Zimbabwe has over the years been a victim of negative reportage by some local and international media organisations particularly in the West. Even closer home in South Africa, the country has not been spared from negative publicity, with some of the reportage slanting on clear disinformation. However, one Zimbabwean domiciled in South Africa has taken it upon himself to defend his homeland and has refused to be harangued into badmouthing his own country. One such individual is Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare (RBM), who leads a movement called Zimbabwe Unite Against Economic Sanctions. Our Deputy Editor, Lovemore Ranga Mataire (LRM) recently had a conversation with Mr Matinyarare on the objectives of his organisation and why he has decided to stand up and defend Zimbabwe’s national interests when other nationals find it convenient to speak ill about their country.
LRM: For the benefit of our readers, please give us a brief about yourself. Who is Rutendo Matinyarare?
RBM: Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare is the son of David and Elizabeth Matinyarare. He is a brand architect, marketer and communicator who is focused on moulding African minds and hearts to build self-belief and confidence to offer the world the missing, unique solutions that will infuse humanity, life and sustainability in human development.
Through his marketing consultancy Frontline Marketing Strat, he has shifted from focusing his marketing activities inducing Africans to consume more Western products, to getting Africans to believe in themselves to a point of producing their own brands, products and services for the world.
LRM: I understand you are the director of an organisation called Zimbabweans Unite Against War Sanctions. Can you briefly outline the objectives of this organisation and initiatives that it has undertaken?
RBM: As part of moulding the minds of Zimbabweans to enhance the image and identity of Zimbabwe, he founded a civil society organisation called “Zimbabweans Unite Against US War Sanctions” (ZUAUWS). This is an emergent civil society organisation that partnered with a marketing and branding agency called Frontline Strat Marketing Consultancy Pvt Ltd.
The movement was created out of necessity to counter Western hegemony and the re-colonisation of Africa, that is being advanced through the disinformation, propaganda, isolation, destruction, domination, fostering of dependency and division for the removal of dominant political pillars of African liberation and decolonisation. We see the US, European illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe as the symbolic manifestation of war.
LRM: There are some among us who argue that sanctions are targeted and do not affect the general populace. What is your comment on this?
RBM: The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery (ZDERA) Act of 2001 is a clear example of how US sanctions target Zimbabweans collectively through blocking the Zimbabwean Government from accessing debt and colonial debt cancellation. In creating these coercive economic measures, we saw the very esteemed US Congress converge to create a specific law for a small insignificant country called Zimbabwe, that was threatening the colonial world order by taking back colonised (stolen) factors of production (land, resources, labour and economy) from white settlers to put them back into the hands of their rightful dispossessed black owners.
That law was misleadingly called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act or ZDERA, yet it was crafted to handicap (not recover)the Zimbabwean economy by prohibiting the Government (national and local governments), ministries, State-owned enterprises and institutions from getting development & reconstruction loans and more critically, blocking cancellation of colonial debt by multi-lateral lending institutions like the IMF, the World Bank and the International Development and Reconstruction Bank.
This means the sanctions affect the ability of the national government, local governments, ministries and parastatals to borrow money to deliver basic services like water, sanitation, electricity, education, social development, disaster relief and support of businesses in the country. They also limit the Government’s capacity to service the most vulnerable members of our society who constitute over 60 percent of our population.
These sanctions also prohibit reconstruction of the country from colonial pillage, the devastation of the liberation war which displaced a million Zimbabweans and for which the country never received restitution or reparations to rebuild.
They also prevent the nation from seeking redress for the destabilisation visited upon Zimbabwe and SADC by the apartheid South African Government’s total war on the region (1980-1992) in pursuit of a negotiated settlement desired by Kissinger’s NSSM39 to preserve white domination and ill-gotten property rights. This destabilisation cost Zimbabwe in excess of $2,8 billion ($4, 7 billion today) and SADC over $60 billion (over $100 billion today.
LRM: Many observers have said sanctions were imposed to make “the economic scream” and instigate a fertile ground for insurrection. However, the sanctions have not resulted in regime change as was anticipated. Do you think that these sanctions are still serving any purpose especially after the coming into the fold of the New Dispensation?
RBM: The weapons that are being used upon Zimbabwe are multi-faceted, which means Zimbabwe is under a form of total war or what others have referred to as a hybrid war.
In this total war, the enemy is attacking key areas of our nation’s organisation, offence and defence: military, economy, human capital, infrastructure, industry, finance, food, social and cultural systems to bring us to submission or conquest.
The very first measure taken by the West was to attack the Zimbabwean economy, by denying it investment, tools, technology and relationships, so that it struggles to function. Demoralising the people and resulting in the country not being able to leverage its human talent and resources in a manner that would challenge Western domination.
Next, sentiment and pressure on other nations was applied to isolate Zimbabwe from international trade, the financial system, multi-lateral institutions and international relations. All in an attempt to make the country appear like a rogue or failed state and its government illegitimate as they have done with the Iraqi, Libyan, Afghan, Syrian, North Korean and Iranian governments.
By successfully de-legitimising our government and making the country seem like a failed state in the eyes of the world. The world turned a blind eye to the US, UK and EU using illegal, unilateral coercive measures upon 16 million civilians, in a nation that has no adverse rulings against it for human rights violations by any Human Rights Multi-lateral authority or court.
This essentially means that nations, which are breaking international law and the same who have brought crimes against humanity upon the Iraqi, Libyan, Syrian and Afghan people, are now collectively punishing 16 million innocent Zimbabweans, with the complicity of the rest of the global community.
This presents an opportunity for us to publicly challenge the legitimacy of this isolation, by pointing to the illegality of the actions of the Berlin Conference Cabal, who have used similar lies and tactics to destroy other countries. In the process killing millions of women and children, while the world looked on over the first 19 years of this century.
Sanctions are also meant to incapacitate the country. Just like bombs in a military campaign, sanctions destroy strategic sectors of the economy, incapacitating industry, energy, agriculture, finance, services, tax collection, infrastructure and public service delivery.
Incapacitation has also destroyed institutions through which the government can serve its people, gain their confidence, communicate with them and encourage them to build the society they desire to see, through a shared national vision.
LRM: One of the things that have fascinated me as a journalist is that there seems to be a different standard used by the West when it comes to Zimbabwe on issues of human rights and democracy. Why is your view on a different rule seemingly applied on Zimbabwe?
R.B.M: Our journalists have different standards for Africa and Western democracy and humanity because they are miseducated in a racialised Western form of journalism, and they don’t seem to realise that the purpose of this Western journalism is to mould and social engineer human minds, to build a global society that maintains white supremacy for the benefit of nations in the North.
These two concepts of democracy and humanity, as articulated in the preamble of the UN Charter and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are premised on equality of all human beings, justice, fairness and the obligation of all nations to observe these rights and international law.
What our journalists need to learn is to understand the universal concepts of human rights, international law and democracy, if they are to see through the racially biased misapplication of these concepts by the West and the practise of westernised journalism.
For example, right now, the US remains the biggest colony (American Indian land colonised by Anglo Saxons) in the world but the United States has convinced the world that it is a democracy and a policeman of human rights, yet in reality the USA is no different from the crime against humanity that was Rhodesia or apartheid South Africa.
In fact, Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa were modelled around trying to recreate the United States in Africa. Australia is another example of a United States created by genocide and elimination the native aboriginal people who were replaced by Anglo Saxons with the consent of the entire world.
These criminal enclaves have since made themselves the policemen of human rights in the world. And today they have imposed and maintained illegal, unilateral sanctions against Zimbabwe in contravention of the UN Charter and human rights conventions, but our journalists still can’t see that the collective punishment of 16 million Zimbabweans by sanctions (by nations committing crimes against humanity) is a gross violation of human rights and international law as was judged in Iran vs USA in the ICJ in November 2018.
L.R.M: Let’s talk about what I call “long colonialism” what others call neo-imperialism. How do you respond to the perception that we must desist from constantly referring to neo-imperialism because we are now living in a globalised post-colonial village?
R.B.M: The incessant appetite of Western corporations for third world resources to keep their industries going, has forced the West to maintain American driven western capital, neo-colonialism upon Africa and milder forms of it upon Asia and even Europe.
They have done this by not paying reparations for 700 years of slavery and colonialism, debt, currency domination, payment systems, subsidies, wars and sanctions as the fear of western civilisation is that if they lose access to cheap African resources and captive markets, western industries would not have resources to process and sophisticate. And as a result their citizens would be rendered unemployed and captive to African and Asian economies.
In turn, they believe that this would see European innovation die and over time African and Asian militaries dominating their civilisation. As a matter of fact, after the Second World War, the United States proffered a plan known as the Morgentheu Plan to under develop Germany and Japan.
This plan would involve de-industrialising these two countries by sealing off their mines, breaking up their factories, giving their machinery and tools to other nations, dispersing their scientists and technicians to allied nations and then putting allied soldiers on their soils to stop them from developing industry in future. Overtime the British and French government were concerned that de-industrialising Germany and Japan would push them into the Soviet communist sphere of influence.
As a result, they agreed to rebuild Europe, Germany and Japan through the Martial Plan as a bulwark against communism and to showcase their success as examples of the benefits of capitalism to Eastern Europe and Asia.
The problem was the Second World War was presented as a global fight against German and Japanese oppression. As a result, African soldiers returning from the Second World War began to fight for their own freedom from colonial oppression in places like Ghana, Madagascar and Algeria, at a time Europe was in tatters and desperately in need of cheap African labour and resources to rebuild a war ravaged European and Asia.
To placate these Africans and prevent another war in the colonies in a world devastated by six years of war, Europeans decided to give Africans symbolic independence underpinned by the Morgentheu Plan to maintain their access to cheap resources and captive markets in Africa.
Through this plan, Africa would be de-industrialised, their factories decommissioned, their smart brains would be brain drained into Europe to incapacitate Africa and cheap resources would continue to flow to Europe into perpetuity. Where African countries resisted this plan or took control of their resources. Such countries would be destabilised by civil war, invaded or put under sanctions to maintain incapacitation. That is the current logic and design of neo-colonialism, but our citizens and even government officials are oblivious of these realities because this is not taught in schools or by our media. It’s critical that our newspapers and broadcasters educate Zimbabweans on this reality.
L.R.M: I don’t know if you have noticed from your base that there is an apparent wave of interest by young black farmers taking farming as a business. Why in your view is there such a renewed interest by black young farmers to venture into agriculture?
R.B.M: When I usually provide figures and numbers to say Zimbabwe is in a boom and has been in a boom for a long time because of the money generated by agriculture, people don’t believe me. This is so because the money does not necessarily translate into monies in government coffers. However, the truth is that people are making money and that money is sitting in people’s wardrobes and safes and some of it is being taken out of the country. This money is being generated from agriculture and mining.
This agricultural revolution that is taking place is a very good thing because what it means is that all those Zimbabweans that were waiting for opportunities to be created by other people have realised that opportunity is actually created by the people themselves. And those opportunities are created by utilising the factors of production in the country. I think many Zimbabweans are beginning to realise that Rhodesians came to Zimbabwe with nothing; no money, no paper, no capital, no collateral, but what they did get was land. The British South African Company (BSAP) understood that the wealth that these white people were going to make after travelling all the way from England to South Africa then Zimbabwe was actually the soils of Africa and the labour of African people that will unlock the value that became Rhodesia, that became billions and billions of Lonrho, Anglo-America and all these British-South African companies that were created by colonialism. Meikles for example became rich by selling the cows of our ancestors and then creating a shop. So I think many Zimbabweans are beginning to understand the source of wealth.
L.R.M: One of the crucial components of Zimbabwean population is the people living outside the country’s borders given the huge remittances send back home. Sadly, a sizeable number of those living in the diaspora are indifferent towards their country? Why is that so?
R.B.M: One of the major strategies that we have been promoting has been the development of an anti-sanctions strategy. It is up to the Government to market to the people in the diaspora vast opportunities that can be utilised in the country. We need to attract investment from Zimbabweans in the diaspora. We need to desist from the idea that investors are only foreigners. We need to focus efforts on encouraging Zimbabweans to invest back home. Zimbabweans must be confident of their country’s economy and opportunities. No nation has ever been built by foreigners.
L.R.M: Where do you see Zimbabwe in say a decade from now?
R.B.M: It depends on the path we choose. Right now the sanctions have not achieved what the West wanted. They wanted Zimbabwe to capitulate and have a change of government and that regime change would have allowed them to reset of Zimbabwean policies, a reversal of policies that have empowered Zimbabweans. We need to remain united as Zimbabweans. We have to begin to produce and rely more on our own investment and strategies to bust sanctions. We must utilise our people in the diaspora to break these sanctions. I think this is very critical and focus on home-based investments. I believe that a focus on agriculture, agro-processing and exporting our agriculture produce and to have our products to have unique value that will force them onto European markets. We must also focus on industries that allow agriculture to flourish.