The Mugabe Conundrum

No-one would disagree that Robert Mugabe has to go. However we need to consider if, a violent coup or a Nuremberg style witchunt be of any benefit to ordinary Zimbabweans?\r\n

No one in their right mind would argue that removing Mugabe from Zim politics (some would say Zimbabwe itself) is the best way to handle the Zim situation.

It’s certainly makes for great ranting by the indignant and righteous, nothing like a good ol’ witch hunt mentality to get the adrenalin rushing. But is nailing Mugabe really worth worsening the situation for millions of already long-suffering Zimbabweans?

But any rational assessment of the situation will reveal that in a situation with an entrenched dictator and a, powerful controlling elite with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, violence only ever begets more violence.

And in a country with as a ravaged an economic and social context as present day Zimbabwe that situation tends to have devastating long term consequences for not just that country but often the immediate region, and indeed creates conditions ripe for yet another dictatorial establishment to take over.

What is needed in Zimbabwe is the same kind of pragmatic diplomacy that saw Jean Bertrand Aristide relinquish power in Haiti and come to SA for a "forced" retirement sans any recriminations.

I suggest a deal is struck for immunity and a safe haven for Mugabe and maybe even a few of his circle in return for them easing out of the Zimbabwean political arena and ceasing any involvement in Zimbabwe matters.

Sure, it will amount to letting him off scot-free despite heinous crimes against his own people, but surely we are no better than he if we were to place the need for a supposed sense of justice and revenge over the welfare and stability of millions of Zimbabweans?

And yes, some folk would view it as perverse harbouring Mugabe and his cronies in SA at our taxpayers expense, but let’s face it, whatever it would cost us to let Mugabe see out his last days in SA is miniscule compared to the toll exacted on the Southern African economy by the millions of refugees and the collapse of a major regional economic power.

And imagine the upside in terms of investment opportunities opening up in a rebuilding Zimbabwe? Think of how a recovering Zimbabwean agricultural sector can benefit South Africa and the greater SADC region in terms of employment and food security?

Letting Mugabe off without recriminations sure would feel wrong, but this has to be weighed against the greater "justice" of a second chance for Zimbabweans.