SADC must go into Zimbabwe now to prepare for elections

OPINION – Zimbabwe has been in distress for decades yet those nations that always yap about democracy and the right of people to choose their own government are silent when people are being killed as they try to uphold the democracy the westerners always shout about.\r\n

You cannot tell me that the world did not learn anything from what Robert Mugabe did to the Zimbabwean people in 2008.

Since the adoption of the so-called Global Political Agreement, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been telling us that all is well within the unity government.

We, along with the rest of the world, believed him, although the government of which he is part of continues to abuse the people.

Our safety has remained precarious but got progressively worse.

We started to notice that the MDC could not even protect its own Members of Parliament who still continue to be harassed and humiliated by Mugabe at will.

We see senior MDC officials and their members continue being humiliated in front of the MDC hierarchy and we wonder what will become of us ordinary folks.

Then, Tsvangirai started to earnestly protect Robert Mugabe.

I know that Tsvangirai thought he could use Mugabe to endear himself with both the Zimbabwean people and the international community.

Like Mugabe before him, Tsvangirai heard applause from afar and neglected reality near him. He, instead, attempted to sugar-coat Mugabe’s murderous behaviour.

Tsvangirai became Mugabe’s Public Relations Officer and for almost two years, he did well in this respect.

“Mugabe is a crook,” Tsvangirai finally conceded earlier this week at a rally in Bulawayo.

I wish Tsvangirai had said this as far back as the first month of this nonsensical unity government.

It could have helped in many ways. Such an admission could also have helped many countries who based their decisions on ZANU-PF on what Tsvangirai said to them about the state of the unity government and his relationship with Mugabe.

Mugabe knew what he was doing; Tsvangirai didn’t.

Mugabe never wavered from his destructive path yet Tsvangirai had to always go out of his way to appease Mugabe, telling the world that all was well within the unity government.

It is worrisome that it took Tsvangirai so long to realise that Mugabe was never a person to do business with.

I, among others, have warned the MDC about the folly of embracing Mugabe. Tsvangirai cannot claim that he did not know.

“Mugabe is a dishonest person,” thundered Tsvangirai.

Please, tell us something new!

It is sad that Tsvangirai should be admitting this so late into a tragedy that he helped to fortify.

Tsvangirai is the best thing that ever happened to ZANU-PF. He came to its rescue precisely at a time when they were at their weakest.

Tsvangirai went on to tell the people at his rally in Bulawayo that he and Mugabe do not see eye to eye in cabinet.

He said they don’t even look at each other.

I cannot believe Tsvangirai said that when, for almost two years, he has been saying nothing but positive things about Mugabe.

Not only did he send emissaries to tell the world that he and Mugabe were working well together, he himself went around the globe, espousing the gospel of the success of the unity government.

He demanded that sanctions against Mugabe be removed as a reward for the good he and Mugabe were achieving in Zimbabwe.

Remember Tsvangirai saying Mugabe is the kind of man he could do business with?

Remember Tsvangirai recently calling Mugabe a hero?

I really would like to know when exactly Tsvangirai found out that Mugabe is a dishonest crook.

Where has Tsvangirai been all this time that he makes such a startling announcement at a time he had convinced the whole world that something good was happening between him and Mugabe?

“The MDC has given up on Mugabe because of his continued violation of the GPA and early elections are the best option,” Tsvangirai said last Friday. “We want elections next year to end this unhappy marriage with ZANU-PF. The MDC is ready for the elections…”

Oh, dear!

So that is why Tsvangirai is now criticising Mugabe?

Tsvangirai is suddenly bad-mouthing Mugabe because it is election time.

He is now electioneering and his trump card is to now portray Mugabe as spoiler yet Tsvangirai has been demanding rewards for progress he allegedly made with Mugabe, the man he “can do business with”.

Elections are nigh; it is time to blame someone for something they have been doing together. Mugabe’s friend and supporter, South African President Jacob Zuma, said he would not support an election in Zimbabwe that is marred by violence, intimidation and a suppressed media environment.

Zuma advised the three political parties to forget about elections but, instead, come up with a roadmap to elections as recommended by SADC.

Zuma wants to see “a conducive environment for free and fair elections before the polls are held”.

A week later, Tsvangirai called Mugabe a dishonest crook, but declared, “The MDC is ready for elections…”

As Tsvangirai was addressing his rally in Bulawayo, ZANU-PF launched “Operation Headless Chicken”, which will see people being beheaded if they sympathise with the Movement for Democratic Change in the forthcoming elections.

“What is going to happen is that supporters of the puppet MDC party will be beheaded and their families will be handed over the body without the head for burial,” a senior ZANU-PF official told a Zimbabwean radio station, Voice of The People.

He said his party was “identifying brave youths and party leaders who will be trained in beheading people who are anti ZANU-PF”.

This should never be taken as idle talk. We know what Mugabe has done; we know what ZANU-PF can do.

Like Zuma, Zimbabwean civil society, people and various organisations all see the impossible situation to hold free and fair elections.

So who does Tsvangirai mean when he says “the MDC is ready for elections”?

No one in Zimbabwe has suffered more than MDC supporters. They continue to suffer.

MDC supporters have hardly recovered from the last elections yet they remain loyal to their party.

But now I fear they are being used and abused by their own leaders, just like what ZANU-PF does with its supporters.

The MDC cannot even capitalise on what Jacob Zuma is saying.

The leaders of the parties in the unity government are all deranged, selfish death mongers with no feeling for the people who have sacrificed so much for all of them.

I believe that an interim government before and during the coming elections would protect the people better.

“I see a worse scenario because the perpetrators (of violence) have gained experience from what they did in 2008,” says Theresa Makone, Tsvangirai’s advisor and co-minister of Home Affairs. “I see a bloodbath not an election.”

When ZANU-PF kills a thousand people and the MDC causes the death of 50, it does not make the MDC any better.

This article by renowned Zimbabwean political commentator Tanonoka Whande was originally published by the Sunday Standard