath the thin veneer of radicalism that characterizes so many civil society opposition groups in Zimbabwe. In the aforementioned April 5, 2007 US State Department report, Washington revealed that it had “supported workshops to develop youth leadership skills necessary to confront social injustice through non-violent strategies,” the kinds of skills members of Zvakwana and Sokwanele are equipped with to destabilize Zimbabwe. In addition to funding received from the US and Britain, Zimbabwe’s civil society groups also receive money from the German, Australian and Canadian governments, the Ford Foundation, Freedom House, the Albert Einstein Institution, the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, Liberal International, the Mott Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers, South African Breweries, and billionaire financier George Soros’ Open Society Institute. All of these funding sources, including the governments, are dominated by Western capitalist ruling classes. It would be truly naïve to believe, for example, that the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict and Freedom House, both headed by Peter Ackerman, member of the US ruling class Council on Foreign Relations, a New York investment banker and former right hand man to Michael Milken of junk bond fame, is lavishing money and training on civil society groups in Zimbabwe out of humanitarian concern. According to Noam Chomksy and Edward Herman, Freedom House has ties to the CIA, “and has long served as a virtual propaganda arm of the (US) government and international right wing.” [16] Political lucre doesn’t come from Western sources alone. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation awards a prize yearly for “achievement in African leadership” to a sub-Saharan African leader who has left office in the previous three years. The prize is worth $500,000 per year for the first 10 years and $200,000 per year thereafter – in other words, cash for life. Ibrahim, a Sudanese billionaire who founded Celtel International, a cellphone service that operates in 15 African countries, established the award to “encourage African leaders to govern well,” something, apparently, Ibrahim believes African leaders don’t do now and need to be encouraged to do. What Ibrahim means by govern well is clear in who was selected as the first (and so far only) winner: Mozambique’s former president Joaquim Chissano. He received the prize for overseeing Mozambique’s “transition from Marxism to a free market economy.” [17] While there may seem to be nothing particularly amiss in this, imagine billionaire speculator George Soros establishing a foundation to bribe US and British politicians with cash for life to “govern well.” It wouldn’t elude many of us that Soros’ definition of “govern well” would almost certainly align to a tee with his own interests, and that any politician eager to live a comfortable life after politics would be keen to keep Soros’ interests in mind. Under these conditions there would be no question of democracy prevailing; we would be living in a plutocracy, in which those with great wealth could dangle the carrot of a cash award for life to get their way. As it happens, this kind of thing is happening now in Western democracies (that is, plutocracies.) Handsomely paid positions as corporate lobbyists, corporate executives and members of corporate boards await Western politicians who play their cards right. There are Mo Ibrahims all over, who go by the names Ford, GM, Exxon, General Electric, Lockheed-Martin, Microsoft, IBM and so on. Threat to US Foreign policy Why does the government of the US consider Zimbabwe to pose “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States”? The answer says as much about the foreign policy of the United States as it does about Zimbabwe. The goal of US foreign policy is to provide profit-making opportunities to US investors and corporations. This is accomplished by pressuring, cajoling, bribing, blackmailing, threatening, subverting, destabilizing and where possible, using violence, to get foreign countries to lower or remove tariff barriers, lift restrictions on foreign investment, deny preferential treatment to domestic investors, allow repatriation of profits, and provide the US military access to the country. The right of the US military to operate on foreign soil is necessary to provide Washington with local muscle to protect US investments, ensure unimpeded access to strategic raw materials (oil, importantly), and to keep doors open to continued US economic penetration. It is also necessary to have forward operating bases from which to threaten countries whose governments aren’t open to US exports and investments. The Zanu-PF government’s policies have run afoul of US foreign policy goals in a number of ways. In 1998, “Zimbabwe – along with Angola and Namibia – was mandated by the (Southern African Development Community, a regional grouping of countries) to intervene in Congo to save a fellow SADC member country from an invasion by Uganda and Rwanda,” which were acting as proxies of the United States and Britain. [18] Both countries wanted to bring down the young government of Laurent Kabila, fearing Kabila was turning into another Patrice Lumumba, the nationalist Congolese leader whose assassination the CIA had arranged in the 1960s. Zimbabwe’s intervention, as part of the SADC contingent, foiled the Anglo-American’s plans, and earned Mugabe the enmity of ruling circles in the West. The Zanu-PF government’s record with the IMF also threatened US foreign policy goals. From 1991 to 1995, Mugabe’s government implemented a program of structural adjustment prescribed by the IMF as a condition of receiving balance of payment support and the restructuring of its international loans. The program required the government to cut its spending deeply, fire tens of thousands of civil servants, and slash social programs. Zimbabwe’s efforts to nurture infant industries were to be abandoned. Instead, the country’s doors were to be opened to foreign investment. Harare would radically reduce taxes and forbear from any measure designed to give domestic investors a leg up on foreign competitors. The US, Germany, Japan and South Korea had become capitalist powerhouses by adopting the protectionist and import substitution policies the IMF was forbidding. The effect of the IMF program was devastating. Manufacturing employment tumbled nine percent between 1991 and 1996, while wages dropped 26 percent. Public sector employment plunged 23 percent and public sector wages plummeted 40 percent. [19] In contrast to the frequent news stories today on Zimbabwe’s fragile economy, attributed disingenuously to “Mugabe’s disastrous land policies”, the Western press barely noticed the devastation the IMF’s disastrous economic policies brought to Zimbabwe in the 1990s. By 1996, the Mugabe government was starting to back away from the IMF prescriptions. By 1998, it was in open revolt, imposing new tariffs to protect infant industries and providing incentives to black Zimbabwean investors as part of an affirmative action program to encourage African ownership of the economy. These policies were diametrically opposed, not only to the IMF’s program of structural adjustment, but to the goals of US foreign policy. By 1999, the break was complete. The IMF refused to extend loans to Zimbabwe. By February, 2001, Zimbabwe was in arrears to the Bretton Woods institution. Ten months later, the US introduced the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery, a dagger through the heart of Zimbabwe’s economy. “Zimbabwe,” says Mugabe, “is not a friend of the IMF and is unlikely to be its friend in the future.” [20] Zanu-PF’s willingness to ignore the hallowed status of private property by expropriating the land of the former Rhodesians to democratize the country’s pattern of land ownership also ran afoul of US foreign policy goals. Because US foreign policy seeks to protect US ownership abroad, any program that promotes expropriation as a means of advancing democratic goals must be considered hostile. Kenyan author Mukoma Wa Nguyi invites us to think of Zimbabwe “as Africa’s Cuba. Like Cuba, Zimbabwe is not a… military threat to the US and Britain. Like Cuba, in Latin America, Zimbabwe’s crime is leading by example to show that land can be redistributed – an independence with content. If Zimbabwe succeeds, it becomes an example to African people that indeed freedom and independence can have the content of national liberation. Like Cuba, Zimbabwe is to be isolated, and if possible, a new government that is friendly to the agenda of the West is to be installed.” [21] The Comprador Party If Zanu-PF is willing to offend Western corporate and Rhodesian settler interests to advance the welfare of the majority of Zimbabweans, the MDC is its perfect foil. Rather than offending Western interests, the MDC seeks to accommodate them, treating the interests of foreign investors and imperialist governments as synonymous with those of the Zimbabwean majority. A MDC government would never tolerate the pursuit in Zimbabwe of the protectionist and nationalist economic programs the US used to build its own industry. The MDC’s goals, in the words of its leader, are to “encourage foreign investment” and “bring (Zimbabwe’s) abundant farmland back into health.” [22] “It is up to each of us,” Tsvangirai told a gathering of newly elected MDC parliamentarians, “to say Zimbabwe is open for business.” [23] Encouraging foreign investment means going along with Western demands for neo-liberal restructuring. “The key to turning around Zimbabwe’s economy…is the political will needed to implement the market reforms, the IMF and others, including the United States, have been recommending for the past few years,” lectured the former US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell. This means “a free-market economy and security of property to investment and economic growth.” [24] Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has developed an economic program for Zimbabwe to be rolled out if Western regime change efforts succeed. Brown says his recovery package will include measures to: (1) help Zimbabwe restart and stabilize its economy; (2) restructure and reduce its debt; (3) support fair land reform. [25] What Brown is really saying is that: (1) Sanctions will be lifted, and the resultant economic recovery will be attributed to the MDC’s neo-liberal policies. (2) Zimbabwe will resume the structural adjustment program Mugabe’s government rejected in the late 90s. (3) Either land reform will be reversed or black Zimbabweans will be forced to compensate white farmers whose land was expropriated. The reality that Brown has developed an economic program for Zimbabwe speaks volumes about who will be in charge if the MDC comes to power – not Zimbabweans, not the MDC, and not Tsvangirai, but London and Washington. Not surprisingly, MDC economic policy is perfectly simpatico with the prescriptions of its masters. Eddie Cross, formerly vice-chairman of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, who became a MDC spokesman, explained the party’s economic plans for Zimbabwe, in advance of 2000 elections. “We are going to fast track privatization. All 50 government parastatals will be privatized within a two-year time-frame, but we are going to go beyond that. We are going to privatize many of the functions of government. We are going to privatize the central statistical office. We are going to privatize virtually the entire school delivery system. And you know, we have looked at the numbers and we think we can get government employment down from about 300,000 at the present time to about 75,000 in five years.” [26] Of course, the intended beneficiaries of such a program aren’t Zimbabweans, but foreign investors. The MDC’s role as agent of Western influence in Zimbabwe doesn’t stop at promoting economic policies that cater to foreign investors. The MDC has also been active in turning the screws on Zimbabwe to undermine the economy and create disaffection and misery in order to alienate Zanu-PF of its popular support. Arguing that foreign firms are propping up the government, the MDC has actively discouraged investment. For example, Tsvangirai tried to discourage a deal between Chinese investors and the South African company Implats, that would see a US$100 million platinum refinery set up in Zimbabwe, warning that a MDC government might not honor the deal. [27] The MDC leader, true to form, was following in the footsteps of his political masters in Washington. The United States has pressed China and other countries to refrain from investing in Zimbabwe “at a time when the international community (is) trying to isolate the African state.” [28] Washington complains that “China’s growing political and commercial influence in resource-rich African nations” [29] is sabotaging its efforts to ruin Zimbabwe’s economy. More damning is the MDC’s participation in the drafting of the principal piece of US legislation aimed at torpedoing the Zimbabwean economy: The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. Passed in 2001, the act instructs “the United States executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against- (1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or (2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution.” [30] The effect of the act is to cut off all development assistance to Zimbabwe, disable lines of credit, and prevent the World Bank and International Monetary Fund from providing development assistance and balance of payment support. [31] Any African country subjected to this punishment would very soon find itself in straitened circumstances. When the legislation was ratified, US president George W. Bush said, “I hope the provisions of this important legislation will support the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle to effect peaceful democratic change, achieve economic growth, and restore the rule of law.” [32] Since effecting peaceful democratic change means, in Washington’s parlance, ousting the Zanu-PF government, and since restoring the rule of law equates, in Washingtonian terms, to forbidding the expropriation of white farm land without compensation, what Bush was really saying was that he hoped the legislation would help overthrow the government and put an end to fast-track land reform. The legislation “was co-drafted by one of the opposition MDC’s white parliamentarians in Zimbabwe, which was then introduced as a Bill in the US Congress on 8 March 2001 by the Republican senator, William Frist. The Bill was co-sponsored by the Republican rightwing senator, Jesse Helms, and the Democratic senators Hillary Clinton, Joseph Biden and Russell Feingold.” Helms, a notorious racist, had a penchant for legislation aimed at undermining countries seeking to achieve substantive democracy. “He co-authored the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, which tightened the blockade on Cuba.” [33] The Distorting Lens of the Western Media Western reporting on Zimbabwe occurs within a framework of implicit assumptions. The assumptions act as a lens through which facts are organized, understood and distorted. Columnist and associate editor for the British newspaper The Guardian, Seamus Milne, points out that British journalists see Zimbabwe through a lens that casts the president as a barbarous despot. “The British media,” he writes, “have long since largely abandoned any attempt at impartiality in its reporting of Zimbabwe, the common assumption being that Mugabe is a murderous dictator at the head of a uniquely wicked regime.” [34] If you began with these assumptions, ordinary events are interpreted within the framework the assumptions define. An egregious example is offered in how a perfectly legitimate exercise was construed and presented by Western reporters as a diabolical exercise. Zanu-PF held campaign workshops to explain what the government had achieved since independence and what it was doing to address the country’s economic crisis. The intention, according to Zimbabwe’s Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was to “educate the people on the illegal sanctions as some of them were duped to vote for the MDC in the March elections.” [35] But that’s not how the British newspaper, The Independent, saw it. “The Zimbabwean army and police,” its reporter wrote, “have been accused of setting up torture camps and organizing ‘re-education meetings’ involving unspeakable cruelty where voters are beaten and mutilated in the hope of achieving victory for President Robert Mugabe in the second round of the presidential election.” [36] Begin with the assumption that Mugabe is a murderous dictator at the head of a uniquely wicked regime and campaign workshops become re-education meetings and torture camps. Note that The Independent’s reporter relied on an accusation, not on corroborated facts, and that the identity of the accuser was never revealed. The story has absolutely no evidentiary value, but considerable propaganda value. The chances of many people reading the story with a skeptical eye and picking out its weaknesses are slim. What’s more likely to happen is that readers will regard the accusation as plausible because it fits with the preconceived model of Mugabe as a murderous dictator and his government as uniquely wicked. How do we know the accuser wasn’t a fellow journalist repeating gossip overheard on the street, or at MDC headquarters? How do we know the accusation wasn’t made by the US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, or any one of scores of representatives of Western-funded NGOs, whose role is to discredit the Zimbabwe government? McGee is a veritable treasure trove of half-truths, innuendo, and misinformation. And yet the Western media, particularly those based in the US, have a habit of treating McGee as an impeccable source, seemingly blind to the reality that the US government is hostile to Zimbabwe’s land democratization and economic indigenization programs, that it has an interest in spinning news to discredit Harare, and that its officials have an extensive track record in lying to justify the plunder of other people’s countries. To paraphrase Caesar Zvayi, if George Bush can lie hundreds of times about Iraq, what’s to stop him (or McGee or the NGOs on the US payroll) from lying about Zimbabwe? That the Western media pass on accusations made by interested parties without so much as revealing the interest can either be regarded as shocking naiveté or a sign of the propaganda role Western media play on behalf of the corporate class that owns them. If the US and British governments and Western media are against the democratization and economic indigenization programs of Zanu-PF, it’s because they’re dominated by a capitalist ruling class whose interests are against those of the Zimbabwean majority. It is typical of Western reporting to attribute the actions of the Zanu-PF government to the personal characteristics of its leader: his alleged hunger for power for power’s-sake; demagogy; incompetence in matters related to economic management; and brutality. The government’s actions, by contrast, are never attributed to the circumstances, the conditions in which the government is forced to maneuver, or to the demands of survival in the face of the West’s predatory pressures. This isn’t unique to Zimbabwe; every leader the West wants to overthrow is vilified as a “strongman,” “dictator,” “thug,” “war criminal,” “murderer,” or “warlord” and sometimes all of these things. All of the leader’s actions are to be understood as originating in the leader’s deeply flawed character. If Iran is building a uranium enrichment capability, it’s not because it seeks an independent source of fuel for a budding civilian nuclear energy program, but because the country’s president is to be understood as a raving anti-Semite who seeks to acquire nuclear weapons to carry out Hitler’s final solution by wiping Israel off the face of the map. The same reduction of international affairs to a moral struggle between the West and what always turns out to be a nationalist, socialist or communist country headed by a leader whose actions are invariably traced by Western reporters to the leader’s evil psychology applies equally to Zimbabwe. If the Mugabe government has banned political rallies, it is not because the rallies have been used by the opposition as an occasion to firebomb police stations, but because the president has an unquenchable thirst for power and will brook no opposition. If opposition activists have been arrested, it’s not because they’ve committed crimes, but because the leader is repressive and dictatorial. If Morgan Tsvangirai is beaten by police, it’s not because he tried to break through police lines, but because the leader is a brutal dictator and ordered Tsvangirai’s beating because that’s what brutal dictators do. If an opposition leader is arrested and charged with treason, it’s not because there is evidence of treason, but because the president is gagging the opposition to cling to power because it is in the nature of dictators to do so. If the economy falls into crisis, it’s not because the West has cut off the country’s access to credit, but because of the leader’s incompetence. If agricultural production drops, it’s not due to the drought, electricity shortages and rising fuel costs that have bedeviled other countries in the region, but because the leader is too stupid to recognize his land reform policies are disastrous. A New York Times story published three days before the March 29 elections shows how Western governments and mass media cooperate with civil society agents on the ground to shape public opinion. The aim of the March 26, 2008 article, titled “Hope and Fear for Zimbabwe Vote,” was to discredit the elections that Zanu-PF seemed at the time likely to win. Harare had barred election monitors from the US and EU, but allowed observers from Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, South Africa and the SADC to monitor the vote. The Western media pointed to the decision to bar Western observers as indirect evidence of vote rigging. After all, if Zimbabwe had nothing to hide, why wouldn’t it admit observers from Europe and the US? At the same time, Western reporters suggested that Zimbabwe was only allowing observers from friendly countries because they could be counted on to bless the election results. By the same logic, one would have expected that a negative evaluation from observers representing unfriendly countries would be just as automatic and foreordained, especially considering the official policy of the US and EU is to replace the current government with one friendly to Western business interests. Indeed, it is this fear that had led Harare to ban Western monitors. With Western observers unable to monitor the elections directly, governments in North America and Europe found themselves on the horns of a dilemma. How could they declare the vote fraudulent, if they hadn’t observed it? To get around this difficulty, the US, Britain and other Western countries provided grants to Zimbabweans on the ground to monitor the vote. These Zimbabweans, part of civil society, declared themselves to be independent “non-governmental” observers, and prepared to render a foreordained verdict that the election was rigged. Cooperating in the deception, the Western media amplified their voices as “independent” experts on the ground. The US Congress’s National Endowment for Democracy – an organization that does overtly what the CIA used to do covertly – provided grants to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network “to train and organize 240 long-term elections observers throughout Zimbabwe.” The NED is also connected to the Media Monitoring Project through the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, which it funds, and the Media Institute of Southern Africa, which is funded by Britain’s NED equivalent, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and Canada’s Rights and Democracy. The Media Monitoring Project calls itself independent, but is connected to the US and British governments, and to billionaire speculator George Soros’ Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa. When the New York Times needed Zimbabweans to comment on the upcoming election, its reporters turned to representatives of these two NGOs. Noel Kututwa, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, told the newspaper that his group would be using “sampling techniques to assess the accuracy of the results announced nationally.” Yet, Mr. Kututwa also told the newspaper that, “We will not have a free and fair election.” If Kututwa had already decided the election would be unfair and coerced, why was he bothering to assess its accuracy? Andrew Moyse, a regular commentator on Studio 7, an anti-Mugabe radio station sponsored by the US government’s propaganda arm, Voice of America, was quoted in the same article. “Even if Mugabe only gets one vote,” Mr. Moyse opined, “the tabulated results are in the box and he has won.” Moyse, on top of acting as a US mouthpiece on Voice of America, heads up the Media Monitoring Project. While part of the NGO election observer team the US and EU were relying on to ostensibly assess the fairness of the vote, he had already decided the vote was rigged. Kutatwa and Moyse were the only experts the New York Times cited in its story on the upcoming elections. Yet both represented NGOs funded by hostile governments whose official policy is to replace Robert Mugabe and his government’s land reform and economic indigenization policies. Both presented themselves as independent, though they could hardly be independent of their sources of foreign government and foundation funding. Both declared in advance of the election that the vote would be coerced and unfair and that the tabulated results were already in the box. Their foreordained conclusions – which turned out to be wildly inaccurate – happened to be the same conclusions their sponsors in the US and Britain were looking for, to obtain the consent of a confused public to intervene vigorously in Zimbabwe’s affairs. This is emblematic of the symbiotic collaboration of media, Western governments, and NGOs on the ground. Western governments, corporations and wealthy individuals fund NGOs to discredit the Zanu-PF government, and the Western media present the same NGOs as independent actors, and provide them a platform to present their views. Meanwhile, the Western media marginalize the Zanu-PF government and its supporters on the ground, denying them a platform to present their side. To publics in the West, the only story heard is the story told by the MDC and its civil society allies, who reinforce, as a matter of strategy, the view that Mugabe is a murderous dictator at the head of a uniquely wicked regime. The MDC, civil society, the Western media, the British and US governments, and imperialist think tanks and foundations, are all interlocked. All of these sources, then, tell the same story. Safeguarding the Revolution After the revolutionary war, would the Americans who led and carried out the revolution have allowed loyalists to band together to seek public office in elections with a program of restoring the monarchy? We’ve already seen that the answer is no. When the Nazis were ousted in Germany, was the Nazi party allowed to reconstitute itself to seek the return of the Third Reich through electoral means? No. Countries that have gone through revolutionary change are careful, if the revolution is to survive, to deny those who have been overthrown an opportunity to recover their privileged positions. That often means denying former exploiters and their partisans opportunities to band together to contest elections, or constitutionally prescribing a desired form of government and prohibiting a return to the old. The US revolutionaries did both; they repressed the loyalists and declared a republic, which, as a corollary, forbade a return to monarchy. Even if every American voter decided that George Bush should become king, the US constitution forbids it, no matter what the majority wants. The gun (that is, the violence employed by the American revolutionaries to free themselves from the oppression of the British crown) is more powerful than the pen (Americans can’t vote the monarchy back in.) In Zimbabwe, the former colonial oppressor, Britain, has been working with its allies to restore its former privileges through civil society and the MDC. Britain doesn’t seek a return to an overt colonialism, complete with a British viceroy and British troops garrisoned throughout the country, but to a neo-colonialism, in which the local government acts in the place of a viceroy, safeguarding and nurturing British investments and looking after Western interests under the rubric of managing the economy soundly. Britain, then, wants the MDC, for the MDC is British rule by proxy. Many Zimbabweans, however, are vehemently opposed to selling out their revolution to a party that was founded and is financed by a country to which they were once enslaved. Western media propaganda presents Zimbabwe as a pyramidal society, in which an elite at the apex, comprising Mugabe, his ministers and the heads of the security services, brutally rule over the vast majority of Zimbabweans at the base who long for the MDC to deliver them from a dictatorship. A fairer description is that Zimbabwe is a society in which both sides command considerable popular support, but where Zanu-PF has an edge. This may sound incredible to anyone looking at Zimbabwe through the distorting lens of the Western media, but let Munyaradzi Gwisai, leader of the International Socialist Organization in Zimbabwe, a fierce opponent of the Mugabe government, set matters straight. “There is no doubt about it – the regime is rooted among the population with a solid social base. Despite the catastrophic economic collapse, Zanu-PF still won more popular votes in parliament than the MDC in the March 29 parliamentary elections. Mugabe might have lost on the streets, but if you count the actual votes, his party won more than the MDC in elections to the House of Assembly and Senate. Zanu-PF won an absolute majority of votes in five of the country’s 10 provinces, plus a simple majority in another province. By contrast, the MDC won two provinces with an absolute majority and two with a simple majority. But because we use first past the post, not proportional representation, Zanu-PF’s votes were not translated into a majority in parliament. It was only Mugabe himself, in the presidential election, who did worse in terms of the popular vote.” [37] Those in the thrall of Western propaganda will dismiss strong support for Zanu-PF in the March 29 elections as a consequence of electoral fraud, not genuine popular backing. But it would be a very inept government that rigged the election and lost control of the assembly and had to face a run-off in the presidential race. No, Mugabe’s support runs deep. “According to a poll of 1,200 Zimbabweans published in August (2004) by South African and American researchers, the level of public trust in Mr. Mugabe’s leadership” more than doubled from 1999, “to 46 percent – even as the economy” was severely weakened by Western sanctions. [38] Significantly, it was over this period that the government launched its fast track land reform program. Notwithstanding Western news reports that Mugabe’s supporters are limited to his “cronies”, Zimbabweans participated in a million man and woman march last December, where marchers “proclaimed that Washington, Downing Street and Wall Street (had) no right to remove Mugabe.” [39] Elsewhere in Africa, Zimbabwe’s president is enormously popular. As recently as August 2004, Mugabe was voted at number three in the New Africa magazine’s poll of 100 Greatest Africans, behind Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah. [40] The Los Angeles Times, no fan of the Zimbabwean president, acknowledges that “Mugabe is so popular on the continent…that he is feted and cheered wherever he goes.” [41] That was evident last summer when, much to the chagrin of Western reporters, who had been assuring their readers that Mugabe was being called to a meeting of SADC to be dressed down, that “Mr. Mugabe arrived at the meeting to a fusillade of cheers and applause from attendees that…overwhelmed the polite welcomes of the other heads of states.” [42] A European Union-African Union summit planned for 2003 was aborted after African leaders refused to show up in solidarity with a Mugabe who had been banned by the Europeans for promoting the interests of Zimbabweans, not Europeans. The summit went ahead in 2007, but only after African leaders threatened once again to boycott the meeting if Mugabe was barred. With China doing deals with African countries, the Europeans were reluctant to sacrifice trade and investment opportunities, and laid aside their misgivings about attending a meeting at which Mugabe would be present. That is, all except British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He stayed home in protest. German leader Angela Merkel did attend, but thought it necessary to scold Mugabe to distance herself from him. Senegal’s president Abdoulaye Wade sprang to Mugabe’s defense, dismissing Merkel’s vituperative comments as untrue and accusing the German leader of being misinformed. [43] Opposition’s Failed Attempts at Insurrection Mugabe’s popularity, and that of the movement for Zimbabwean empowerment he leads, explains Zanu-PF’s strong showing in elections and why the opposition’s numerous efforts at seizing power by general strike and insurrection have failed. Civil society organizations and MDC leaders have called for insurrectionary activity many times. In 2000, Morgan Tsvangirai called on Mugabe to step down peacefully or face violence. “If you don’t want to go peacefully,” the new opposition leader warned, “we will remove you violently.” [44] Arthur Mutambara, a robotics professor and former consultant with McKinsey & Company and leader of an alternative wing of the MDC, declared in 2006 that he was “going to remove Robert Mugabe, I promise you, with every tool at my disposal.” Asked to clarify what he meant, he replied, “We’re not going to rule out or in anything – the sky’s the limit.” [45] Three days before the March 29 elections, Tendai Biti, secretary general of Tsvangirai’s MDC faction, warned of Kenya-style post electoral violence if Mugabe won. [46] In the US, where United States Code, Section 2385, “prohibits anyone from advocating abetting, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States by force or violence,” opposition leaders like Tsvangirai, Mutambara and Biti would be charged with treason (Biti has been.) Leaders of civil society organizations which receive Western funding have been no less diffident about threatening to overthrow the government violently. Last summer, the then Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, said he thought it was “justified for Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe. We should do it ourselves but there’s too much fear. I’m ready to lead the people, guns blazing, but the people are not ready.” [47] Ncube complained bitterly that Zimbabweans were cowards, unwilling to take up arms against the government. This was a strange complaint to make against a people who waged a guerilla war for over a decade to achieve independence. Zimbabweans’ unwillingness to follow Ncube, guns blazing, had nothing to do with cowardice, and everything to do with the absence of popular support for Ncube’s position. Recently, the International Socialist Organization, one of the founding members of the MDC along with the British government, argued in its newspaper that “the crisis was not going to be resolved through elections, but through mass action.” ISO – Zimbabwe leader Munyaradzi Gwisai “said that the way forward for the Movement for Democratic Change and civil society was to create a united front and mobilize against the regime.” [48] The ISO makes the curious argument that Zimbabweans should take to the streets to bring the MDC to power, recognizing the MDC to be a comprador party (one the ISO helped found). A comprador party, in the febrile reasoning of the ISO, is preferable to Zanu-PF. Gwisai’s offices were visited by the police, touching off howls of outrage over Mugabe’s “repressions” from the ISO’s Trotskyite brethren around the world. Followers of Trotsky are forever siding with reactionaries against revolutionaries, the revolutionaries invariably failing to live up to a Trotskyite ideal. If they can’t have their ideal, they’ll settle for imperialism. While Gwisai wasn’t arrested, Wellington Chibebe, general secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, was. He too had urged Zimbabweans to take to the streets to bring down the government. Some opponents of Mugabe’s government go further. An organization called the Zimbabwe Resistance Movement promises to take up arms against the Zanu-PF government if “the poodles who run the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,” fail to declare Tsvangirai the victor of the presidential run-off election. [49] The Western media have been silent on this form of oppositional intimidation and threats of violence. The opposition has also tried other means to clear the way for its rise to power. In April, 2007 it called a general strike, as part of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. The strike fizzled, accomplishing nothing more than showing the opposition’s program of seizing power extra-constitutionally had no popular support. The campaign “was a joint effort of the opposition, church groups and civil society… As a body…it (did) not…have widespread grassroots support,” reported the Toronto newspaper, The Globe and Mail. [50] While depicted in the Western media as a peaceful campaign of prayer meetings, the campaign was predicated on violence. MDC activists carried out a series of fire bombings of buses and police stations, events the Western press was slow to acknowledge. A May 2 2007 Human Rights Watch report finally acknowledged that there had been a series of gasoline bombings, but questioned whether the MDC was really responsible. By this point, as far as Western publics knew, peaceful protests had been brutally suppressed by a uniquely wicked government. To keep matters under control, the government banned political gatherings. The opposition defied the ban, calling their rallies “prayer meetings.” It was a result of this defiance that Arthur Mutambara was arrested, and Morgan Tsvangirai roughed up by police when he tried to force his way through police lines to demand Mutambara’s release. The MDC took full advantage of the event to play up to the Western media, claiming Tsvangirai had been beaten up as part of a program of political repression, rather than as a response to his tussling with the police. As the Cuban ambassador to Zimbabwe explained, “What happened in Zimbabwe of course is similar to what groups based in Florida have done in Cuba. They put many bombs in some hotels in Cuba. They were trying to…generate political instability in Cuba, so I see the same pattern in Zimbabwe.” [51] Making the Economy Scream While quislings work from within the country to make it ungovernable, pressure is applied from without. Western governments say they’ve imposed only targeted sanctions aimed at key members of the government, nothing to undermine the economy and hurt ordinary Zimbabweans, but as we’ve already seen, the US Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act has far-reaching economic implications. On top of this, other, informal, sanctions do their part to make the economy scream. As Robert Mugabe explains: The British and their allies “influence other countries to cut their economic ties with us…the soft loans, grants and investments that were coming our way, started decreasing and in some cases practically petering out. Then the signals to the rest of the world that Zimbabwe is under sanctions, that rings bells and countries that would want to invest in Zimbabwe are being very cautious. And we are being dragged through the mud every day on CNN, BBC, Sky News, and they are saying to these potential investors ‘your investments will not be safe in Zimbabwe, the British farmers have lost their land, and your investments will go the same way.\'” [52] In March 2002, Canada withdrew all direct funding to the government of Zimbabwe. [53] In 2005, the IT department at Zimbabwe’s Africa University discovered that Microsoft had been instructed by the US Treasury Department to refrain from doing business with the university. [54] Western companies refuse to supply spare parts to Zimbabwe’s national railway company, even though there are no official trade sanctions in place. [55] Britain and its allies are now planning to escalate the pressure. Plans have been made to press South Africa to cut off electricity to Zimbabwe if the MDC doesn’t come to power. Pressure will also be applied on countries surrounding Zimbabwe to mount an economic blockade. [56] The point of sanctions is to starve the people of Zimbabwe into revolting against the government to clear the way for the rise of the MDC and control, by proxy, from London and Washington. Apply enough pressure and eventually the people will cry uncle (or so goes the theory.) You can’t say Zanu-PF wasn’t forewarned. Stanley Mudenge, the former foreign minister of Zimbabwe, said Robin Cook, then British foreign secretary, once pulled him aside at a meeting and said: “Stan, you must get rid of Bob (Mugabe)…If you don’t get rid of Bob, what will hit you will make your people stone you in the streets.” [57] Harare’s Options Those who condemn the actions of the Zanu-PF government in defending their revolution have an obligation to say what they would do. Usually, they skirt the issue, saying there is no revolution, or that there was one once, but that it was long ago corrupted by cronyism. Their simple answer is to dump Mugabe, and start over again – a course of action that would inevitably see a return to the neo-liberal restructuring of the 1990s, a dismantling of land reforms, and a neo-colonial tyranny. Not surprisingly, people who make this argument find favor with imperialist governments and ruling class foundations and are often rewarded by them for appearing to be radical while actually serving imperialist goals. Throughout history, reformers and revolutionaries have been accused of being self-aggrandizing demagogues manipulating their followers with populist rhetoric to cling to power to enjoy its many perks. [58] But as one writer in the British anti-imperialist journal Lalkar pointed out, “The government of Zimbabwe could very easily abandon its militant policies aimed at protecting Zimbabwe’s independence and building its collective wealth – no doubt its ministers would be rewarded amply by the likes of the World Bank and the IMF.” [59] If Mugabe is really using all means at his disposable to hang on to power simply to enjoy its perks, he has chosen the least certain and most difficult way of going about it. Lay this argument aside as the specious drivel of those who want to bury their heads in the sand to avoid confronting tough questions. What would you do in these circumstances? In retaliation for democratizing patterns of land ownership, distributing land previously owned by 4,000 farmers, mainly of British stock, to 300,000 previously landless families, Britain has “mobilized her friends and allies in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand to impose illegal economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. They have cut off all development assistance, disabled lines of credit, prevented the Bretton Woods institutions from providing financial assistance, and ordered private companies in the United States not to do business with Zimbabwe.” [60] They have done this to cripple Zimbabwe’s economy to alienate the revolutionary government of its popular support. For years, they have done this. Soni Rajan, employed by the British government to investigate land reform in Zimbabwe, told author Heidi Holland: “It was absolutely clear…that Labour’s strategy was to accelerate Mugabe’s unpopularity by failing to provide him with funding for land redistribution. They thought if they didn’t give him the money for land reform, his people in the rural areas would start to turn against him. That was their position; they want him out and they were going to do whatever they could to hasten his demise.” [61] The main political opposition party, the MDC, is the creation of the Rhodesian Commercial Farmers’ Union, the British government and the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust, whose patrons are former British foreign secretaries Douglas Hurd, Geoffrey Howe, Malcolm Rifkind and whose chair is Lord Renwick of Clifton, who has collected a string of board memberships in southern African corporations. The party’s funding comes from European governments and corporations, and its raison d’etre is to reverse every measure the Zanu-PF government has taken to invest Zimbabwean independence with real meaning. Civil society organizations are funded by governments whose official policy is one of regime change in Zimbabwe. The US, Britain and the Netherlands finance pirate radio stations and newspapers, which the Western media disingenuously call “independent”, to poison public opinion against the Mugabe government and its land democratization and economic indigenization programs. It’s impossible to hold free and fair elections, because the interference by Western powers is massive, a point acknowledge by Mugabe opponent Munyaradzi Gwisai. [62] Guns Trump “Xs” Zimbabweans who fought for the country’s independence and democratization of land ownership are not prepared to give up the gains of their revolution simply because a majority of Zimbabweans marked an “X” for a party of quislings. There are two reasons for their steadfastness in defense of their revolution: First, Americans can’t vote the monarchy back in, or return, through the ballot box, to the status quo ante of British colonial domination. The US revolutionaries recognized that some gains are senior to others, freedom from foreign domination being one of them. Americans would never allow a majority vote to place the country once again under British rule. Nor will Zimbabwe’s patriots allow the same to happen to their country. Second, no election in Zimbabwe can be free and fair, so long as the country is under sanctions and the main opposition party and civil society organizations are agents of hostile foreign governments. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice has called on the government “to consider the possibility of declaring a state of emergency,” pointing out correctly that “Zimbabwe is at war with foreign elements using local puppets.” [63] Western governments would do – and have done – no less under similar circumstances. Patriots writing to the state-owned newspaper, The Herald, urge the government to take a stronger line. “The electoral environment is heavily tilted in favour of the (MDC) because of the economic sanctions,” wrot

    Posted by kimathi | June 26, 2008, 3:59 pm
  12. Hello,
    My name is Connor Reilly. I live in Wisconsin, USA, and would just like you to know that I support CCM. I’m 17 years old and I have been to Kenya twice in the past two years. I do believe that Koigi wa Wamwere is the chair person of CCM. I actually had the pleasure of meeting him while out to eat in Nakuru back in August. Anyways, I would just like you to know that I am in full support of your party and think you can bring good things to Kenya.
    Best of luck to you.

    Posted by reillyc3 | October 14, 2010, 9:42 pm

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