The xenophobic violence that gripped South Africa in the last few days has been described as regrettable by government officials in Pretoria and leaders and critics alike, across the continent.
Twelve people, including one Zimbabwean woman, have died in the xenophobic attacks that have unfortunately elicited retaliatory attacks in other African countries that feel it is unfair for fellow Africans to attack others on the basis of geography.
In South Africa, there is suspicion of a third force leading the disturbances, which are targeting black people only. This has stoked allegations from circumspect Pan Africanists and neutral observers that the xenophobic attacks were being driven by former colonisers who are determined to drive a wedge between South Africa and the rest of the continent.
The 10th Conference of the Former Liberation Movements (FLMs) of Southern Africa, which ends today in Victoria Falls, has made a similar observation that the former colonisers were keen to destabilise the continent again through dividing the people.
Various divisive attempts have been made in the past by the former colonisers, including the use of tribalism and assassinations of nationalists such as Herbert Chitepo, which saw the arrests of some top ZANU officials. Now, given that Africa has generally remained united, bar isolated pockets of tribalism and sponsorship of opposition political parties, the erstwhile colonisers are now exploiting a new avenue; setting up black against black.
In his opening remarks at the FLMs conference, Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu conceded that while SADC member states’ governments led by FLMs were generally stable compared to other regions, there was need to jealously guard the peace as the coloniser is not yet dead.
Dr Mpofu said the region was aware that the neo-colonialists were threatening South Africa and Namibia with illegal sanctions so that the entire region suffers economically.
United States President Donald Trump tweeted this week that he would slap Pretoria with economic sanctions if it didn’t deal with the issue of xenophobic attacks.
While the idea of ensuring there was peace in South Africa has become every progressive nation’s call, the idea of slapping economic sanctions is seen as being in bad taste considering that the move is laced with innuendos.
FLMs are of the view that erstwhile colonisers have largely failed in their attempts to recolonise the continent through the proliferation of Western-funded NGOs and surrogate opposition parties in Africa, sanctions were a new frontier for spearheading regime change as they suffocate high-flying economies.
The move is to starve other markers of products and cause violent uprisings and subsequently overthrow FLMs.
With Zimbabwe having already been punished through sanctions by the US and the EU, the imperialists are aware of the impact of such punitive measures and would want to pursue the route as it is seen as subtle compared to outright war.
After delivering political independence to their respective countries, FLMs are now confronted with renewed wars by focusing on the economy, and experts are already calling on ex-liberation movements to put in place a legislative framework that monitors the operations of NGOs.
The bulk of NGOs are formed and funded by imperialists to spearhead their regime change efforts. In the Zimbabwean context, NGOs are used by former colonisers not only to foment chaos, but to also allege human rights violations when Government moves to contain lawlessness.
Embassies, especially the United States, some European Union member states, are fighting to unseat the Zanu-PF Government with the help of the opposition MDC-Alliance and NGOs. It is our hope that the FLMs meeting which ends today in Victoria Falls will come up with solutions of dealing with the battle to divide the continent by imperialists.
Equally gratifying is the involvement of the FLMs’ youth wings, which guarantees continuity when all those who participated in liberation wars are gone. The participation of the Botswana Democratic Party and the Patriotic Front of Zambia, who are attending the meeting for the first time and as observers, is refreshing.
We hope that their participation is indicative of their admiration of the role played by FLMs in the liberation struggle and after independence, in keeping the former colonisers at bay.
The FLMs that sent representatives to attending the meeting apart from Zanu-PF, are ANC of South Africa, SWAPO of Namibia, Chama Cha Mapinduzi of the United Republic of Tanzania, FRELIMO of Mozambique and MPLA of Angola.