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SADC needs more courage to deal with Mugabe
11/08/2010 00:00:00
by Psychology Maziwisa
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COMOURFLAGED as a compromise undertaken in the national interest, the so-called Unity Government has proven to be yet another cunning and evil-intentioned scheme by Zanu PF calculated to buy time for Robert Mugabe. The whole project has been a ruse. With few exceptions, Zanu PF parliamentarians and officials are power hungry thugs motivated by greed and consumed by evil.

This is precisely why the changes brought by the inclusive government, although helpful, have been largely cosmetic. For the most part, Zimbabwe remains in crisis and there are ominous signs of it worsening as Zanu PF starts electioneering.

Anyone who might still be naive enough to give Mugabe the benefit of the doubt regarding the inclusive government belongs in the Garden of Eden. Crocodiles cannot fly.

And SADC countries cannot escape blame. They have failed us. Rather than send a clear and stern message to Mugabe, they have in fact propped him up. Zimbabweans are starved, terrorised and tortured while SADC whistles in the wind.

Compromised, fatigued, and with more pressing issues to deal with back home, Jacob Zuma has hardly been able to give the crisis in Zimbabwe the attention it deserves. As a consequence, his efforts to resolve it have been ineffectual.

Thanks to his arguably deliberate lack of urgency and clout, our country continues its fall into ruin and ordinary Zimbabweans continue to suffer.

Tyranny has become the default form of governance. Our economy remains in peril. Our people perennially live in fear. A nation that rightfully belongs to over 12 million people has been hijacked by a handful of cutthroats who have as much money in their pockets as they have blood on their hands. Despotism has eclipsed the legacy of our liberation struggle.

Meanwhile Zanu PF toadies like Jonathan Moyo -- who survives in public life more by his ability to sniff the wind than by courage, character or any discernible conviction -- have promised that more hearts will be broken and that concerned people like United States President Barack Obama are nothing more than malevolent imperialists. Unable to play the race card, the toadies promptly produce the joker.

Our fallen heroes sacrificed their lives for this country to be free -- free from oppression, free for its people to determine who should lead them and free to make choices about their respective lives. To be fair to Mugabe, that freedom includes guarding against external forces bent on imposing regime change simply in order to satisfy their longstanding agendas.


Yes, it also includes guarding against rampant, lamentable and intransigent racism that makes international headlines when ‘seven white farmers have been killed in Zimbabwe’ while deliberately ignoring the fact that in the same period and in similar circumstances hundreds of locals also lost their lives.

But intimidating critics is another issue. Betraying the efforts of our liberation struggle is another issue. Mismanaging and plundering state resources is another issue. Controlling the courts, military and police as a means to intimidating opponents is another issue. Pouncing mercilessly upon those courageous enough to defy tyranny is another issue. Subverting the will of the people and so on and so forth – all the awful methods of the all-powerful state is another issue. That is not guarding against colonialism. It is authoritarianism. It is unacceptable.

Cunning to the core, Mugabe knows how to play his cards. He is a clever propagandist who raises the spectre of colonialism when it suits him. Detracting from the real issues he constantly dwells on largely unfounded anti-colonial sloganeering while he continues to deny us human rights and democracy.

Meanwhile, the MDC, a party with a plethora of suspect white sympathisers, characterised by Mugabe as a ‘sponsored surrogate force’ and publicly backed by the irresponsible Milibands of this world, has played into Mugabe’s hands by sometimes appearing to be a front for disgruntled whites.

The reality is that such institutions seldom work in Africa let alone in Zimbabwe. In fairness to Tsvangirai – a man I have extraordinary admiration for, a pragmatist who is in politics in order to get the job done and not just for its own sake, a man who is to Zimbabwe now what Mugabe seemed to be around 1980 – he realises he faces insurmountable challenges if his party is not seen as a genuine people’s movement.

He has worked extremely hard to shape MDC as a truly African institution. One example serves to illustrate this fact and it is that, contrary to the wishes of outside regime-change proponents and against overwhelming odds, Tsvangirai elected to join forces with Mugabe in a coalition government.

At the time it seemed the only means by which to ameliorate a Mugabe engineered crisis. In hindsight it was a foolish thing to do because, as events have shown, Zanu PF never had any intention of sharing power and the crooks that ran Zimbabwe prior to the inclusive government continue to run amok.

But the imperfections and limitations of the MDC are hardly the problem. MDC is not the enemy. Zanu PF is. The continual violent disruption of the constitution‑making process by Zanu PF supporters even in the face of an inclusive government is appalling. But more than that, it is an unequivocal indication of just how unprepared and unwilling they are to relinquish power. It is a state of affairs ludicrous to anyone who cares about democracy.

Doubtless we have reached a point where taking decisive action must now be made a priority. In the first instance, SADC must be convinced to stop tiptoeing around our situation. Our situation is dire and now urgently requires a conclusive solution. Our people should help to draw attention to this situation through, among other things, massive public protest against the ineffectiveness to date of Jacob Zuma in particular and SADC in general.

Of SADC we need to urgently demand that minimum requirements for the holding of free and fair elections be agreed upon as soon as possible. As a means to giving effect to the minimum requirements, SADC must deploy a contingent of armed forces across Zimbabwe with a view to maintaining peace and security three months before the election as well as three months after the election.

Additionally, special courts presided over by impartial judges from within the SADC region must be established to harshly and decisively deal with any acts of subversion.

Meanwhile no one should be under any illusion about the extent of culpability attributable to the wider international community. The argument that they lack the leverage necessary to bring effective pressure to bear is absolute hogwash. If the nations of this world stood firmly against apartheid in South Africa, they must stand equally firmly against the tyranny of Mugabe and Zanu PF in this country.

Psychology Maziwisa is interim leader of the Union for Sustainable Democracy. E-mail him: leader@usd.org.zw

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