Wake up SADC, Zimbabwe could be next

OPINION – Is the latest resolve by the South African Development Community (SADC) troika in Li-vingstone in Zambia on Zimbabwe any cause for célèbre and optimism?

This is a pertinent question that any Zimbab-wean, and any citizen of the sub-region is inclined to ask in view of what seems to be continuous stalling in the implementation of the Global Political Programme (GPA) signed in 2008.

Three years or so after the signing of the GPA, the only thing that seems to have happened since is a nominal Unity Government with Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, with some of his Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) colleagues in some ministerial positions.

Whether this Unity Government has been more than just in name, and good intentions, my guess is good as anyone’s. But information out of and from Zimbabwe seems scant, and at best confusing for one to make an informed judgment on the situation in Zimbabwe. One has to read extremely between the lines to digest, and even decipher and make an understanding of the true state of affairs in this neighbouring and sister country.

To date, since the signing of the GPA on which most, especially our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters, and we their Southern African neighbours, pinned hopes, the GPA remains only a pipedream with hope of its implementation fading slowly if not forever off the rail.

Frankly, the process has been iced and whether it shall ever thaw remains a million dollar question. Political agreement on outstanding issues such as ministerial powers and duties, the appointment of provincial governors, media liberalisation and a national audit of land ownership in the country still have not been reached, as important these are as milestones toward putting Zimbabwean on a new plain of reform, including amending the country’s constitution and eventually free and fair elections.

This is not to say that there have been no positive developments, notably in the economy, where some degree of normalisation has been observed, including a dip in hyperinflation. But all these still remain a far cry from the necessary foundation and head start Zimbabwe needs to embark on meaningful change. And that is why SADC eventually seems to adopt a hands-on attitude towards the Zimbabwean issue by the appointment of a team to assist the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee of the GPA on Zimbabwe.

Certainly, this must be a sober re-wakening on the part of the SADC States and Governments that unless they do something drastic to defuse the Zimbabwean situation, and to spur her towards real transformation, the country, as much as the entire region, run the risk of manipulation by the hegemonic powers. One needs to look no further than Libya. What is currently happening in Libya can partly be blamed on the regional blocs, notably the Arab League, first and foremost, and secondly the Continental body, the African Union (AU). For own hegemonic reasons and strategic interest the western power bloc of Britain, France and others, through the United Nations Security Council, the body through which they usually advance their hegemony on the world platform, exploited the delayed boldness, if not lack thereof, on the part of the Arab and African regional blocs to intervene in Libya.

What is in store for Libya now that the hegemonic powers have hijacked and abrogated the initiative on Libya to themselves, remains as unpredictable as the situation continues to be fluid and volatile in Libya.

But there is one interesting pointer in this regard, Iraq, where the situation remains precarious years after the ousting of Sadam Hussein. Thus SADC cannot but be forewarned that the longer they dilly-dally on the Zimbabwean issue, and play Big Brother to President Mugabe, the more they risk the country, and the region, to the hegemonic powers’ self-interest. The Arab League and the African Union did not lose the initiative only with the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution but with their obliviousness to the cry of the Libyan people in the face of alleged State brutality and disregard for human rights and freedoms. African and Arab leaders hesitated on the pretext, first, that what was unfolding in Libya was an internal matter. Secondly, that the Libyan government was dealing with Western-sponsored rebellions. They seemed to be ignorant of the fact that what started in Libya started as genuine aspirations by the Libyan people for liberalisation.

That is the moment African and Arab leaders should have been bold and intervened. During the initial stage of the demands of the Libyan people, there was no talk of the people being armed. To date we cannot for sure know how many people may have been killed by the Libyan authorities, as there was total media black-out on the protests and retaliation by the authorities. But the brute force with which the Libyan authorities responded to what one believes are legitimate demands of the Libyan people for democratric reforms, are undisputable. There is already a bad and sad precedent of the wait-and-see attitude, if not total indifference, powerlessness or lack of resolve by African leaders. We all know the disastrous consequences of inaction by African leaders and the international community in Rwanda, Genocide!!! Lately the Ivory Coast and Libya seem to be following suit. It is sad that African leaders, most of them self-acclaimed and self-proclaimed democrats, cannot draw the line between gross human rights abuses, and internal matters void of abuse, oppression and repression and amenable to internal amicable solutions. Such a line is not thin as our leaders would make us believe.

African leaders simply and strangely seem too slow, reluctant and ominously blind to signs of human rights abuses? But if I may venture the analogy of a butcher, one cannot really expect any humanness from a butcher towards an animal being butchered by a fellow butcher? One cannot but conclude in the face of such blatant dereliction of leadership that with a few exceptions, most of our African leaders, and leaders in the world in general, seem to be from the same hue in terms of their pseudo-democratic credentials.

They are simply artificial, transient and parochial democrats. Thus any human rights abuses are defined in their own parochial interests. As most are living on borrowed time, their only natural allies are their own kind. Hence their coniving silence against the oppressive and suppressive tactics of their fellow ruling elites.

Tomorrow they would need to use the same tactics and would expect solidarity.
But back to Zimbabwe for now the hegemonic interest of the world powers may not be of such intensity in Zimbabwe as is currently the case in Libya.

But such can change within a blink of an eye and Zimbabwe may be the next target. So when the seeming strong hands and destructive armoury of the hegemonic powers turn against Zimbabwe, it is not the masses who stand to lose more but Zimbabwe’s ruling elites, and by extension the ruling elite in the sub-region and eventually on the Continent. Thus, simply it is in the interest of the SADC ruling elite to forestall any pretext by the world hegemonic ruling elite and be bold and decisive on the Zimbabwean situation! – New Era