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Mashiri correct on UN Intervention

A UK based political analyst and former diplomat, Clifford Mashiri, wrote to Tsvangirai asking for a possible meeting saying he was taking the initiative to express his personal wish that Tsvangirai, as our Prime Minister and MDC President, pay a visit to the UK so that he and hopefully other interested Zimbabweans can have a decent conversation with him on how to resolve the current crisis in our country.”

Mr Clifford Mashiri is spot-on in suggesting that Zimbabwe’s interminable problems should be referred to the United Nations. Mugabe’s stubbornness has spanned generations and much effort has been put into putting things right, but all to no avail. The SADC has claimed it is the best-placed body to handle the problem but all it has done is to take sides with Mugabe and perpetuate his repressive rule. The time has come to get to the bottom of the problem and deal with it once and for all.

The cause of the problem of the unending cycle of SADC’s fruitless interventions is that it has never been given a time frame in which to complete its task, failure of which it must admit it has failed and allow somebody else to take over. Human beings have over the ages developed the ability to deal with the problems they face, so that many problems encountered are tackled, resolved and become history. In fact our problem solving skills have been enhanced to the extent that we are hundreds of times quicker in find solutions to most of our problems than people of the by-gone ages. What boggles the mind is that despite the ages that SADC has spent on mediating in Zimbabwe we are no closer to resolving the problem than when they began and that defies all logic.

The result is that the entire nation of Zimbabwe has been consigned to indefinite stagnation that spans generations as the country slides back into backwardness. People have been condemned to wasting their lives living through a limbo imposed on them by a party that has decided to abuse the people and take on the world as it clings to power against the wishes of its own people, without being able to live the prosperous lives they so yearn for. We can ill-afford such a waste of life. Because of retrogression in every facet of life in the country everyone is worse off as all their efforts, however supreme, do not produce any meaningful results.

The SADC is not concerned about this sad state of affairs as it drags its feet while ZanuPF is abusing the nation. In so doing it is in fact abetting the criminal activities of the unpopular party. It is no secret that it colludes with Mugabe to prop up his disastrous rule. It has declared that as the regional body in which Zimbabwe falls, it is its prerogative to handle the problems of this troubled country, but it has dismally failed to deliver on its promises. Rather than have the people’s interests at heart it is more concerned with ensuring that Mugabe remains in power for as long as possible. It will not deal honestly with the people of Zimbabwe, but it will not allow anybody else to do it either. Despite Mugabe’s well-documented murderous abuses the SADC leaders fall over themselves to make adulatory remarks about him, though what they really feel about him is sometimes revealed when some comments they say about him behind the scenes are leaked to the press. In so doing they have succeeded in doing egregious harm to the image of SADC, which is now viewed as an alliance of sorts. Given that scenario it is hardly surprising that the credibility of, and respect for Southern African heads of state is in free fall. It is a shame that as a result Africans in general are viewed with profound contempt.

That SADC shirks its responsibility to bring stability to Zimbabwe is plain to see. It has demonstrated a laid-back attitude to the plight of the people of Zimbabwe. When Mugabe activated operation Murambatsvina, a punitive measure in which he razed poor people’s living quarters to the ground for not voting for his party, the SADC did not raise a finger in defence of the victims. When ZanuPF unmistakably lost the election in 2008 the SADC did not stand up for the disenfranchised people of Zimbabwe, but chose to pressure the opposition to form the GNU with Mugabe, the loser, as head of state and government. Mugabe flouted the GNU agreement left right and centre and the opposition brought these violations to the attention of SADC, but the body always had a way of letting Mugabe off the hook. Now people are being harassed and the army has been deployed to cow the people into voting for ZanuPF, but SADC remains aloof.

There is growing disquiet among Zimbabweans because of SADC’s failure, or partisanship, to be more honest. The problem is clearly that the leaders will not offer the scalps of fellow SADC leaders regardless of how many people die at the hands of one of them. They will all rally behind him in spite of the seriousness of his failures. They seem to have a gangster mentality where if you attack one of them you are deemed to have attacked the entire gang. That is the bad news for southern Africa, and the prognosis for the region cannot be a positive one. Zimbabwe is not the only country in the region with these problems, but the entire region is fraught with problems of governance, which is why a political renaissance will come in handy for the region.

Recent press reports have suggested that ruling parties in the SADC region have made donations towards cash-strapped ZanuPF’s campaign for the forth-coming elections. By making such donations they positively identified themselves with ZanuPF, yet at the same time they are expected to be adjudicators of the contest between the ruling party and the opposition. In all honesty how on earth can a participant in a race be the judge as well. The SADC is clearly a participant on behalf of ZanuPF and the only sensible thing to do is to disqualify the body from the office of mediator or monitor or even observer.

BENJAMIN SEMWAYO - POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT

As a long-term solution, to achieve true democracy in southern Africa, SADC member states need to come up with a SADC opposition parties alliance because whenever a single opposition party confronts the ruling party of its country it is in fact pitted against the entire SADC because the ruling parties all stick together and cover one another’s backs, using tax-payers’ money. This results in a contest that can be likened to a mouse trying to take on a pride of lions. The formation of an opposition parties alliance will in some ways neutralise the disproportionate advantage that the ruling parties are enjoying. The SADC is heavily funded by the European Union. These funds should be split between SADC and the opposition alliance.

As for the immediate solution to the protracted problems Zimbabwe is facing, appeals should be made to the United Nations and the International community at large to give the SADC a time frame in which to conclude its mediation in Zimbabwe, which should be no longer than six months as it has already spent more than enough time on this task. Once that time has lapsed the United Nations should take over by default. So you are absolutely right, Clifford Mashiri, Zimbabwe is totally with you in this.        

 BY: BENJAMIN SEMWAYO 

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