London Indymedia

Zimbabwe and the Power of Propaganda: Ousting a President via Civil Society

Michael Barker | 16.04.2008 11:44 | Anti-militarism | History | Other Press | London | World

As the case of 'democratic' interference in Venezuela has been well documented, this article will provide a critical – although by no means exhaustive – investigation into the complex issues raised by the current political interventions by foreign organizations into Zimbabwe’s political affairs. Initially, this article will examine how ostensibly progressive mainstream media have acted as imperial flak machines to legitimize ongoing inference in Zimbabwe. Subsequently, it will demonstrate how Western governments’ carried out an overt cultural war to successfully manipulate Zimbabwean civil society, and will then conclude by recommending how concerned citizens might best further the protection of human rights in Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

"Zimbabwe is [1] a strategic country for the United States because events
in Zimbabwe have a significant impact on the entire southern Africa region."

(US Agency for International Development, 2005)

In 2002, America's key democracy manipulating organ the National Endowment
for Democracy [2] (NED) played a vital role in supporting the temporary
ousting of Venezuela's democratically elected President Hugo Chavez, so given
their current interests in Zimbabwe it is critical to ask two questions:
"what are their reasons for interfering in Zimbabwe's affairs, and secondly,
should progressive activists be concerned about these interventions?"

The simple answer to these questions is that numerous neoliberal governments
are interested in Zimbabwe not because of democracy, but because they want to
remove the thorn in their side that is President Robert Mugabe. Moreover,
while the West views Mugabe as a tyrant that needs to be removed from power,
it is critical that progressive activists not living in Zimbabwe problematize
both the corporate and alternative media's portrayal of Mugabe and Zimbabwean
politics, and their own government's manipulative interventions into other
countries affairs. Indeed not every tyrant is a tyrant. For example, the same
US National Security Strategy that identifies President Mugabe as a tyrant
also identifies President Chavez as a "demagogue awash [3] in oil money". {1}

However, while both Mugabe and Chavez are clearly thorns in the US
administration's side they present unwanted irritations for very different
reasons. For instance, since coming to power in 1980, Mugabe who has long
been considered a useful ally of Western elites has been showered with
military aid - much of which (between 1980 and 2000 [4] ) came courtesy of
the British government - while throughout the 1990s Mugabe embraced harsh
structural adjustment policies and undertook brutal military excursions [5]
in Zaire which together wreaked havoc on Zimbabwe's economy.

Yet as a result of the growing tide of popular resistance to Mugabe's
devastating - Western formulated - land reform policies, in 2002, no doubt as
a last ditch attempt to maintain his fading grasp on power, Mugabe shirked
his post-colonial neoliberal 'advisors.' Consequently, most likely owing to
his straying from the Washington Consensus, Mugabe (and Zimbabwe) is being
punished by the international community, and imperial democracy manipulators
are now seizing this opportunity to destroy the last vestiges of the popular
people power movement that liberated Rhodesia from colonialism. This
'transitional' process of course involves facilitating the ouster of Mugabe
and ensuring his replacement with a Western-backed neoliberal alternative,
that is, the Movement for Democratic Change.

However in Venezuela's case, when Chavez was elected president in 1998,
capitalist elites (both within and outside of Venezuela) vigorously opposed
his presidency, and shortly thereafter with the aid of the National Endowment
for Democracy in 2002 they organized a coup to remove him from power. As fate
would have it this temporary coup was quickly reversed by a massive show of
people power, and in January 2005, after ongoing public displays of popular
support against ongoing capitalist attacks on Chavez's presidency, "Chavez
declared [6] his political program to be socialist". Consequently, it is
important to remember that while the government's of both Mugabe and Chavez
are being targeted for regime change, they clearly present themselves as very
different thorns in the US government's side.

As the case of 'democratic' interference in Venezuela has been well
documented [7] , this article will provide a critical - although by no means
exhaustive [8] - investigation into the complex issues raised by the current
political interventions by foreign organizations into Zimbabwe's political
affairs. Initially, this article will examine how ostensibly progressive
mainstream media have acted as imperial flak machines to legitimize ongoing
inference in Zimbabwe. Subsequently, it will demonstrate how Western
governments' carried out an overt cultural war to successfully manipulate
Zimbabwean civil society, and will then conclude by recommending how
concerned citizens might best further the protection of human rights in
Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

*The Liberal Propaganda Machine*

"For Washington [9] _ a consistent element is that democracy and the rule of
law are acceptable if and only if they serve official strategic and economic
objectives_." (Noam Chomsky, 2005)

As in other countries selected for `regime change' by the democracy
manipulating establishment, demonizing the target government is a vital part
of any propaganda campaign. For example, the international mainstream media
and the National Endowment for Democracy have, and continue to play, a vital
role in working to undermining the [10] legitimacy of Venezuela's President

Likewise, for many years now, both these groups have also waged a relentless
offensive against Zimbabwe's President Mugabe. Indeed, with regard to
Zimbabwe's 2005 elections, British-based media watchdog Media Lens contrasted
the media's coverage of Zimbabwe's elections with those that took place in
Iraq. Media Lens correctly pointed out how: "Claims of [9] democratic
elections in Iraq were not just nonsense, they were self-evident nonsense,
repeated by every major media entity in the land." A few months later,
however, when elections were held in Zimbabwe, Media Lens observed that
somehow "the media regained their mental faculties and were able to identify
obvious flaws in the process". As Media Lens' surmise: "Where elementary
common sense conflicts with the needs of elite power, journalists collapse
into a Dumb and Dumber consensus."

Given the parallels between `democratic' interventions in Venezuela and
Zimbabwe, it is fitting that in an earlier Media Lens article, they
illustrated how _Channel 4_ news reporter, Jonathan Rugman, interviewed [11]
Maria Corina Machado, a leader of Sumate - a group which received support
from the National Endowment for Democracy to oust Chavez - and described her
"as a [12] `civil rights activist', citing her as the source for his claim
that `government critics' are `fearing another Zimbabwe here'." This is an
example of misinformation, pure and simple.

In 2002, George Monbiot - one of the lonely token dissidents at _The
Guardian_ (UK) - pointed out that problematically the "view of [13] most of
the western world's press" is that "[t]he most evil man on earth, besides
Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, is Robert Mugabe". {2} Indeed, as
British-based radical historian Mark Curtis [14] also points out:

"The official [15] theology has it that Zimbabwe is the only repressive
regime in Africa - since it is an official enemy, it is the subject of
endless media articles while Mugabe is (correctly) seen as a total despot.
Nigeria, on the other hand, is a key ally and oil-rich state which our
companies benefit from - therefore it wouldn't be right to mention obvious
facts such as that the military in Nigeria is complicit in far more deaths in
recent years than even Zimbabwe's."

An alternative history to "Mugabe as despot," which is rarely aired in the
alternative media, let alone the mainstream media, is provided in some detail
by Gregory Elich [16] , who in 2002 wrote:

"As Zimbabwe [17] descends into anarchy and chaos, land is irrationally
seized from productive farmers, we are told. President Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe is portrayed as a dictator bent on driving his nation into
starvation and economic disaster while benevolent U.S. and British leaders
call for democracy and human rights."

He observes that it wasn't so long ago that the "management of the economy in
Zimbabwe was highly regarded in Western circles." Indeed, from day one of
Zimbabwe's 'democratic' transition in 1980 (and the beginning of Mugabe's
presidency), Zimbabwe's new found 'independence' was conditional upon
accepting the provisions of the British-led Lancaster House Agreements "that
effectively [18] stymied any meaningful attempt at land reform."

Moreover the 1979 Lancaster House Conference that undermined the liberation
movements demands for land reform was chaired by British Foreign Secretary
Lord Carrington, an individual who has more recently served as a founding
patron of the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust (see later). {3} Subsequently, much to
the delight of his Western advisors, Mugabe colloborated with the World Bank
and International Monetary Fund to effectively ensure that no meaningful land
reforms eventuated. As Elich observed, when Zimbabwe moved to liberalize its
economy in 1991, adopting the World Bank designed Economic Structural
Adjustment Program, the immediate result was "pleasing for [17] Western
investors" but the "result was a disaster for the people of Zimbabwe."

By the end of 2001, however, President Mugabe announced that Zimbabwe were
ditching the Structural Adjustment Program, which Elich notes, combined with
the land reform program his government launched in 1997, and "coupled with
the statement that sectors of the economy would be placed on a socialist
path, only increased the sense of outrage among Western leaders." Seemingly
Mugabe the `despot' was rebelling against neoliberal advisors, an action
defined by neoliberal governments as despotic. Such language is an example of
the Western command of doublespeak: while Mugabe is a despot, leaders who
oversaw the putsch that has led to the slaughter of over one million [19]
people in an illegal act of aggression, that was vigorously opposed by their
`electorate' are democrats.

Given this background it is no surprise that the international media
demonizes President Mugabe, and, beating the drum along with all manner of
`democracy promoting' and `human rights' groups, delegitimates Zimbabwe's
election. {4} For example, just over a week before the 2008 election, Human
Rights Watch added to the anti-Mugabe chorus by publishing a report that
noted that "Repression, Intimidation [20] , Electoral Flaws Threaten March 29
Vote". Yet considering the close ties [21] that exist between Human Rights
Watch and the National Endowment for Democracy it is fitting that many of the
nongovernmental organizations that they used to document human rights abuses
in Zimbabwe are also funded by the NED (see later). A good illustration of
this symbiotic NED-Human Rights Watch relationship is provided by the
reports' reference to a Reporters Without Borders (another group that is
intimately linked [22] to the work of the global democracy manipulating
community) press release that was released on February 26, 2008 that
"highlight[ed] its [23] concerns over a growing government crackdown on the
independent media".

*Non-Governmental Organizations and `Democracy' Networks*

"Perhaps Zimbabwe [24] _ has reached the low-point of its democratic
development, but I would echo the opinion of the recently departed American
Ambassador, Christopher Dell, `things will change soon._'" (Dave Peterson,
2007 - the senior director [25] of the NED's Africa program)

Like the misnamed National Endowment for Democracy, the US Institute for
Peace [26] (USIP) plays an important role in exporting low-intensity
democracy globally. However, unlike its better known `democratic' counterpart
far less critical attention has been paid to the work of the USIP, even
though in 1990 Richard Hatch and Sara Diamond described it as a "stomping
ground for professional war-makers" with a board of directors that "looked
like a who's who of right-wing ideologues from academia and the Pentagon."

While I will not be extending Hatch and Diamond's critique, in 2003 the USIP
issued a report titled "Zimbabwe and [27] the Prospects for Nonviolent
Political Change", which amongst other things documented the rise of the
non-profit sector in Zimbabwe. The report suggests that:

"In the [27] late 1990s, civic coalitions began to emerge, build consensus,
and gain collective strength around the need for nonviolent political
change...This newer focus of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on
governance, advocacy, and political change departed significantly from the
earlier civic orientation. This change is at the heart of concerns by
government and some social critics that NGOs are involved in politics, and
are too closely aligned with, and compromised by, western donor interests."

Despite their evident concern with compromising NGOs, the USIP itself is one
of the US government's most important democracy manipulating organizations,
thus the USIP should be forgiven for failing to mention that they too are
intimately linked to at least one Zimbabwean opposition group. Thus the
current chair of the USIP, Chester Crocker, was a founding patron of the
Zimbabwe Democracy Trust - and Crocker also happens to have served as US
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1981 to 1989, and is
currently a member [28] of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on
Democracy Promotion.

The Zimbabwe Democracy Trust was initially set up in April 2000 in the UK
(although it is now based in the US) and the Trust describes itself as a
"non-partisan pro-democracy [29] group set up to campaign internationally for
the rights of Zimbabweans to live in civic peace and freedom". {5} Other
`democratic' patrons of the Trust other than Crocker include former Tory
Foreign Secretaries Malcolm Rifkind, Douglas Hurd and Geoffrey Howe.
Moreover, even the mainstream media acknowledges that this "prominent group
[30] of British and American politicians and businessmen - many with energy
and mining interests in Zimbabwe - are behind an international organisation
to fund opposition to the regime of Robert Mugabe."

More interesting still, the chair of the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust, Lord
Renwick of Clifton, served as [31] the British Ambassador to South Africa
from 1987 to 1991 (and then as Ambassador to the United States from 1991 to
1995), having demonstrated the weaknesses [32] of economic sanctions (in his
1982 book of the same title) he was then placed in a crucial position to help
oversee the `democratic' transition in South Africa. {6} This transition was
facilitated by various democracy manipulating liberal foundations, like the
Ford and Rockefeller Foundations; so it is fitting that Lord Renwick [29]
presently acts as the vice-chairman of investment banking for David
Rockefeller's JPMorgan [33] (Europe). (Lord Renwick serves on a number of
boards including those of BHP Billiton and Harmony Gold.) Finally it is also
noteworthy that Julie Doolittle [34] , Zimbabwe Democracy Trusts'
administrator, is the wife of Representative John Doolittle
(Republican-California) and that their links to convicted lobbyist Jack
Abramoff [35] caused enough concern for their home to be raided by the FBI
[36] in April 2007.

Returning to the USIP report, the USIP notes that the "[t]wo major impacts"
of the increased civic organizing during the late 1990s "were the `no' vote
on the Constitution and the emergence of opposition politics in the form of
the MDC Movement for Democratic Change]." Indeed they go on to note that:

"In 1997, several civic organizations formed the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) to press for a constitutional reform process driven by
grassroots demands and popular participation... Unlike the more collaborative
strategies employed by civil society in the early 1990s, the NCA adopted a
directly confrontational approach to government in its demands for a new
people- driven constitution. The strength of its organizing and its ability
to fill meetings nationwide prompted a government response: the establishment
of a government Constitutional Commission and a parallel process to develop a
new constitution. With the government announcement that a referendum would be
held on the commission's draft constitution, the NCA organized a surprisingly
effective `no' vote campaign, which won 54 percent of the vote."

The USIP adds that this was the "first major defeat of ZANU-PF government",
and they point out that the "NCA was closely linked with the MDC, as the
party's leadership had been very active within the NCA before 1999." So it is
very noteworthy that in 2006 [37] the NCA received their first grant from the
National Endowment for Democracy (NED); however, even before then the NCA had
received `democratic' support from groups like the German-based Friedrich
Naumann Foundation [38] , Oxfam [39] , and the Swedish International
Development Cooperation Agency [40] . The NCA's `democratic' connections have
intensified more recently, as from October 2007 until January 2008, the
coordinator of the South Africa office of the NCA, Tapera Kapuya, became [41]
the first Zimbabwean to act as one of the NED's Reagan-Fascell Democracy
Fellows. While based at the NED, Kapuya - who had formerly been an original
working-group member of the World Youth Movement for Democracy - worked to
develop "new strategies and opportunities for involving youth in the struggle
for democracy in Zimbabwe."

Controversially, Kapuya has also co-authored a report in 2006 with the head
of the South Africa-based Centre for Civil Society, Professor Patrick Bond -
who is also an editor-at-large [42] for the progressive academic journal
_Capitalism Nature Socialism_. {7} Furthermore, the report in question titled
"`Arrogant, Disrespectful [43] _,_ Aloof and Careless' - South African
Corporations in Africa", was sponsored by George Soros [44] ' Open Society
Initiative for Southern Africa. {8}

Here it is also important to point out that the Centre for Civil Society
(CCS) has even stronger `democratic' ties as the former spokesperson for the
NED-connected Zimbabwe Election Support Network (see later), Everjoice J. Win
[45] , serves on the CCS advisory board [46] . (Everjoice is also a director
of the `democratic' Association of Women's Rights in Development [47] , and
is the international head of women's rights with Action-Aid International, a
NGO that received more than fifty percent [48] of their funding from the
British government.) In 2003, Professor Bond also published a chapter in a
book, whose other contributors included the coordinator of the Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition (see later), and the chair of Transparency International
(Zimbabwe) - _for further details, see footnote #5_. Finally it is ironic to
note that, in 2005, Professor Bond co-authored an article with Virginia
Setshedi (from the Freedom of Expression Institute, see later) that examined
how "Trojan Horse [49] NGOs Sabotage the Struggle Against Neoliberalism."

Like the NCA, Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), is also closely tied [50] to the democracy manipulating
community. Indeed, in February 2002 [51] consultants from the `democratic'
Albert Einstein Institution met with Zimbabwean opposition groups, which
included the MDC, with sponsorship for the event provided by the core NED
grantee the International Republican Institute [52] . While it appears the
NED has not provided any direct support to the MDC, the NED's British
counterpart, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy [53] (WFD), has been
one of the most influential democracy manipulators in Zimbabwe. Writing in
2002, Gregory Elich observed that:

"WFD has [17] been involved in over 80 projects aiding the MDC, and helped
plan election strategy. It also provides funding to the party's youth and
women's groups. The Foundation considers `the development of political
parties as one of the key areas for our support and assistance,' and in 2000
it provided the MDC with $10 million. No figures are available since then,
but the flow of money has continued unabated, and some ZANU-PF officials
indicate that the MDC had received at least $30 million by the beginning of

According to analysts, the majority of the MDC's funding originates from
abroad. Passage of the _Political Parties (Finance) Act_ in Zimbabwe in 2001
made it illegal for political parties to receive financing from abroad, thus
requiring the MDC to be more circumspect about the extent of its financial
support from Western sources. The need for such legislation was urgent, as
the influx of Western money was grossly distorting the political process. The
effect, however, was merely to drive such contributions into the shadows."
(S_ee the full article for footnotes_) {9}

One `democratic' individual linking the MDC to the NCA is the human rights
lawyer, Yvonne Mahlunge [54] , who co-founded the MDC and has also served on
the board of the NCA. In addition, Mahlunge was a founding member of the
Zimbabwe Women Lawyers' Association and the NED-funded Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights. In 2003 Mahlunge served [54] as a Cape Town fellow at the
`democratic' International Center for Transitional Justice [55] .

Revisiting once again the USIP report, its examination of NGO's in Zimbabwe

"Conflicts over strategies, relationships with government and the MDC, and
struggles for power within existing organizations have also created a demand
for new forms of civil society activism and cooperation. The Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition, established in 2001, is a broad coalition of more than
300 NGOs and 15 national coalitions presently working on various fronts to
facilitate the development of a proactive and broad-based agenda and process
for change."

Thus it makes sense that the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (Crisis Coalition)
is also linked to the `democracy' crowd, because in 2005 they received a
grant from the NED to "hold monthly public meetings and bimonthly township
meetings on issues of food insecurity, the security forces, and the upcoming
elections"; and to "organize a media campaign that will seek to provide
alternatives to state-sponsored media."

The following year they then received a further $50,000 from the NED to
amongst other things "reduce citizen [37] apathy in Zimbabwe by providing
opportunities for public protest and debate." The current chair [56] of the
Coalition, Arnold Tsunga, is an internationally celebrated human rights
activist, who received the 2006 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights
Defenders [57] , but he is also the vice president of the International
Federation for Human Rights - a group whose work is supported by [58] the
Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Rights and Democracy [59] (the Canadian
version of the NED), the Ford Foundation [60] , and the Heinrich Boll
Foundation [61] .

As mentioned earlier - see footnote #5 - in 2002 (at least) Transparency
International [62] (Zimbabwe) chair, John Makumbe, also acted as a director
of the Crisis Coalition; and the former coordinator [63] of the Coalition,
Brian Kagoro, presently serves [64] as Action-Aid's [65] regional policy and
advocacy manager for the Africa region. Another `democratic' connection is
manifest in Gladys Hlatywayo, an advocacy officer with the Crisis Coalition,
who in 2007 served [66] as a Cape Town fellow at the International Center for
Transitional Justice [55] . Furthermore, just two years earlier, the Crisis
Coalition's information and advocacy officer, Philip Pasirayi, served [67] as
fellow at the International Center for Transitional Justice [55] ; his link
to this Center is noteworthy as he was simultaneously a member of the
National Constitutional Assembly, and he had previously worked as a reporter
for the _Daily News_ of Zimbabwe (see later), and as a media researcher for
the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ). While not funded by the NED,
MMPZ is funded by other `democratic' bodies like the US Agency for
International Development and the Open Society Initiative for Southern
Africa. The Monitoring Project links to democracy manipulators are stronger
still as it started as a "joint initiative [68] of three organizations": the
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Zimbabwe (see later), Article 19
(an organization which between 1996 and 1997 received three grants from the
Westminster Foundation, and in 1997 obtained a single grant from Rights and
Democracy), and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe.

The Crisis Coalition list their partner organizations [69] on their website,
one of which, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), received a grant
from the NED in 2004 to "train and organize 240 long-term election observers
throughout Zimbabwe" and "produce monthly reports for distribution to the
media as well as the national and international community". {10} The US
Agency for International Development's website also presently advertises how
they are "supporting the [70] ZESN in its efforts to ensure transparency in
the electoral process for the upcoming 2008 elections." Moreover, two of this
Networks four founding members [71] have received NED aid, the Foundation for
Democracy in Zimbabwe in 1998, and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
(Zimrights) in 2004 and 2006; while both groups have also received money from
the Westminster Foundation in 1997 and 1998. The chair of the ZESN is
Reginald Matchaba Hove - another "leading human rights activist" - who in
2006 received [72] the NED's coveted annual democracy award. On top of this
he is the chair of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, and
"[p]rior to 1999, he was the chairman of Zimbabwe Human Rights Association".

Another noteworthy board member of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network is
Rashweat Mukundu, who also serves as the vice chairperson of the Crisis
Coalition, and heads the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Zimbabwe.
MISA was launched in 1992, and it is a non-governmental organization with
members in 11 of the Southern Africa Development Community countries, and in
1997 they received a grant from the Westminster Foundation. In 2004,
NED-connected [73] media scholar Ellen Hume described MISA as the "top
monitoring [74] organization in Africa" which has received $800,000 from the
US government: furthermore, according to their 2005 Annual Report [75] , MISA
received most of their funding from European governments, as their three
largest donors, in order of magnitude, were the Royal Danish Embassy DANIDA
($0.8 million), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
($0.6 million), and the Royal Norwegian Embassy NORAD ($0.5 million). In 2006
MISA-Zimbabwe received their first grant from the NED which amongst things
enabled them to "host a [37] series of four provincial meetings with the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists [76] ".

In 1999, along with Article 19 and the Catholic Commission for Justice and
Peace, MISA helped launch Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, with funding
[68] provided by US Agency for International Development amongst others. The
Media Monitoring Project works "with the [68] Civic Alliance for Social and
Economic Progress (CASEP [77] ) on social and economic issues, and the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) on electoral issues and the media."
Finally MISA is also listed as a collaborating organization with the Media
Foundation for West Africa (which is based in Ghana). Incidentally five of
the ten media [78] groups listed as having a collaborative relationship with
the Media Foundation for West Africa have received funding from either the
NED or the Westminster Foundation.

Another `democratically' compromised group that works closely with MISA is
the South Africa-based Freedom of Expression Institute, as in 1998 the
Westminster Foundation gave them a grant to help them publish ten issues of
its monthly newsletter _Update_. Moreover, the Institute's website notes that
their work is supported [79] by the aforementioned Centre for Civil Society,
the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, and the Open Society Initiative
for Southern Africa. {11} Originally formed in 1994 through the merger [80]
of three media groups, {12} the Freedom of Expression Institute, like the
Centre for Civil Society, does not appear to exhibit close ideological links
to democracy manipulators: for example, in May 2005 their executive director,
Jane Duncan, gave a talk [81] titled "Neo-Liberalism: The Media and Ideology"
at a workshop organized by the Southern Africa Centre for Economic Justice.
Yet despite the Freedom of Expression Institute's seemly progressive
credentials it is important that the Institute renounce their historical ties
to the Westminster Foundation as soon as possible, as what better way for the
Foundation to legitimize it's work than by obtaining the passive support of a
progressive group like the Freedom of Expression Institute. {13}

*From the *Trojan Horse [82] *'s Mouth*

Speaking before the before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations'
Subcommittee on African Affairs in July 2007, Dave Peterson, the senior
director [25] of the NED's Africa program observed that, in Zimbabwe, the NED
has been "successful in [24] building a strong and vital program of support
to civil society, including the media, political parties and trade unions."
He adds that:

"...the question [24] of national sovereignty is perhaps most acute here. It
is not NED's mission to promote `regime change.' As distasteful as
governments such as that of ZANU-PF and Robert Mugabe may be to some, our
program is committed to democratic reform, no matter who is in power. Nor is
NED exporting some secret, American imperialist agenda, as is sometimes
alleged. NED is strictly committed to peaceful, open and transparent methods
of political engagement. We are guided by our partners on the ground. Every
one of our grants, including each recipient and the funding amounts, can be
found in our annual report [83] and on-line [84] . Another key aspect of the
Endowment is our independence."

Peterson then goes on to list the NED's "local grantees, such as the Zimbabwe
Electoral Support Network, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Media
Institute, and the Crisis Coalition, among others," noting that these groups
appreciate the NED's "willingness to support vital core costs, such as
salaries, rent, and equipment, which allow groups to survive despite
hardship, and enable them greater freedom to identify other sources of
funding and support." {14} The total sums of money involved are relatively
speaking quite large, and while the NED distributed around $1 million to
Zimbabwean groups in 2006, since 2002 the US Agency for International
Development has "contributed nearly [85] $600 million to humanitarian
operations in Zimbabwe".

Clearly the democracy manipulators play a vital role in sustaining (some)
dissenting voices in Zimbabwe, especially those that are widely heard of in
the international media. However, this begs the questions: (1) "what is
happening to those progressive activists who challenge the government and do
not work with democracy manipulating organizations?" and (2) "are these
individuals silently disposed of by the Mugabe government and, if so, where
is the outcry in the international press, or are they simply ignored by all?"
These are critical questions that remain unasked and therefore unanswered.

It is also worth contemplating how unions in Zimbabwe might have evolved
without NED interference. Since 2000 the NED has provided $0.8 million to the
American Center for International Labor Solidarity - a group which is better
known as the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center - to work with the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU). {15} Peterson describes the ZCTU as "arguably the
[24] leading institution of civil society in Zimbabwe", and with no hint of
irony he adds: "the ZCTU has been careful to remain non-partisan, and has
also avoided direct assistance from the U.S. government." Fortunately there
already exists a well developed literature [86] critiquing the vital role
that labor unions fulfil in promoting imperialism, so it is concerning that
in July 2007 the leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai (who is also the former
head [87] of the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions), was in Britain
visiting [88] the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) headquarters to rally support
for his political campaign against Mugabe. {16} Yet this link makes more
sense when it is known that in 1996 and 1997 the TUC themselves also received
funding from the Westminster Foundation to undertake organizing work in
Hungary, Nambia, and Russia.

*Human Rights Watch and Democracy Manipulators in Zimbabwe*

As mentioned earlier many of the groups that Human Rights Watch rely upon to
document human rights abuses in Zimbabwe are tightly linked to the democracy
manipulating establishment. This of course should be no surprise given that
Human Rights Watch's founder, Robert L. Bernstein [89] , is currently the
chair of the NED-funded [90] Human Rights in China. Thus, in their most
recent report on Zimbabwe, under "Police Involvement in Incidents of
Intimidation and Violence against the Opposition, Students, and NGOs in 2008"
they provide two examples of oppression, one of which involves a NED-funded
group. They note:

"On February [91] 14, 2008, police raided the offices of the Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition (Crisis Coalition) looking for Marvellous Khumalo,
advocacy officer for the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU).
Marvellous Khumalo is a student who is running for a parliamentary seat for
the MDC (Tsvangirai) in St Mary's constituency, Chitungwiza, Harare.


"In another case, police beat and arrested 25 members of the organization
Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (RoHRZ) in Harare on January 25,
2008, as they marched to protest against repressive legislation and police
harassment of the MDC."

As the second group, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, has yet to be
introduced within this article it is important to note that it is the sister
organization of the British-based Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition, a group that was
"set up [92] " in 2002 by the Central London Branch of the Movement for
Democratic Change after suggestions from Roy Bennett, MDC MP and Tony Reeler
of the Amani Trust.

Later sections of the Human Rights Watch report point out that:

"The independent (non-governmental) election monitoring body Zimbabwe
Electoral Support Network (ZESN) and nongovernmental organizations such as
the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) have expressed serious concerns over
political interference in the distribution of free agricultural equipment
(under the government's farm mechanization program) and state subsidized
maize and seed from the government's Grain and Marketing Board (GMB)."

Human Rights Watch refers to the two groups as providing "credible reports"
owing to their ostensible independence, which unfortunately only refers to
their independence from the government they are criticising, but not from
foreign governments. Indeed as mentioned already, ZESN received NED aid in
2005, while two [93] of the nine members of the Zimbabwe Peace Project are
linked to the NED, these are ZESN and ZimRights. {17} Although the Zimbabwe
Peace Project does not have a website, a web search revealed that in 2007
they received a $70,000 [94] grant from the Canadian International
Development Agency. Furthermore, another member of the Zimbabwe Peace
Project, the Civic Education Network Trust, is headed by an individual named
Wellington Mbofana. This information is noteworthy because in 2003 Mbofana
served [54] as a Cape Town fellow at the `democratic' International Center
for Transitional Justice [55] , and "sits on several boards, including the
Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Peace Project, and Zimbabwe
Election Support Network", and he has also held a leadership role at

Later still in Human Rights Watch report on Zimbabwe, they obtained evidence
of human rights abuses from another NED-funded group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR). {18} Finally, in the section of their report focusing on
press freedom in Zimbabwe, Human Rights Watch observes that:

"The government's [23] determination to ensure that there is no independent
daily press is exemplified by the case of the _Daily News_, Zimbabwe's only
independent newspaper, which was shut down by the government in 2003. Despite
claims by the government that it would consider the paper's reapplication for
accreditation under the new laws, the government has stalled, and at this
writing the paper's application has yet to be heard by the courts".

This example is particularly interesting because in 2003 the _Daily News_ won
the `democratic' Reporters without Borders [95] ' Fondation de France Prize -
a prize that is regularly given to media groups (or individuals) that work
closely with the NED. (In 2005, Reporters without Borders received a grant
from the NED to "strengthen free press and drecrease press abuse in Eritrea,
Zimbabwe, Somalia, and Cote d'Ivoire.") The _Daily News _was launched by
Geoffrey Nyarota in 1999, and it "quickly became the largest selling and most
influential newspaper" in Zimbabwe. Therefore, it is significant that Nyarota
- who "now lives [96] in exile in the United States from where he publishes" - was awarded the Committee to Protect Journalists [97]
International Press Freedom Award in 2001. {19} In addition, the following
year he received [98] the World Association of Newspapers Golden Pen of
Freedom award, from 2004 to 2005 he served as a fellow [99] at the US-based
democracy manipulating organization the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
[100] , and he is presently a director [101] of the `democratic' World Press
Freedom Committee [102] . (_The Daily News_ closed operations in 2004 after
"constant harassment by state monitors [103] " and is now being published by
the Amnesty International [104] 's Irish section.)

Finally, worth mentioning is the work of another award winning
`democratically' linked media outlet, Zimbabwe's _SW Radio Africa_. In 2005,
the British-based _SW Radio Africa_ received the International Press
Institute [102] 's Pioneer Award - an award that is normally given to
NED-linked media outlets - making it the first externally broadcast media
group to receive the award. _SW Radio Africa_ first started operating in
December 2001, and according to diplomatic sources [105] they are funded by
the USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives. Furthermore, from 2005 to 2006
Violet Gonda, a "producer and presenter for the news section of SW Radio
Africa," served as a fellow [106] at the Center on Democracy, Development and
the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University. This is particularly
noteworthy because the Director [107] of the CDDRL is Michael McFaul, an
individual who happens to be a director of the NED's International Forum for
Democratic Studies, and is a trustee [108] of both Freedom House [109] and
the Eurasia Foundation [110] . {20}

*Ending *Inhumanitarian Interventions [111]

As Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead (1985) demonstrated in their classic
book, _Demonstration Elections_, the manipulation of electoral politics has
long served as a vital means to legimitate both antidemocratic foreign
policies and politicians. Yet, as Herman and Brodhead note in their book, in
all cases the "public relations triumphs" of such demonstration elections
only eventuate "by virtue of a level of media cooperation that amounts to
propaganda service." {21} In the eyes of ruling neoliberal elites, there are
`legitimate' elections (e.g. Iraq [112] ) and there are `illegitimate'
elections (e.g. Zimbabwe), but whatever their decision (yay or nay) the
international media can always be relied upon to manufacture consent [113]
for their imperial masters. Moreover, as this article has also shown, the
development and selective support of independent media outlets (and NGOs more
generally) by ruling elites, is yet another critical foreign policy tool that
is used by Western governments' to facilitate the ouster of `unfriendly'

In part, this process of media manipulation helps explain why progressive
social movements, challenging the status quo in Western democracies, are so
regularly denigrated by the mainstream media and politicians; while those
groups whose interests are already aligned with, more easily incorporated
into, or of marginal importance to the policy frameworks of powerful
political and economic elites are more readily supported by the media. This
occurs because the media in the West are powerful corporate actors themselves
and are staunch defenders of the status quo, and their interests are one and
the same as those of transnational capitalism. Consequently, it is readily
apparent that Western media systems are not fulfilling their democratic role
within Western societies, and are, in fact, acting instead in ways that work
to undermine popularly understood conceptions of democracy. Yet the most
problematic part of this dire situation is that even progressive activists
often become sucked up into the extensive `democratic' networks and stories
propounded by the international democracy manipulating establishment. Indeed,
writing in April 2007, Gregory Elich reminds us that:

"Western liberal [114] -left critics demand more meddling by the U.S. and
Great Britain in the affairs of Zimbabwe, under the delusion that
Western-imposed regime change would be a `democratic' act. It is only
corporate and elite interests that would be served, for Zimbabwe's crime in
the eyes of Washington is that it jettisoned the ruinous structural
adjustment program several years ago, rejected the neoliberal economic model
and redistributed land on a more equitable basis. It is not lack of democracy
in Zimbabwe that worries Western elites; it is the fact that democracy has
produced a government that those in the halls of power in Washington and
London wish to remove. What the West wants is to overturn democracy in
Zimbabwe and impose a government of its choosing."

Understanding the problems of such NED compatible delusions is of course key
to countering the insidious influence of antidemocratic democracy
manipulators on democratic movements worldwide. However, there are many
barriers that prevent progressive activists from developing such knowledge,
not least of which is the fact that many progressive activists and scholars
see no problem in uncritically accepting money from antidemocratic
philanthropists - be it the NED or the Ford Foundations - so long as there
are "no strings attached."This is of course one of the reasons why groups
like the NED have been so successful in manipulating civil society.

It should be recognized that philanthropy - be it liberal [115] or
conservative [116] - is in fact a crucial means by which elites exert their
cultural hegemony: a process of domination that is all the more powerful
because capitalism's Left hand is _truly_ invisible to nearly all progressive
scholars and activists. This `invisibility' of capitalism's Left hand stands
in sharp contrast to the Right hand of capitalism, which although often
referred to as the invisible hand of the market, should more appropriately be
referred to as the _visible hand_ owing to the obvious way in which
capitalists must lend a hand to one another to undermine competition in the

As Nefta Freeman of the Institute for Policy Studies' Social Action &
Leadership School for Activists [117] observes, Western policies against
Zimbabwe "are not [118] motivated by any desire to see democracy or justice
for the people of those countries" instead they are "motivated by the need to
dominate and exploit the labor and resources of those countries." He adds:
"Yet many on the Western Left cannot accept this fact." Freeman explains why
this happens:

"A practical [118] reason is that most of this Left works through non-profit
organizations or NGOs. And because most get their funding from, either their
government, a corporate foundation, or some rich individual(s) with no
interest in seriously challenging the system or world order, the West has
effectively co-opted the Left by funding its activities. They then are torn
between biting the hand that feeds them - that is, speaking complete truth to
power - or acquiescing to merely an acceptable level of protest against them
by speaking only select truths to power." {22}

Thankfully breaking capitalism's stranglehold over the financing of social
change can be done so with relative ease. However, while progressive
activists are usually more than happy to remove capitalism's Right hand from
their necks, they will not necessarily be lining up to loosen its Left hand,
as, rather than seeing it as their executor, all too often they identify it
as their means of support. In many ways such unreflective responses to elite
manipulation can be compared to Stockholm syndrome [119] - whereby the victim
comes to identify with, support and, indeed, love their oppressor. Thus, it
is easy to understand how progressive activists, sufferering from this
syndrome, can easily fall victim to the lesser known Lysenko syndrome [120] ,
which generates a "disposition to develop theories and conclusions congenial
to power and orthodoxy" exerted by liberal philanthropists and has thus
produced a resistance to the fact that there is a funding dilemma.
Counteracting the influence of either of these syndromes first requires that
progressive voices indentify their presence in their midst. Once this is done
the `simple' task that remains for all citizens is to create a vibrant civil
society that relies upon good will rather than big bills.

_Michael Barker is a British writer based in Australia. Most of his other
articles can be found here [121] _.


{1} "Outposts of Tyranny." According to the 2006 US National Security
Strategy: "It is [3] the policy of the United States to seek and support
democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the
ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." Since 2002 they observe that
US successes in ending tyranny include Afghanistan (where "the tyranny of the
Taliban has been replaced by a freely-elected government"), and Iraq ("a
tyrant has been toppled; over 8 million Iraqis voted in the nation's first
free and fair election"). However, the report goes on to note that tyrannies
still exist in "nations such as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(DPRK), Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma, and Zimbabwe".

{2} Occasionally less propagandistic analyses appear in _The Guardian_ (UK),
as Seumas Milne wrote in 2002: "Perhaps taking [122] its cue from the
government, most mainstream British media coverage of the Zimbabwean crisis
has now abandoned even a veneer of even-handedness, as reporters and
presenters have become cheerleaders for the opposition MDC." However, as
Media Lens noted in a recent interview: "People talk [123] about the Guardian
comment editor Seumas Milne as a radical force - but he won't publish Pilger.
We've asked Milne why and he refuses to answer. So our best living dissident
- obviously one of the all-time greats - is required to write a fortnightly
column in the New Statesman which reaches a few thousand people. So why is he
treated differently to [Naomi] Klein and[George] Monbiot? Because he's honest
about the media - he criticises the Guardian, he draws attention to the vital
role of the entire liberal media establishment in crimes against humanity. So
he is persona non grata. The same is true of Chomsky."

In April 2008, Stephen Lendman wrote an excellent article titled "Media
Disinformation [124] and the BBC," which concludes by examining the "BBC's
War Against Mugabe." Also see Australian-based Reason Wafawarova's [125]
useful work as the _Zimbabwe Metro's_ chief political columnist.

{3} For a detailed account of the Lancaster House Conferernce see, Jeffrey
Davidow [126] 's _A Peace in Southern Africa: The Lancaster House Conference
on Rhodesia, 1979_ (Westview Press, 1984). Interestingly, Davidow who served
as the head of the liaison office at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe,
from 1979 to 1982, had formerly served as a U.S. political observer in
Santiago, Chile, from 1971 to 1974 (that is during the ouster of Allende),
and he went on to act as the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia (1988-1990), U.S.
Ambassador to Venezuela (1993-1996), and as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
(1998-2001). Since 2003, Davidow has been the president of the Institute of
the Americas, an organization that was "founded in [127] 1983 to improve the
opportunities for and relationships among companies and individuals who
currently conduct or hope to conduct business in the Americas".

{4} In 2000 the BBC ran an article headlined "Robert Mugabe [128] , Zimbabwe
strongman", while in October 2007 the Guardian was still referring to him as
the "Zimbabwean strongman [129] ". In July 2007, the Guardian in reference to
a story about the government attack on Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change opposition leader, noted: "The beating [88]
was an act of high-profile brutality and intimidation, even by the standards
of Robert Mugabe, the 83-year-old freedom fighter turned despot presiding
over Zimbabwe's accelerating implosion."

Also see Stephen Gowan's (2008) article "State, media, and NGOs collaborate
in shaping public opinion on upcoming Zimbabwe elections [130] "; and (2002)
"Media using double-standard in covering Zimbabwe election [131] ". In
another useful article, Gowans (2002) "Mugging Magabe [132] " notes:
"Zimbabwe's Hitler Wages War Of Land, screamed the headline in _The Globe and
Mail_ (Toronto) of April 8, 2000." Other interesting articles include, Alice
Thompson, "Murderous Mugabe should be treated like bin Laden", _The Daily
Telegraph_ (UK), December 1, 2001; Richard Dowden, "Zimbabwe - Time for
Mugabe to Go?", _The Economist_, January 24, 1999*.*

{5} The website of the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust was redesigned [133] in 2004
by Swebtec - "a leading provider of multi-lingual content management
systems," who had already been working with the Trust for four years. Swebtec
have developed various pro-democracy websites for Zimbabwe, including that of
the ZWNews [134] (a media outlet that appears to be sponsored [135] by the
Zimbabwe Democracy Trust)and the Accountability Commission Zimbabwe [136] .
In 2004, the Director [137] of the latter South African-based group was the
human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba. The previous year both Gabriel, his
brother Bishop Shumba, and MDC Member of Parliament, Job Sikhala, were
arrested and allegedly tortured in Zimbabwe. At the time Gabriel was a member
[138] of a group called the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. At the time of
Gabriel's arrest, member organizations [139] of this Forum included the Legal
Resources Foundation (which obtained a grant from Rights and Democracy in
1992), Transparency International [62] (Zimbabwe), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (which received NED funding in 2005 and 2006), and Zimbabwe Human
Rights Association (which received funding from the Westminster Foundation in
1997, 1998, and 2004, and funding from the NED in 2006).

Interestingly, the chair of Transparency International [62] (Zimbabwe), John
Makumbe, is even cited in the American alternative media as a "respected
professor [140] of political science" with no mention of his link to the
democracy manipulating group, Transparency International. In 2002 Makumbe was
also a board member [141] of the `democratic' Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition,
and published an article titled "Zimbabwe's Hijacked Election_" _in the NED's
Journal of Democracy [142] . In 2003, Makumbe published a chapter in Richard
Cornwell's edited collection, _ _Zimbabwe's Turmoil: Problems and Prospects
[143] - a book that was published by a group which receives funding [144]
from many `democratic' sources (including the British government) called the
Institute for Security Studies; other notable contributors to _Zimbabwe's
Turmoil_ included Patrick Bond, and Brian Kagoro who at the time was the
co-ordinator [63] of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (see later).

{6} As Professor Joan Rolefofs observes: "In the case of South Africa, the
challenge for Western elites was to disconnect the socialist and
anti-apartheid goals of the African National Congress. Foundations aided in
this process, by framing the debate in the United States and by creating
civil-rights type NGOs in South Africa. In 1978 the Rockefeller Foundation
convened an 11-person Study Commission on US Policy Toward Southern Africa,
chaired by Franklin Thomas [145] , President of the Ford Foundation; it also
included Alan Pifer, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York [146]
. In Eastern Europe, the 1975 East-West European Security agreement, known as
the `Helsinki Accords' prompted the foundations to create Helsinki Watch (now
Human Rights Watch [147] ), an international NGO for monitoring the
agreements; Rockefeller [148] , Ford [149] , and Soros Foundations [150] are
prominent supporters." Joan Roelofs, "Foundations and Collaboration",
_Critical Sociology_, Volume 33, Number 3, 2007, p.497.

{7} Given the progressive nature of the journal _Capitalism Nature Socialism,
_which is linked to two of the main scholars who critique liberal
philanthropy, Professor Joan Roelofs and Professor Daniel Faber, it is ironic
that Professor Bond seems not to understand the antidemocratic nature of the
company he is keeping. Last year the Centre for Civil Society reposted [151]
one of my _Znet_ articles with my permission: however, at the time I was
unaware of the Centre's `democratic' ties.

{8} In 2004 Tapera Kapuya published a report through Patrick Bond's Centre
for Civil Society titled, "Conditions Necessary [152] for a Free and Fair
Election in Zimbabwe."

{9} For a critical analysis of British interference in Zimbabwe, see the
Zimbabwe Ministry of Foreign Affairs report UK Policy on Zimbabwe [153] (2004
[154] ). Another useful critique of foreign interventions in Zimbabwe is
provided by the British-based anti-imperialist newspaper _Lalkar Online_, see
"Zimbabwe Will Never be a Colony Again [155] " (2004). A more recent
examination Zimbabwean current affairs is provided in Stephen Gowans' (2007)
excellent _CounterPunch_ article, *"*Mugabe Gets the Milosevic Treatment:
What's Really Going On in Zimbabwe [50] *."*

{10} On April 1, 2008, the BBC reported that: "The Zimbabwe [156] Election
Support Network, a coalition of civil society organisations, said its random
sample of poll stations indicated Mr Tsvangirai had won just over 49% of the
vote and Mr Mugabe 42%."

{11} The Freedom of Expression Institute's 2000-01 Annual Report [157] also
acknowledges the support they received from the Westminster Foundation, the
Friederich Ebert Stiftung, the Heinrich Boll Stiftung, the Konrad Adenhauer
Foundation, the Canadian High Commission, and the American Embassy.

{12} The three groups that merged to form the Freedom of Expression Institute
were the Campaign for Open Media, the Anti-Censorship Action Group, and the
Media Defence Trust.

{13} Unfortunately, to date the Freedom of Expression Institute has not
responded to emails sent by this author regarding their `democratic' links.

{14} In April 2007: "The Woodrow [158] Wilson Center Africa Program and the
Open Society Institute cosponsored a briefing with Zimbabwean civil society
and opposition leaders." The four panellists [159] at this event were Akwe
Amosu (who is the senior Africa policy analyst for the Open Society
Institute), Grace Kwinjeh [160] (who is the Deputy Secretary for
International Relations for the Movement for Democratic Change), Lovemore
Madhuku (who is a lawyer and chair of the National Constitutional Assembly),
and Otto Saki (who is the acting Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights). Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has received a single grant from
the NED for $50,000 to "ensure that proper restitution reaches communities
affected by Operation Murambatsvina, a culture of human rights is
established, and the rule of law and fair administration of justice is
restored in Zimbabwe."

In 2007, Roselyn Hanzi, a former consultant for Zimbabwe Lawyers' for Human
Rights served [66] as a Cape Town fellow at the `democratic' International
Center for Transitional Justice [55] . In addition, Hanzi was a former
"intern at Zimbabwe HR NGO Forum and just completed an internship at the
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Tanzania. Ms Hanzi
received her Master of Law degree (Human rights and Democratisation) from the
University of Pretoria in 2006, and a Bachelor of Law, with honours, from the
University of Zimbabwe in 2003."

{15} The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) received their largest NED
grant worth $0.4 million [37] in 2006. It is also noteworthy that the ZCTU's
chief economist (and former Director), Godfrey Kanyenze, presently serves as
a director [161] of George Soros [44] ' Open Society Initiative for Southern
Africa. Kanyenze is joined on the Open Society Initiative's board of
directors by other `democratic' individuals three of whom include: Fidelis
Edge Kanyongolo (who formerly served as a director [161] of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa), Elinor Sisulu (s currently the media and
advocacy manager of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition's Johannesburg office,
and is married to ANC activist Max V. Sisulu [162] ), and Immaculee Birhaheka
(who was honoured [163] with the NED's annual democracy award in 2006, and is
also the co-founder [164] and president of the NED-funded group, Promotion
and Support of Women's Initiatives).

{16} Indeed as Labour Party member Laura Bruni [165] reported in April 2007,
she participated in a "demonstration outside [166] the Zimbabwean High
Commission organised by the TUC and ACTSA [Action for Southern Africa [167]
to show solidarity with the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions." (For
further details of the TUC's support for the ZCTU, see here [168] .)

{17} The Zimbabwe Peace Project was formed in 2000 and is headed by Jestina
Mukoko [169] . While it is unclear whether _Jestina M. Mukoko_ is one and the
same as _ _Jestina Mukoko - she works as the programmes manager [170] of the
Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust. Ironically the 2006 report, that demonstrates
that the Zimbabwe Peace Project is linked to two NED-funded groups, was
titled "Politicisation of Aid [93] ."

{18} Human Rights Watch noted that: "Irene Petras, the director of ZLHR,
informed Human Rights Watch that two MDC freedom marches in Mutare could not
take place in January when the police issued prohibition orders. Despite
appeals, the Mutare magistrate's court decided to allow the party to
congregate but not to march through the town."

{19} In 2006 Geoffrey Nyaro published the book Against the Grain: Memoirs of
a Zimbabwean Newsman [171] , and in 2006 he also attended [172] the 7th
International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees - a
conference that was also attended by the NED's president Carl Gershman.

{20} The BBC's "Zimbabwe: Media [173] guide March 2008" points out that
Reporters without Borders "placed Zimbabwe 20th [174] from the bottom in its
169-nation 2007 Press Freedom Index." The BBC report also observes that: "The
Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe)
said the amendments were `cosmetic', as the government `retained the same
repressive clauses that give the state the power to determine who can work as
a journalist in Zimbabwe'." The report adds that: "A long-awaited
`independent' media regulation body, the Media Council of Zimbabwe, was
launched in June 2007." The three members [175] of this Council are the Media
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, the Media Institute of South Africa's Zimbabwe
branch, and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.

{21} Herman and Brodhead note that: "In recent decades U.S. concern over and
sponsorship of elections in Third World countries has shifted markedly toward
their use as propagandistic and public relations (PR) instruments. Most
notably, `free elections' have been used to reassure the U.S. home
population, defuse domestic opposition, and, in effect, ratify ongoing U.S.
interventionary strategies." Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead, _Demonstration
Elections: U.S.-staged elections in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and El
Salvador_ (South End Press, 1985), p. x., p.3.

Also see Kenneth E. Bauzon's (2005) excellent "Demonstration Elections and
the Subversion of Democracy [176] ".

{22} It is interesting to note that the group that Nefta Freeman is linked
to, the Institute for Policy Studies [177] ,which is heavily reliant upon the
largesse of the liberal funders that he critiques. Finally, it is worth
pointing out that Sam Moyo, the Executive Director of Zimbabwe's Centre for
Agrarian Studies, and coeditor of the recent book Land and Sustainable
Development in Africa [178] (Zed Books, 2007), serves on the activities
advisory committee of the International Development Economics Associates
(IDEAs). IDEAs was formed in 2001, and is a "network of [179] economists
critical of the mainstream economic paradigm of neo-liberalism" whose
advisory board [180] includes critical scholars like Samir Amin [181] : thus
it is noteworthy that organisations that have "funded IDEAs [180] by
providing core support or sponsoring particular activities include UNRISD,
Ford Foundation, UNDP and ActionAid."



Michael Barker
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Hide the following 10 comments

What a long article...

16.04.2008 13:39

What a long article, the sole objective of which seems to be to put the words "democratic'" or "democracy" in inverted commas...

Ian Smith

Mugabe = scumbag. End of.

16.04.2008 13:50

The sooner he goes the better, and the day he pops his clogs and sets off to a one-way trip to the Big Firey Place can come not one moment too soon.

for a free Zimbabwe

My enemy's enemy is not my friend

16.04.2008 14:53

regardless of the fact that Chavez - a popular and genuinely progressive leader, also not 100% stainfree on the issue of civil liberties - has been similarly demonised
regardless of the fact that the UK & US political elites have vested interest in demonising Mugabe
regardless of the fact that the first time the UK media threw a wobbler was when he initiated the 100% justified and necessary programme of seizing the farmland stolen from the original zimbabwean people in the first place
regardless of all this and more besides...
Mugabe is still a vicious tyrant who stole the last 2 elections and who has reduced zimbabwean workers and veterans' lives to misery.
Even a stopped clock is right 2x a day; in this case, the western portrayal of Mugabe is right.



16.04.2008 19:25

My enemy's enemy is not my friend
16.04.2008 15:53

'Mugabe is still a vicious tyrant who stole the last 2 elections and who has reduced zimbabwean workers and veterans' lives to misery.
Even a stopped clock is right 2x a day; in this case, the western portrayal of Mugabe is right.'

Black self-determination is necessarily in the interests of the white left. But apart from the usually unsubstantiated claims of the Western elite+MDC+media, where's the evidence that Mugabe is a vicious tyrant? Isn't rather ridiculous for a vicious tyrant to hold elections? Only recently has Uganda had elections but no one called Museveni a vicious tyrant.

Be careful with your evidence because I've got mine.


The countries in the Soviet Block held elections too...

17.04.2008 02:01

didn't prevent them from being run by totalitarian regimes though.

f**k Mugabe

Mugabe IS a tyrant

17.04.2008 10:04

Black self-determination is necessarily in the interests of the white left.
really? care to amplify or elaborate on that? Or is that just a glib catchphrase, contadicted by the fact that just about every black, working class trade unionist, here and in africa, would regard the two as being mutually exclusive?

But apart from the usually unsubstantiated claims of the Western elite+MDC+media, where's the evidence that Mugabe is a vicious tyrant?
WHAAT? if you 'vote incorrectly' you get beaten to a pulp; if you are ZANU-PF, your hand is permanently jammed in the cookie jar; the editor of the free TU movement's mag has been chqarged with 'practising journalism without a license' (HUH?); if you protest against any of this, you get beaten shitless; if you campaign for the MDC your life is in jeopardfy...and these are all acknowledged facts. Just because the wicked weactionary mainstream meejah agrees, it does not make them less so.

Isn't rather ridiculous for a vicious tyrant to hold elections?
err, no, not if those elections are more bent than a thirteen-pound note

Only recently has Uganda had elections but no one called Museveni a vicious tyrant.
WHAAAT? LOADS of people are, including myself! have4 you act
Be careful with your evidence because I've got mine.
Oh REALLY? let's see it then. bBecause you REALLY, clearly, haven't got a scooby. The truth is Zim is a country of shortages, poverty and fear, ruled by ZANU-PF repression. Don't just take my word for it. Ask HRW, WS movement, Amnesty, Labour Rights Now, every single genuinely progressive and Zim-informed organisation

I've come to the conclusion that the problem with inclusivity is that any old nutter can pitch in; Zim unfortunately brings 'em out. Instead of actual thought, analysis, objectivity, there is the simple kneejerk response; "mainstream and establishment hates Mugabe. therefore, Mugabe & co good". The truth is, just once, they have this right (but wrong on land seizures, which were correct but mismanaged).

Insidejob; do you have ANY evidence to counter ANY of this?
go on, you say you have.
Let's se it.
because... we both know you haven't.


Actual evidence

17.04.2008 19:06

Amnesty International has been a vocal critic of Mugabe on human rights. Yet, the first sentence in their 2007 Zimbabwe report states: 'The human rights situation continues to deteriorate, in a context of escalating poverty.'

What does their report say about the preceding country: 'There was a marked increase in the number of civilian deaths as a result of police shootings.'

And the country before that: 'Dozens of people arrested in previous years in the context of "the war on terror" remained in indefinite detention without trial.'

Below is what the US State Department said about Zimbabwe and human rights. Please compare this with what could be said about the US, particularly what black people or Native Americans could say about the US.
‘a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports of politically motivated killings by the government or ruling party supporters…

b. Disappearance
There were no reports of disappearances during the year…

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Although the constitution prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, security forces continued to engage in such practices. Police reportedly used excessive force in apprehending and detaining criminal suspects, as well as ordinary citizens, for holding meetings or participating in demonstrations. Government supporters continued to assault suspected opposition members. Violent confrontations between various youth groups aligned with either the government or the opposition continued…

Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening…

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention; however, some laws effectively weakened this prohibition, and security forces repeatedly arbitrarily arrested and detained persons…’

This is a report of a fact-finding mission by US politicians in 2002:

Delegation of Elected Officials
New York City Council Member Charles Barron
New York City Council Member James Davis
New York State Assembly Member Adam Clayton Powell IV
Illinois State Senator Donne Trotter
including a wider spectrum of media organizations so that Americans can observe the changes occurring and judge for themselves.

One of their conclusions is:
'We found the media accounts to be exaggerated in many respects when dealing with the modalities of the land reform program, freedom of the press and human rights conditions. In fact, despite its current financial difficulties through a combination of drought and external sanctions, Zimbabwe remains one of the most stable countries in Africa. Its economy also is still the largest on the continent after South Africa’s.'

Other statements
‘We found that there is a strong opposition; in fact, given the 57 seats in Parliament the MDC is probably the largest functioning opposition party in Africa. Of course we would like to see dialogue between the government and opposition in order to decrease political tension and pave the way to economic development.

We found that there is definitely a double standard when Western countries, primarily Britain and the United States, talk about “democracy” and “human rights” in Africa and the government is justified in questioning the motives behind some of the attacks from Western countries and their imposition of sanctions. We can list several African countries that have very cozy relations with the United States despite their abysmal human rights record and lack of tolerance for democratic opposition.

[] We urge the British government to reconsider its position and agree to compensate white farmers for their land. In the process, it should also discuss compensation for the expropriation of the land from the original African population.
[] We vigorously oppose imposition of new sanctions and urge for the removal of all existing sanctions.
[] We call for the immediate lifting of travel restrictions on Zimbabwean officials. How can the U.S. have dialogue with North Korea and Iraq, in the interest of peace, while preventing Zimbabwe officials from traveling to articulate their position?
[] We call upon the United States government to develop its own independent policy to deal with Zimbabwe rather than blindly following the British. As the former colonial rulers with vested commercial interests we cannot expect the British to have a neutral position on the land issue. Indeed, it was U.S. neutrality in 1979 that broke the stalemate at Lancaster. Without an independent U.S. position it will be difficult to act as an honest broker. Some of the parties are eager for independent facilitators to be involved – we believe that we played that role when the leaders of the white commercial farmers voiced their disappointment toward the British government, knowing that it would be widely reported and create pressure for compensation.
[] We call for the increase in AIDS medication and assistance in combating the epidemic.
[] We call for the increase in emergency food assistance.
[] We call for the increase in school supplies and equipment to help students in Zimbabwe.
[] We call for the increase in commercial contacts and visits by ordinary Americans to Zimbabwe’


Mugabe wins his elections, unless country is terrorised

19.04.2008 03:05

'Mugabe is still a vicious tyrant who stole the last 2 elections'

No he didnt:

'Zimbabwe elections free and fair, says Tonchi

THE head of the Electoral Commission Forum of Southern African Development Countries' observer mission to Zimbabwe, Victor Tonchi, has given his blessing to that country's elections, declaring them free and fair.

Tonchi led an 11-country observer mission to Zimbabwe and said the mission was encouraged by the "peaceful environment" in which the election took place.

"The mission hereby records its satisfaction with the high level of compliance with regulations and election rules which was displayed by the electoral staff at all stations visited," said Tonchi, who is also Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Namibia.

Tonchi's teams observed the opening procedures and voting and counting at 65 polling stations in 28 constituencies.

He described the media as a "critical component" of the electoral process and, in this respect, said there was a need in Zimbabwe for equitable coverage of all political contestants, particularly in the state media.


The last elections are evidence that terroris works: the economic terrorism of the sanctions demanded by Tsvangirai, in order to force the zimbabwean people to vote against Mugabe and his party. For it was Tsvangirai who said;

'The Movement for Democratic Change leader told 20,000 supprters at a rally on Saturday that if Mr Mugabe did not want to step down before the next elections scheduled for 2002 "we will remove you violently". '

NOTE: MDC was only formed in 1999! Thats how impatient, desperate and violent Tsvangirai is.


I confess

24.04.2008 10:39

Oh noooo, I'm discovered. Damn it!

> Controversially, Kapuya has also co-authored a report in 2006 with the head
> of the South Africa-based Centre for Civil Society, Professor Patrick Bond -
> who is also an editor-at-large for the progressive academic journal
> Capitalism Nature Socialism. [7]

I feel just awful, so let me now more fully confess, otherwise I'll go barking mad. The situation is far worse than reported in this brilliant research.

It turns out that the shady editorial headquarters for this allegedly "progressive" journal - Capitalism Nature Socialism - is in fact located quite close to New York City, which is widely rumoured to be a substantial source of accumulation for imperial-minded capitalists.

Moreover, the journal editors are mainly US citizens, which means they are very likely to be taxpayers, which in turn means they are directly funding the Central Intelligence Agency.

Although Sherlock Barker does not yet make this link, it is patently obvious that I, Patrick Bond, am quite consciously consorting with funders of regime change not only in Zimbabwe but across the world.

(When I was in a Sydney pub with Sherlock 12 evenings ago, little did I know that the whole facade I have been striving to establish, to hide these crucial ties to imperialism, would soon come tumbling down. No worries mates, I do not recall paying for Barker's beer, so he is utterly untainted by my prolific links to imperialist journals and funders.)

Worse yet, Sherlock praises two fellow radical researchers, but then in his very final words, barks at them for being servants of imperialism, as well! (And were Sherlock to have dug a bit further under the rocks, he would learn that I also worked as a volunteer at IPS in Washington in 1988-89 and have been a volunteer associate of IDEAS for the last five years, obviously with the sole purpose of advancing Washington Consensus economic policies.)

> [22] It is interesting to note that the group that Nefta Freeman is linked
> to, the Institute for Policy Studies,which is heavily reliant upon the
> largesse of the liberal funders that he critiques. Finally, it is worth
> pointing out that Sam Moyo, the Executive Director of Zimbabwe's Centre for
> Agrarian Studies, and coeditor of the recent book Land and Sustainable
> Development in Africa (Zed Books, 2007), serves on the activities advisory
> committee of the International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs).
> IDEAs was formed in 2001, and is a "network of economists critical of the
> mainstream economic paradigm of neo-liberalism" whose advisory board
> includes critical scholars like Samir Amin: thus it is noteworthy that
> organisations that have "funded IDEAs by providing core support or
> sponsoring particular activities include UNRISD, Ford Foundation, UNDP and
> ActionAid."

Thanks to this research, we now know that the world is simply not safe for revolution - if Moyo, Freeman and everyone except Michael Barker is directly or indirectly involved in imperialist regime change in Zimbabwe.

Thank you, Sherlock, for exposing all right-thinking radicals to this treachery - and, in the last ten days, thank you for circulating your analysis to so many grateful comrades who read:

No doubt there are many more to be informed of my confession, so feel free to forward it so that Sherlock can maintain his exceptionally powerful scholarly momentum.


Patrick Bond
mail e-mail:

Where is the people?

09.06.2008 09:04

Long and researched article but where is the Zimbabwean and african people in all this. I didn't even finish reading it because I think it's all wrong. We can talk about Venezuela, UK, USA but the people dying are black Zimbabweans every minute. The people starving are Zimbabweans. The people in the diaspora (being assisted by the evry imperialists) are Zimbabweans. The people with empty shelves, hospitals and farms are Zimbabweans.

You don't have to be very clever to realise that Mugabe is a lethal danger to Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans. you don't have to have gone to school to realise that Uncle Bob (as Mugabe is affectionately called by his fervent supporters) is no corsy wool; that he's tourturing, maiming, locking up and killing innocent Zimbabweans. He's doing all this not because the west are telling/forcing him to do so, but because that is what he is; he has to because he wants to remain president, to enrich the psychophants that survive on the system he created of cronism. You can write long and complicated well researched thesis, but ground zero is Mugabe is evil, an unwanted president, corrupt and is better dead than alive. Don't be fooled by all that forny cockney accent, the guy knows what he's doing and it's all got to do with money, power, murder on a grand scale and ruling. At 85 Mugabe has nothing more to offer me: he doesn't even come near imagining the world I live in. Our worlds are so apart, so different and worse he never takes an interest to know what I want, desire. So up his too.

If it was about fighting imperialists and colonialists, how many white people are on his death list? How many black soldiers did he send to assist Iraqis and Afghanistan to fight imperialism? How many White soldiers has he killed in 28 years and compared with how many blacks he has killed? We have to wake-up and realise that leaders like Mugabe are drawing up backwards as Africans. We shoul emulate African success stories like Mauritius, Botswana, Tunisia.

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