Tory win: More of same for Zim, Africa

david cameron

David Cameron

Bernard Bwoni
The Conservatives party victory in the UK is not going to bring truckloads of cash and investment to Zimbabwe or Africa as a whole. That is a fact.Things are pretty much going to remain the same as they have been over the past five years.

Since taking over from Labour Party, the Conservatives under David Cameron have however, offered Zimbabwe in general and the ruling party in particular some sovereign space and a much more deserving level of respect compared to Tony Blair and his Labour entourage.

If we are going to be honest, David Cameron has never uttered a disrespectful or demeaning word against Zimbabwe or President Mugabe and that is in stark contrast to Tony Blair.

There may have been a few wayward remarks from the likes of Boris Johnson, but that is expected of the London Mayor but then it is imperative to take his “last vestiges of white power” statement seriously.

The ruling party in Zimbabwe and the Conservatives share the same traditional principles in their own different contexts, and they have had a long history of civil engagement from the time of the liberation struggle.

It is against this background that ZANU-PF would prefer working with a Conservative government than Labour one.

Of course the local opposition (MDC) would have preferred a Labour government, given that the party was in power during their founding and is mostly behind its funding.

The ruling ZANU-PF party and the people of Zimbabwe have enjoyed cordial relations with the British people especially so under the Conservatives.

Zimbabwe attained her independence when the Conservatives were in power and the Lancaster House negotiations were concluded under a Conservative government.

It was the reign of Tony Blair and the Labour government who came and undid all the hard work to the disadvantage and detriment of Zimbabwe.

It was the British Labour government’s betrayal of the Lancaster House agreement that precipitated the fast track land reform in Zimbabwe.

It was under a Labour government that the regime change outfit masquerading as opposition was founded and funded with former white farmers in the background.

It was the British government under Labour that imposed economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and ever since the Conservatives took over from that Tony Blair, the re-engagement with the Zimbabwe government has been building momentum and the sanctions have in fact been eased to the point of being completely removed.

It was only in October 2014 that saw the refreshing entrance by the new British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms. Catriona Laing.

In her first statement she was forthright, respectful and that proved a refreshing and positive sign of thawing relationships and a step towards mutually respectful engagement synonymous with the Conservatives and celebration of genuine reopening of top-level ties between the two countries.

Ambassador Laing was optimistic and shared the government of Zimbabwe’s vision about the robustness of the Zim-Asset economic blueprint and had this to say “We want to build on the very good Zim-Asset economic blueprint that has been developed,” she said.

“We are encouraging our investors to come here, there are many companies in the UK wanting to come to Zimbabwe’’.

President Mugabe has always made it clear that he would prefer dealing with the Conservatives describing the Tories as “bold” and people who ‘know how to relate to others’.

The President was absolutely right about the Conservatives and their recent victory will mean less interference and more respectful dialogue.

Basically there are two political philosophies in this world, you either know what is best for you or someone else knows what is best for you.

The ruling ZANU-PF party knows that it is the electorate who knows what is best for them and hence the people-orientated policies which resonate with the majority of people in the country.

The recent Afrobarometer survey findings are in keeping with the mandate President Mugabe was granted by the people on July 31, in 2013.

The opposition in Zimbabwe believe that Tsvangirai knows what is best for the people of Zimbabwe hence his ‘leeching tendencies’ having lost every election since the formation of the MDC-T.

Since the inception of MDC-T, the T in the MDC has always been present and lost every single election that it has contested to the ruling ZANU-PF under President Mugabe.

The difference between President Mugabe and Tsvangirai is that the former can legitimately claim wiser political stewardship and his party leadership as a victor in democratic elections (he has the people’s mandate to govern), whilst the latter cannot honestly justify his parasitic stranglehold having been, to put it bluntly, a perennial election underachiever.

As his party claims democratic principles, he possibly should take a cue from his British Labour movement leader Ed Miliband, who immediately resigned following a crushing defeat at the hands of the Conservatives.

We all know it and his party knows it, Tsvangirai has nothing to offer the electorate, he is just a figure who finds solace and comfort within the opposition ranks.

This I say with all due respect to Tsvangirai, but fact of the matter the man has always been on the losing end since 2000 and his party is in disarray with splinter group after splinter group.

The fact of the matter is that it is highly unlikely that the Conservatives are going to fund any Tony Blair-Labour founded opposition parties in Zimbabwe as the MDCs have come to realize in the last five years of the Tory-Lib-Dem coalition.

It is not by accident that opposition funding dried up from the formation of that coalition onwards and fact of the matter is that this is going to continue.

There is absolutely no way David Cameron is going to shoulder Tony Blair’s irresponsibility and political indiscretions.

Now this is David Cameron and he has offered Zimbabwe nothing short of respect.

Having said that I would agree with Professor Ian Scoones’ recent analysis that warned ZANU-PF to tread carefully with the Conservatives should the likes of Boris Johnston become Tory leader.

In his column in the Telegraph on the 23rd February 2015 this is what Boris Johnston had to say “Readers will remember the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement, by which Margaret Thatcher granted independence to Rhodesia.

At that time the country was a breadbasket, a flourishing agricultural producer, with about 6 000 commercial farmers.

“The only trouble with those farmers was that the most successful of them were white — and Mugabe’s long reign has been characterised by one overwhelming objective: to exterminate the last vestiges of white power, whether political or economic”.

The last sentence by Boris Johnston, “to exterminate the last vestiges of white power” is a telling and worrying statement indeed and to be taken seriously.

Rhodesia had a very strong historical and birthright identification with Britain and with the likes of Boris Johnston still talking about the ‘last vestiges of white power’ then the ruling ZANU-PF has to continue as before and never let the guard down.

The ruling party in Zimbabwe has remained unfazed and steadfast in its quest to empower and economically emancipate the people of Zimbabwe.

That is the determination that has over the last 14 years seen economic sanctions imposed, tightened and relaxed and then continued again. The Labour government under Tony Blair imposed economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The Conservatives took over from Labour in 2010 and although relations with Britain have continued to thaw, the Conservatives have not really pressed the EU to completely remove the sanctions against Zimbabwe.

It is an intriguing five years ahead for Zimbabwe and Africa, and may the respectful Conservative spirit prevail.