HISTORY will record that after a decade of sustained assault on the foundation Zimbabwe laid since April 18 1980, on September 12 2008, the Westerners came unstuck as Zimbabwe remained not only standing, but united for nation-building, with the regime change project in tatters.
And of course having pride of place in that historic story of Africa’s maiden victory over neo-colonial regime change projects will be South Africa’s ex-president, Cde Thabo Mbeki – a man who personified to the hilt, the Biblical neighbour by refusing to be used against his brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe.
Others dubbed him their “point man on Zimbabwe”, yet others implored him “to work closely with them over Zimbabwe” but his resolute refrain: “Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa and Zimbabweans have the capacity to resolve their problems,” always rang out.
Cde Mbeki, who always stuck to his policy of quiet diplomacy, inspired us all to believe in ourselves and respect each other’s political space.
He put the condescending Westerners on notice and through his actions, reminded them that we did not need their endorsement on anything as we are not a child race that subsists on their goodwill.
It was providential that Cde Mbeki stood vindicated and all those who opposed and bad-mouthed him over Zimbabwe hung their heads in shame when the inclusive Government was formed.
It was thus nothing short of scandalous that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee did not even have Cde Mbeki on their short-list when they controversially awarded the award to Barack Obama, who was at that time busy rattling his sabre at Iran and whose army was killing innocent men, women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The inter-party political agreement Cde Mbeki brokered between Zanu-PF, the MDC-T and MDC was as much a personal tribute as it was a triumph for Zimbabwe, Africa and the entire developing world, which is why the fact that the Nobel Committee never considered him cast the prize in bad light.
Cde Mbeki’s exploits in Zimbabwe were a celebration of African solutions to African problems as espoused in the MoU that preceded the deal, and served as a wake-up call for African leaders to believe in themselves and not always look outside for solutions.
Progressive Zimbabweans were aware of the enormous personal and national sacrifices this great son of Africa made to defend our right to self-determination and the flak he received from the reactionary media in Zimbabwe and abroad that would rather have seen us at each others throats for “good” copy.
It is important to note that apart from President Mugabe, no other man was subjected to as much pressure over Zimbabwe as the former South African leader was made to bear. He was called all sorts of names by MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his cohorts.
The likes of then US president George W Bush and British premier Tony Blair dangled all sorts of inducements before Cde Mbeki in a bid to get him to subvert Zimbabwe but he remained resolute.
The fact that Cde Mbeki refused to give in when it would have been easier to do so testified to his leadership credentials.
This is a man Africa should call on to help resolve the crises afflicting various parts of the continent.
As President Mbeki rightly pointed out, all diplomacy is quiet, if it is not quiet then it is not diplomacy but something else.
We hope those of our African brothers who believe otherwise can learn from Cde Mbeki’s maturity and statesmanship and drop, like a plague, their policy of Western appeasement.
Similarly, I hope the likes of Mr Tsvangirai will realise that, the West has no permanent friends, only permanent interests. They created Saddam Hussein in a bid to subvert the Islamic Revolution in Iran, used him in the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq, only to hound him out of power when he appeared to forget that he was a mere puppet on a string.
The Government once announced plans to honour Cde Mbeki for his sterling work in brokering the inter-party political agreement.
The life of the inclusive Government spawned by that agreement is coming to an end; I hope the Government will move to honour this great son of the soil soon by naming a road after him.
A suitable candidate would be the road that branches off Rotten Row passing by the Zanu-PF National Headquarters to the Rainbow Towers where most of the inter-party meetings were held.
His name would also be a fitting replacement to Pennefather, to whom the road is still dedicated in this day and age.
Colonel Pennefather was the man who led the Pioneer Column to colonise Mashonaland on behalf of the Crown on September 12 1890.
Time to Honour Thabo Mbeki – AllAfrica.com