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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Zimbabwean elite: Run, but you cannot hide!

By Rejoice Ngwenya:

Zimbabwean activists are now resigned to institutions such as the United Nations (UN), African Unity (AU) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) which are nothing but expensive congregations of harmless penguins.

African delegates gladly collaborate in this deadly symphony of deception by vetoing anti-fascist resolutions. When it comes to global warming, the extermination of Palestinians, violation of women's rights in Saudi Arabia and the Chinese plundering resources in Africa by sacrificing political expediency at the altar of business sense, the US government exhibits similar tendencies of double-faced showmanship manifested in reckless abuse of its veto powers.

Therefore, I was not surprised when I heard that Francis Nhema, Zimbabwe's Environment and Tourism Minister, had been elected to chair the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. The struggle against modern-day slavery in Sudan and environmental degradation in Zimbabwe can no longer be concluded behind the façade of tinted glasses in New York or Addis Ababa, for it is in those corridors that perverted political minds squander the taxes of the very same people they torture, maim and rape.

It is naïve to be wooed winked by Zimbabwe's masquarade on the global stage as a protagonist of sustainable development, yet Mr Nhema chose to ignore his government's destruction of conservancies. Those who were rewarded with tracts of land expropriated from white commercial farmers have totally destroyed water catchment areas, resulting in irreversible siltation and desertification. We see large scale degradation in the form of politicised gold panning in Zimbabwe's midlands and the diamond 'mining' in the eastern highlands of Marange. The Sabi-Limpopo tourist development project meant to yield huge benefit for Zimbabwean citizens is under threat because of villagers who invaded the game reserve as payoff for allegiance to the regime of Robert Mugabe. All this drama is under the supervision of Francis Nhema who did not so much as play a single note in fear of upsetting Mugabe's political octave.

The free world can no longer watch in bewildered paralysis as the United Nations continues to pander to the whims of political patronage. Just like Thabo Mbeki's quiet diplomacy, the UN's culture of corrosive tolerance casts itself as fatal collusion with fascist dictatorships. African presidents have been arguing for a case of UN reform - I say, forget UN reforms and close shop altogether.

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