The lies about Zim
New Era journalist, MATHIAS HAUFIKU, who was recently in Harare at the invitation of an NGO called the Zimbabwe Democratic Institute, spoke to Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Namibia, HE CHIPO ZINDOGA, about the political and security situation in Zimbabwe as the country readies itself for elections later this year. We publish excerpts.
Q: The Zimbabwe Democratic Institute (ZDI) alleges that “security politics gives the security sector a higher degree of political influence, which combines with weak security reform content in the power sharing deal”. What do you say about this perception?
A: The agenda behind calls for security sector reform is intended to weaken the Zimbabwean State with the eventual grand plan of effecting regime change. Zimbabwe’s security forces are known for their professionalism. This is the reason they participate in numerous UN peacekeeping missions the world over. Security sector reform is being pushed over preposterous allegations that members of our security forces are partisan.
It needs to be known that the security forces have a constitutional mandate to protect not only the citizenry of the country, but also the territorial integrity of Zimbabwe. We will therefore not brook any security sector reform or realignment as they call it. It will not happen.
What needs to be clarified is that calls for security sector reform are being pushed for by the Western world. These are the same countries that imposed illegal sanctions on the country. The idea was to cause untold suffering among Zimbabweans to cause them to rise against their Government specifically the ZANU-PF government. It is not surprising that non-governmental organisations are regurgitating the same propaganda as their Western handlers. NGOs are fighting the same war as their paymasters, which in short is regime change. As they say, “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”
In Zimbabwe, NGOs have become mouthpieces for the Western world. They have seriously deviated from their humanitarian mandate to delve into politics. Why are they not joining political parties if they feel that’s their calling?
There is a plethora of NGOs in Zimbabwe and as stated before, the so-called Zimbabwe Democratic Institute has no democratic credentials.
As you know, the facts on the ground speak for themselves, that the country is peaceful, the shops are full of food. You should, for example, have been taken to the tobacco floors and seen what some of the youths are doing.
Most of these NGOs are parroting their masters’ voices. They are not representative of the people of Zimbabwe they purport to care for.
Q: ZDI alleges that Zimbabwe is not ready to hold a credible and peaceful election. What is your comment on that?
A: This is absolutely not true. We had a peaceful referendum, which was acclaimed by all the observers – local, regional and international. So I do not see why the elections will not be peaceful. It is the hate propaganda against the country which is being churned out by those who do not want the country to progress. We successfully held our referendum on 16 March. It was marked with peace. Ninety-four percent of the voters endorsed the Draft Constitution for its adoption. The Draft Constitution will now go to Parliament for adoption, after which the President will sign it into the supreme law of the country. We will then hold elections, once the President proclaims the election dates.
Most of the NGOs are seeking relevance through hostile propaganda against the country. NGOs have and are still being used as campaign tools by countries such as the UK, Denmark, the US, Sweden, Netherlands and Belgium. The Netherlands is host to hostile pirate radio stations who have nothing positive to say about Zimbabwe.
The ground has also been shifting for NGOs, with the re-engagement initiatives by the Western countries, through the so-called friends of Zimbabwe. What hypocrisy. Do friends impose sanctions on each other? For our public out there, the US and Western countries have recently lifted sanctions on some parastatals and ZANU-PF officials. Our position is that it is a non-event. Zimbabwe will not accept anything short of the total lifting of sanctions. The surprising thing is that both the US and the West have never admitted that the sanctions were economic. They have always maintained that the sanctions are targeted, which they are not. Zimbabweans across the board are reeling under the effects of the sanctions. Is that being targeted?
Q: ZDI says Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai seems to be agreeing with everything that President Robert Mugabe proposes. What is your comment on ZDI’s observation?
A: There is nothing wrong with that. That is why he is called the Prime Minister. He is a national leader. He has to rise above party politics for the sake of the national agenda. With the inception of the (coalition) government in 2008, Zimbabweans have been gravitating towards each other for the sake of the nation.
The national agenda supersedes political affiliation. It enables us as a country to build our nation. There is therefore nothing wrong if leaders work together for the country to progress.
We should always look at the total interests of the entire country, not sectoral interests. As the Zimbabwean Embassy here in Namibia, we are not representing a section of Zimbabweans, but all Zimbabweans.
When it comes to national interest, the nation has to move as one. It runs across the board. So what is wrong with the Prime Minister joining forces with the President to drive the national agenda?
Q: Is the land reform process yielding any results in terms of empowering the locals?
A: Our land reform process is really paying dividends, because we have since 2000 resettled more than 300 000 families. The people of Zimbabwe are now empowered with land and they are producing and sustaining themselves.
The issue of land was at the centre of the liberation struggle, and our Independence would have been meaningless without reclaiming our land.
Before the land reform, about 4 000 white farmers owned more than three-quarters of the land in Zimbabwe. That has since been reversed.
Our youths have benefited enormously from the land reform exercise. I hope you had the opportunity to visit the farms being run by youths for a balanced picture.
One white family in Mashonaland West (Province) had more than 22 farms but were not willing to hand over a single one to government. Even under the willing seller, willing buyer policy, they were still not forthcoming. Those who wanted to sell, asked for outrageous amounts of money from the government.
According to the 1979 Lancaster Agreement with Britain, then under the leadership of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the British government would provide compensation to the white commercial farmers for the land. The Zimbabwean government later said that they would provide compensation for all improvements made on the farms acquired.
The (Tony Blair) government reneged on that agreement in 1997. Nothing had moved substantially regarding the land issue for more than 20 years. Zimbabweans were quite agitated with the slow pace of land reform, which led them to reclaim farms.
It is on record that the white commercial farmers, together with the British Westminster Foundation, began to fund the formation of the MDC, in order to fight our government over land reform.
We honestly need to look back at the historical imbalances regarding the land issue.
Also on record is that British soldiers and heroes who fought during World War II were rewarded with land in Zimbabwe for their efforts. Is that honestly fair?
Our government could not sit back and watch. Zimbabweans are happy now that the land is back in their hands, the land is back to its rightful owners.