It serves the agendas of Western countries to demonise Zimbabwe

FAST FRIENDS: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, with Robert Mugabe, right, president of Zimbabwe, after a meeting between the two leaders at UN Headquarters. Pic. David Karp. 24/09/07. © AP.
FAST FRIENDS: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, with Robert Mugabe, right, president of Zimbabwe, after a meeting between the two leaders at UN Headquarters. Pic. David Karp. 24/09/07. © AP.

Simon Khaya Moyo

Simon Khaya Moyo

Desperate and misguided anti-Zimbabwean activists have predictably descended on events in the run-up to a number of recent international conferences to stir discord.

These include the SADC heads- of-state and government summit in Maseru in August last year, the SADC extraordinary summit in March in Dar es Salaam this year, the Pan African Parliament Session in Johannesburg in May, the African Union summit in July in Accra and the SADC summit held in Lusaka last month.

The same faces that showed up in Maseru were in Dar es Salaam, Accra and recently in Lusaka.

This is done at the behest of governments in well-known capitals outside Africa.

At international conferences so far this year, the heavy presence of officials from opposition political factions and a host of like-minded non-governmental organisations was an embarrassing and unwelcome detraction. The fact is that the SADC and the African Union are one in their total rejection of unpatriotic sell-outs.

This is not to suggest that there is anything wrong with political opposition in Zimbabwe or elsewhere. It is not only normal but welcome to have healthy contradictions and well-meaning opposition in society: a homogenous and monolithic society is neither feasible nor desirable. What we find abhorrent and objectionable is when such opposition is firmly rooted in, directed by and funded from Western capitals to peddle external agendas.

This well-orchestrated campaign to demonise Zimbabwe and its leadership is inspired by Western agendas and regime change. It flows directly from the very top offices in London, Washington, Canberra and others, and is funded by the taxpayers in those countries.

This discernible pattern in which sections of the political opposition and the media seek to contrive non-existent scenarios is deplorable because it is utterly distasteful.

It must be condemned by all pan-Africanists and those beyond our borders who share with us the common vision of a progressive and peaceful co-existence of sovereign nations, big and small.

While our detractors are busy plotting our long-predicted but ever-receding demise, the government and people of Zimbabwe remain focused.

As a responsible nation, our people, and not outsiders, will remain active agents of change within their own political frontiers. We are the authors and masters of our own destiny, and therefore, need to secure our common future through an alliance of patriots from all walks of life across the broad spectrum of our society.

In this regard we applaud and support the mediation efforts of President Thabo Mbeki.

There is no turning back now.

What is clear is that a lasting solution to Zimbabwe's challenges does not lie in Canberra, or in the media for that matter, but is domiciled within our political frontiers and among our people.

There has been remarkable progress in the talks being mediated by Mbeki. On September 18 the parliament of Zimbabwe reached agreement on Constitutional Amendment Number 18 Bill which seeks, inter alia, to harmonise presidential and parliamentary elections next year.

Even in the face of consensus among Zimbabweans, mainstream South African and Western media are awash with misleading news bulletins that suggest that the amendment seeks to give President Robert Mugabe powers to appoint his successor.

The amendment provides that in the event of the president being unable to continue in office for whatever reason and before his/ her elective term comes to an end, parliament will sit as an electoral college and elect the successor.

The patronising and paternalistic stance of Western media smacks of second-guessing the people of Zimbabwe and casting aspersions on the dignity and integrity of our institutions and elected leadership.

Surely if Zimbabweans, through their elected representatives, make a sovereign decision to amend their constitution as they see fit no one can question their actions?

The latest media hype was well-timed and calculated to coincide with the opening of the 62nd regular session of the UN general assembly in New York this week. Some unsubstantiated reports now allege an "alarming" exodus of Zimbabweans to neighbouring countries.

Over recent months the media has elevated fiction, rumour and cheap gossip to the level of fact regarding the number of Zimbabweans in neighbouring countries.

Earlier this month, a study conducted by the Forced Migration Studies Programme and Musina Legal Aid concluded that the media has grossly exaggerated the number of people migrating from Zimbabwe to South Africa.

Recent reports of another so-called human tsunami overwhelming Mozambique are calculated to raise tensions with our neighbour, and draw unwarranted international attention and focus towards Zimbabwe just before the opening of the general assembly.

Finally, I wish to appeal to our misguided sisters and brothers, and to their Western handlers, to rise from their deep slumber, and realise that Zimbabwe is not for sale. While we will never apologise to these Western handlers for the historic land reform we embarked on in 2000, we will not disown those of our people who have been hood-winked to sell their birthright.

We have a responsibility to all our people, irrespective of race, creed or political affiliation.

lSimon Khaya Moyo is Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa, Lesotho and Mauritius.