MANY Zimbabweans and “Friends of Zimbabwe” who make a case for opposition politics in the country cherish the values and virtues of true democracy and good governance. So do I, but the similarity ends there.
There is a litany of evidence that suggests that the current opposition politics in Zimbabwe, embodied by the MDC-T, is mischievous at best and downright dangerous at worst.
As an aspiring ruling party, it is necessary to dissect the politics of the MDC-T to date as a way of grounding them in reality, and not the lofty titles and accolades that those who wish to pull wool over the electorate’s eyes would have us believe.
The MDC-T must be judged as objectively as all other parties have been so that where necessary they explain some of their actions which have left the average Zimbabwean bewildered. This is a call to vigilance for Zimbabweans to be wary of the cloud that does not bear water.
There has been a deliberate agenda over the past decade to make the general population in Zimbabwe suffer as much as possible in order to deliver a protest vote victory for the MDC-T. The MDC-T has been complicit in this suffering all along, which is why they denied the existence of sanctions and preferred to say that they supported the “restrictive measures” on Zanu PF officials as enshrined in the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA).
Now that they have been running the Ministry of Finance and seen the cataclysmic effects the sanctions have had on Zimbabwe, the MDC-T minister of finance, Tendai Biti, had no option but to write an official letter to his US counterpart demanding that these be lifted as they had outlived their usefulness. The facts below illustrate this point fully.
On June 13, 2000, Chester Crocker, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, said the following during US Senate hearings on ZDERA. And this after an MDC-T delegation had the opportunity to make representations in front of the US Senate sub-committee on Foreign Relations: “To separate the Zimbabwean people from Zanu PF, we are going to have to make their economy scream, and I hope you, Senators, have the stomach for what you have to do.
“So if we were to decide to try and work for change in power in Zimbabwe, I would hope that we would have the wisdom to be discreet, to be low-key and to avoid giving those in power there the excuse that foreigners are out to get them.”
I could end this article right here and ask the paragons of democracy in the MDC-T and the USA what they meant by “make their economy scream?” And who did they have in mind to replace Zanu PF? But I don’t have to, we all know the answer.
It is also instructive to note that two of the co-sponsors of the Bill were the then Senators of Delaware and New York, John Biden and Hillary Clinton respectively. I say instructive because we saw a renewed vigour to force regime change in Zimbabwe when these two ascended to higher office. The USAID funded newsletter from the Prime Minister’s office and the deployment of USAID officials to the Prime Minister’s office were all part of a well calculated strategy to “hand-hold” the MDC-T administration in waiting.
A key reason why ZDERA was passed was to enable the US Secretary of the Treasury to transfer funds from the US to Zimbabwe to “aid democratic forces in that country.” Some estimates put the dollar value of resources transferred to the MDC-T since ZDERA was enacted at well over US$250 million. The Americans could have succeeded in their desire to be “discreet and low-key” but they just had to go and choose the most bombastic, open mouthed and open zipped fellow to discharge this onerous task. Talk of sending a boy to do a man’s job!
We didn’t even have to wait a week since my last instalment for Tsvangirai to say something that in a normal country would cost any presidential aspirant an election victory. Surely, to choose the memorial service of his late wife to tell the world that it was better she died instead of him because he is the “main actor” in the Zimbabwean drama must have even his most loyal supporters seething with anger and feeling thoroughly abused by a man they have supported for the past decade.
Either Tsvangirai is abnormal or he is now working with the intelligence services to engineer a Zanu PF victory or both.
Those who don’t necessarily support Zanu PF, Mavambo or Ndonga question the sincerity of this Anglo-Saxon project called the MDC-T because of the double standards we have seen over the years. The double standards displayed by their American benefactors in other parts of the world seem to suggest that they will support their pre-determined outcome of an MDC-T victory at any cost, never mind what the people want. Thank God Kenya has come before Zimbabwe!
A case is when Hamid Karzai was sworn in for a second term as President of Afghanistan on November 19, 2009. Hardly making international headlines as did the Zimbabwean elections of March 2008, one would think that those American-sponsored elections had been credible, free and fair. One western publication had this to say: “In the second presidential election, held on August 20, 2009, Karzai was announced to have received just over 50% of the votes. However, the election was characterised by lack of security, low voter turnout and widespread ballot stuffing, intimidation, and other electoral fraud.
“Two months later, under heavy U.S. and ally pressure, Karzai accepted calls for a second round run-off vote, which was announced for November 7, 2009. On November 2, 2009, election officials announced the cancellation of the run-off race and declared Karzai the winner due to the withdrawal of Abdullah Abdullah, Karzai's run-off opponent, from the process.”
Low voter turnout, lack of security, widespread ballot stuffing, intimidation and other electoral fraud – you couldn’t make this stuff up! Be that as it may, the paragons of democracy in Europe and North America were extremely quick in their endorsement of the winner by withdrawal, Hamid Karzai. Which begs the question: what is Karzai doing right that Mugabe is failing to emulate? Or alternatively, what do Karzai and Tsvangirai have in common that excites the West so much as to disregard their own democratic values?
Karzai and Mugabe both won after their opponents in the run-off withdrew, but why did the West accept that result in Afghanistan and not in Zimbabwe? Would they have accepted the result if it was Mugabe who withdrew from the race citing a skewed electoral field caused by years of crippling sanctions as outlined by Chester Crocker in my opening paragraph?
As we saw in Kenya , the West will push for an MDC-T victory irrespective of what Zimbabweans actually vote for around the country. Surely, you don’t expect other political parties, Zanu PF included, to just roll over and die in the face of such blatant patronage politics, whose examples are littered across the globe for all to see.
Politicians in some parts of the developing world take advantage of the illiteracy and short memories of their constituents. I am sure the MDC-T is hoping this will be the case in the forthcoming elections. But not so. Zimbabweans need to be reminded of the MDC-T’s intentions a few years back.
After the consummation of the inclusive government, the MDC-T hired Adam Smith International (ASI) to work in the Prime Minister’s office. A cursory glance at ASI’s work reveals that “they produced a comprehensive agenda for the revitalisation of a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.” According to the ASI, which was initially housed in the Prime Minister’s offices in Munhumutapa building, they produced a report setting out a 100-day agenda for a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. The report specified clear actions for a new regime and for western governments who would need to step in quickly to help that government rebuild Zimbabwe. It was billed as the first major policy report setting out a coherent and comprehensive programme for a new Zimbabwean Government.
The report set out 60 recommendations for action by the new Government within its first 100 days of office. Some of the key ones include building the capacity of the President's Office (Tsvangirai) and the cabinet office to drive the 100 day agenda and building the capacity of the Ministry of Finance and line ministries to operate basic budgets.
Now, whilst there is no law against using experienced consultants to augment one’s knowledge or lack thereof, the areas in which the MDC-T is willing to let consultants run on behalf of the country are quite simply staggering. President’s Office, basic budgets and cabinet? Such a state of affairs should worry any Zimbabwean, given the foregoing regime change shenanigans that I have outlined factually, not my own subjective suppositions.
It is clear from the above that the MDC-T has never been concerned with the welfare of the citizenry of this country, but with making the said citizenry suffer hard and long enough to smuggle themselves into power. Why does everything have to be done post Mugabe? Are Zimbabweans not suffering today?
As if the issues outlined above are not enough to worry the electorate, on important issues such as land reform, the MDC-T chooses to be vague, leaving us guessing what they will do after they take the reins of government. For example, they know exactly what transpired at Lancaster House and the obligations of the British government but this is what they say they will do once in government: “An MDC government will conduct a land audit of the chaotic land grab to ascertain who owns which part of land. An MDC government will form an independent Land Commission that will design a land tenure system that will redress and rationalise the corrupt and self-serving land reform done by the ruling party.”
What about the compensation being sought by former commercial farmers? And the British undertaking at Lancaster to pay off farms bought by the new government under the willing buyer willing seller mechanism? For the MDC-T, the solution is to take land from re-settled blacks (and yes, former liberation fighters are black too) and do God knows what with it. We want clarity, not nebulous and high sounding statements!
Why the MDC-T believes that the very same people who were brutalising them hardly 30 years ago now all of a sudden have become their benefactors boggles the mind. It has been said that a fool flatters himself, whilst a wise man flatters a fool. If ever there was evidence Zimbabweans needed that the West knows full well that Tsvangirai and the MDC-T are shallow fools, it was when the Australian Prime Minister flattered Tsvangirai by equating him to Mandela and, when the French conferred on him the Commander of the Legion of Honour and when Tendai Biti was honoured as the best finance minister in Africa and they duly accepted.
Of course the West did the same with Robert Mugabe in the good old days, but at least we know he had a plan buried deep in the Lancaster House agreement – does the MDC-T have one?