Many things have happened in Zimbabwe since the 29 March elections, in fact since the land issue exploded in 2000. I spent six weeks in Zimbabwe between 22 March and 13 July covering the recent elections, and so-on top of my eight years of intensive reporting of the country-I can say (if modesty should allow me) that I know a lot more than most "foreigners" do about Zimbabwe and what has gone on, and still going on, in that beautiful but besieged country. And I use the word "besieged" very advisedly.
Now that we are seeing a chink of light at the end of the Zimbabwean tunnel (via the recent inter-party dialogue), it is my turn to tell the world about some of the things we don't see on our TV screens or in the newspapers.
But first, something on Mark Malloch-Brown, ex-journalist, ex-UNDP head, ex-right hand man of Kofi Annan, and now the UK's minister for Africa. He said at the height of the recent media campaign against Zimbabwe: "We don't want it to be Zimbabwe versus Britain, it's Zimbabwe versus the world." Mark Malloch-Brown is an ex-Rhodie (or former Rhodesian) who has made it big under the British system. We don't begrudge his steep rise, he deserves it even; but, for the life of him, he should stop creating the impression that he is a dispassionate commentator on Zimbabwean affairs. He is not! It's time he declared his competing interests.
In fact, his antics remind me of the English explorer and scientist of yore, Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, who was said to have been a "distinguished African explorer" (poor Africa, anybody could be distinguished there). According to my dictionary, Galton was "noted for his researches in heredity, meteorology, and statistics", and he even "founded the study of eugenics and the theory of anticyclones".
Well, the archives show that on 5 June 1873, Galton wrote a letter to the British daily, The Times, about what he wanted the Empire to do to Africa. "My proposal," he wrote, "is to make the encouragement of Chinese settlements of Africa a part of our national policy, in the belief that the Chinese immigrants would not only maintain their position, but that they would multiply and their descendants supplant the inferior Negro race. I should expect that the African seaboard, now sparsely occupied by lazy, palavering savages, might in a few years be tenanted by industrious, order-loving Chinese, living either as a semi-detached dependency of China, or else in...