Obi Egbuna Jr
Apr 21, 2016
While Zimbabweans were celebrating their 36th anniversary of independence one of the main propaganda outlets of US Imperialism Voice of America(VOA) had the audacity to host a forum entitled Zimbabwe at 36: The Way Forward that included a panel discussion with the theme Zimbabwe’s Future: Changes and Challenges. The participants were Mr. Gregory B. Simpkins the staff director for the US House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, Reverend Issac Mwase of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Network, African Democracy Network and the AGOA Civil Society Network, and Mrs. Sibongile Sidilie Sibanda who previously worked for the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe but now represents Trusted Touch Healthcare LLC which she founded in 2011 the base of operations for TTH LLC is Rockville, Maryland just outside of Washington DC.
What the VOA demonstrated on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day through their neo-colonialist pet project Studio 7 created in 2003, is as long as they are in existence, those Zimbabweans who have decided to follow the trail of their countrymen and women who fought side by side with the British and Rhodesians during the 2nd Chimurenga, will always have a safe haven to openly and unapologetically plan the demise of their government country and people in the name of human rights and democracy.
It is important for the everyday Zimbabwean and African at home and abroad to understand that VOA is part of an Imperialist media conglomerate called the Broadcasting Board of Governors(BBG) that was connected to the United States Information Agency until 1999. The BBG has 8 bi-partisan members who are directly appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the US Senate, according to law no more than 4 members can belong to either the Democratic or Republican Party, the US Secretary of State is the ex-officio of BBG. In 1990 the Clinton administration established a Bureau of Broadcasting to consolidate three broadcasting services VOA Worldnet Film and Television service and of course arguably their most reactionary media creation Radio and Television Marti .
The BBG has an annual budget of 713 million US dollars whose main goal as they like to put it is to deliver accurate news and information to significant audiences overseas and to serve as trustworthy news and as an example of a free professional press in countries that lack independent media.
Their list of strategic targets include VOA Middle East Broadcasting Networks Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Radio Free Asia and as aforementioned Radio and TV Marti.
What the annals of history demonstrate is whatever nation on earth that VOA gives an unusual amount of attention to, suggests that US Imperialism desperately wants to bring about a regime change and until the political atmosphere has been created to successfully execute their plan, the goal is to make the diplomatic representation of that country have sleepless nights pondering how to respond to the malicious propaganda efforts of VOA firmly backed up by BBG and the White House US Senate and Congress.
When visitors and residents of Washington DC visit VOA the first thing that catches your attention are the huge images and quotations of former US Presidents along with puppets of US Imperialism whose political parties and installations were created and bankrolled right there in the Nation’s capital.
Some of the standouts include Ronald Reagan saying “VOA will not compromise the truth”
The former President of Poland Lech Walesa saying “There would be no victory over communism without the Voice of America” and lastly the Cuban Oswaldo Paya Sardinas who founded the Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba quoted as saying VOA programs represent the ideal medium to inform Cubans about the need to reform the political process in Cuba. For his efforts to bring about regime change in Cuba Mr. Sardinas received the Sakharov Prize from the EU parliament, the Need’s Homo Homini award and just like the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai was a recipient of the W. Averell Harriman Award created by the National Democratic Institute.
It appears the goal of VOA studio 7 who in addition to Zimbabwe targets South Africa,Mozambique,Namibia,Malawi,Botswana and Zambia, is to one day reach the heights of Radio and TV Marti in Cuba however forums like the one held on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day, challenge the very authenticity of VOA’s charter specifically the third statute that states VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.
When Mrs. Sibanda stated that Zimbabweans in the diaspora are not allowed to vote she failed to mention the political makeup and aspirations of this constituency, if these Zimbabweans she speaks of belong the either faction of MDC or the civil society community financed by both the National Democratic Institute and National Endowment for Democracy, it would not be realistic for President Mugabe and ZANU-PF to take this into consideration. Mrs. Sibanda raised the point that for this reason she has a fear and lack of confidence in the financial sector, but failed to answer a question concerning how she felt as an entrepreneur about Zimbabwe being deliberately excluded from the US Africa business forum that the Obama administration hosted two years ago.
The most interesting comments came from Reverend Mwase who when asked his opinion of Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Dr. Eng Walter Mzembi engaging not only the Corporate Council of Africa a few weeks ago but Zimbabwean citizens in Dallas, Texas, who along with Zimbabweans in Atlanta make up the largest groupings inside US borders claimed he had no idea Minister Mzembi was in the country. An interesting question is how does a Zimbabwean who oversees a network of his countrywomen and also men and established the African Democracy Network and the AGOA civil society network a coalition of African NGOS whose focus is the implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act not have any knowledge that a Minister of his Government is coming to address a body with the stature of CCA yet the main body of Zimbabweans in the diaspora receive him with open arms.
A rather troubling but predictable dynamic was VOA on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day allowing Mr. Simpkins to have the bulk of the time, which meant what was advertised as a forum ended up looking like the individual there to represent US interests received preferential treatment, because the Zimbabweans in attendance were they to reinforce their loyalty to VOA and US-EU imperialism
No one in their right mind would expect them to express any displeasure with this setup.
When Mr. Simpkins was questioned about the recent decision of the Office of Foreign Assets Control targeting the Chemplex Corporation and the Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company, he not only failed to give an informed and appropriate answer, but appeared openly disturbed because it is rather uncharacteristic for a point with that spin to be raised at a VOA sponsored event. After the event Mr. Simpkins reiterated he is not an enemy of Zimbabwe, but with friends who absolve US-EU Imperialism of any wrong doing concerning Zimbabwe past or present there is no need for enemies.
The behavior of these particular Zimbabweans is by no means a phenomenon that captures reactionary habits and tendencies of individuals born and raised in the country’s 10 main provinces exclusively. Their willingness to form an alliance with VOA is the historical equivalent of some of our ancestors on the slave plantations, who chose to become slave-catchers instead of working with Sister Harriet Tubman on the Underground Railroad or taking part in the epic slave rebellions Africans organized everywhere in the Western Hemisphere where we languished as chattel in captivity. Their social demeanor and political posture also brings back painful memories of the misguided and brainwashed Kenyans who opted to fight for the British King’s rifles in Kenya as opposed to the Land and Freedom Army better known as Mau Mau.
Because US Imperialism was constructed at the expense of the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere, we understand why the presence of President Mugabe and ZANU-PF sends chills up their spines, they can never be comfortable dealing with a government and people who truly represent homeland security.
Obi Egbuna Jr is the US Correspondent to the Herald and the external relations officer of ZICUFA(Zimbabwe-Cuba Friendship Association) his email is firstname.lastname@example.org