Friday, 12 December 2008


By Gershom Ndhlovu


“African solutions for African problems.”

This is one refrain that has surely lost meaning in as much as it has been sung repeatedly by the likes of former South African president Thabo Mbeki who was given the task of mediating the Zimbabwe political crisis which has been brewing for close to ten years now.

Mbeki, one of the architects of the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and its offshoot, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), has not been successful let alone been candid enough regarding the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.

He has the support of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and by extension, the African Union.

From his recent letter to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), he was always for resolving the crisis in favour of Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU-PF). Today Zimbabwe is teetering on the brink of being a failed state, joining the ranks of the text book example, Somalia which has not had formal state institutions of governance for close to 20 years now.

Not at all strange, the Zimbabwe crisis has also exposed serious chasms between members such as Botswana which has out-rightly labelled the Mugabe regime illegitimate while others have closed ranks with the octogenarian ruler who led the violent struggle for independence and took over the reins of power three decades ago.

A cholera epidemic spreading along the length and breadth of Zimbabwe is the last straw that has unravelled all that has previously held the country together. Apart from the economy which is in its death throes with inflation galloping in hundreds of millions percentages, the education system crumbling with universities, colleges and boarding schools all but closed; a non-functioning health sector which is faced with a raging cholera epidemic that has claimed hundreds of lives while hospitals have no staff, drugs or equipment.

The Darfur crisis in Zimbabwe has also proved the futility of the Mbekian refrain of African solutions for African problems. This crisis has been going on for a long time now and the African Union efforts are as useful as an amputated limb. Darfurians continue dying at the hands of Sudanese government-supported Janjaweed militia.

No solution is in sight to this problem and today, Sudanese president Omar Bashir stands wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for crimes against humanity. This move by the international tribunal has not gone down well with the rest of Africa which still wants to protect villainous leaders who commit crimes against the very people they are supposed to serve.

Problems in the eastern Congo where militias from surrounding countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi have been battling for control of resources there have been raging for over a decade now.

The world is yet to see if the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region’s recent mediation effort in Burundi is successful considering that the ink on the recent agreement is not yet dry. The past agreements in that part of the world have failed to hold and this latest one may not be any different.

As much as Africa does not shy away from getting aid from western countries, it must also not shy away from criticism over the manner it handles its problems. It is outrageous for people like Mbeki to accuse groups like the MDC and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai of being western stooges. An African tyrant who brutalises his fellow Africans is worse.

It is in fact strange that Mbeki and other African leaders do not see anything wrong with those who loot their countries’ treasuries and exhibit bad governance tendencies.

It may appear that only global solutions will work for African problems because those charged with the task of solving African problem with African solutions equally have soiled hands.


Last week, someone signing himself as Nigerian Entrepreneur responded to my column as follows:

Every country has her own black sheep. While it is true that scammers who are Nigerian by citizenship are notorious in the international business world, it should be noted that there are many SINCERE, HONEST and INDUSTRIOUS Nigerians who earn their living by doing legitimate business. 

If such decides to invest in
Zambia, they should be welcomed and not classified as "crooks" just because they are Nigerian by birth.

By the way, I do receive a lot of SCAM letters too because of my activities online. Here is a sample SCAM LETTER (reproduced below). However, many of them are from outside
Nigeria (Asians to be specific).

Nice post. You may wish to educate your readers to investigate would-be Nigerian investors by reading this article How To Protect Yourself From Fraudsters (I will reproduce it next  week). It gives hints of what steps could be taken by an entrepreneur to prevent being defrauded.

I got here from Afrigator. Nice job you are doing here. Proudly African. Cheers.


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Zedian said...

I have never seen Bob so openly afraid of the West going to 'get him', when he openly said, "Now that there is no cholera there is no cause for war," He must be terrified! what with the realisation that his soldiers haven't got the 'stomach' for a fight against anybody else other than him.

Watch his speech here

MrK said...

Does anyone stop and think about whether the MDC or Coni Rice give a damn about cholera in Zimbabwe - other than see it as another opportunity to get into power?

Who would be fighting cholera in an MDC government - Anglo-American? Sisol? Because they believe in extreme privatisation. Although if there is no profit motive or you can't afford the price, you're out of luck of course. You'll have to wait until someone sees an opportunity to provide services to low income customers and make a profit off you.

How many Zimbabweans do we have to stand back and see die until that point is driven home so no one can say otherwise?

Who is using cholera as an excuse to invade the country and kill thousands (tens of thousands if the liberation war and the war in Iraq are anything to go by), just to put in sanitation?

And when was the last time war improved on a bad cholera situation?

MrK said...

Sanctions have to be lifted. Revoke the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, introduced by the Bush Administration while New York was still smouldering.

Unknown said...

MrK, don't you think Mr Mugabe;s time is up, cholera or no cholera? Which African country is not dependent on the west particularly for BoP support? Zimbabwe would not be any different under any leader, even Mugabe without sanctions.

Anonymous said...

In as much as I refrain from engaging in political discussions, I must say categorically here that I am not in support of the evils being committed by the various African tyrants that calls themselves leaders.

As far as I am concern, they are worse than the colonial masters, you can quote me.

The attitude of this dictators that holds on to power using violence is barbaric and cannot be praised by anyone that is sane.
If it will take foreigners to solve African problem, I do not mind.

Whenever I say I am proudly African, I am referring to the beautiful work that God did on the continent. We are endowed with so much natural resources that other continents are envious.

God forbid that I should be proud of the looting, killing, maiming and all other forms of atrocities being committed by perverse minds that wants to hold unto the reign of power because of selfish material gains.