Cry Africa

Cry my beloved continent

Farirai Chubvu

AFRICA, my Africa will you ever find answers to the age-old questions that contorted you into a question mark shape? You, whose history has been bastardised, are you now averse to history and its lessons?

Why do your children seem to be their worst enemies every time? Why do they legitimise their own subjugation? Why do they make it so easy for Westerners to dominate them or find excuses to subjugate them?

Events that occurred this week in Cote d'Ivoire and Libya left me with a sour taste in the mouth. Why can't we seem to learn from history? It happened to Patrice Emery Lumumba in 1960, for precisely the same reasons and now it has happened to Laurent Gbagbo with the same players at the centre of the action; the United Nations and the former colonial powers. It was Belgium in the Congo in 1960, it's France in Cote d'Ivoire in 2011, have we learnt nothing in the interim?

It was so painful to see the French play colonial conquest in Cote d'Ivoire, apprehend incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo whom they quickly handed over to the rebels they sponsor to deliver to the Gold Hotel, headquarters of their lackey, Allasane Ouatarra.

In Congo Lumumba was forcibly taken off a flight to Elizabethville (now Lubumbashi) and delivered under arrest to Brouwez House where he was held bound and gagged while Moise Tshombe, who had declared himself president of Katanga, and his cabinet decided what to do with him.

Later that night, Lumumba was driven to an isolated spot where he was executed by firing squad. His crime? He had made it clear to the Belgian king at his inauguration and after that Congo would not accept the crown without the crown jewels.

Ouattara has since been thrust into the position of Ivorian president. Gbagbo's whereabouts were unknwon at the time of writing. The French and UN forces denied involvement in Gbagbo's capture claiming he was captured by Ouattara's forces, yet their own news agencies had reported that French troops stormed Gbagbo's palace and were strategically positioned outside and only sent in their sponsored rebels to bring Gbagbo, his wife Simone and son Michel, out.

Their denial is suspicious, and I fear for Gbagbo's safety given what the Belgians and UN did to Lumumba in the Congo in 1960.

We all know Gbagbo's crime. He refused to be France's chief executive officer in Cote d'Ivoire minding a neo-colony on behalf of France. He was marked for ousting the moment he opted to give a multimillion-dollar bridge construction contract to the Chinese instead of giving the French the right of first refusal as per the dictates of their pre-independence agreement entered into with Felix Houphoet-Boigny.

The right-wing Sarkozy then vowed Gbagbo had to go, and it's quite sad that – with the help of some myopic characters in Ecowas and an equally blind section of Ivorians – Sarkozy has had his way and Cote d'Ivoire will remain a neo-colony for some years to come.

And this is what the myopic among us are celebrating as ‘‘democracy'' dutifully labelling Gbagbo a ‘‘dictator''. Dictator, what did he do?

It's quite shocking reading some sections of our media here, that they have this shameless monkey see, monkey do approach to issues where what's framed in Whitehall, the White House or Elysee Palace becomes unquestionable gospel truth.

The same goes for Libya, where Westerners have shown utter contempt for the AU panel.

Even as African leaders were meeting Gaddafi, Westerners were making prouncements of what they want to see done in Libya as if South African President Jacob Zuma and the panel he was leading were dullards who did not know what they were doing in Libya. From London, Washington to Rome, the clarion call was ‘‘Gaddafi must go!'' and not surprisingly the Libyan rebels refused to accept the peace proposal that was tabled by the AU and echoed their master's calls that Gaddafi should have no role to play in Libya.

I thought the Westerners were there to effect a no-fly zone not to dictate who should and who shouldn't lead Libya.

Here again, the AU has itself to blame because they let the Westerners have a field day in Libya to the extent of grabbing oil wells, extracting oil which they sold to themselves.

And now the AU comes to try to disturb the party, and they expect to be listened to. Short of taking up arms to drive the poiunt home, the AU is bound to be ignored in Libya.

Closer to home, our own Moise Tshombe-incarnate here, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been calling for the postponement of elections even though the GPA that he claims is his Bible makes it clear that the inclusive Government had a lifespan of two years after which elections should be held. The two years were up in February.

Tsvangirai had evidently been primed by his Western handlers as the EU and US later came out calling for a postponement of elections in Zimbabwe claiming conditions were not yet ripe for the holding of free and fair elections.

Yet their game plan is very clear. They believe delaying elections by two or three years would remove President Mugabe from the picture.

They feel a 90-year-old Mugabe will not have the stamina to hit the campaign trail, leaving Morgan to face a new man from Zanu-PF and thus brightening the prospects of constitutional regime change.

This is the reason behind the talk of poll postponement not the rhetoric about alleged violence and intimidation. The regime change lobbyists should come out in the open, they are intimidated by President Mugabe's stature in Zimbabwean politics not this rhetoric about the electoral environment.

What is my point?

We seem to be unwittingly inviting Westerners into our internal affairs as Africans. Their puppets all over the continent are becoming emboldened. It's no longer shameful to sell out as it is packaged as democratisation. Sellouts are now dubbed ‘‘pro-democracy'' forces.

The Westerners no longer fear the tag of racist interventionism; they are ‘‘promoting'' democracy and protecting democracy-loving Africans from autocratic regimes. Governments marked for regime change automatically become regimes, and the Westerners are well and truly in their element, they have a historical responsibility, the "white man's burden" of introducing the savages on the Dark Continent to democracy.

Westerners have the historical responsibility to arrest and cart off Africa's ‘‘autocratic'' leaders to The Hague to answer for their barbaric crimes, the same way they used to do as lynch mobs in the slave trade and colonial eras.

And in all this they are egged on by our myopic brothers and sisters who never ask why no Caucasian stands trial at The Hague. Is it only Africans who commit crimes?

Cry my beloved continent.

We need to come to our senses fast, else these men without knees will surely establish banana republics all over our Africa.