Saturday, September 19, 2020

Zimbabwe should go for elections

It seems pretty obvious to everyone, save Robert Mugabe, that Zimbabwe does not have a legitimate government.
What is in place in that country is an illegal Government of National Unity that was forced down the throat of Zimbabweans by SADC and Thabo Mbeki.

Some countries, like Botswana, begrudgingly acquiesced to the formation of this aberration, accepting it only as a last resort with a footnote that they hoped its life would be short-lived, used only as a stop gap measure to allow Zimbabwe to march back to normal.

That was not to be.

Reports indicate that MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai has walked away in disgust, citing impunity on the part of Mugabe and his henchmen in the ZANU-PF.
But tragically nobody is talking of elections.

It’s like Zimbabwean people do not matter any more.

For far too long, SADC has watched helplessly, sometimes cheering on as Robert Mugabe defied the world.
Mugabe has freely sauntered in all the SADC Summits even as he was ruthlessly killing his own people back in Zimbabwe.
For many years now, SADC has failed the people of Zimbabwe and the only way the organization can redeem itself in the eyes of the Zimbabweans is by proactively putting in place structures that will prepare for a process that will lead to the holding of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

It has become Mugabe’s pastime to always kill and maim political opponents ahead of any election.
There is another challenge; as has happened so often in the past, Mugabe does not only rig elections, every time he loses he refuses to accept the outcome.

Still on that, it would be foolhardy to pretend that Morgan Tsvangirai has been a good opposition leader for Zimbabwe.
After winning elections in March last year he still has nothing to show for it.

By allowing himself into a Government of National Unity, Tsvangirai has given away his bargaining chip.
After the negotiated settlement, Tsvangirai may be in office as Prime Minister, or something like that, but he is certainly not in power.
He remains a beggar, at the mercy of Mugabe, just as he has always been during his days as a trade unionist.
Having organised what has been so far the most impressive challenge against Mugabe, Tsvangirai has consistently shown lapses that in other countries would have cost him his leadership in his party.

He has not been an effective leader in as far as organising the masses even as he had often called on them to stay at home to show their unhappiness with Mugabe’s administration.
Tsvangirai has played one of the biggest roles in as far as legitimizing Mugabe ÔÇô second only to Thabo Mbeki, of course.

Tsvangirai has given Mugabe much more than he ever bargained for.
It will not be possible to take that away. Now ensconced in power and authority, the only way to take Mugabe out is through a ballot.

With the unity government crumbling, as it was always going to, Zimbabweans should be assisted back to the polls.
Our memories of Tsvangirai are still fresh with him moving into Gaborone Sun last year (where he was to lodge for a month) as Mugabe unleashed a spate of terror and butchery against the rudderless MDC supporters back in Zimbabwe.

There are serious doubts if the man still has enough fire in his belly to continue resisting what is a clearly resurgent Mugabe.
Tsvangirai’s staying power is on the test.

Credit should go to the Capitals of the West that have refused to embrace Mugabe even as Tsvangirai was all smooches over the old dictator, begging foreign leaders to go soft on the old lion.

It’s difficult to feel sorry for Tsvangirai. He walked into the noose with his eyes wide open. How on earth was it possible for him to trust Mbeki as to append a signature on a deal crafted by the former South African President?

Mbeki and Mugabe are like father and son. To make matters worse, Mbeki has never made a secret of his disdain for Tsvangirai who he portrays as a lackey of the West.

Tsvangirai knows this more than anyone.
Instead of asking SADC to request Mugabe to behave himself, Tsvangirai should call on SADC to help Zimbabwe prepare for elections.

What is important is that structures are put in place to disable Mugabe from killing and intimidating opponents in the run up to the elections.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

ACHAP denies donor taps have run dry

The African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP) has denied it faces an uncertain future amid allegations that donor taps have run dry.