Friday, April 19, 2024

It’s time to talk, Zimbabwe, but no Thabo Mbeki, please

For years, the situation in Zimbabwe has been spiraling down and now it has reached the point of unavoidable consequences. For a country that was written off a long, long time ago, I am surprised that my nation still has a pulse.

The people of Zimbabwe are amazing. Their spirit of resilience and their patience are unequalled.They have never had it easy since so-called independence and even in the out-pouring of jubilation, they showed a reluctance to embrace a military coup, showing an almost equal amount of jubilation at Robert Mugabe’s ascension to power in 1980 as they did at his forced departure 37 years later.

For some reason, Zanu-PF, the “liberation party”, ceased to be friends with the people it allegedly ‘liberated’. For decades, there has been no love lost between the two as the party continues to churn out professional thieves and political prostitutes who want it all for themselves through whatever means.

The late Robert Mugabe was not kind to the people. Far from it. He, however, knew how far to push and how to placate people with meaningless solutions while his goons caused havoc among the population.

The number of people who filled the streets of almost every town in Zimbabwe in celebration of Mugabe’s removal from power was a clear indication of how the long-suffering Zimbabweans yearned for a break. For freedom. For the chance to work and care for their families without fearing every knock on the door at home or at the office.

The sight of overjoyed Zimbabweans cleaning boots on soldiers’ feet with the sleeves of their shirts indicated how thankful people were for the redemption long before they could actually enjoy it.

And, yes, people carried large placards of the general who kicked Mugabe out of power and people could not express enough thanks to this savior.

But Zanu-PF is still Zanu-PF with all its fangs of exploitation, abuse and unexplainable cruelty still sharp and drawn out.

General Chiwenga’s ouster of Mugabe was supposed to be a turning point in Zimbabwe’s rediscovery of itself – as if it needed to. But alas, it turned out to be the result of a domestic fight within Zanu-PF that had nothing to do with the emancipation of the economy, the people and the country.

Chiwenga and his soldiers reacted not to the abuse of the nation by Mugabe but wanted their turn to abuse the nation and enrich themselves. They reacted to their fear that Mugabe’s ambitious young wife could very well take over the leadership of both the party and the country.

Chiwenga and his blind comrades doused people’s hopes when they thrust the nation into the lap of a hand-picked man who has never won an election in his own right throughout his political career.

Emmerson Mnangagwa turned out to be an embarrassment to say the least. While his vice president Chiwenga embarrasses the nation with his treatment and public abuse of a soon to be former wife, Mnangagwa seems oblivious to the task before him and shows that he has absolutely no clue as to how to solve the country’s problems.

Thus, the ouster of Mugabe was no remedy to Zimbabwe’s disastrous path downstream and all indications are that sooner or later Mnangagwa will have to sit down with Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the largest opposition party in the country.

But Mnangagwa has no sense of political geography and copies what has been done by others who failed before him. He belongs to the old school of thought that believed in unleashing violence on people opposed to his decrees and surrounds himself with leaders of political parties that command no followers. It’s sad and tragic that such an ancient mind, clogged up with dark experiences, is leading one of Africa’s most versatile nations.

For a long time now, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) have been pushing both Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa, along with their political parties to sit down and engage each other in a national dialogue to map the way forward.

When Mugabe was facing strong resistance from established worker organizations, he went on and encouraged the formation of rival worker organizations that supported him.

Like true copycat that he is, dull and unoriginal, Mnangagwa has also given birth to rival church organizations that sing more praises to him than to God Almighty.

But the situation refuses to stabilize, proving that propaganda is antiquated and will never put food on the table.

Clearly, Mnangagwa is cornered by the political and economic situation. He cannot avoid direct talks with Chamisa and his MDC, a scenario Mugabe faced with the then MDC leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai.

And, suddenly, out of the woodworks, comes one of Africa’s most repulsive mediators, South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, looking like a statesman and busily asking for meetings with Zimbabwe’s political leaders and organizations and promoting dialogue.

Zimbabwe’s sad situation could have been averted had Thabo Mbeki, then president of South Africa, taken an honest mediator’s role and not assisted Mugabe in his abuse of the people. Instead, Mbeki cooked up a skewed political compromise that retarded Zimbabweans’ efforts to rid themselves of political trash through the ballot box. And during all this time, Mbeki denied that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe – something that made my blood boil and that forced me to attack Mbeki way back in 2008. (See

Now Mbeki rears his ugly mediator’s head again, trying to, once again, use Zimbabwe to remind the world that he is still alive.

To Mr. Nelson Chamisa: You and your party were short-changed by Thabo Mbeki who brought the repugnant ‘Kofi Annan solution’ to Zimbabwe and rewarded the loser instead of the winner. Zimbabwe has been burnt by Mbeki’s blatant partisanship and unstatemanship. Please, do not bring this man to us again, I beg. You, as Chamisa and as MDC, know better than anyone else that Mbeki is not there on his own power and is working for other interests that do not include you.

Yes, Zimbabwe, it is time to talk but keep Thabo Mbeki as far away from those talks as possible.

  • Tanonoka Whande writes in his own personal capacity.


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