Magazine article New African

A Tale of Two Countries (1)

Magazine article New African

A Tale of Two Countries (1)

Article excerpt

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of
comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and
controversy"--Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Perhaps there are some people who think that by employing email intimidation and verbal abuse, they will be able to silence me. I pity them. Because they are barking up the wrong tree. It has been the fashion in the last few years that anybody who stands up for, or writes any positive thing about, Zimbabwe is immediately assailed by hate mail, especially from people who East and Southern Africans affectionately call Muzungu. Well, this time they have clearly picked on the wrong man. In the land I come from, we are not easily cowed or intimidated. So you better hold your fire!


Since we ran the Zimbabwe Special Report in the June issue of both New African and African Business, I have had quite an interesting mail bag, much of it with the sole intention of intimidating me. The same people who think they are so well-versed in democracy and free speech, and so have the divine right to teach others these virtues, cannot even stand a different point of view. As a result they resort to threats and insults. Here are two emails from my recent mail bag. The first is from one Donald Sean Paterson, Canada. He wrote on 18 June:

"Dear Mr Ankomah
I just read with great disbelief the Special Report on Zimbabwe in
African Business. In light of the recent destruction of whole
communities throughout the country, widely recognised corruption, and
massive macro-economic mismanagement under the Mugabe regime, I want to
say this:
  You are blind because you have your head up your ass. Your articles
were absolutely unbelievable in terms of the level of the intellectual
dishonesty associated with them. But I guess that sort of thing
(intellectual dishonesty) has always been associated with your career.
  I really liked your photos for the articles. Maybe I could share some
of my photos of Zimbabwe with you. Sir, you are a lap dog for a tyrant.
With the greatest sincerity. Sean Paterson, Canada."

Well, Sean did not know that we printed the Zimbabwe Special Report well before what he calls "the recent destruction of whole communities" began. When I have finished this series (on A Tale of Two Countries) in the next few months, perhaps Sean would see why I would rather be a "lap dog for a tyrant" who, despite Western sabotage, still genuinely wants to help his fellow Africans improve their lives, than be a Tshombe who is only looking after his immediate comfort and the interests of his foreign masters--not thinking about his future generations.

For the sake of broadening the debate, I would like to receive another email from Sean about the situation in Ethiopia. Imagine if elections had been held in Zimbabwe and for two whole months the government had not been able to announce the final results; and when people went into the streets to protest, 36 of them had been shot dead in Harare by the security forces, as happened in Addis Ababa in June.

Imagine the great calamity that would fall on the poor head of President Mugabe from the Americas, the Britains, the EUs, the UNs and all the Seans of this world? Witness the hail of condemnation that descended on Harare after the release of the UN report on 22 July criticising the recent demolitions.

But did we see any such thing on Ethiopia? Rather Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was rewarded with an invite from the G8 to attend the Gleneagles summit (see photo on p34). Did they shake his hand when he arrived? Was he wined and dined? You see, the trouble that those who want regime change in Zimbabwe, in the name of some glorious democracy and human rights, have, is that their level of hypocrisy wins them no sympathy among discerning people in Africa and beyond.

But never mind, let's move on.

The second email worth noting came from some fellow who dared not include his name. …

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