A senior US government official, Ambassador Bellamy, admits that Mugabe reign of terror could have been ended as far back as 2002 is SA had not undermined the international community’s efforts to do so.
“The real international failure in Zimbabwe is more recent (than Gukurahundi massacre) however…. By 2002 it was clear that a majority of Zimbabweans wanted change, had voted for it, had risked their lives for it. And the change they called for was in all respects congruent with the liberal democratic values we hold dear,” said the Ambassador according to an article in New Zimbabwe.
“A number of African states, including some of Zimbabwe’s neighbors, sympathized strongly with this sentiment. The US, the UK, the EU, Commonwealth members also called for more pressure on Mugabe to respect the rule of law and acknowledge the will of the electorate.
“I remember this well as I was a senior US official and part of this lobbying effort.”
The Ambassador was sharing a platform with Senator David Coltart who is in the USA to launch his book “The Struggle Continues”.
“South Africa was not prepared to go along. It preferred a tactic of quiet diplomacy. This gave Mugabe the protection he needed to continue business as usual. The opportunity to press for peaceful change was missed in 2002, and it was missed repeatedly thereafter as Western powers continued to urge action on Zimbabwe and South Africa resisted.
“A free and fair election under strict international supervision was all that was needed. Zimbabwe’s tragedy is that it never happened.”
I agree 100% with Ambassador Bellamy that the International Community did show a real interest in ending Zimbabwe’s disastrous Zanu PF dictatorship from 2002 onwards. Sadly their efforts did not produce the desired result because of the SA government intransigence. It is clear that SA President Thabo Mbeki’s quite diplomacy accomplished nothing as Mugabe is still in power!
When the history of Zimbabwe comes to be written the world will know that the International community did try to help but could have done a lot more, particularly given the tragic human misery that has befallen the people of Zimbabwe and the whole SADC region as the result of the carry-on in Harare after 2002. It is a matter of historic record that it was the US who turned on the pressure of the white racist regime in SA to stop propping up the white Smith regime in Rhodesia in the 1970s that forced the later to accept regime change. Similar pressure could and should have been brought to bear on President Thabo Mbeki.
History will judge President Mbeki harshly for his blundering incompetency in allowed President Mugabe back into power especially after the 2008 elections which were marred by the worst politically motivated violence even by African standards of dodgy elections. After such barbarism Mugabe did not deserve the soft political landing President Mbeki contrive by imposing the GNU on the people of Zimbabwe.
At the end of the GNU Zimbabwe could and should have ended the Zanu PF dictatorship it failed to do so because the two MDC factions in the GNU tasked to implement the raft of democratic reforms necessary for free and fair elections failed to get even one reform implemented. Yes SADC leaders could have pressured MDC to implement the reforms; still one cannot blame SADC or SA for MDC leaders being corrupt and incompetent.
Senator David Coltart was a senior member of the MDC and a member cabinet throughout the GNU. He was very candid in his book about the barbarism of the Mugabe regime during the Gukurahundi “madness” as Mugabe has since acknowledged. Sadly the Senator was very economic with the truth about MDC’s breath-taking incompetence and betrayal of the nation, especially during the GNU sell-out.
Ultimately it is the people of Zimbabwe must take responsibility and blame for the political mess the country is in. It is not enough to accuse the international community, SADC, SA and even our own political leaders like Morgan Tsvangirai of not doing enough to end the Zanu PF dictatorship when we the people have done very little or nothing to stop Mugabe riding roughshod over our freedoms, human rights, dignity and our dreams!
Zimbabwe’s an independent and sovereign nation and per se the destiny of the nation is in our own hands and not the international community or anyone else. We need to wake up to this reality or Zimbabwe will never ever get out of the political and economic mess Mugabe has landed us in!