Monday, April 5, 2010

Robert Mugabe & The Breetish

As we all know, you can never travel back in time and there is no such thing as 20/20 hindsight. The Lancaster House talks that decided the fate of Zimbabwe took place in Dec of '79. I was too young at the time to have taken part; I was just a toddler. Nevertheless, I wish to point out some key mistakes that were made by all the parties involved, and which have led to the land-issue problems we face today .

First of all, the Patriotic Front conceded to clauses in the agreement that called for land to be transferred to the African majority on a willing buyer,willing seller basis. Furthermore, these land transfers were to be funded by the British govt -- That was a fatal error. Why bring the British into it? Any future British govt, that was to provide these funds, would obviously bring its concerns, worldview, biases, and economic interests to the table.

Britain is a democracy, and any British Govt has to answer to its electorate. This electorate is swayed by appearances, perceptions, and raw emotions. In no way could any British leader APPEAR to be abandoning the white Zimbabwean farmers to their fate. Nevermind, that your white farmer seen on TV is a Dutch Boer named Cloete, who hates the "English" and has never set foot in the British Isles. But, that's besides the point: it's PERCEPTIONS that count; these perceptions sway the British public; and any British govt cannot appear to be blind to the raw emotions of the British public (especially in an election year)

Back in Zimbabwe, our President never tires of lashing out at the "Breetiish" at every opportunity. Every occurrence, from drought to cholera, is blamed on the "Breetiish". This leads me back to the original sin, of asking the British Govt to fund land transfers as specified by the Lancaster House agreement. The parties involved should have been told,in very strong terms, that there was to be no third party guidance, funding or overseeing of any of the agreed-upon stipulations of these agreements. That would have forced all the parties involved, The Patriotic Front (Zanu,Zapu) and the Rhodesians to cobble together any future arrangements on their own.

James Chikonamombe

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