Zimbabwe is the new Somalia

OPINION – When is the Zimbabwe crisis saga going to end? Answer: The short answer seems to be, never. Not even if the parties to the power-sharing deal were to accept the SADC politics organ's advice that the Ministry of Home Affairs be shared, and we are treated to another sham show of unity on television.

Not even Robert Mugabe’s death will help. The political process has been weakened so much, as commentator Moeletsi Mbeki so brilliantly explained at Pretoria University recently, that the issue now is how to prevent a Zimalia from forming – Zimbabwe ruled warlord-style like Somalia.

Home Affairs controls the police, among other sections. Zanu-PF already has Defence, so one would have thought that the push would be for the Movement for Democratic Change to get the men in tattered blues. How else would there be even a semblance of a balance of power?

But even if it gets the police, Mugabe and Zanu-PF will find another way to obstruct the implementation of the process, and South Africa and its SADC lackeys will continue to paper it over, like they have done so many times in the past.

The key to a solution remains attitudes in South Africa, where too many influential people still root for Mugabe – it is hard not to see facilitator Thabo Mbeki’s report before the troika last week as support for Mugabe’s handling of the ministry allocations.

When are these people going to come to their senses? When Zimalia turns into Zithopia, and thousands die of hunger on TV?

Mugabe is seen by them as some key prize desperately wanted by the West – they want his head, it is said.

When is the penny going to drop that two-thirds of Zimbabweans – of whom half are in South Africa – also want his head?

The only people who still support him are believers in trickle-down patronage systems.

There was a flutter of hope that President Kgalema Motlanthe would be a new broom. Don’t look for your worried face in a clean floor soon.

At the weekend Motlanthe delivered a speech that suggested he might be firmly in the Mugabe camp too – at least ideologically.

Motlanthe spoke at an African peer review forum in Benin on the land question, and said some sensible things.

But his focus in both analysis and policy prescription was on the historical legacy of colonialist land grabs, of which the redress he says, is key to Africa’s agricultural growth.

Land grabs by Westerners and others were disastrous, as was slavery – read about it in my struggle-era book The Third War against Mapoch. Enormous amounts of resources and money leave the continent in a continued plunder. But Africans are, and have always been, very much part of this plunder.

To be fair, Motlanthe did refer to the tension between people needing land and the authorities.

But he talks of popular democratic programmes as necessary to break the resistance against land reform initiatives.

How does this apply to Mozambique, where the state owns all the land, the basis of its own rural patronage system – the reason why Mozambicans are the largest foreigner group in South Africa.

And by placing the fight against colonialism at the top of the agenda, the inference can fairly be made by Zimbabweans and others that Motlanthe is supporting Mugabe’s so-called "resettlement scheme" and the campaign conducted by liberation war veterans.

The fundamental fallacy remains what Elinor Sisulu and others call "anti-imperialist rhetoric" (Air).

Once again, I’m all for battling the imperialists – black and white, Christian or Muslim, Westerners or Far Easterners. Several new scrambles for Africa are happening as we speak.

But then it is all the more important that we fight the fight intelligently and with the purpose of winning it. If you want to open a battlefield you surely have to study it first, its parameters and possibilities.

And today factors like electronic media, counter-intelligence and post-modern fakery prescribe the strategies and tactics.

What better way to fight Africa than to have its democratic movements locked in monstrous concoctions called Gnus (Governments of National Unity?

The truth is that the West and others do not care much about Zimbabwe, much less about its people. Their politicians care about their image, which can blow up in their faces and be exploited by their opponents, should they be found to have presided over calamities like Rwanda and Somalia.

The "African solutions" provided in Kenya and Zimbabwe would suit any government conspiring against Africa.

That’s because the African leaders don’t really want solutions that strengthen democracy and boost anti-corporate campaigns, they want to continue to say thunderous things on "world stages", which are so necessary to keep their patronage systems intact.

Politicians like Mugabe and his "irk" are really Western agents. And it shows – his and Thabo Mbeki’s Britishness has been analysed by many commentators.

Mugabe’s atrocities in Matabeleland in the 1980s were papered over by the British; today he is their device for avoiding developmental duties in Africa.- IOL – Independent Foreign Service