Monday, 22 February 2016

Mbeki, as guarantor of the 2008 GPA, is 5% responsible for its failure to deliver free and fair elections. by Wilbert Mukori

I totally agree with Former President Thabo Mbeki’s position to oppose the British proposal to invade Zimbabwe and forceful remove Mugabe from office.


“In the period preceding the 2002 Zimbabwe Elections, the UK and the US in particular were very keen to effect this regime change and failing which to impose various conditions to shorten the period of any Mugabe Presidency,” wrote former President Thabo Mbeki.

“Our then Minister of Intelligence, Lindiwe Sisulu, had to make a number of trips to London and Washington to engage the UK and US governments on their plans for Zimbabwe, with strict instructions from our Government to resist all plans to impose anything on the people of Zimbabwe, including by military means.” See Bulawayo 24, South Africa's policy towards Zimbabwe - A synopsis by Thabo Mbeki.


Zimbabwe chose the military solution to end white colonial rule and look what leaders that  armed struggle has thrown up; having won the liberation war they believed they alone know what is best for the nation and resisted all pressure for democratic accountability.  Zimbabwe is stuck in this economic mess because we cannot remove Mugabe and his cronies from power. They liberated the country but only to impose this corrupt and oppressive de facto one party dictatorship.


Beside one must never reach for the gun until all peaceful means of solving the problem have been exhausted. The 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) was one such peaceful solution which would have ended the dictatorial system of government in Zimbabwe; if only the raft of democratic reforms in the agreement had been implemented.


In his article above, President Mbeki put a lot of emphasis on SA’s commitment to let Zimbabweans decide their own destiny, a prima facie commendable stance; still, as guarantor of the GPA, SA must shoulder some blame for the fact that not even one reform was implemented in five years of the GNU and thus the GPA’s failure to deliver free, fair and credible elections in 2013 and beyond.

If I had to apportion blame why not even one reform was implemented during the GNU then Tsvangirai and his MDC friends must take 75% of the blame. There is no doubt that they sold-out; Mugabe offered them the gravy train lifestyles and they, in return, kicked the reforms into the tall grass.


MDC leaders were so easily fooled by Mugabe they were tripping over each other to sing Mugabe praises calling the tyrant the “unflappable father of the nation”, said Tendai Biti. Forgetting the brutality the tyrant had subjected MDC members and the nation at large as recently as 2008! MDC leaders were convinced the tyrant had accepted them in the exclusive ruling elite club and hence the reason why the kicked reforms into the tall grass; the dictatorship favoured the ruling elite and now that they were members they did not see the need to implement the reform.


Some of the MDC leaders were so convinced of their ruling elite status that even after Zanu PF blatantly rigged the 2013 elections they still expected Mugabe to give them cushy jobs according to Dr Misheck Sibanda, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet’s report.


“Some (MDC leaders after losing the elections) said, ‘If we are needed, even if it’s a Zanu-PF Government, talk to the President. Possibly we can come and serve because we want to serve.’ (They said they wanted roles) in any capacity. You could tell that it was because of how they had been handled (bribed and bamboozled). To me, it was amusing.”



The people of Zimbabwe, especially the independent press and the intelligentsia, carry 20% of the blame of why the 2008 GPA failed to deliver democratic change. There is no excuse why the people had failed to understand what the reforms and thus appreciate they critical importance to creating a democratic Zimbabwe. It is the people’s democratic duty to understand important national issues and to ensure leaders deliver on these matters and hold them to account when they fail; Zimbabweans have been found wilfully wanting in this!  


SADC and South Africa, it played the leading role in the Zimbabwe crisis, must should the remaining 5% of why the 2008 GPA was a total failure.


President Mbeki admitted that as far back as 2001 SA was already concerned about Mugabe’s undemocratic tendencies and their negative effects on the country’s ability to deliver on its objectives of “improving the lives of the people of Zimbabwe, defending the independence of our countries and advancing Pan Africanist goals …. Zimbabwe should remain a democratic and peaceful country with a growing economy of shared wealth.”


The wanton violence and blatant vote rigging by Mugabe is the March and July 2008 elections showed the whole world just how far off the democratic path Mugabe had gone.


“What was achieved by the bullet cannot be undone by the ballot!” boasted Mugabe as his party thugs, Police, CIO and Army terrorized the nation. What more proof did President Mbeki need that Mugabe did not care about democracy and good governance!


SA should have rejected Tsvangirai and Mugabe’s cosy scratch my back and I will scratch yours arrangement and exerted more pressure on the two to the implement the 2008 GPA democratic reforms for the good of Zimbabwe and the region.

“This approach (GPA) was informed by our unwavering determination to respect the right of the people of Zimbabwe to determine their future, firmly opposed to any foreign, including South African, intervention to impose solutions on the people of Zimbabwe,” President Mbeki says.


I do not buy the argument that bringing pressure to bear on the parties to the GNU to implement the reforms would count as interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara on behalf of their respect political parties committed themselves to the GPA reforms and President Mbeki on behalf of SADC the guarantor of the GPA had a duty to ensure they honoured that commitment.


Besides by ensuring the GPA reforms were implemented and Zimbabwe was put back on a democratic footing complete with guaranteed free, fair and credible elections President Mbeki would have fulfilled the promise that the people of Zimbabwe, as contrast to a few ruling elite in the dictatorship imposing their will on the nation, are the masters of their own destiny.


The main purpose of the 2008 GPA was to fix Zimbabwe’s broken political system so that the wanton violence and vote rigging of 2008 will not be repeated ever again. There was no violence in 2013 but still there were glaring voting irregularities such as the failure to release the voters roll, the vote rigging smoking gun.


Since the 2013 elections there have been reports of political violence; the signs are the next elections set for 2018 will be marred by the blatant vote rigging and the wanton violence, a repeat of the 2008 – the very thing the 2008 GPA had set out to stop happening again!

President Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma, as his successor, can never wash their hands clean of the responsibility that Zimbabwe’s 2008 GPA failed to deliver on its promise to deliver free, fair and credible elections.  How can they not be responsible; they were the principle guarantor of the agreement! If President Mbeki did not want to shoulder the responsibility as the guarantor of GPA then he should have said so from the beginning and passed the responsibility to AU or UN.


  1. SADC leaders were very disappointed that MDC ignored their warning to implement the reforms and were infuriated by MDC taking part in the elections without reforms. Still SADC should have never pretended the July 2013 elections were free, fair and credible; they should have said what they saw as is. President Ian Khama alone refused to endorse the Zimbabwe elections as anything near free and fair elections.

    By coming out and condemning the GNU for failing to implement the reforms in no uncertain terms SADC would have done Zimbabwe a great favour by helping to focus the nation's minds on the reforms and thus underline they great importance. As things are many people still do not appreciate the critical importance of implementing the reforms as the only way to stop vote rigging and the culture of political violence.

    We have the opposition wasting their time calling for coalitions and then go into the next elections with no GPA reforms implemented. There will be wanton violence and blatant vote rigging as before and, as before, the opposition will complain of violence and vote rigging. It is just like talking to a brick-wall.

    If you want to stop the violence and vote rigging, implement the GPA reforms! I fear this is one message we will be repeating again and again for some time to come!

  2. @ Mudhara

    Be careful because you are starting to behave like President Mugabe and Zanu PF who have become experts at blaming everyone else for all the country's problem except the real culprits – himself and his cronies.

    SADC only became involved in Zimbabwe's affairs after the wanton violence and vote rigging of 2008. Are you going to blame SADC for the violence and vote rigging?

    The GNU was not the ideal solution but it is clear blundering Tsvangirai was not going to come up with anything better. The fact that not even one reform was implemented in the five years of the GNU was MDC's fault not SADC. SADC did encourage MDC to implement the reforms but Tsvangirai ignored them.

    It is you and the rest of Zimbabwe electorate who are to blame for having elected a corrupt and murderous tyrant, Mugabe, went on to elect a corrupt and incompetent Tsvangirai. Wilbert is right in apportioning 20% of the blame for our present mess to the Zimbabwean people.

    If one has to apportion blame why the 2018 elections are going to be a repeat of the 2008 elections then the ordinary voters must be 90% to blame because they have failed to learn the big mistake they made during the GNU. They were the biggest losers of the GNU and therefore they are the ones who should be fighting for the implementation of the reforms and yet many still have no clue what the reforms are about.

    “SADC is the culprit about the reforms and the main culprit being S.A, why are they meddling in our affairs why they cannot put their house in order,” you said.

    If I was to consider only you in the above assessment then you will be 100% responsible for why Zimbabwe is in this mess because you are a danger to the cause given your propensity to shoot yourself and those on your side instead of the enemy!

  3. Zanu PF has been unelectable for donkey years now, they are still in power only because they can blatantly rig elections. Tsvangirai had the best chance to stop the vote rigging and he wasted it by cosying up to Zanu PF. Implement the reforms and none of the Zanu PF or former Zanu PF candidates will win free, fair and credible elections.

    The Zimbabwe electorate is the ones at fault here, they have failed to see the importance of implementing the reforms; they did not see it during the GNU and they still do not see it today. You cannot have a healthy democracy with an electorate that is half asleep, at best!

    One would not expect the likes of Tsvangirai to see the importance of the reforms, "he is flawed and indecisive character" as Former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Chris Dell said of the man. He is still a key opposition player because, again, we have an electorate who are not on the ball!

  4. @ Chirandu

    I agree with some of what you have said but do not agree that people like Mukori are not offering solutions to the nation's problems.

    You think pointing out that Tsvangirai and company sold-out is "just blaming Tsvangirai". It is a lot more that blaming him. Mukori is pointing out to a historic fact which we need to know and understand to move forward. Zimbabweans, myself included, trusted Tsvangirai to deliver free, fair and credible elections clearly we were being very naive to do so as he sold-out as we now know.

    We are not helping ourselves get out of this mess by continuing to put our trust in failed leaders like Tsvangirai; surely that is an important message that we need to hear.

    We live in a country where thinking for yourself is not considered an important virtue that is wrong. I think anyone who can help our people think for themselves is more important than many of these political leaders who are growing fat by exploiting this national weakness of following blindly like sheep.

    There are more useful lessons in what Wilbert said above that you will ever get in all Tsvangirai's empty speeches and meaningless slogans. Read it again and learn!