Zimbabwe: the possibilities
Violence, according to an American human rights activist (H.Rap Brown), is ‘’as American as cherry pie’’.
Some Zimbabweans who assembled in South Africa recently to express support for the brutalised MDC leaders and fellow supporters asked for guns. Not sure to whom the request for guns was made. Other placards asked Britain and America to maintain both economic and political pressure. And yet others requested the same countries to remove Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party from power.
We are told that there are at least three million Zimbabweans exiled in South Africa. We are also told that all of these people are in that country more for political reasons than economic and would be back in Zimbabwe as soon as Robert Mugabe is replaced as head of state. It is assumed that these economic and political refugees are members of the MDC party.
Events of the past week in Zimbabwe have been very disturbing. Those in the Diaspora have been embarrassed, as they could not explain the behaviour of police. MDC activists and sympathisers assembled in London and demonstrated at the Zimbabwean embassy calling for the immediate removal of Zanu PF from power. The print media had a field day. In Australia, Canada and the United States it was the same thing.
What can the west do about the Zanu PF government? Nothing, is the answer. I do not believe there is still anything to be pulled out of their ‘’tool box’’. The option of military action on Zimbabwe is out, as Zimbabwe is not Iraq and vice versa. It would be an error for anyone to agree to sit on the seat of power through Iraq type of ‘’elections’’.
More sanctions? People (especially myself) resent these sanctions and hate those calling for them. Imposition of sanctions on the country has given credence to Robert Mugabe’s claim that outsiders are interfering in our internal affairs in order to effect regime change. The depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar and general worsening of the economy is 100% attributed to the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe thereby erroneously absolving the Zanu PF regime of any blame.
Threats? These have failed to work.
Dialogue and Diplomacy? I believe the best the West can do is to speak to Robert Mugabe. He is eager to do so. The discussion will facilitate his departure in 2008. In fact l am convinced the man is tired and he wants to rest but has been irresponsibly threatened with arrest by the same people who are accusing him of clinging to power. I would not leave power under the circumstances if l were him.
What options are available to the opposition? They should be patient and learn to seek the legitimate mandate of the Zimbabweans. The term of office of the current government expires in 2008. Irresponsible calls for ‘’final push’’, ‘’jambanja’’ and ‘’winters of discontent’’ only serve to play into the hands of the ruling party.
Remember, these men and women in Zanu PF are not fools. They have to respond to the declared threats. You cannot call for a final push, then turn around, and claim to be trying to remove the government through peaceful means. There is nothing peaceful about pushing. There is violence in pushing. There is violence in Jambanja. And there will be violence when you seek to bring about ‘’a winter of discontent’’. A winter of discontent means you want to incite chaos and cause the country to be ungovernable. Remember ‘’if the hunger for liberty destroys order, then the hunger for order will destroy liberty’’.
Inciting youths at home and abroad to take up arms and encourage them to nurse the option of a military solution for Zimbabwe is very disappointing. Opposition leaders must be seen to calm their youths and teach them patience and democratic ways of getting into power. This is good for our children and posterity. Coups are not part of our Zimbabwean culture. Violence is not as Zimbabwean as sadza!
What options are available to the ruling party? Zanu PF has to change course for its own good and reduce current and future losses. Mugabe has to swallow his pride for the sake of his party and more importantly the country. None of his anointed potential successors are capable of winning an election against the opposition MDC. Even a divided MDC will win such an election now or next year. Mugabe’s confusing retirement message has damaged his party and time has run out for a successor to gain favour with the voting masses.
A general election
is coming in 2008 and Zanu PF will lose it. So what will happen when
Zanu PF loses the election? Joyce Mujuru, Emerson Mnangagwa or whomever
the party would have selected will blame Mugabe for the loss. Rightly
so! MDC must thank Mugabe for hanging onto the leadership of his party
for this long. In the meantime the Zanu PF government must be reminded
that ‘’if the hunger for order destroys liberty, then the
hunger for liberty will destroy order’’.
Morgan Tsvangirai has shown great courage under very difficult circumstances. This seems to atone for his alleged running away from the frontline in Mozambique during the liberation struggle. He is intelligent and a great speaker even though he may look otherwise. He never served in the Mugabe government. Should be clean from the corruption and looting associated with Zanu PF. Those who have worked with him publicly accused him of intolerance and dictatorship. He must also prove that he is free and not being handled from western capitals.
Emerson Mnangagwa is often described as a shrewd contriver, strategist and great political thinker and survivor. He has the support of Zanu PF structures. This man is also associated with alleged corruption and abuse of power. He shares responsibility for the Gukurahundi error as newspapers alleged he played a big role during the campaign as Minister of Government.
Joyce Mujuru has a long history dating back to the liberation struggle fighting from the front, risking life and all. Edgar Tekere noted her remarkable service and courage during those frightening years. He received his first military training from this woman. Unfortunately, she is a woman and l doubt the voting masses of Zimbabwe are prepared for a Queen yet. Unethical deals have been mentioned in various places to benefit her or her husband’s businesses.
Gideon Gono has an obvious genuine passion for the survival of his country and has almost single handedly applied brakes on inflation with some success. He has the brains, charismer and stature to represent Zimbabwe regionally and internationally. Alleged corruption has been investigated and found to be untrue. The truth forced his accusers to bury their heads in the sand. His close relationship with Mugabe is worrying. He has no constituency as he belongs neither to Zanu PF nor to the MDC.
Arthur Mutambara has a renowned international exposure. The MDC lured him into the party and so far the man has been active with his shoulder to the wheel. He has proved to be his own man even though he appears to give Morgan Tsvangirayi too much respect to the discomfort of those who invited him. However, the man seems to have too much energy than he needs. Some have suggested that he needs to calm down. A point to remember is that most people who were invited midway to join the struggle have proved a disaster.
Famous among these is Robert Mugabe and Bishop Abel Muzorewa. Muzorewa was invited and he agreed to come down the pulpit to lead a united ANC. He turned against those who gave him prominence and went to bed with the enemy, Ian Smith. He is famous for attempting to give the country a surname. Robert Mugabe was thousands of miles away from the struggle. He was invited to join and lead the fight but those who invited him feel let down. They are crying and have apologised to the nation for extending the invitation to Bona’s famous son. However, the next few months will reveal a bit more about this man Arthur Mutambara.
Robert Mugabe is old and tired but he has indicated that he intends to run for elections in 2008. The man is struggling to physically stand with his own two legs. Only a fool will believe that he can still run for election in 2008 because running needs physical strength. Robert Mugabe is presiding over the fastest dwindling economy in the world as a result of his policies (not all of them wrong), corruption and sanctions imposed by the west. It is dishonest to say the sanctions have not contributed immensely to the fall of our currency and the rising of inflation. The number of Zimbabwe dollars needed to buy a single brick today would have purchased a three bedroom house with a swimming pool in 1990 (The Times UK 16 Feb 2007).
It is important that the best man for the top job in Zimbabwe is found. However, at present most Zimbabweans in cities are just comfortable with anyone who can replace Robert Mugabe in 2008. Self proclaimed and chest beating ‘’democrats’’ have mushroomed in Zimbabwe. Opposition to Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF is currently the only qualification for one to be described a democrat.
Arnold Mutaviri is a political analyst and writes from Harare. He can be contacted via e-mail: email@example.com
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