Mugabe cannot leave SADC and survive politically

OPINION – As more information is coming to light on what really transpired last week in South Africa, it is becoming clearer that Mugabe cannot leave SADC and survive politically.

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We say so because: a) there is mandate for SADC intervention; b) there is no more appeasement; c) the adoption of the ‘foot-in-the door’ technique via Jomic monitors; d) the prospect of unsustainable international isolation, and e) Zanu-pf’s ever-widening internal leadership crisis.

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Mandate for SADC intervention

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Contrary to brinkmanship by Zanu-pf spokesman Rugare Gumbo that his party may resist the appointment of Troika representatives to monitor progress on the election roadmap talks, the founding document on defence and security in SADC provides for intervention in the internal affairs of a member state.

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 No more appeasement

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Judging from the lively exchanges and tough resolutions adopted at the Livingstone Troika Summit in March and endorsed in Jo’burg on Sunday 12th June 2011, there is no more appeasement of Mugabe. Botswana Vice President Mompati Merafhe has openly said his country is sick and tired of Zimbabwe’s political impasse. Gone are the days when Mugabe managed to have the SADC Tribunal suspended on flimsy grounds just to get away with farmers’ compensation for his chaotic, racist and partisan land grab.

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‘foot-in-the door’ technique

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The ‘foot-in-the-door’ (FITD) technique is a compliance tactic that involves getting a person to agree to a large request by first setting them up to accept a modest request (wikipedia). This is represented by the appointment of Troika representatives to Harare to make weekly visits to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) in addition to the facilitators’ monthly visits to oversee progress in the negotiations for a roadmap to free and fair elections.  This FITD could prove to be Zanu-pf ‘s litmus test.

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 Unsustainable international isolation

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Unlike the Commonwealth where Mugabe played up blacks against whites, former colonies against former coloniser and eventually withdrew after suspension, he can’t do the same with SADC and survive politically after being slapped by the US & EU with a travel ban and an assets freeze. Proof lies in Mugabe’s humiliating retreat from his attacks on Jacob Zuma, dispatching envoys to mend fences with SADC and a pre-summit ‘peace-making’ visit which he made to Zuma’s official residence last week.

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Zanu-pf’s leadership crisis

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Mugabe’s Zanu-pf party is in the throes of an internal leadership crisis that threatens the relative peace ushered in by the GPA. This is Zanu-pf’s weakest link. With the succession crisis and his ageing now determining the pace of nearly everything from a new constitution to a roadmap, it is safe to say the clock is ticking fast against Mugabe.

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