ZIMBABWE – I totally agree with Former South African President Thabo Mbeki’s position to oppose the British proposal to invade Zimbabwe and forceful remove Mugabe from office.
“In the period preceding the 2002 Zimbabwe Elections, the UK and the US in particular were very keen to effect this regime change and failing which to impose various conditions to shorten the period of any Mugabe Presidency,” wrote former President Thabo Mbeki.
“Our then Minister of Intelligence, Lindiwe Sisulu, had to make a number of trips to London and Washington to engage the UK and US governments on their plans for Zimbabwe, with strict instructions from our Government to resist all plans to impose anything on the people of Zimbabwe, including by military means.”
Zimbabwe chose the military solution to end white colonial rule and look what leaders that armed struggle has thrown up; having won the liberation war they believed they alone know what is best for the nation and resisted all pressure for democratic accountability.
Zimbabwe is stuck in this economic mess because we cannot remove Mugabe and his cronies from power. They liberated the country but only to impose this corrupt and oppressive de facto one party dictatorship.
Beside one must never reach for the gun until all peaceful means of solving the problem have been exhausted. The 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) was one such peaceful solution which would have ended the dictatorial system of government in Zimbabwe; if only the raft of democratic reforms in the agreement had been implemented.
In his article above, President Mbeki put a lot of emphasis on SA’s commitment to let Zimbabweans decide their own destiny, a prima facie commendable stance; still, as guarantor of the GPA, SA must shoulder some blame for the fact that not even one reform was implemented in five years of the GNU and thus the GPA’s failure to deliver free, fair and credible elections in 2013 and beyond.
If I had to apportion blame why not even one reform was implemented during the GNU then Tsvangirai and his MDC friends must take 75% of the blame. There is no doubt that they sold-out; Mugabe offered them the gravy train lifestyles and they, in return, kicked the reforms into the tall grass.
MDC leaders were so easily fooled by Mugabe they were tripping over each other to sing Mugabe praises calling the tyrant the “unflappable father of the nation”, said Tendai Biti.
Forgetting the brutality the tyrant had subjected MDC members and the nation at large as recently as 2008! MDC leaders were convinced the tyrant had accepted them in the exclusive ruling elite club and hence the reason why the kicked reforms into the tall grass; the dictatorship favoured the ruling elite and now that they were members they did not see the need to implement the reforms.
Some of the MDC leaders were so convinced of their ruling elite status that even after Zanu PF blatantly rigged the 2013 elections they still expected Mugabe to give them cushy jobs according to Dr Misheck Sibanda, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet’s report.
“Some (MDC leaders after losing the elections) said, ‘If we are needed, even if it’s a Zanu-PF Government, talk to the President. Possibly we can come and serve because we want to serve.’ (They said they wanted roles) in any capacity. You could tell that it was because of how they had been handled (bribed and bamboozled). To me, it was amusing.”
The people of Zimbabwe, especially the independent press and the intelligentsia, carry 20% of the blame of why the 2008 GPA failed to deliver democratic change. There is no excuse why the people had failed to understand what the reforms and thus appreciate their critical importance to creating a democratic Zimbabwe.
It is the people’s democratic duty to understand important national issues and to ensure leaders deliver on these matters and hold them to account when they fail; Zimbabweans have been found wilfully wanting in this!
SADC and South Africa played the leading role in the Zimbabwe crisis and must should the remaining 5% of why the 2008 GPA was a total failure.
President Mbeki admitted that as far back as 2001 that SA was already concerned about Mugabe’s undemocratic tendencies and their negative effects on the country’s ability to deliver on its objectives of “improving the lives of the people of Zimbabwe, defending the independence of our countries and advancing Pan Africanist goals …. Zimbabwe should remain a democratic and peaceful country with a growing economy of shared wealth.”
The wanton violence and blatant vote rigging by Mugabe is the March and July 2008 elections showed the whole world just how far off the democratic path Mugabe had gone.
“What was achieved by the bullet cannot be undone by the ballot!” boasted Mugabe as his party thugs, Police, CIO and Army terrorized the nation. What more proof did President Mbeki need that Mugabe did not care about democracy and good governance!
SA should have rejected Tsvangirai and Mugabe’s cosy scratch my back and I will scratch yours arrangement and exerted more pressure on the two to implement the 2008 GPA democratic reforms for the good of Zimbabwe and the region.
“This approach (GPA) was informed by our unwavering determination to respect the right of the people of Zimbabwe to determine their future, firmly opposed to any foreign, including South African, intervention to impose solutions on the people of Zimbabwe,” President Mbeki says.
I do not buy the argument that bringing pressure to bear on the parties to the GNU to implement the reforms would count as interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara on behalf of their respective political parties committed themselves to the GPA reforms and President Mbeki on behalf of SADC the guarantor of the GPA had a duty to ensure they honoured that commitment.
Besides by ensuring the GPA reforms were implemented and Zimbabwe was put back on a democratic footing complete with guaranteed free, fair and credible elections, President Mbeki would have fulfilled the promise that the people of Zimbabwe, as contrasted to a few ruling elite in the dictatorship imposing their will on the nation, are the masters of their own destiny.
The main purpose of the 2008 GPA was to fix Zimbabwe’s broken political system so that the wanton violence and vote rigging of 2008 will not be repeated ever again. There was no violence in 2013 but still there were glaring voting irregularities such as the failure to release the voters roll, the vote rigging smoking gun.
Since the 2013 elections there have been reports of political violence; the signs are the next elections set for 2018 will be marred by the blatant vote rigging and the wanton violence, a repeat of the 2008 – the very thing the 2008 GPA had set out to stop happening again!
President Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma, as his successor, can never wash their hands clean of the responsibility that Zimbabwe’s 2008 GPA failed to deliver on its promise to deliver free, fair and credible elections.
How can they not be responsible; they were the principle guarantors of the agreement! If President Mbeki did not want to shoulder the responsibility as the guarantor of GPA then he should have said so from the beginning and passed the responsibility to AU or UN.