After the SADC Summit, the end is near; what is next for Mugabe?

Opinion: If there is anybody who was dealt a blow by the just ended summit, it is Mugabe and his ZANU-PF. Their game plan to rush elections this year whilst their 87-year-old presidential candidate still has some energy has been foiled by the bravery of President Jacob Zuma and SADC.

 

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Anyone whose mind is honest to its career would know that ZANU-PF is not going to win any free and fair election in Zimbabwe. The reason why ZANU-PF is so eager for an election before the end of this year is to try to force an election before any significant reforms, pertinent for a free and fair election, can be achieved. The subordinate reason to this is also obvious. They want an election that they can manipulate because surely the game of numbers is against them

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SADC is not entertaining the nonsense from ZANU-PF anymore, or rather; ZANU-PF has tested the patience of SADC for too long. For sure, SADC would not want to appear like a toothless bulldog. They are the guarantors of the GPA and any talk of interference into the internal affairs of Zimbabwe is surely nonsensical to them. Most importantly, there is no doubt that the events in the north have shown the SADC leaders that the situation in Zimbabwe can escalate and spill over the borders. They have realised that uprisings are contagious and they do not want to allow themselves to be caught in the crossfire. More so, the MDC Youth Assembly led by the ingenious President, leader Solomon Madzore and his firebrand Secretary General Promise Mkwananzi has reminded SADC of the wise words of President Rupiah Banda of Zambia who was also the chairperson of the SADC Troika organ at the Livingstone Summit in who said:

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“If there is anything that we must learn from the upheavals going on in the northern part of our continent, it is that the legitimate expectations of the citizens of our countries cannot be taken for granted. We must therefore continue at the SADC level to consolidate democracy through the establishment of institutions that uphold the tenets of good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law”

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On the other hand, Zimbabwe is now irking President Zuma’s own domestic policies. Although, he would not stand in public and say it, I would imagine Minister Trevor Manuel being replaced by COSATU Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi, if he has not advised his boss that, two jobs created in the northern neighbour is four jobs for South Africans. For sure, President Zuma’s job creation drive has made him realize how his neighbour is so costly in its current state.

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At the same time, one should never underestimate the work that the MDC President Dr Morgan Tsvangirai has done on the diplomatic front. Apart from anything else that is attributed to the former American Ambassador to Zimbabwe, this is where I agree with the “bravery” that Christopher Dell saw and was recognized by the wise man from the east in South Korea who awarded the MDC Leader with a doctorate in law. Here is a man who has long been insulted for “wasting time visiting and talking” to the leaders in SADC. Some have said, “They will never listen” to him. I wonder if those people still hold the same view. From where I stand, the diplomatic offence that the MDC President has embarked on has finally paid dividend. He kept on knocking and knocking and SADC is finally realizing that he is not a visitor at the door but one of their own whose simple quest is to deliver the people of Zimbabwe from tyranny. A combination of these factors simply means South Africa and SADC will not take nonsense anymore, because the result will not be beneficial to either the people of Zimbabwe or its neighbours.

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ZANU-PF should be running out of ideas now; surely, there cannot be an election this year; further, any election will be held in an environment that is free and fair. An environment that is free and fair is the same as a delayed election lost by ZANU-PF because this time it will be a game of real numbers. At the same time, their presidential candidate will be 88 years old next year. If he is still their candidate, I will also file my own nomination papers for the top job in Zimbabwe. By that, I mean no one will entrust the country in a person of that age, who at 86 was sleeping for a greater part of the meeting with his Finance Minister. This is not “changing a father because he is old” but removing an individual and replacing him by a capable leader.

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On the part of the MDC and other democratic forces including the civic society, the media, students and business, let us not lose sight of the ball. ZANU-PF has a tendency of running way with the ball when it is sure of defeat as in this case. Let us keep the pressure on SADC. Most importantly, any election should be held in accordance with the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

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Let me make this point very clear, SADC and the people of Zimbabwe are on the right path to ensuring freedom for the people of Zimbabwe. The corollary of that is ZANU-PF is now sure of defeat than ever. That does not mean we should rejoice yet, there is still a long way to go. ZANU-PF is in survival mode, they will chose to run away with the ball than to suffer the consequences of defeat. Never think that ZANU-PF cares, if you have forgotten remember how we were suffering in 2008. These are individuals who can do anything to retain power, although this time what that “anything’ is, is hard to imagine. However, beware of the last kicks of a dying horse.

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For ZANU-PF, on their part they should know that the world has arisen against them, the walls of repression are crumbling in their face. Their options are limited to none. The people are not taking nonsense anymore, South Africa is not taking nonsense anymore and so is SADC and the world, if they have any option, it is to disrespect SADC and say to hell with SADC as we have sensed from their recent talk attempting to undermine the body that delayed their exit to next year from 2008. If they chose to do that, then my advice is that they might as well book their plane tickets to the Netherlands well in advance. Moreover, they should just give a call to their long ally Muammar Gaddafi and check for progress in his endeavours.

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Lastly, it will be unjust not to touch on the current discussion on the terminology used in the SADC Summit communiqué where the term” noted” was used, which has prompted some to say it means not endorsed. Of course “noted” is not equivalent to endorsed, “noted” means recognized and accepted. However that is beside the point, the real point is that what is being noted are not recommendations, they are decisions, the troika decisions, the same Organ Troika that was mandated by the same SADC Summit “ to remain seized with the implementation of the Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe”. This means of course that the decisions of the Organ Troika had no business being endorsed by the Summit since the Organ Troika is a body that makes its decisions and, as in this case, will implement them. This reality will not be changed by propaganda talk that the Livingstone Organ troika decisions are recommendations that were meant to be endorsed by anyone. The SADC Summit Communiqué makes it clear that these were Organ Troika “decisions” and therefore not recommendations to be endorsed or rejected by Summit. Whichever way ZANU-PF and its leader might want to look at this, the end is near.

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