The Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, is issuing threats against Zimbabwe, in
the spirit of the 19th century colonialists, warning Robert Mugabe's government
to behave, to "respect the rule of law". If the government of
Zimbabwe were not to fall into line behind the British government's definition
of the rule of law, then they would be taught a lesson: they will lose European
The point at issue is being extended beyond the British
demand that the seizing of farms from the large landowners for redistribution
to landless Zimbabweans be ended. About 3,000 Zimbabwean veterans of the
liberation struggle against colonial rule have occupied some 800 farms and
demanded land redistribution. Now the issue is being made the demand that the
Zimbabwe government hold what the Foreign Secretary, in conjunction with other
European powers, are calling "free and fair" elections next month.
This whole package termed "free and fair elections" is the
Westminster system of parliamentary democracy that the Labour government insist
represents the only form of democracy, universal democratic values.
Brazenly, the Foreign Secretary, speaking from the EU
foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg, wishes the government of Zimbabwe to
accept foreign monitors, saying, "We are calling on the government to hold
elections in May and to create conditions for those elections to be free and
fair." The is the sinister demand that Britain, along with other big
powers, can dictate to any other nation what political system it should take
up, that these Anglo-American values and definitions of what constitutes
democracy should be imposed universally.
In a statement to the House of Commons, Robin Cook made it
clear that "Britain is leading the international demand that the
government of Zimbabwe respect
" the right of the people of Zimbabwe
to free and fair elections. This is both a political and an economic ultimatum.
Britain has its long-standing colonial connections with Zimbabwe, and also the
European Union is the biggest single "development partner" of
Zimbabwe. The pretext for such ultimatums is that, in the words of Robin Cook,
"we want to make sure that the development is carried out in the interests
of the people". But if the people decide that their interests lie in a
different path of development, then they will be punished by Britain and the
European Union. The Conservative Party, in claiming that the Labour government
should act more harshly, freeze President Mugabe's assets and press for
Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, is playing the same game as the
government, and - with such outrageous accusations as that 50,000 British
passport holders are being threatened with "ethnic cleansing" - is
providing a backdrop where Robin Cook can claim to be acting with moderation.
Robin Cook and the government must end their threats and
blackmail against Zimbabwe and cease interfering in their affairs and those of
the African people as a whole.