President Khama must stick to his guns on Zimbabwe

OPINION – One of Robert Mugabe's henchmen and former Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, has lashed out at Botswana President Ian Khama, accusing him of meddling in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe.

Chinamasa, a lawyer and Mugabe’s chief negotiator at the government of national unity talks, is now accused of doctoring the agreement signed by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change. The paragraphs Chinamasa removed and those he inserted have caused the demise of the agreement and the prolonged stand-off in Zimbabwe.

It is a shame that there are still people in this world who cling to the senseless Charter of the dead Organisation of African Union.

In this "global village", whatever happens in one country affects what happens in the next and so Khama’s statement is within his obligations.

Khama is the president of a country that continues to suffer because of the chicanery and downright irresponsibility caused by the likes of Chinamasa and yet ZANU-PF rules Khama out of order.

But this is to be expected from Mugabe and his cronies; a robber accustomed to enjoying life from proceeds of theft does not think much of getting a job.

Presidents are there to serve the people not to rape the nation as Chinamasa and Mugabe continue to do. They have the audacity to ask other leaders to bless their murderous and plundering behaviour.

Hopefully, President Khama will maintain his position since it is the best way to protect his nation and also to help Zimbabweans rid themselves of political vermin that continues to afflict Zimbabwe 28 years on.

Speaking of presidents, I watched the great spectacle of Americans choosing a president and rather than enjoy this free entertainment, which holds so many lessons, I found myself thinking about Robert Mugabe.

While other leaders serve their nations better by voluntarily standing aside for others with better or newer ideas, we have this old political rogue who has caused so much suffering to people he is supposed to be protecting.

The election of an American president is outrageously expensive but the most important thing I envy about it is that every president has to renew their mandate with the people every four years but can only do so once.

Four years, let alone 28, is long enough a time for anyone to build or destroy a nation and I have enjoyed watching American presidents winning a further term or getting booted out after four years in power.

Yet in Zimbabwe, we have Mugabe still blaming the colonialists who we dislodged thirty years ago. After 28 years in office, we still have Mugabe presiding over the killings and disappearances of fellow citizens; we still have Mugabe deliberately withholding food from innocent starving compatriots because he suspects them of supporting an "opposition party".

We still have a president who regards the Ministry of Finance as his private pantry where he stashes his personal money.

While I appreciate that Zimbabwe is one of the countries whose HIV/AIDS infection rate has gone down, it is by no means something to gloat about because such trends are not permanent and might, in fact, work against us in the sense that they will make us believe that we can manage this serious deadly situation.

The fact that Mugabe and his ministers and party add to the suffering of the citizens has never been more clearer than it is today.

When Jonathan Moyo turned against the nation and became Robert Mugabe’s rabid minister, supposedly responsible for information, he, with Mugabe’s knowledge, raided the coffers of the National AIDS Council and used the money to stage a useless beauty pageant at Victoria Falls. Moyo argued that the pageant was being staged to market Zimbabwe.

But how insensitive could one get more than taking money meant for ARV drugs for our afflicted compatriots and, ironically, use that money to stage a worthless beauty pageant with half-naked lasses prancing around on the stage while cabinet ministers drooled at these young women?

Now Mugabe is at it again, this time with Zimbabwe Reserve bank governor Gideon Gono’s assistance.

With the situation as it is and with countries all over the world under attack from HIV/AIDS, malaria and other fatal diseases, a group of men just takes donated money and share it among themselves while people die.

Even if it were their own money, they, as leaders, would still be under the obligation to put citizens first. But it was not their money; someone else somewhere wanted to save the lives of Zimbabweans and our own leaders took that money to buy hats, shoes and sunglasses for their wives.

Many years ago, people laughed when the late Ian Smith called Mugabe and ZANU-PF gangsters. They said that those were the words of a defeated racist who was jealous of a new black government.

Now we agree and we are not laughing anymore. 

Now people can understand why the MDC is adamant on having the Finance ministry; who in their right minds would give Mugabe, or any of his proxies, money meant for the sick and disadvantaged?

It appears the honorary doctorate degree Mugabe threw at Gono is costing the nation of Zimbabwe money, lives and its well being.

It is not an exaggeration that the agreement signed by ZANU-PF and the MDC, with all its faults, had given people genuine hope of resolving the impasse in our country. People are hungry, tired and eager to rebuild their lives; eager to see their children back in school; eager to access medical attention, clean water, food and a decent life.

Welshman Ncube, the lawyer Secretary General of the splinter group from the MDC and Chinamasa’s co-negotiator at the unity talks, recently admitted that his group participated in the alteration of a document that was supposed to set the stage for the easing of hardships for our people.

Ncube fingered Chinamasa as the one who doctored the document.

However, the fact that Ncube denies his personal involvement does not exonerate him.

He is a lawyer and he and his team knew of the alteration of a document that was going to be the basis of national revival and he said nothing until it was found out. He is as guilty of this as Mugabe, Mutambara and Chinamasa are because they are the ones who stood to benefit from the treachery.

And this is the man who says Khama is out of order!

The situation in Zimbabwe is a great, sad pity. It looks like our ambition to resuscitate our nation is not going to be realised any time soon.

I don’t know why people don’t realise that stealing from other people may yield short term gains, but in the end the purse that is stolen becomes empty and there is no means of refilling it except to steal again.

And we have been watching this looting since independence. And it’s getting worse.

I am so sad to see a nation that I once knew was dignified, gracious, peaceful and moral descending to this level.

Today, because of these people, my country is aggressive, fearful and racist.

This is a legacy which will not soon be overcome. Our children and grandchildren will hold us responsible for letting a bunch of thieves destroy this nation while we stood by and watched.

It is all so sad. SOURCE: Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)