Just yesterday the European Union announced 9 million euros of aid money destined for Zimbabwe. Since 2002 the EU had actually donated 500 million euros (about $600 million or R6,5 billion) to Zimbabwe.
Since the year 2000 the ruling party in Zimbabwe has been ethnically cleansing whites and especially white farmers from that country. Whites were vilified and physically attacked. Their houses were ransacked or burnt down and their property confiscated without compensation. Some of them, at least twenty, were murdered by black mobs known as “war veterans”.
I have yet to come across a single announcement by a Western diplomat or government official denouncing the specific actions taken by the Mugabe government or its supporters against the white Zimbabweans. Although the Zimbabwean strongman has been criticised on various other counts, for rigging elections, not allowing a free press in his country, economic mismanagement and hyperinflation, and so on, no-one has dared to speak out against his treatment of the white minority in his country.
And during all this time, a steady avalanche of euros rivalling the Victoria Waterfall in the north of the country have been inundating Zimbabwe, courtesy of the European Union.
Here in South Africa, European diplomats are something of a joke, especially their cultural representatives such as the German Goethe Institute. That august body recently awarded a prize of 10 000 euros to a South African Indian who proposed an art project in which he would document stolen supermarket trolleys being used to ferry goods between African minibus taxis in central Johannesburg.
On the other hand, I was recently told that holding a lecture near the Goethe Institute on the subject of relations between Bismarck and the old Boer republic of the Transvaal at the end of the nineteenth century was offensive. A friend who moves in diplomatic circles in Pretoria was of the opinion that “it would have reminded the Germans that their history had not actually started in 1945″.
Nietzsche wrote about the slave morality of the West and I must say, looking at the dapper, debonair Mugabe strutting about in front of the cameras, he cuts a masterly figure compared to his European slaves. No matter what Mugabe does, both the US and the EU will always respect his country’s sovereignty and keep on doling out aid money to prop up his regime.
Zimbabwe is hardly the picture of so-called “good governance”, with inflation running at several 100 million percent and a cholera epidemic killing several hundred people. However, such conditions in Zimbabwe have not dissuaded either the US or the EU from aggressively promoting so-called “land reform” in South Africa.
Although farm murders have already claimed 3000 victims in South Africa and plunged many rural areas into fear and paralysis, both European embassies and church groups are funding anti-white hate groups with slogans like “Africa for the Africans” (in a racial sense) and “kill a Boer, kill a farmer”. When farmers and agricultural experts voice their misgivings over South Africa’s land-reform policy that has already laid waste thousands of formerly productive farms as documented by Dr. Philip du Toit in his book The Great South African Land Scandal, they are routinely accused of “racism” by left-wing organisations such as Nkuzi Development and PLAAS (Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies).
Both Nkuzi and PLAAS are funded by European embassies and church groups, with the Ford Foundation providing an American source of money for promoting animus against South African farmers.
The ultimate reason why Mugabe looks so confident in front of the TV cameras is that he knows that the US and EU are on his side in taking over formerly white-owned farms, even if it meant transforming his country into a famine- and disease-ridden hell-hole. Despite being criticised for his recent actions against the MDC opposition, he is normally commended by both American and European diplomats and media commentators for his anti-white land-reform policy.
It is almost comical to read about Mugabe on the BBC’s homepage or in the New York Times where he is routinely described as “an African liberation hero” or a “hero of the anti-colonial struggle”.
Mugabe knows he is the master of every Bob Geldof-imitating do-gooder liberal white in Europe or North America. Not only do they continue to shower him and his regime with money, but the spectacle of their guilt-ridden handwringing over the “tragic” situation in Zimbabwe must provide him with no end of private mirth.
Every time Mugabe in his latest Savile Row suit and bespoke shirt smiles at the media, he must be thinking: “Just keep on sending those aid dollars, you white idiots, so that we can fill up the tanks of our armoured black Mercedeses.”
One has to hand it to the Germans. Apart from considering stolen supermarket trolleys as prize-winning art (as long as they get stolen by blacks), Daimler Benz AG has been pandering to the motoring desires of African dictators for such a long time now that the S-class Mercedes has become the ultimate African icon.
To paraphrase a South American novelist: in a time of cholera you can still love your Merc.
A sharp rise in the death toll from cholera has added new urgency to the humanitarian disaster in Zimbabwe, amid fresh signs that the provision of transport and public services is close to collapse.
Relief workers said yesterday that with hyperinflation, many nurses, doctors and health workers could no longer afford to pay for the bus or taxi to reach cholera treatment centres. More than four times as many people were dying from this outbreak of cholera than was typically the case, said relief workers.
In a sign that the economic crisis may be starting to affect the props of President Robert Mugabe’s repressive regime, about 50 soldiers are reported to have looted shops, attacked traders and clashed with police after queuing to withdraw virtually worthless Zimbabwean dollars from banks on Monday.
“They had to vent their anger in some way,” said Itai Zimunya, of the Open Society’s Zimbabwe project in Johannesburg. “The state has begun to fail. There is no government.”
The numbers released yesterday by the World Health Organisation indicated that the cholera epidemic was spreading rapidly, with nearly 11,000 people contracting the illness in the past three weeks. During the same period 400 people died, bringing the total death toll to 484 and indicating that Zimbabwean cholera sufferers are losing their lives at four times the standard rate in a cholera epidemic.
“[Cholera] is accelerating at an alarming pace,” said Tsitsi Singizi, information officer at the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), which is co-ordinating relief work on water and sanitation. Relief workers said the near breakdown of urban water systems in Harare and other cities was another important factor contributing to the scale and intensity of the disaster.
“Water infrastructure has deteriorated significantly,” said Oxfam, the UK agency. “Sewage pipes are now leaking directly into drinking water. The infrastructure has been crippled.”
Shortages of chemicals needed to treat water have also hit services. The managers of Harare’s Morton Jaffray water works stopped pumping on Monday, mainly—according to the progovernment newspaper, The Herald—because of shortages of aluminium sulphate, one of four chemicals used to treat water. There were reports yesterday that the service had been resumed, at least partially.
The cholera outbreak comes as Zimbabwe remains no closer to forming a government, with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change refusing to share the crucial home affairs ministry that controls the police. The MDC reached broad agreement on a coalition government more than two months ago. The party won a narrow majority in elections in March but withdrew from the second round of a presidential contest after widespread violence against its supporters.
Supporters of the governing Zanu-PF, who blame the MDC for the paralysis, have been preparing to attend their scheduled annual conference next week, the first to take place following the defection of party members formerly loyal to Zapu, a rival liberation movement that merged with Zanu-PF in 1987. Zapu’s principal strength is in the eastern Matabeleland.
In a surreal twist, The Herald yesterday reported that Zanu-PF militants from Mashonaland East had pledged 500 quintillion Zimbabwe dollars so that the event could be held.
Relief agencies are concerned that disease could spread as the rainy season gets under way this month. More rain is likely to increase the extent to which drinking water supplies become contaminated.
Charles Abani, regional director for Oxfam in southern Africa, warned last week that “with the rainy season looming” the government needed to “recognise fully the extent of the crisis” and “mobilise all available resources”. Oxfam increased its estimate of those likely to catch the disease before the end of March from 20,000 to 60,000.