Of course, Zanu-pf needs SADC more than vice versa

Jonathan Moyo’s article ‘Elections now, or not before 2016’, New Zimbabwe, 10/05/11, exposes serious underlying fear and desperation.

Although, ‘disowned’ by his own party recently before he could raise it from its ‘Lazarus moment’, Moyo’s opinion piece provides a glimpse of the regime’s real and imaginary fears.

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Incredibly, the political scientist chose to bury his head in the sand like an ostrich by disregarding the importance of full public consultation on elections in line with true democracy, good governance, transparency and accountability before calling for ‘elections now or before 2016’. Only a pizza can be delivered to order at record time like that, not combined parliamentary and presidential polls. 

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Presumably, in order to regain the sympathies of the former ruling party which seems undecided on his fate, Jonathan Moyo used a familiar strategy of Western-bashing or Manufactured External Enemy Syndrome by claiming an illegal regime change agenda being at play without giving evidence. The article exposes a lot of frustration, impatience and panicking after the flop of the 2- million anti sanctions campaign.

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Moyo had the cheek to say: “SADC needs Zimbabwe under Zanu PF than Zimbabwe under Zanu PF needs SADC. That is food for thought which is neither a threat nor a promise to anyone.” Of course, Zanu-pf needs SADC more than vice versa.

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Without SADC, Zanu-pf would be history by now. Critics argue that the regional body is complicit in the miscarriage of justice prevailing in Zimbabwe. Most significant is the regional body’s succumbing to Robert Mugabe’s pressure to suspend the SADC Tribunal because the learned judges had decided in favour of white commercial farmers following the chaotic Zanu-pf land reform programme.

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If SADC meant serious business all of Robert Mugabe’s 3 or 4 land audits would have been tabled in Parliament and corrective measures taken by the coalition government. Consequently, donors and investors would have poured into the country as a result of a transparent land reform programme.

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The stalemate in the implementation of the GPA is clear evidence of SADC’s failure to assert its authority on a document that it guaranteed. Had the regional leaders put pressure on the regime, Zimbabwe would have prosecuted and convicted hundreds if not thousands of murderers and criminals who are enjoying the Supreme Leader’s blanket amnesty? If SADC decided to read the riot act to Zanu-pf, few of the estimated 3-4 million people would be still in the Diaspora.

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Various commissions would be operational and discharging their services by now, if SADC stopped to appease the Zanu-pf leader. For example, the Human Rights Commission would be in office and having disposed of massive workloads from public submissions by now. There would have been a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and national healing if SADC wanted. Similarly, the Anti Corruption Commission would have investigated and recommended any well-connected people for prosecution by now.

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There would be genuine freedom of expression. There would be as many as 12 radio and television broadcasting stations in the same way newspapers and magazines have been licensed to date. There would not be still talk of the so-called pirate radio stations as they would most probably have set up stations in Zimbabwe.

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If the regional bloc had any teeth or wanted to bite, there would have been security sector reforms assuring everyone of their safety and security and of participating in internationally supervised free and fair elections. Some of the army generals would have been retired if SADC was concerned about a level playing field in Zimbabwe. All the GPA outstanding issues would have been implemented by now with provincial governors of all political parties appointed and sworn into office thereby improving investor confidence.

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An example of how SADC has its priorities up-side down is its persistence in having targeted sanctions on Robert Mugabe and his inner circle lifted before a suitable roadmap is adopted, before security sector reforms are implemented, before a new constitution is concluded, before a referendum is held, before reforming the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, before the voluntary safe return of millions of exiles, before internationally supervised elections are held and the list goes on.

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Crisis-ridden Zimbabwe remains a practical example of SADC’s failure. Unless the forthcoming SADC summit on 19-20 May 2011 changes its tempo, the GPA will go down in living memory as one of the region’s political nightmares.

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Meanwhile, contrary to Jonathan Moyo’s claim, it is Zanu-pf that needs SADC more than vice versa.

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Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, zimanalysis2009@gmail.com

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