Opinion Piece By Dr. Noah Manyika June 3, 2020.
The recent murder of George Floyd, an African-American man by law enforcement officers in the United States which has triggered nationwide protests, has exposed what all rational people have always known, i.e. that the United States is an “Imperfect Union,” and that equality, liberty and justice for all races is an aspiration yet to be achieved.
The fact that it won’t be easy to root out all racism from the ranks of the police force is clear from the remarks made by Lt. Bob Kroll, head of the Minneapolis Police Union, that Floyd was a “violent criminal,” and that the ongoing protests are a “terrorist movement” that was years in the making. Kroll, an obvious racist whose protected presence in the American system is a serious problem, has vowed to fight for the vindication of Floyd’s killers.
In the same Imperfect Union, American Defense Secretary Mark Esper today broke with the president who appointed him and at whose pleasure he serves, on invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807. Secretary Esper’s stance demonstrates the limits to Presidential Powers and the checks on the aspirations of any occupant of the Oval Office who wants to become an imperial president.
In Esper’s words during a briefing at the Pentagon, the headquarters of the American military: “The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”Such a stance by the Defense Secretary who is in the chain of command would be considered treason in a country like Zimbabwe, and would cost him not just his job, but most likely his life.
The constitution of Zimbabwe is clear that the use of the Security Forces for partisan purposes is illegal. Zimbabweans live in a permanent State of Emergency imposed by the government in violation of the procedures and limits set out in Chapter 5:113 of the 2013 constitution governing the declaration and maintenance of the legality of the emergencies that would justify the deployment of defense forces for law-enforcement purposes.
At the same time, Chapter 11:213 of the Zimbabwean constitution which authorizes the President to deploy the Defence Forces “in defence of Zimbabwe, in support of the Police Service in the maintenance of public order; or in support of the Police Service and other civilian authorities in the event of an emergency or disaster” in a country where the defense of Zimbabwe has been reduced to mean defense of Zanu(PF)s partisan interests and grip on power, essentially turns the defense forces into the ruling party’s instruments of violence.
The reality is that no checks exist on Zimbabwe’s Executive Branch, and no one in Zanu(PF) (certainly not our current defense minister nor any of the people in the military) has the courage to challenge the abuse of power by the dictators at State House.
The sick Zanu(PF) thinking Zimbabweans must forcefully reject is that the systematic racism against people of color by American law enforcement vindicates Zanu(PF)s brutal, murderous, plunderous, corrupt and incompetent rule, or proves there is more democracy in Zimbabwe than in the United States.
No wrong doing by others in different parts of the world can wash the blood of innocent people from the hands of Zanu(PF) thugs, nor absolve them from the plunder that has destroyed the lives and livelihoods of countless Zimbabweans and the future of many generations.
Democracy in Zimbabwe won’t be proven by its absence in other nations. None of what is happening in other countries must confuse us or weaken our resolve. In Zimbabwe, soldiers and policemen who rape, kill and brutalize civilians at Zanu(PF)’s behest, (and we have all seen the videos and images of the beatings and killings), are never held accountable. Politically connected plunderers and robbers are never charged.
We all know what Zanu(PF)’s “all-weather friends from the East” are doing to our country. The identities of the heads of the cartels destroying our country and the people using the Covid19 pandemic to loot are not a secret.
Yes…discrimination against people of color in the imperfect union that is the United States must end, and in Zimbabwe, Zanu(PF) must go.
Is there not a cause?