WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – A fragile period of “peace and tranquility” has emerged in Zimbabwe, despite unprecedented efforts by the United States and Britain to politically and economically destabilize the country, according to Dr. Simbi Mubako, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the U.S.
“Peace and tranquility prevails in Zimbabwe in spite of continued economic hardships,” Dr. Mubako told reporters at the Zimbabwe Embassy July 29.
For the first time in four years, opposition members of the country’s parliament belonging to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) attended in mid-July, the opening of parliament presided over by President Robert Mugabe “waving the olive branch,” he continued.
Another signal of a thaw in inter-party relationships came when opposition members attended the traditional reception after the opening of Parliament, and when three Christian bishops held political talks with Mr. Mugabe and with Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader.
Peace and economic recovery can only occur in Zimbabwe, Dr. Mubako warned, “if the big powers keep their distance.” That is the message he has been preaching around the country in grassroots organizing meetings at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the South and Midwest, as well as in speeches on campuses and at African Liberation Day (ALD) rallies. As a result, a new, broad-based coalition of supporters is growing here, he said.
Earlier this year, a number of Black trade union leaders and Africa-interest organizations publicly condemned the country’s president Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe’s “crackdown on political opposition is in complete contradiction of the values and principles that were both the foundation of your liberation struggle and of our solidarity with that struggle,” Bill Fletcher, president of TransAfrica Forum, Salih Booker, executive director of Africa Action, and William Lucy, president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, among others, said in an open letter June 3.
However, Zimbabwe Support Coalition members from Michigan, Illinois, and from the Washington metropolitan area met in a strategy session at the embassy and then talked to reporters to express their support for the embattled leader and his government.
“We will see a new level of support in the (U.S.) for, not only President Mugabe, but the people of Zimbabwe and their noble struggle to provide a reasonable form of reparations,” said the Rev. Walter Fauntroy, president of the Black Leadership Forum.
“Today, we proclaim in the strongest terms our support for the right of the people of Zimbabwe to the full exercise of self-determination,” Michigan attorney Mark Fancher said in a statement on behalf of the National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL).
Chicago-area supporters of the Zimbabwe Support committee announced in a statement distributed at the embassy that it is “inspired by all the leaders of Zimbabwe, beginning with the first and current President, Comrade Robert Mugabe.
“We are building a network of organizations in the U.S. and England to challenge the politically aggressive nature of economic and diplomatic sanctions put on Zimbabwe,” the Chicago group’s statement continued.
“We unconditionally support President Robert Mugabe’s record of revolutionary African land reclamation, redistribution and reform, and want to see more of it, not only in Zimbabwe, but in North and South America, the Caribbean, and around the world,” a group of activists and intellectuals wrote in June, just one week after the TransAfrica letter.
“We will neither participate (in), nor tolerate a U.S. instigated war or ‘dirty tricks campaign’ in Zimbabwe,” said the letter, signed by New York activists Coltrane Chimurenga, Viola Plummer, Bob Law, CEMOTAP, Professors Leonard Jeffries and James Small, and Elombe Brath, among others.
“I am in the process of persuading those who we’re organizing for the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington to develop and support a Zimbabwe Land Reform and Resettlement Act, which will lift all sanctions imposed by our government,” the Rev. Fauntroy said.
As to the criticism of his country by TransAfrica and Africa Action–traditional allies of African liberation movements and anti-colonial governments that emerged on the continent–Dr. Mubako said his government is surprised.
“We think that it’s surprising that (the criticism) comes up at the same time that the enemies of liberation are criticizing the government because of the land reform process,” the ambassador said in response to a question from The Final Call. “It’s a strange coincidence that people who claim to be supporters are criticizing us at the same time the enemies of the liberation are also criticizing us. It’s clear they are lending support to all of the criticisms of all of the enemies of the African people.”
As to the substance of their criticisms, Dr. Mubako said the TransAfrica complaint has no more substance now than it could have had years ago. There has not been any change in the policies of his government to warrant such criticism, he said.
Dr. Mubako also responded to complaints that the MDC presidential candidate has been jailed, charged with treason, and put on trial for his life, simply because of his political views.
“In this case, one can’t deny that there’s a prima facie case, because, after all, you do have the tape,” he said. “You do have a tape with the voice of the people who have been accused, where they actually met. They don’t deny that they actually met. They don’t deny that it’s their voices. They may deny the particulars. They did talk of eliminating the president. That is not a small matter. Any country would act in a similar way if anybody meets and wants to plot to eliminate the president.
“In the second case–arising from the demonstrations and so on-again, the demonstrations were called specifically to remove the president from power. It was a ‘Final Push.’ Now that, by definition, is illegal. You don’t change an elected president by force, or by demonstration.
“There are clear legal violations, at least prima facie violations, which lead to trial,” he continued. “It’s not only because of political opposition. After all, he has been opposing for a very long time. But it’s only when you think like that, they have to be examined. It would be irresponsible for police just to close their eyes. Otherwise, there is no security in the country.”
In the U.S., Dr. Mubako pointed out, “You’ve got a history of assassination of presidents. You are very careful about your presidents, and protect them very well, whenever he goes around. We’re trying to do the same.”