Political commentators in Botswana say that it was time Zimbabweans were given another chance to choose a party and leader who would govern them and forget about the “government of national unity” (GNU) as it is now clear that there will never be an agreement on the sticky point of which ministries go to which party.
University of Botswana Political Science lecturer, DR David Sebudubudu, says that it should be clear to everybody by now that the envisaged power sharing would just not work and that the Zimbabweans should simply go to the polls again.
”I think the only way out of this deadlock is for the Zimbabweans to be helped to vote again as it is now very clear that the deal signed on September 15 will not work,” he said.
Sebudubudu said the main reason the deal will not work is that there is a lot of mistrust between the concerned parties as well as arrogance on the part of Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and that this is the main reason why power sharing will not work at all.
He said past statements, like those made by security forces chiefs that they will never salute MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, are also a clear sign that the so-called GNU will not work.
Concurring with Dr Sebudubudu is another UB Political Science lecturer, Lawrence Ookeditse, who says that it was now clear that the envisaged power-sharing deal had dismally failed to materialize and that in such a situation the best thing to do would be to go back to the drawing board and implement the basics of democracy, which he says is allowing people to vote for whoever they think can best rule them.
Asked if that would not end with the same result of alleged intimidation, murder and torture of those thought to be supporting the opposition, Ookeditse said that to prevent that from happening, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and even the United Nations can be brought on board to make sure elections are free and fair.
The two lecturers’ views are supported, though with some heavy qualification, by a Botswana-based Zimbabwean journalist, Tanonoka Joseph Whande.
Like the lectures quoted above, Whande says that to get rid of all the attendant problems and confusion, the only solution would be for new elections to be organized.
“Ordering new elections should be somewhat embarrassing to SADC and the AU because it is a clear admission that they have no clout and that these groupings cannot make their own member states uphold their organisations’ principles.”
Turning to Botswana, Whande said that President Ian Khama might have come out in open support for fresh elections as a way of jolting other SADC member states into consciousness.
“Khama is alone and he appears to be saying and doing the right things about the situation in Zimbabwe,” said Whande. “With SADC unwilling to reign in one of their errant member states, Botswana feels it is better to have fresh elections which would be strictly monitored before, during and after the voting exercise.”
On the forth-coming SADC summit, once again called to deal with Zimbabwe, Whande says that he does not think it will produce any tangible results and that it will fail as the past ones did.
”SADC sent Thabo Mbeki, with the full backing of the United Nations, South Africa, the African Union and the so-called Troika, but they were humiliated by Mugabe. So what is a group of presidents and prime ministers going to discuss if they fail to enforce decisions reached by their emissary and their own troika? What are they going to discuss if their own troika and emissary surrender before Mugabe? Unless SADC extracts its claws, if it has any, the big guys are, once again, just gathering for tea.”
On the other hand, a Zimbabwean residing in Botswana, Julius Muriwa, disagrees with the UB lectures and Whande and says that he thinks there was still hope for a settlement and that it could be done if the leaders put aside their selfishness and stop fighting for positions and put the wishes of Zimbabweans first.
“The thing is that the leaders are currently just thinking of themselves and each one of them dreaming about a lavish house or car he will get if he lands the fat post and not think about the wishes of ordinary Zimbabweans,” he said.
Muriwa, an accountant, is of the same view as that supported by another UB Political Science lecturer, DR Emmanuel Botlhale.
Botlhale says if one was to get the views of ordinary Zimbabweans in that country, what he was bound to hear were views by Zimbabweans complaining about hunger and thirst, bread and butter issues and not about cabinet posts. Though he agrees the issue was important as well, he says that it was not the most important issue at the moment.
”These leaders must wake up to reality and address the most pressing issues of feeding their people and making clean water available to them. The issue of who gets which post is, in my view, of less importance to the suffering people of Zimbabwe,” he said.