MDC Must Quit Unity Government – Are You Serious?

So, Roy Bennett is back in prison having been indicted on ‘terrorism charges’ (whatever that means). Following the recent seizure of a private company (KMAL) and not to be outdone in idiocy, the re-incarceration of Roy Bennett is a brutal reminder that all is not well once again!

What is wrong with Mugabe? Does he even care about the national consequences of his actions? Many people incensed by these developments are calling for MDC’s withdrawal from the inclusive government. But then what?

There is no doubt that MDC has become a highly visible casualty of this compromise government. However the people of Zimbabwe should not be delusional about the political realities of Zimbabwe. Pragmatism must prevail over our emotions. If MDC quits, the country risks degenerating into another Rwandan or Somali tragedy.

Arguably, before the GNU, Zimbabwe was already a failed state because by definition a failed state is a country that can no longer provide basic functions such as health delivery, education, social amenities or governance. After all, Africa is home to many failed states such as Somalia, DRC and Sudan.

From the onset, some of us held no illusions that the GNU was going to be on autopilot considering that it involves a highly successful dictator. It was clear that every turn and every juncture would be characterized by fault-lines and impediments as that has been the defining trend world over.

As soon as GNU was first announced in September 2008, I wrote an article entitled “Houston we’ve got a Problem – Called Mugabe” (www.nationalvision.wordpress.com) which succinctly pointed out the extraordinary slipperiness of the negotiated government given Mugabe’s time-tested political stratagem and megalomania.

On the international scene, it looks like GNU’s are becoming fashionable. The ongoing Afghan political quagmire emanating from discredited elections tainted by irrefutable evidence of rigging and irregularities (allegedly by President Hamid Karzai) is apparently solved! It’s official that shortly, governments of national unity (GNU) will be instituted in Afghanistan and Honduras (where a military coup recently took place) sanctioned by the express authority of the US and the European Union.

These latest entrants into compromise governments will join the ranks of Zimbabwe (2009), Kenya (2008), Palestine (2007), Lebanon (2008), Burundi (2001) and Northern Ireland (2007), among others. Elsewhere like Burundi unity governments have been successful in solving highly problematic political crises, like Zimbabwe.

There are strong arguments against compromise governments primarily that they set a bad precedent for democracy and that they promote human rights abuses. But if anyone lived through the Zimbabwean experience, then one would understand why I argued in favor of unity government back in September 2008 stating that “it is better to light a candle than to continue cursing darkness”

If it was not fear, Zimbabweans would never have chosen to continue to suffer peacefully. Fear of soldiers, fear of CIOs, fear of militias, fear of police, fear of Mugabe, Fear of Zanu PF men and fear of fear itself have traumatized the people of Zimbabwe. There is a pandemic of paranoia, an implacable assault of the brain which has swept across the nation making virtually most Zimbabweans political prisoners for nearly 30 years. That psyche coupled with wretched socio-economic circumstances caused them to resign from effective political engagement.

Even as we undergo this difficult time of intense speculation about the well-being of a fearless modern-day freedom fighter, Roy Bennett, we should not lose sight of the fact that the GNU is Zimbabwe’s best alternative at present. Zimbabweans must not allow this unity government to slip away because an apocalyptic cataclysm might very well be brewing especially bearing in mind that over 20 000 people perished in Matebeleland.

The extent of peril facing Zimbabwe is unimaginable if MDC quits. That might very well be part of the grand scheme crafted by Mugabe and his Joint Operations Command.  Who knows what Mugabe’s murderous impulses are up to this time around?

MDC has successfully facilitated the release of a $512 million loan by the IMF. Could that be the reason Zanu PF wants MDC out because it has raised enough money to fund its violent operations? Now that they got the money, they want to rupture the GNU and run MDC out of town. The ease with which Mugabe is willing and ready to set a date for next elections smacks of a setup considering that in the meantime, he is constipating constitutional reform process.

The struggle for reform must be fought from within. Instead of quitting, MDC must continue to engage in intense political dialogue with the help of bordering neighbors such as Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique. Taking moderate stances is not the solution of dealing with Zanu PF. The dauntlessness of Mr Biti’s defiance in battling the illegal Reserve Bank Governor Gono comforts MDC skeptics. The hope is to have all MDC Ministers taking a leaf out of Biti’s rules of engagement (with Zanu PF) Zimbabwe does not have a crisis of leadership but a crisis of courage. MDC ministers have to stand up to Zanu PF’s evil ways of doing business.

Avoidance of confrontation is what makes MDC Zanu PF’s prey!

The ongoing Mutsekwa imbroglio has taken another twist. I recently took a lot of heat, even from a few individuals from my own party (MDC) for calling Mutsekwa an incompetent acting in bad faith. (nationalvision.wordpress.com). In the article,  I recommended that he must be retired (at best) or reassigned having ‘nicodemusly’ sanctioned government seizure of Meikles in secret partnership with Zanu PF.  That has scared away potential investors.

Shoprite (SA), which had spent several months working on a deal to invest in OK supermarkets immediately announced that "Due to the current socio-economic and political uncertainty in Zimbabwe, Shoprite has decided not to engage in further investment opportunities in that country in the short to medium term," according to a Shoprite statement, thanks to Mr Mutsekwa.

In case you missed it, while in Singapore this week, Mutsekwa’s delivered a very disturbing speech: "It is without doubt that the organization (ZRP) has steadfastly maintained its integrity in the ferocity of machinations of the detractors determined to collapse the country. .. where the illegal sanctions have decimated the organization’s capacity to fulfill its constitutional obligation of maintaining law and order."  Mr Mutsekwa cannot continue to be a drag to the MDC especially considering that Zanu PF operates with single-minded viciousness.

It’s stupefying to hear fellow Africans particularly those in Zanu PF blaming colonialism for Zimbabwe’s ills without any specific mention of their economic mismanagement and corruption. We are used to their choreographed emotional rage, oddly hawking patriotic gibberish that does not bring any food to the people’s table.

In any case, Ethiopia and Liberia were never colonized but are squirming in poverty and primitivism. Zimbabwe went from first to last, from breadbasket to basket case and becoming a net importer of practically everything. Zimbabweans are dying in horrible conditions while Mugabe and his phalanx of sycophants continue to obstruct and to sour diplomatic relations.
There is a devastating Aids crisis; water crisis; energy crisis; health delivery crisis; hunger, poverty and disease since farm-looting began. But they somehow ‘feel’ Roy Bennett is the greatest threat to Zimbabwe. Mugabe is the stumbling block to reform and therefore the gravest threat. The country needs international assistance to implement quick impact projects (QIP’s) to alleviate suffering.

Tell me again why there is a National Healing and Reconciliation Ministry? What a contemptuous political tokenism. But where is the much needed national apology from Mugabe and his lieutenants for all the torture, the unrelenting orgy of well-orchestrated deaths and suffering they caused to millions of Zimbabweans for so long. Instead, they want to destroy the people’s man – Roy Bennett. What a shame!

While it is imperative for MDC to strongly defend its own (Roy Bennett), Zimbabweans must take a moment to protest this travesty of justice. To the extent that Zimbabwe had become an authoritarian and a failed state, it is largely because of the judiciary that was successfully privatized by Mugabe to further his totalitarian agenda.

A statement of condemnation alone is not enough. Where is the outrage? Where are solidarity demonstrations to show disapproval, at home and throughout the Diaspora? If it can happen to Bennett, it can happen to anyone.

I have nothing but absolute respect and admiration for Zimbabweans who are working tirelessly to make the GNU a success story. People should not buy into the conspiracy theories propagated by Jonathan Moyo (and others) as well as the state media that MDC is seeking to overthrow the government (which includes MDC itself). It is also a smokescreen which they are using to justify rupturing the GNU.

We have all seen enough evidence for ourselves how Zimbabwe is already back on the path to economic prosperity and social progress within a short space of time. Zimbabwe’s trajectory towards economic reconstruction is squarely accredited to the MDC.

Where is the common-ground? Where is the inclusive grandiose vision? The mind is easily blown by the incongruity. The GNU is about advancing national interest. The bottom-line is that we will always sink or swim together. For the sake of posterity, peace and prosperity as well as respect for human dignity, dear God please give him a new heart (You know his name!)