Political parties and civil society have reacted strongly against SADC’s handling of the Zimbabwean stalemate, calling its resolution and directive “feeble and half-hearted.”
Although the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) has not met as yet to make their decision public, its executive secretary, Ndulamo Morima, personally expressed disappointment in the manner in which SADC handled the volatile Zimbabwe issue, saying the organization failed to address the seriousness and central issues surrounding the country’s problems.
According to the Global Agreement signed on September 15th, 2008 between ZANU-PF, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC and its splinter group, the three were supposed to share power equitably with Mugabe but, Morima said, this did not materialize as Mugabe vehemently held on to powerful ministries.
“This is against the spirit of the agreement but SADC failed to address this pertinent issue. Mugabe’s holding on to powerful ministries is a clear indication he wants to protect evil deeds.”
With pertinent issues still unaddressed, the BNYC executive secretary sees no smooth operational mechanisms in place as was the case with the successful Kenyan arrangement.
“SADC should have taken a leaf from the Kenya experience where nothing was left to chance. They addressed and made into law all critical issues and now the country is at peace with itself,” Morima noted, adding, however, that he was enthusiastic the organization had given the two political opponents an ultimatum to form a government of national unity and for them to be sworn in by the first week of February.
But the Botswana Congress Party blames, collectively, SADC, the African Union and the international community for their failure to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.
In a statement on Wednesday, the BCP secretary general, Taolo Lucas, said that interventions on Zimbabwe by these institutions have been feeble and half-hearted.
“Leaders of SADC and, indeed, those of Africa at large, have shown a high tolerance threshold for despot Mugabe. They have virtually allowed Mugabe to walk away with murder. The response of Africa to Mugabe’s criminal conduct has demonstrated, once again, that as a continent we have neither the desire nor capacity to entrench democratic values.”
The BCP attributes blame on all leaders who have allowed Mugabe to run amok and destroy Zimbabwe and says they are all equally guilty of transgressions against humanity.
Like Morima, Lucas notes too much time and energy is being wasted on the empty rhetoric at summits and meetings without necessarily addressing the core problem.
“SADC in particular should admit failure on Zimbabwe and desist from calling endless unproductive meetings. The latest summit in which SADC leaders spent 14 hours only to announce the same failed power sharing agreements is further testimony of the regional body’s hopelessness,” said Lucas.
The Monday summit did not address any of the contentious issues that have kept the agreement from being implemented nor did it pay attention to the issue of the allocation of ministries – a move exiled Zimbabwean journalist Tanonoka Whande described as foolish.
Whande said anyone who applauds the ultimatum to form a government of national unity without paying attention to the areas of disagreement needs their heads examined.
“These people failed to form a government of national unity after signing an agreement brokered under the auspices of SADC but now SADC does not want to hear it. SADC says form a government by February 5. Here we are, and mark my words,” said Whande, “SADC is sowing seeds of civil war in Zimbabwe.”
He went on and said: “SADC and, indeed, Africa, is dominated by tyrants and political imbeciles who do not know what mediation or negotiation mean. They were supposed to be arbitrating between two people but they accepted the perpetrator as one of their own. SADC, instead of honouring the fact that Zimbabweans had voted Mugabe out, shamelessly turn around and harass the winner so as to protect the losing despot.”
In view of all this, the BCP considers a special emergency UN Security Council meeting on Zimbabwe should be convened to specifically explore ways of solving the Zimbabwean problem.
“With what Mugabe has done,” said Whande, “with his track record of decimating an economy and the murder of so many. With his active exporting of diseases in the region, how could so-called ‘Head of States’ come up with such a feeble resolution? They are putting pressure on Tsvangirai, whose only fault was to win an election but they leave a murderous dictator untouched and actually prepare a comfortable space for him in Tsvangirai’s government while not only Zimbabweans die because of this monster but citizens of neighbouring countries too. What’s wrong with this SADC?”
Apart from Botswana government’s rolling out of massive humanitarian and emergency relief packages to combat hunger, starvation and disease that are so evident and prevalent in Zimbabwe, the BCP is adamant all African countries should cut diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe forthwith and not allow it into any formal meetings of SADC or the AU.
“Botswana should immediately consider dispensing with its futile exercise of repatriating Zimbabweans and instead treat them as genuine economic refugees,” Lucas declared.