Following are excerpts from a press conference given by Robert Mugabe at the African Union General Assembly in early July 2009. The interview was published in Zimbabwe’s The Herald, July 6, 2009.
Q: Your Excellency, what is happening in Africa seems to be a realisation of the Pan-Africanism ideology. Would you say that, that idealism about bringing Africa together is still alive or it’s something that is being pushed by what is happening somewhere else?
A: I think over the recent few years gone by there has been a development, a development I think which was more determined by the economic situations of our countries and a situation that greater reliance on Western funding would assist our economies in transforming, and because of that naturally if you are a beggar, you cannot at the same time prescribe, you see, the rules of how you should be given whether it’s food or any items at all.
So we were subjected to certain conditionalities as a basis on which whatever was paid, be it food, be it humanitarian aid in other directions, was sent to us.
And in some countries, you see, they did not have even the necessary economic capacity, which could enable them to sustain their civil service, their security arms — the army, airforce and the police force — without outside help.
And once you are inadequate in terms of funding yourselves monetarily and you have got to look outside for someone to assist you, and that someone outside naturally dictates conditions on you, and the moment that happens you have lost a bit of your own sovereign right to determine how you run your affairs.
Those who give you money will naturally determine how you should run your country, and through that we tended to subject ourselves to the will of outsiders, to the will, even, of our erstwhile colonisers. It was neo-colonialism back again, what Nkrumah called neo-colonialism.
There it was, it was crammed into our system, they were deciding how we should run our elections; who should be in government, who should not, regime changes, that nonsense.
So our Pan-Africanism was lost because Pan-Africanism was based on the right of Africa determining its own future, the right of Africa standing on its own, and being the master of its own destiny, master of its own resources that had been lost.
But I think it is coming back because many countries have now realised that the West does not give money to enable us to build the capacity we require to be independent.
They will give you little funds, you know. ‘Yes, you are afflicted by this epidemic, we will give you a bit of help here and there.’
‘You are suffering from the effects of drought, yes, a bit of food here and there et cetera, et cetera’, but with conditions that you run your system in a given way.
That now is our realisation. The funds we have been getting are, by and large, little humanitarian bits and pieces of funds. This has not helped Africa to industrialise. Just look around and tell me which country in Africa has industrialised?
Yes, you have South Africa, which has inherited that system of development, but the rest of Africa; we are still where we were.
There is no funding with an investment capacity from the West that will enable us to move from primary agriculture to secondary stages of development. They do not want us, the West, to be that.
They do not want us to be their equals, they enjoy being masters over us and this is what Zimbabwe rejects.
…look at the little funds (Western governments) were giving (in response to a request from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai), and giving mainly for humanitarian purposes.
And how given?
Through NGOs and what do NGOs mean in our own situation where Government is running a country, running a country with definite demands, you see, in various sectors?
What they think of first is their own NGOs so that the money is absorbed by their own agents in the first place. Or it comes in a crooked way to serve their own political objectives in our country.
The Chinese fund does not come in that way. It has been targeted rightly, it’s a fund coming to Government not NGOs, to Government, an inclusive Government, towards development and will assist us in turning around the economy, and that is the kind of help we would want to get, and not the Western dictates.
Q: Do you think there has been a realisation within the parties in the GPA that the West is only there to dictate the pace at which Africa develops, especially when you consider that the Prime Minister had gone for two weeks in Europe and America and got back with virtually nothing?
A: The lesson is there for everyone with a bit of brains to learn, and those who have not learnt the lesson that the West is always up to mischief, if they have not learnt that lesson, then they won’t have any lesson to learn or they are hand-in-glove with the enemy.
4 thoughts on “Zimbabwe, Africa and Neo-Colonialism”
‘According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s summary of the film, Coen “was raised in Zimbabwe where the former white regime has been accused of unleashing anthrax against the black population… [who] embarks on a journey that raises troubling questions about the FBI’s investigation of the 21st century’s first act of biological terrorism’
Interesting…for thsoe white govts still backing the white zimbabwans
Honduran “Foreign Minister” calls Obama a ‘plantation n*gger’
In the latest charm offensive coming from the right-wing junta that ousted the elected president of Honduras, El Tiempo quotes Enrique Ortez, the new foreign minister of the Honduran government, talking about his great diplomatic skills:
He negociado con maricones, prostitutas, con ñángaras (izquierdistas), negros, blancos. Ese es mi trabajo, yo estudié eso. No tengo prejuicios raciales, me gusta el negrito del batey que está presidiendo los Estados Unidos.”
“I have negotiated with queers, prostitutes, leftists, blacks, whites. This is my job, I studied for it. I am not racially prejudiced. I like the little black sugar plantation worker who is president of the United States.”
Charming. Clearly he’s not prejudiced — he says so! If the rightfully elected president of Honduras comes back to power, Mr. Ortez could run for Governor of Arkansas or work as an aide in the Tennessee State Legislature.
In all seriousness, the coup in Honduras is a depressing example of how right-wing oligarchies work — and what happens when folks try to reform the system even from within. The pro-oligarchy spin is that Zelaya wanted to change the constitution in order to get re-elected. Given that the constitutional convention wasn’t to take place until after the next election, that seems rather unlikely. Zelaya had begun paying more attention to the rights of family famers, Afro-Hondurans, and landless workers, however — the kind of progressive work that under the oligarchy gets you shipped out of the country at gunpoint. In your pj’s. (By the way, anyone know what kind of pajamas Zelaya wore? I think it might be a good insight into whether he was a true reformer, or just using the Left for his own political gain…)
I expect that Tsvangirai was astonished by the paltry results of his trip to Europe and the US. If he’s any sense he too will “Look East”…
The demise of the USSR has indeed been costly for all peoples seeking independance and non alignment.I wish Zanu pf well in thier struggle to develop and maintain independance.