Cyril Ramaphosa, the next president of South Africa, was the man behind the entry of international fast food behemoth McDonalds into the country, earning him the sobriquet “The Big Mac.”
Zimbabwe’s new President Mnangagwa bears the nickname “The Crocodile” from his days as head of Robert Mugabe’s secret police for, like his namesake, coming out of nowhere to suddenly snatch his victims, never to be seen again.
“The Big Mac” Ramaphosa’s career is quite extraordinary, even by South African standards, rising from one of the founders of the miners union and Capo in the ANC to one of the richest men in the country in a little more than a decade, marking him as a master of the under the table payoff in a country infamous for its levels of corruption.
To prove his loyalty to his international bankster masters, ”The Big Mac” Ramaphosa urged the police to do their best to wipe out the rebels in the Marakana platinum mine strike, at the very least making a none to subtle “recommendation” to kill the bastards if need be without fear of retribution. What better way to show the banksters behind the scenes that he deserves the president’s job, especially after he was the favorite and found himself thwarted when Thabo Mbeki was the “Banksters Choice” back in 1999.
In Zimbabwe, the “The Crocodile”s “civilian” career started with the onset of the negotiated settlement that brought his party, headed by Robert Mugabe, to power in Zimbabwe in 1980. When the Ndabele ethnic minority represented by the anti-colonial armed forces of the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union and its commander, Joshua N’Komo, rose up against the new Shona majority ethnic based Zimbabwe African National Union government that Mugabe headed and with Western support to the tune of over $20 billion IMF$’s, went on to suppress the rebellion in a mass murder spree of some twenty thousand or more. “The Crocodile,” alongside some of the top generals in today’s Zimbabwe military, cold bloodily inflicted murder and mayhem against his one-time “comrades in arms” versus the racist colonial settler apartheid regime of Rhodesia. And, in the process, laying waste to swaths of Matabeleland leaving mass graves scattered hither and yon.
Once “the Ndabele problem” was dealt with “The Crocodile” turned to anyone unwise enough to cross him or threaten his boss, Mugabe. This most deadly of reptiles spread terror across the countryside as his masked murderers snatched their victims, sometimes in the broad light of day, never to be seen or heard from again.
Noted for his personal loyalty to Mugabe, or at least his willingness to do his dirty work, “The Crocodile,” like his namesake, turned against his erstwhile master and via a military coup followed by his internationally blessed coronation a few days later, is now sitting in the driver’s seat in Zimbabwe, no longer in the back row but front and center.
Upon his succession to power, “The Crocodile” quickly floated the idea of compensation for the former white landowners of the apartheid regime once known as Rhodesia for the stolen lands they exploited for a century or more. Pay for lands stolen in the first place?
Of course the IMF and World Bank have long advocated such, and hoping for some sort of financial lifeline in a desperately cash short Zimbabwe the new El Supremo maybe be licking Western boots for a quick fix to his problems, even if just temporarily.
Zimbabwe is in dire straits economically and without the major investments and aid packages from China, the Mugabe regime may well have come to crisis years ago. China sees the rich lands and minerals that Zimbabwe offers smack in the middle of Africa and knows money is to be made and friends earned on the world’s richest continent, birthplace to our species, the northwest Asian oligarchs of which seem bent on continued rape and pillage in Africa to maintain the lives of excess and waste their peoples have grown accustomed to in Europe alongside their cousins in North America.
With “The Crocodile” as president don’t expect much real change in the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans, maybe some serious moves towards a neoliberal Western agenda, but with the economy being so strapped for cash, cuts to subsidies could bring the people into the streets, something the new regime realizes could destabilize Zimbabwe very quickly.
In the case of South Africa’s soon to be anointed president, Cyril Ramaphosa, elected head of the ANC and not needing to actually stand directly for national elected office (something quite strange in the ANC instituted constitution of the country), his opening statements to the international media are a mix of desperation and pleadings for support. With the exhaustion of South Africa’s gold reserves and the declining production of its platinum mines, the country needs another fix, a temporary refuge from fiscal bankruptcy and with the inevitable kneeling to the IMF et al, the banksters will have their day and blood could flow in the streets if the people explode against the impoverishment and suffering inflicted on their lives by their erstwhile liberators lead by Cyril “The Big Mac” Ramaphosa.
From union leader to bloodsucking capitalist lackey, South Africa’s new president has little choice in what he must do to maintain his new regime, especially since his ANC victory was so narrow. Without the support of international capital, South Africa’s economy will quickly wither and die on the vine, and what’s left of a tribally fragmented country could easily go up in flames.
Cold, sick, hungry and illiterate, the South African people are living in what should be called a “Failed State,” with a majority of the people living such a precarious life that they have little left to lose. As rebel musician Robert Nesta Marley sang, “A hungry man is an angry man, a hungry mob is an angry mob . . .” a mantra all too familiar to the inhabitants of the South African ghettos, some of the meanest and most violent places on the planet.
How long before “The Big Mac” President has to tighten the screws even further on his former comrades deep in the bowels of the earth blasting out platinum in money losing mines is a good question. Don’t expect any mercy for rebellious miners under “The Big Mac” Ramamphosa if his support for the Marakana Massacre is any guide to what is to come.
Thomas C. Mountain is the only independent Western journalist in the Horn of Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. See thomascmountan at Facebook or reach him at thomascmountain at g mail dot com.