Articles

President Mugabe seeks to regionalize his dipleasure with Zuma

Zimbabwe's ZANU PF party is stampeding SADC mediator in that country's political conflict to endorse a farce election in 2012, accusing the South African President Jacob Zuma of being part of the regime change conspiracy. Zuma and his team have in the last few weeks expressed their position that Zimbabwe's political parties, that form the Unity Government, fulfill all the precepts of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the founding document of the Unity Government. The agreement is not written on any other piece of paper but was inscribed in the constitution of the country through amendment number 19. ZANU PF's belligerent behavior is therefore not only politically motivated but a violation of the country's supreme law, which requires that all parties in the Unity government agree on key decisions such as holding a fresh poll. The essence and anticipated spirit of the unity government is that Zimbabwe's political leaders seek consensus on key issues.

Over the weekend the attacks on Zuma by the state owned and state controlled media in Zimbabwe have become frenzied and President Mugabe is reported to be ready to pounce on Zuma should he make an anticipated trip to Harare and tell him to his face, to back off, or as ZANU PF threaten they will simply ask SADC to appoint a new mediator. ZANU PF is of the thinking that the process of mediation is only meant to prepare the way for its stay in power. In this regard any statement or position that stands in the way, including what should be fairly reasonable to right thinking Zimbabweans, that the GPA must be fulfilled, are all dismissed as western inspired machinations. President Robert Mugabe's Spokesperson George Charamba, who pens the longest Saturday opinion in the state controlled The Herald newspaper, attacked Zuma for lacking any ideological grounding, declaring that South Africa is far too young in political experience to Zimbabwe, ZANU PF and President Mugabe to dictate issues of politics and governance. President Zuma was reminded that the majority of his people are suffering, have no access to land and others means of production. And that South Africa's leverage is only its stable and domineering economy. This is an interesting line of thinking from ZANU PF as it demonstrates the kind of people that the majority of citizens of Zimbabwe have to contend with.

Charamba and ZANU PF think that they are better than Zuma, the ANC and South Africans simply because Zimbabwe was independent in 1980, 14 years ahead of South Africa and that they grabbed farms from whites even as the majority if Zimbabweans ho hungry. This is a clear case of an irresponsible adult, who cannot take care of his own family, abuses his wife, beats his children to pulp daily, cannot feed, nor send his children to school, cannot provide healthcare to his family, telling his young brother to back off from criticizing such errant behavior, simply because he happens to have a few more years on his birth certificate. SADC and the international community cannot therefore abandon the people of Zimbabwe to such madness. A key strategy of ZANU PF is now to regionalize and Africanize its perceived conflict with Zuma, by threatening to, among other things, block the nomination and election of Ms Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to the Executive Chairpersonship of the African Union. Instead of focusing on the internal failures of ZANU PF and President Robert Mugabe, Charamba, Jonathan Moyo and those of their ilk argue that Zuma and South Africa must simply be taken as political upstarts, full of bluster but with no substance, who betrayed African by siding with world powers on Libya.  The story of Zimbabwe going forward must however remain as simple and straightforward as it is. That there is need for a new democratic constitution, and that after the constitutional process a process of preparing for a free and fair election be put in place. This process entails revamping the voters roll and a nationwide registration of voters, reforming and capacitating the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as well as sending soldiers to the barracks where they belong.   These matters have absolutely nothing to do with South Africa's foreign policy failures or successes; they have nothing to do with Zuma's lack of ideological grounding, but everything to do with the lives and survival of the citizens of Zimbabwe. Civil society must therefore not allow ZANU PF and President Mugabe to regionalize and internationalize a simple matter. The only regional and international issues on Zimbabwe are that President Mugabe and ZANU PF has messed up Zimbabwe to the extent that the region had to intervene and the region wants a free and fair election, and is tired of Zimbabwe.

The challenges that Zimbabwe face are local and ZANUPF and President Mugabe must be pressurized to honour the GPA as well as hold a free and fair election following the processes outlined above. ZANU PF cannot and should not be allowed to designate who Zimbabwe's enemies are, on the basis of its narrow, self-serving political programme. In this regard there is need for civil society to stay the course in calling for an end to violence, bolstering vulnerable communities with awareness and protection as well as maintaining the flow of truthful accounts of life in Zimbabwe to the regional and international community. It is time civil society and democratic political sector chart a new course that is not distorted nor dictated to by ZANU PF's political agenda.  It is time to look into the future with hope and let political dinosaurs in ZANU PF rest in history.

David RM Mutomba is a Zimbabwean journalist and human rights activist.

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