Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The past threatens the future of Zimbabwe’s new government

I am very tempted to hold my breath and cheer, wishing with every fiber of my existence that the Government of National Unity (GNU) to be consummated by dictator Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change on Wednesday will take hold and succeed.

Sadly, I am cursed with pessimism. Fear comes uninvited.

With all the odds staked against the success of this GNU, hope, remote and faint as it might be, lingers and flatters lazily about. It is hope forcibly born out of a desire to take a break from the daily suffering that has been the daily diet of Zimbabweans for decades.

Admittedly, there is never going to be a time again that I will ever think Robert Mugabe can do anything decent for the people of Zimbabwe.

The man gave himself almost 30 years to destroy everything in his path, like the fabled bull in a china shop.
He used the 30 years at the helm of a peaceful, prosperous country to convince the world of his character.
There was a chilling display of brutality.

There was an undisputed demonstration of economic incompetence and corruption.

We lived through human rights abuses that left us with so many of our compatriots dead and many more missing.
The word genocide was introduced into our lexicon.

Property rights were taken away from us and we lost property to our own government.
Our homes where bulldozed to the ground and others were set alight as our own government, our supposed protectors exposed our infants, the elderly and the infirm to the elements.

Millions of our compatriots were forced to flee the country of their birth to seek economic or political protection among strangers outsider our borders because our own government wanted to do them harm.

I find it ironic that I sit here in Gaborone, unwelcome in Zimbabwe and having left my mother country in a cloud of dust for simply pointing out to the leaders of my nation where they were going wrong, but now cannot go back home where Mengistu Haile Mariam, The Butcher of Addis, known to have killed more than 500 000 of his own people, is given sanctuary and sits and lives in comfort.

There is a fascinating disparity and an unsettling message in that Botswana gives me sanctuary as a result of only my disagreement with my government of Zimbabwe yet ZANU-PF also gives sanctuary to Mengistu for killing more people than it did itself.

Meanwhile, the so-called African leaders met during their endless and now meaningless summits in Addis Ababa and came out with the “election” of tyrant Muammar Gaddafi as Chairman of the African Union as the highlight of their Summit.

They also allowed themselves to be addressed by Mugabe who obliged by bombarding the hapless presidents with nonsense about his “impressive” record as president of Zimbabwe.

No wonder this same group of people can actually allow Gaddafi to “lead” Africa. God have mercy!
SADC forced the winners of an election to relinquish a clean mandate legitimately given to them by the people. For SADC’s sake this arrangement must succeed then SADC may, at least, claim that they achieved something.

But I am a worried soul even if I were to be drowned in a drum of optimism.
My greatest fear is that the presence of the MDC in this government, in which ZANU-PF clearly is dictating terms and direction, resuscitates Mugabe and strengthens his evil empire and brutality, ones he has never cared to hide from the world in 30 years.
The MDC’s presence in this government legitimizes Mugabe in the eyes of the world and the last thing we want to see now is Mugabe replenishing his strength because he never used it to protect Zimbabweans but to abuse them with it.
Zimbabwean soldiers went to “save” the government and people of Mozambique and came back home to brutalise Zimbabweans.
The Zimbabwean army went to DR Congo and saved Laurent Kabila and the Congolese people and came back home and shot Zimbabweans in Harare and Gweru, not to mention our university students.

I pray that this unity is temporary. I wish it could have been slated to last only a few hours because I feel terribly uneasy with an angel (figurative) who keeps following and asking the devil’s help to cross a river so that the angel may give comfort and assistance to people ravaged by that same devil. Can the angel do so without compromising himself?

I hope it is temporary. Zimbabweans had voted for a break with Mugabe and the opening of a new chapter. And got none.
It is my hope that the MDC people know something we do not know because they are obviously taking a very big risk on behalf of the nation, a risk that, should the GNU fail, will leave Mugabe in a stronger position than he was in before he “agreed” to the partnership.
As the contestants literally circle each other in the arena, sanctions on Mugabe and his cronies must remain firmly in place.

There should be no letting up and the pressure must be maintained or even tightened until both participants show a deliberate willingness to free the Zimbabwean people and to give back the people their freedom and protection.
If there is ever a time I hope to be wrong, Lord, let it be this very one because I do not believe this marriage of convenience will last nor will it solve the problem. There is too much at stake for both sides and compromise is going to be necessary.

Yet compromise is one thing the two camps are at pains to make.
I do not believe in this exercise at all, not because of Mr Tsvangirai but because of Robert Mugabe. My fear and reluctance are born from past and current experiences.
I was abused so much that I am afraid to hope.

And yet hope is a part of the installments we have to pay if we want to believe in a possibility.
The resilience of the Zimbabwean people is a matter of public record.
Zimbabweans have managed to somehow survive each day under the most of excruciating circumstances to miraculously provide food for themselves and their families.
We fought like lions to liberate our country and still refuse to be tamed by anyone. As someone wrote to me recently, I hope we are not lions being led by donkeys.

For several decades, everyday has been D-Day for Zimbabweans because Mugabe treated us with disdain; going into other countries to save and protect foreigners while killing Zimbabweans back home.

On Wednesday, we enter a new phase which, regardless of whether the GNU holds up or not, will peg a watershed on our political landscape. It alarmingly requires of us to trust Robert Mugabe more than we have ever done before.

We are expected to turn 30 years of justified mistrust into faith. Our preference and choice were denied. We have not been left with much room to maneuver.

While Mugabe prolongs the bickering, our people continue to starve to death while Mugabe and his people have access to food and clean water.

We have been forced to trust Mugabe and all who abused us for decades.
Faith is belief in something that cannot be proved.

I do think the international community has asked Zimbabweans for a little too much knowing as we do that there is absolutely no way something called a government of national unity can emerge and last in Zimbabwe.

And yet there is something appealing about lions being led by donkeys.

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