In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Zimbabwe Herald: Knighthood withdrawal on President a blessing’

Posted by alfied on June 27, 2008

QUEEN Elizabeth’s decision to withdraw an honorary knighthood bestowed on President Mugabe in 1994 is actually a blessing in disguise as it removes one of the last vestiges of colonial titles on an outstanding African statesman and revolutionary, analysts said yesterday.

While the rabid western media ranted and raved about the event because of their warped value system, progressive Zimbabweans saw it as signifying the further decolonisation of Africa.

A social commentator said Zimbabwe was independent and has its own value systems that protect African humanism, integrity and empowerment.

“The decolonisation process was a rejection of British value systems and so as Zimbabweans we simply see this as the removal of one of the last vestiges of colonialism. No one has ever referred to our President as ‘Sir’ Robert Mugabe. He is known as ‘Comrade’ Robert Mugabe and that says it all,” he said.

The analyst said the move should be seen as further proof of the British Empire’s brazen interference in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs, as if the country is still their colony.

Observers said it was shameful that the Queen still thinks the knighthood has more meaning to Zimbabweans than the 100 percent black empowerment programme that President Mugabe has embarked on.

The Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity, Cde Bright Matonga yesterday laughed off the development, saying the continued existence of the knighthood had given the British the mistaken impression that they still held some form of sway over the country.

“My President never used that knighthood. It meant nothing to him and it means nothing to us as Zimbabweans and this is why it was never talked about here.

“Zimbabwe is not a part of the British Empire and their titles and honoraria mean nothing to us unless they promote the values and virtues of our existence in the form on protection of our land rights and our right to exploit our resources.

“My President has nothing to benefit from being considered a subject of the British Queen. It is something we rejected and that is why Britain today is trying to meddle in our affairs. The same goes for the honorary degrees that various Western institutions gave him.

“Cde Mugabe is a very educated man with seven degrees of his own that he earned through his own sweat. You will not hear him talking about his honorary degrees and in fact, they can take them away along with the knighthood,” Cde Matonga said.

The withdrawal of the knighthood comes at a time when Britain, America and their allies have upped pressure to divide Sadc by clandestinely engaging individual regional leaders to isolate Zimbabwe and effect regime change.

The Americans, which fully understand that the impasse between Harare and London is strictly from the failure by London to honour Lancaster House agreements over the land reform, has joined in the fight disguised as a democracy lecturer yet it is looking for soil to establish its military base for Africom in the region.

“The whole American story is that of trying to establish military base in Africa and President Mugabe is a threat because he would certainly reject such a move. The British story is a bilateral problem emanating from the historical colonial land issue.

“This knighthood is meaningless to land hungry black Zimbabweans. It should also assume the same meaningless form in the rest of Africa because Africans do not survive on knighthood but on their resources, such as land.

“Knighthood did not bring independence to Zimbabwe and to Africa. It was the war waged by comrades that brought independence to Zimbabwe and it is the land revolution that makes sense to President Mugabe’s supporters not knighthood.

“I am sure that given a choice between knighthood on one side and his country’s independence, sovereignty and 100 percent empowerment any reasonable Zimbabwean would never go for knighthood,’’ said a social commentator.

Social leader Bishop Trevor Manhanga, the chairman of the Heads of Christian Denominations in Zimbabwe, added to this saying the knighthood had no value whatsoever to President Mugabe and to Zimbabwe.

“It is totally of no significance. Of what value is a British knighthood to a Zimbabwean? I don’t think the majority of Zimbabweans even know or care what criteria is used to bestow these things,” he laughed.

Interestingly, on the same day that Queen Elizabeth’s decision was made public, the British monarch was knighting Mr Salman Rushdie, an Indian-born writer who for 10 years was wanted in his homeland for blasphemy after authoring the novel, The Satanic Verses.

In 1989, the Supreme Leader of Islam Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini passed a death sentence on Mr Rushdie for desecrating the Moslem faith and the writer has since lived in the UK under the protection of British special agents.

The Herald

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