(FinalCall.com) – With controversy in the western media about Zimbabwe, disputes about the outcome of April 2 voting for president, charges of against President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party, and calls from opposition leaders for western intervention, Final Call staff writers Nisa Islam Muhammad and Saeed Shabazz went one on one with Ambassador Machinvenyika Tobia Mapuranga to discuss the political situation in Zimbabwe and issues facing the southern African nation. Ambassador Mapuranga pointed out that his country functions off of a constitution approved by and based on the British system, and the failure of efforts to change the constitution as evidence that his country is a democracy. He says the current controversy stems from a longtime struggle for Zimbabwe to chart its own course.
Final Call (FC): Your Excellency, what is the atmosphere in Zimbabwe? What is the atmosphere among the people?
Ambassador Mapuranga: My wife as we speak is in Zimbabwe. She left last week and we’ve been in touch on a daily basis. She says you cannot believe Zimbabwe has just gone through an election. It is peaceful, normal, and people are back to work. This is the information I also get from my ministry.
FC: That sounds very different from what we’re reading in the Western press. Why do you think that is?
Ambassador Mapuranga: Well, you know that the West has an agenda. From the time we launched the land reform program. … You have to realize that Zimbabwe and South Africa were earmarked to be “White man’s country.” That is the phrase that was used by great administrators like Lord Salisbury, Sir Harry Johnston, Lord Milner; those who administered the British Empire. They said that Zimbabwe, which was then Southern Rhodesia, together with South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, are “White man’s country,” meaning that they were for permanent White settlement and domination.
This policy entailed that the native population would be herded into, in my country they were called, “native reserves.” I grew up in a native reserve myself. The rest of the country was taken over for British, White settlement.
This policy also envisaged that the ratio between the incoming British settlers and the natives would be changed in favor of the White settlers. It happened successfully, totally successfully, in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. It was well, well, on its way to success in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
As we speak now, in South Africa the population ratio has been changed from 1 to 19,000 in the 16th century to 1 to 10! In my country, at the height of White settlement during the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the ratio was 1 to 13. But because the liberation war broke out, many of them left and found themselves in England, America, New Zealand and Canada, and the population has changed now.
That explains the reason why the people of Zimbabwe had to fight 14 years of a liberation war. I think your war of independence was only about three years. We had to fight 14 years against the British to get Zimbabwe free. We had to change the colonial heritage. And the moment we tried to do that, we were earmarked for “regime change.” That is the phrase used by President Bush and Tony Blair, the last prime minister of Britain.
From the moment we launched the land reform program, they used their money to engineer the formation of an organization party they call MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) which is funded through the Westminster Foundation and the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust. These are two British bodies that are sustaining the opposition. It’s not a secret. If you want to visit their websites, they will tell you, “we have sent so much money.”
The Liberal Party, the Labour Party, and the Conservative Party, also known as the Tories, they will be boasting they have sent so much money to bolster the opposition and NGOs, non-governmental organizations. There’s such a proliferation of NGOs in Zimbabwe because this is part of the strategy to overthrow the People’s Revolutionary Government and install puppets, the MDC.
And as for the United States, this is all for public consumption. If you look at the Department of State’s annual report–look at the annual report for 2007, look up the section that deals with Zimbabwe–you will read everything there. “That we (the U.S.) are supporting, we spent so much money–we are funding the opposition, and NGOs that are opposed to the government.”
FC: Is there any fear that what happened in Kenya after the elections, the war, the outbreak of fighting, is there any fear some of that might happen in Zimbabwe?
Ambassador Mapuranga: Absolutely not. In Zimbabwe, we see, we have the politics of ideology. We don’t have the politics of ethnicity. If you look at Kenya, the United States and Britain, the European Union, they are very happy with either Raila Odinga in power, or President Mwai Kibaki. Any of them is their friend. If any of them has the ascendancy in Kenya, it will not lead to any fundamental transformation in the body politic, or in the ideology of the society.
But in Zimbabwe, this is different. We are talking about a government which is spearheaded by a revolutionary party, which spearheaded the armed struggle against British Imperialism, and for that we have never been forgiven. And, a party that was the creation of the Imperialists themselves, has been funded by the Imperialists themselves.
Now, the people of Zimbabwe have submerged their ethnic, or call it tribal, sentiments. And they look at the vision of their country in terms of this goal: Is it going to be a country that is under control of neo-colonialism? Or a country in which the African people are not content to be just laborers on the White man’s farms? They have to be owners of the land, or a country in which Africans are content to be laborers on the White man’s mines? …
And this is why because we are experimenting with, and pioneering a new paradigm of development, which is not found elsewhere in Africa, we have to be aborted. This process has to be aborted. This is why there is, why there is such a tremendous interest of the Western press of the goings on in Zimbabwe.
FC: What do you see as the future for Zimbabwe?
Ambassador Mapuranga: The future is that we agreed to continue this revolutionary struggle. We got back our land. We want to make it productive because you know we were just laborers on the White man’s land. Now we must learn to make it productive. Production in the agriculture sector has gone down because we were not used to being owners of the land. Now we are going to make it productive. We are going to teach our people the correct use of the soil and give them the farm implements. …
What we launched last year is the largest farm mechanization program in the whole of Africa. It has never happened in any other African country, the farm mechanization. Tens of thousands of tractors and combine harvesters, and hundreds of thousands of plows and shovels have been distributed throughout the country. This is an historic economic movement that is taking place now in Zimbabwe to rehabilitate our agricultural sector.
We also passed a law about three or four weeks ago, in which Africans, the indigenous people, have to have at least 51 percent of the equity in all investment in the mineral sector so that we cannot continue to be just laborers in the White man’s mines. We have to be part of the ownership of these mineral resources.
Our future lies in making this new paradigm a success. We are going to develop this country with the indigenous people in charge of the natural resources of the land.
FC: When will the results of the election be released?
Ambassador Mapuranga: We had four in one elections. This was something unprecedented. We had elections of the local government councils, elections for the Senate, elections for the House of Assembly, and elections for the president. All four in one day.
People were saying this is unprecedented and there’s going to be tremendous confusion and problems. In a sense, they were correct. Sorry, they were not correct in a sense, because the voting went on very smoothly. There were no problems or confusion at the level of the voter. But in a sense they were also correct because the problem has been at the level of the ZEC, which is the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. It was has not been able … it was overwhelmed by the work, and was not able to deliver the results within two or three days as used to be the case since our independence.
Now the ZEC, this is the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, this is a body that was setup through the mediation of President Thabo Mbeki. You remember that President Thabo Mbeki was mediating between the ruling party and the opposition parties. …
FC: Do you think there is any way for the ruling party and the opposition party to find some way to work things out so it doesn’t look like it is just so combative?
Ambassador Mapuranga: Yes. As long as they stop getting instructions from London, Washington and Brussels. They are there in the Senate, in the House. They should just stop getting their instructions from London, Brussels and Washington. And these “Zimbabwe patriots,” “African patriots,” they are always mouthing bad words about Thabo Mbeki and all the African leaders. They are always abusing the African leaders, “This is how the opposition is. This is how the OAU is,” and so forth. Instead of portraying themselves as African patriots, and portraying African leadership at the AU (African Union) level and so forth. They prefer to get instructions from London, Washington and Brussels. This is the bane of our opposition movement in Zimbabwe. …
FC: Do you have a feeling on the ground in Zimbabwe that no matter what Zimbabweans do, the movement by the West for regime change is not going to end?
Ambassador Mapuranga: It is going to be a protracted struggle. If you look at what has happened closer home here, Cuba is one country that has jealously said, “No! We will not take orders from Washington.” This has been going on since 1958. They don’t relent. It is a continuing struggle until they subdue you. In the case of Zimbabwe, as long as ZANU-PF is in power, as long as it does not want control from London, and Washington, and Brussels. It will continue to try, to try, to put in place a puppet regime there.