ACADEMICS: Of seeing a speck in someone’s eye . . .

Maslen Bondamakara – CCOSA journalism student

My former high school history teacher Mr Chimombe is a man that I remember in varying vivid imageries.

I can still see him now in my mind’s eyes as I used to see him then, in his haggard blue suit, a creamish white shirt which perhaps got washed only once every week and red eyes in budging sockets. But more than this, I still feel haunted and startled by the pungent smell that escaped from his mouth each time he spoke. He was a man hooked on alcohol, not just the wishy-washy opaque beer that many of our relatives lose sense over. His beverage of choice was the profoundly sturdy and treacherous Kachasu.

Mr Chimombe loved this poison and would constantly come to lectures under drunken stupor.

Yet beyond this despicable addiction for the illegal brew, prowled a vicious and remarkable teacher, whose regurgitation of historical facts and dates awed and excited in equal measure.

His voice, though hoarse and often bellowing, recounted with oratory exuberance, the colonisation of our country by the British.

In his exegesis, Mr Chimombe would deliver a narrative which explained how the British colonisation did not end in April 1980, with the independence of our country. He buttressed in our little heads the perception that, the British genuinely felt and still feel, arrogantly and condescendingly superior to us black people.

Mr Chimombe’s observation succinctly gains credence when one brings into perspective the main reason for the “regime change” agenda that the British government and its friends has, for more than a decade, parroted and propagated.

It would have been laughable if the consequences of such an agenda had not transformed into tragic economic sanctions against the country. But surely, shouldn’t we all chuckle when a whole country loses sleep because the president of another sovereign country is “too old for office”?

The former colonisers are putting pressure on our President to relinquish his position on the basis of his age? Oh yes, it has been said a countless times.

What is, however, appalling and disgusting, is the brouhaha Britain has been making since our President was elected to be the Chairman of the AU.

In the short time Cde Mugabe assumed this position; he has endured a sustained and calculated onslaught from all quarters of Britain. And not to be spared from this callous verbal diatribe, are the African heads of state, who Britain accuses of being naïve and ignorant.

Their sin; electing a man whom they perceive to be a great principled leader, whose entire adult life has been devoted towards emancipating black people from the hands of the colonisers themselves.

The imperialists are ostensibly shocked by this elevation and find it absolutely malignant that a 91-year-old President Mugabe can lead such an august organisation.

Yet if it was to be left to self-scrutiny and self-assessment, they may be hit with a few home truths as well as a sudden realisation that their monarchy presents for them, a far more compelling case than our distant leader. But their conspicuous hypocrisy and astounding duplicity which I will try to uncover now, should shame any level headed, self-respecting nation, except of course the British.

We need not look further than the British monarchy to see the glaring hypocrisy of that country’s actions.

Queen Elizabeth the II is the head of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth governments and she is only two years younger than our President.

She has been in power for more than 62 years. Never mind the British will argue and say her role is simply ceremonial and symbolic, every fact on ground points to a monarchy that wields real power and rules her country.

Much as they would like to make the world believe Her Majesty the Queen is completely above politics, it goes without telling that she has a strong influence on policy making and is therefore mired in politics.

First and foremost, she is consulted on policy matters and is known in certain occurrences to admonish ministers for illicit behaviour. Even Prince Charles, who is the heir to the throne, has concerted political interference which is normally orchestrated behind the smokescreen of “royal advice”. He is reported to have on numerous occasions, waded into controversial political issues that are otherwise the prerogative of elected public officers.

Secondly, the UK government cannot dissolve parliament without her approval. Neither can a general election be called in their country without her endorsement. Thirdly, Queen Elizabeth the II can choose a Prime Minister in the event that the ballot produces inconclusive results.

Queen Elizabeth wasn’t elected by anyone. She assumed her monarchy by accession, which is a birth-right and there are insurmountable benefits that are derived by virtue of having been born in the royal family.

In terms of wealth, the queen who is said to be a “hereditary sovereign” owns about 120 000 hectares of agricultural land. She even owns the creatures of the seas that surround Britain.

The British constitution permits her to claim ownership of whales and sturgeons that are washed ashore. Queen Elizabeth is a multi-millionaire who is in the top five richest people in the United Kingdom.

Her children and grandchildren are also said to be filthy rich, having taken full advantage of their lineage to amass vast amounts of wealth for themselves.

On the contrary, Cde Mugabe assumed his presidency through election and re-election, and has been voted for overwhelmingly in a number of those instances.

The British incarcerated him for about 11 years without charge. Ever since, he has worked hard for the people, effectively earning the right to lead the country. It was against this track record, that the people of Zimbabwe in their wisdom, chose him to be the leader of this beautiful country and rightly so.

Zimbabwe is their country and they are entitled to choose anyone of their liking to the position of President in spite of age, sex religious orientation or pigmentation.

The same goes for African leaders who have the senses and maturity to elect an AU chairman of their choice. They elected President Mugabe so where is the problem?

So when they tell us that our President has aged, we will hasten to remind them that their much adored Queen Elizabeth is just two years younger. And when they make noise about how our President has over stayed in power, we will remind them of how their beloved Queen has been on the throne twice longer than our President.

And when they accuse our President of having plundered the wealth of the country as well as the land that belongs to him, we will advise them to look no further than their shrewd Queen and her family. Surely they do have enough problems that are equally good for themselves.

We should be quick to concede that it is for the British and not us to judge whether Britain’s royal family has ventured into parameters that are preserved only for those with political minds, after all their constitution provides for the existence of such.

Neither is it for us to growl over the reality that the Queen has accumulated for herself and family, exorbitant riches, at a time when a majority of the United Kingdom people are losing their jobs. It is not for us to meddle in their internal affairs. We try to mind our own business.

However, if they will not leave our President alone, they are clearly signalling us to take a hard look at their monarchy and judge if their political system is as clean as they claim it is. We already know what we will find-an ostensible hypocrisy that is concealed by a sham concern.

I lost track of my old teacher when I left high school and every day I wonder what became of him especially with the self-destruct path he had chosen. Sometimes I wish I can see him again and opine to him that colonisation may not have ended in 1980, but certainly Zimbabwe ain’t a colony no more!

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