History has the habit of repeating itself.
“The (USA) Secretary of State outlined a plan for a transition to majority rule and said that he had the support of African leaders for the plan. Smith and his team held a private meeting and then went back into the meeting with Kissinger and rejected the plan,” recounted Eddie Cross.
“The Rhodesians walked out of the meeting and found the South African President waiting for them.
“His message was brief and to the point. He said to the Rhodesian Prime Minister that if they did not go along with the American plan, South Africa would withdraw all assistance. In a few minutes it was all over.”
The story goes that Robert Mugabe and his fellow black nationalists rejected the democratic Lancaster House constitution in 1979 and walk out. It was the President of Mozambique, Samora Machel, who reportedly told Mugabe that if he rejected the constitution he and his Zanla freedom fighters will have to find another country and not Mozambique to continue the fight. Mugabe went back and signed on the dotted line, ending the civil war!
Tsvangirai won the March 2008 election by a landslide 73% of the vote, by President Mugabe’s own admission. ZEC was force to recount the vote and, after six weeks of “cooking up” the figures, announced Tsvangirai had 47% to Mugabe’s 43%, making a presidential run-off necessary.
President Mugabe was determined to win the run-off, he “declared war” on the people, as Tsvangirai aptly put. Mugabe’s military style operation “Mavhotera papi!” (Whom did you vote for!) was set out to punish the electorate for having rejected him in the earlier vote and make sure they voted for him in the run-off. They did! Mugabe overhauled Tsvangirai’s 73% in March to win the July vote with a staggering 85%!
However, it turned out to be a hallow victory for President Mugabe because even SADC and AU election observers, known for turning a blind eye to fraudulent elections, condemned the Zimbabwe elections because of the sheer scale of the wholesale vote rigging, wanton violence and contempt of all human decency shown by Zanu PF thugs and leaders alike during the run-off. SADC and AU told Mugabe they would not recognise him as the dually elected President of Zimbabwe, not after such barbaric and flawed election. The whole world was with SADC and the AU on this! So, President Mugabe found himself once again under the cosh.
“Charovedzera, charovedzera gudo rakakwira mawere kwasviba!” (So, dirty habits die hard!) as one would say in Shona. It was President Mugabe’s selfish and tyrannical arrogance that landed him in trouble again.
SADC told Mugabe they would grant him political legitimacy on condition that he signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA) agreeing to the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) to include the two MDC factions and his Zanu PF party. The GNU was tasked to implement a raft of democratic reforms to ensure Zimbabwe’s future elections are free, fair and credible and thus ensure the country would never again see a repeat of blatant vote rigging and wanton violence of 2008.
It is a great pity that MDC leaders, whose duty it was to implement the democratic reforms during the GNU, failed to get even one reform implemented in the five years of the GNU. Mugabe bribed them with the trapping of power and a $4 million mansion for Tsvangirai and they kicked reforms into the tall grass. Not even the SADC leaders’ constant reminder to implement the reforms would force Tsvangirai and company to move one inch.
“Right now we are trying to get an authoritarian, quasi military Junta under dictatorial control to agree to change the rules for the next election,” ranted MP Cross.
MP Cross, you cannot be honest even to yourself!
MDC leaders did not lift a finger to implement the reforms when the party had the chance to do so during the GNU. SADC leaders and many other people, literary, begged MDC not to take part in the 2013 elections with no reforms in place but were all ignored. It was only after Zanu PF blatantly rigged the elections that MDC leaders promised they will not contest any future elections until reforms are implemented.
MDC has done nothing, absolutely nothing – other than pay lip service, that is - to get even one reform implemented since the July 2013 rigged elections. MP Cross should know that right now his party leader Morgan Tsvangirai is already on the campaign trail; MDC-T is going to contest the 2018 elections although not one reform has been implemented in total disregard of the party’s own congress resolution of “No reform, no election!”
Yes, MP Cross, you may well ask why Zanu PF should implement any reform when they know MDC will contest the elections regardless how flawed the whole process happens to be.
Indeed, it is for the people of Zimbabwe to ask MDC: what else does Zanu PF have to do – the regime has looted the nation blind to bankroll its political activities, frog marched the people to vote for it and has even murdered tens of thousands to stay in power – to finally convince them Zimbabwe’s elections are flawed and illegal and force them to boycott the elections?
“Since then the South Africans have shown little appetite for any sort of intervention in Zimbabwe and our position has grown steadily worse, until today we are back in the nightmare years of 2007/8. Unlike 1976 and 1994 when the international community intervened in Rhodesia and South Africa, there is no appetite for intervention in a tiny country like Zimbabwe,” laments MP Cross.
On the contrary, it is us Zimbabweans who shot ourselves in the foot by failing to make the most of the golden opportunity to end the Mugabe tyranny during the GNU. And, as if that was not bad enough, by continuing to follow the same corrupt and incompetent MDC leaders we are showing the world we are not yet ready to govern ourselves.
Of course, SA, SADC, AU and the international community will have no appetite to intervene is Zimbabwe’s political mess when they know they can wrestle power from the tyrant Mugabe, give it to the corrupt and incompetent opposition but before sunset Zanu PF will snatched it back as has happened so many times already.
“The danger in Zimbabwe of regional and international power brokers leaving us to our own devices, is that either we will slide into anarchy or become an African North Korea,” concluded MP Cross.
In the last 37 years Zimbabweans have had many opportunities to end Mugabe’s corrupt and tyrannical dictatorship, the best chance being during the GNU; but, through our own political inaptitude, have wasted all of them. If the truth be told – it must – we deserve this corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship complete with its coterie of corrupt and incompetent opposition parties.For once, I agree with you MP Cross; we are standing at the edge of the abyss and the future is look grime. However, whether or not we walk over the edge is up to us, not SA or anyone else. The world has helped us get out of many sticky situations in the past but only for us to drift right back again and call for help again. This time we are on our own, we have cried wolf once too often, the world is sick and tired of our cry-baby antics!