So sad to note that the President of the world’s superpower is down with coronavirus after having tested positive last week.
There is something intrinsic about Africans. We are generally a kind-hearted lot disposed to commiserate with those who are under the weather.
And it was in that spirit of commiseration that President Mnangagwa had to send a message of encouragement to United States President Mr Donald Trump after reports of him testing positive reached these shores.
In a message posted on his Twitter handle, President Mnangagwa said: “My best wishes to President Trump @realdonaldtrump and the First Lady @FLOTUS as they make a full recovery from Covid-19.”
Now, this is the mark of statesmanship. You have a President whose country has been under the yoke of sanctions for almost two decades sending his best wishes to the head of state of a country that imposed the same embargo on his country!
There is surely no better way of describing President Mnangagwa’s gesture than saying that his message reflects Ubuntu, which I think is our greatest gift to the world as Africans.
It is our hope that President Trump recovers from coronavirus and gets back to government business and resuscitate his presidential campaign, which was getting into full swing by the time he tested positive.
And still on Ubuntu, President Mnangagwa played host to Malawian President Dr Lazarus Chakwera who was on a two-day State visit to Zimbabwe.
As kindred brothers of good neighbourly countries, Dr Chakwera was feted with a State banquet befitting his status of a head of state, but more so as a brother whose life is intertwined with ours given our shared historical heritage of being one country during the colonial days of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
It was Malawi under President Kamuzu Banda that inspired Zimbabwean nationalists to fight for majority rule. Malawi became independent on July 6, 1964 while Zambia was to follow on October 24, the same year.
Both Zambia and Malawi were inspirational springboards for the armed struggle in Zimbabwe and that’s why even to this day, these three countries appear like siblings because of constant movements and interactions of nationals before and after independence.
Zimbabwe was to gain independence almost three decades later on 18 April, 1980 and those who follow history are aware why our independence was hard fought.
Zimbabwean academic and diplomat, Dr Machivenyika Mapuranga put everything in perspective in an LaRouche television interview way back in 2008 when he said: “If you listen to some of the debates that go on from time-to-time in the House of Commons, you would in fact get convinced that as far as they are concerned, Zimbabwe is not yet an independent sovereign state. You would think it’s still part of the British empire.
“To understand this, you would have to go slightly into history. If you peruse the colonial office documents that are kept in the public record office in London, Kew Gardens, you will see that Southern Rhodesia, which is Zimbabwe now and South Africa, along with New Zealand, Australia and Canada, these five are referred to as the white man’s countries.”
Indeed, this policy was predicated on two pillars. First, the British settlers who went to these countries were supposed to eventually outnumber the natives because these countries were earmarked for permanent white settlement. This policy succeeded completely in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and it was on its way to success in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
As frightening as it sounds, Zimbabwe as we know it today, could have been scrubbed off the map of southern Africa. It was supposed to be populated by white people. This probably explains the reasons for the biological welfare employed by the Rhodesian army whose purpose was to decimate the black population in the country.
As we speak today, the ratio between the natives and whites in South Africa is one white man versus 10 black people and yet three centuries ago it was one white man versus 19 000 indigenous people.
In Zimbabwe when the British South African Company (BSAC) colonised the country in 1890, four years later (1894) we have figures that say that in their estimation there was one white man to 17 000 natives. But at the height of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyashaland, which lasted from 1953 to 1963, the ratio had changed to 1:13 natives in 1951.
The second aspect of the policy had to do with land alienation. Natives were moved from their area to native reserves, which comprised not more than 25 percent of total land mass and more than 70 percent of the land was not in the hands of whites.
This explains why the rest of the British colonial Africa were easily awarded their independence after some demonstrations or campaigns. Zimbabwe had to embark on an armed liberation struggle. Zimbabwe, according to the British colonialists, was not supposed to be a black man’s country.
So I hope some compatriots now understand why the West uses a different set of standards when it comes to Zimbabwe. They still think that the country should have been a white man’s country and I don’t think that thought has ever perished in present day Western thinking.
I am certain that President Chakwera of Malawi is alive to this history and that’s why it was comical for the local opposition to think that they could appropriate him as one of them. Yes, he represents a much younger generation than that of founding President Kamuzu Banda, but his ideological grounding remains that of MCP.
We hear our own local opposition leaders in the mould of Nelson Chamisa frantically sent some SOS to attract the attention of President Chakwera when he was in the country, but his overtures were flatly rebuffed. In fact, no one ever took them seriously.
Someone needs to advise these local opposition entities that votes are not won on social media or by making bizarre and sometimes phantasmagorical allegations about human rights abuses in the country to foreigners.
While the ruling ZANU PF Government is busy executing its mandate by pushing the development agenda through infrastructure development and rehabilitation of roads and dams, local opposition parties are busy mucking at each, smearing dirty including meting violence against each other.
It is the same people who in 2023 would be crying foul about the electoral field being uneven and making all sorts of allegations. They forget that the real work is done on the ground and not the circus that daily plays out at Harvest House.