A LOT of excitement was generated in some quarters by the arrival of the former University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student leader, Professor Arthur Mutambara to head the MDC faction formerly led by party vice-president, Gibson Sibanda.

Many were obviously besotted by his impressive academic CV, which is something all Professors have anyway, but maybe the excitement had something to do with his field of study -- robotics and mechatronics.

In short, all his perceived attributes -- from intelligence, academic excellence and the gift of the gab -- were exhorted as a perfect match for President Robert Mugabe who possesses both in abundance.

It was, thus, not surprising that in his acceptance speech delivered in Bulawayo on February 28, Mutambara was at pains to sound like President Mugabe, adopting his mannerisms, language and ethos but his presentation sounded hollow and reminiscent of student politics.

The original idea was to form a party diametrically opposed to Zanu-PF; which opposed everything Zanu-PF stood for, from the liberation struggle, land reform, sovereignty and independence, to mention just a few. This is why Tsvangirai trashed all these and his lieutenants like Fidelis Mhashu openly promised to return land to white commercial farmers.

After Tsvangirai was thoroughly trounced, there was growing realisation by his principals, of the need to adopt some of the items on the Zanu-PF agenda.

But prior to that, the MDC's principals openly acknowledged that the second wave had failed, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted in his infamous, June 14 2004 statement when he told the House of Commons that the sanctions had failed to achieve their intended objectives.

This period also saw growing realisation that the MDC was crumbling. Two key opposition journalists Trevor Ncube and Geoffrey Nyarota highlighted this just a few weeks before the parliamentary election.

In his contribution titled, "Mugabe needed now as never before" (The Independent March 18 2005) -- Ncube described the MDC as "an ineffective opposition party that lacks both vision and strategy."

A week later, Nyarota -- a former editor of the most virulent anti-government opposition tabloid, echoed Ncube's sentiments in an equally revealing article titled "Time may be ripe for a third force" (The Independent March 24 2005) saying the MDC was born senile and had failed to exhibit the dynamism and vibrancy expected in a young "progressive" party.

These admissions set the stage for the third phase that saw westerners' hope for a breakaway Zanu-PF that would challenge the ruling party from a similar pedestal of nationalism.

The old-Kanu/new Kanu scenario that had worked so well in Kenya, this was to be led by the likes of Professor Jonathan Moyo and the six provincial chairpersons who tried to torpedo the party's decision to elevate Cde Joice Mujuru to the post of Vice President.

Thus, began the current fourth wave characterised by the need to divest the MDC of its sell out image and, to quote Mutambara, infuse new leaders untainted by the past.

This phase has also seen the British, who led the onslaught over the past five years, taking a back seat and fore grounding their cousins, the Americans.

This was manifest in the way the American ambassador Christopher Dell wore the rabble rouser's hat formerly worn by British envoy, Brian Donnelly, whilst Donnelly's successor, Roderick Pullen took a backseat.

Thus, out went Tsvangirai, the British horse that had gone lame and in galloped Mutambara, the young American steed groomed over the past decade.

It is clear from his CV that Mutambara, the resident American politician, is a product of the American-military-industrial complex as he worked at the nerve centre of American high tech espionage, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) centre from 1996.

Mutambara's entry into Zimbabwean politics is not without precedent as those of his ilk assumed power in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria; all as part of America's grand plan to extend its hegemony throughout the world.

The top-posts in the stooge governments in Iraq and Afghanistan are filled by men who, like Mutambara, spent most of their working lives in self-imposed exile in the United States, being groomed in organisations associated with American intelligence.

Americans installed Ahmed Chalabi, a Shia Moslem, into the post-invasion Iraqi government in 2003. Like Mutambara, he was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) majoring in mathematics which he also studied at Chicago University. Again like Mutambara, Chalabi had not lived in Iraq since 1956. His main political support came from the US Congress, the Pentagon and parts of the CIA when he returned to Iraq to be part of the stooge Iraq regime installed by US president, George Bush.

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, also spent much of his working life in the US though he was educated in Kabul and went to university in Simla, India.

He returned to Afghanistan after the US government toppled the Taliban regime to be installed as stooge leader. Again like Mutambara, Karzai is well-educated, westernised and stylish. He worked closely with US forces during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s as an advisor and diplomat.

He was installed in a secret five-minute ceremony attended only by a few selected officials in the fortified US-controlled green zone, without even the knowledge of Iraqis.

The US project, however, did not begin with Iraq and Afghanistan, but the same strategy was instrumental to the break-up of the USSR that was again engineered by another US-educated point man, Mikael Gorbachev.

After failing to out-manoeuvre the USSR on all fronts, Uncle Sam realised that the Soviet behemoth could only be destroyed from within, by a man speaking its language.

Though like his cohorts in Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syria he has no history of local politics, he strives to sound more nationalistic than Zanu-PF.

It is worth noting that though a blood and thunder showdown was expected between Mutambara and Chimanikire for the post of party president, the rocket scientist won unopposed. The question is who elected him, and where?

He certainly holds the record of the fastest ascent up the political ladder, joining national politics on February 20 and becoming president of the MDC a week later.

His acceptance speech has sent tongues wagging, the myopic accuse him of being a Zanu-PF man, but that is what the speech was meant to do, portray him as a nationalist. Mutambara clearly has prudent advisors back in Washington, who have told him to avoid every pitfall Tsvangirai fell in.

By pronouncing his respect for the liberation war legacy, Mutambara seeks to divest the MDC of the straitjacket of puppetry, that he said had pulled it down. "We are a Zimbabwean and an African political party. We are freedom fighters. We are soldiers for social justice and democracy. We come in the tradition of the liberation war.

"We stand on the shoulders of the founding fathers of this nation; such as Nikita Mangena, Josiah Tongogara, Herbert Chitepo, Leopold Takawira, Joshua Nkomo, and Robert Mugabe. Oh yes, the pre-1980 Robert Mugabe is part of the revolutionary tradition that defines us."

What is noteworthy here is the attempt to embrace the liberation struggle but at the same time deny its continuation -- acknowledge "the pre-1980 Mugabe" so as to be able to wear the post-independent "Mugabe" jacket.

"We believe in a national interest driven foreign policy, grounded in regional integration, and informed by Pan-Africanist ideals-oe We are anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist. In this vein, we would like to put our European and US strategic partners on notice.

"We stand opposed to any form of imperialism, violation of state rights and unilateralism. We will not accept assistance at the expense of our dignity, values and sovereignty.

Sounds very professorish if only it was not gibberish. What Mutambara assumes is that the MDC is a party without a history, that Tony Blair's confession of his role in its parentage is unknown.

Here the Professor promises to do in future what he can not do now, as he said he would condemn the aggression of big nations against smaller ones, yet he is quiet over the same abuse being heaped on Zimbabwe.

Isn't it one and the same thing, actually by acknowledging that westerners are the party's strategic partners, Mutambara unwittingly confesses that they shape the party's policy and strategy, for that is the role of strategic allies. This is carried over in his proposal for "an economic stimulus package to jumpstart the economy, through the re-engagement of the international community (our problems are so protracted we can not go it alone)."

Really, who, after the way the IMF and World Bank played Shylock with our ailing economy, would want to go back into those shackles again, unless of course he or she is being paid to do so. Mutambara, who earlier in his speech, claimed that he respected the country's sovereignty contradicts himself by promising to mortgage the nation.

Here again there was double speak, as he said he put the problems squarely on Zanu-PF's shoulders and simply acknowledged that western nations reneged on their promise.

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