Soon after independence in 1975, the country of Mozambique was plunged into a protracted civil war pitting the ruling FRELIMO party against the RENAMO rebels.
RENAMO fighters will always be remembered as some of the most brutal fighters Africa has ever seen. In the later 1980s a woman refugee crossed into Mulanje district. Her story was particularly distressing. The RENAMO rebels, having suspected that her husband had been a government sympathizer, came to her house one night. They killed the husband, cut him up and cooked his liver. At gunpoint, they forced the woman to eat the liver. By the time she arrived in Malawi as a refugee she was a pitiful sight, depressed and very sick.
This is just one of the millions of atrocities RENAMO committed. RENAMO were well funded and were thus able to inflicted pain on lots of innocent Mozambican citizens for many years.
Question: Who funded RENAMO during all those years?
Answer: White Zimbabwe, Apartheid South Africa and YES, the good old USA!
To the Americans, it did not matter how many Mozambicans were dying under RENAMO; it did not matter how many Mozambicans were buried alive in graves or how many were tortured. What mattered was that RENAMO was fighting a ‘Marxist’ FRELIMO. In other words, America was much more concerned about ideology than the welfare of the people of Mozambique.
Things have changed much over the years but the basic philosophy mostly remains. When it comes to affairs involving poor countries, most western nations are still more concerned about their ideology than the welfare of the people. One is reminded of this bitter truth in the light of recent statements by some embassies on the ‘cashgate’ scandal.
First it was the American ambassador who claimed that Joyce Banda and the Malawi government ought to be commended other than criticized for cashgate. She claimed that somehow the scandal came out because of the government’s commitment to fighting corruption. More recently we have seen another completely bizarre statement by the Norwegian ambassador who claimed that cashgate is trivial in comparison to the Muluzi’s 3rd term bid or the incident where 20 demonstrators died under Mutharika’s reign.
These statements are being made in spite of the ample evidence that the bulk of cashgate, in deed the massive cash looting, have taken place under the leadership of Joyce Banda. Cashgate is not just a simple embarrassing scandal; it is a viscous crime. As a result of cashgate, hospitals continue to be deprived of adequate drugs resulting in uncountable deaths of children and the elderly in a way that a Muluzi 3rd term could never do. The arrogance of the Norwegian envoy in uttering such a statement is beyond belief.
It must also be emphasized that when Muluzi wanted a third term the donor community roundly condemned him. The same thing happened when police under President Mutharika opened fire on demonstrators. On the contrary most of those vocal donors have remained silent or leaped to the defense of Joyce Banda even as the media reveals more information tying Joyce Banda to apparent corruption in connection with cashgate, the “sold” presidential plane and other agencies in the country.
So why are the Americans and the Europeans turning a blind eye to the massive corruption of the JB regime? Even the most naïve observer would acknowledge that, at the very least, Joyce Banda is guilty of massive incompetence. If Bakili Muluzi or Bingu Mutharika were president today, would the Europeans and the Americans be issuing the same supportive statements?
To fully understand the Americans and the Europeans, one needs to go back to their beliefs and ideology. In the western white culture, a black African man embodies the most evil of the society.
In North America, black African men are associated will a lot of unfortunate stereotypes. It is not uncommon to see decent Americans spur racist stereotypes under the guise of helping Africa. Steven Lewis, a Canadian who headed the Global Fund for AIDS, Malaria and Tuberclosis, was particular known for his detest of African men. In his mind black African men were sorely responsible for all the diseases on the African continent. After one of his usual tirades against black African men, Bill Clinton patted him on the back and called him “friend of Africa”.
Thus, Americans see themselves as doing the world a huge favor by making sure that a black African woman, not those ‘despicable black African male creatures’, continues to be president in 2014. It will not matter how many children will die because of the incompetence of that woman; it will not matter how many elderly will die or go hungry because of the corrupt practices of that woman. To the Americans, it is their ideology that matters, not the welfare of these poor folks.
For the Europeans, this is more about power than anything else. Whenever the British government or the British press cites the so-called achievements of Joyce Banda, the first on the list is the fact that she “sold the plane”. Why does this matter?
The “selling” of the plane (now we know it is not really sold) has never been shown to be advantageous to Malawians. Bingu Mutharika bought the plane when his itinerary became busy. As long as the president is travelling frequently, it will always be cheaper to have a private plane. Selling the plane without reducing international travels becomes more costly.
The reason the British are so excited about the selling of the plane is not because such a sale will benefit Malawians. Rather, it is because selling the plane is an act of obedience to the British demand to have the plane sold. And therein lies the main interest of the British and other Europeans – they are obsessed with shaping an Africa that will always kneel down before them.
It is not difficult to know why Europeans have such an obsession. When most of the British leaders were toddlers and teenagers, Britain ruled most of the developing world. It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. Europeans grew up under the assumption that they are the rulers of the developing world. It should not be surprising therefore that those toddlers, now leaders of Europe, are seeking a subservient Africa.
To the Europeans, Joyce Banda is the leader they can control and direct without feeling threatened. African leaders who kneel down before Europe often get brownie points and are regarded as ‘good’ leaders. When Mugabe was kneeling down before them, they knighted him. When he started fighting them, they called him a ‘butcher and monster’ based on alleged crimes that happened in Matabeleland before they knighted him.
As the 2014 elections come near, there will be a lot of external forces trying to push Malawians in one way or another. You will hear statements issued by foreign ambassadors in support of government; you will see high-level foreign dignitaries coming to visit Joyce Banda to try and boost her support among Malawian voters. All these forces will be fighting, not for Malawi’s welfare, but for their own interests and ideologies.
It is very important for Malawians to know that only they can chart the proper course for their country’s future. As Malawians, we must look to ourselves to build the Malawi we have always waited for.