A Coordinated Strategy.
Last week I wrote about Mugabe being under siege. Looking back at
events I am beginning to wonder if we are not now seeing a carefully
coordinated attack on the regime.
As I write this President Mugabe is in China with his begging bowl out
force. George Charamba - the Presidents spokesperson at home says they
approached several countries including India for urgent financial
assistance. This is despite the fact that it would appear from reports
South Africa has already made an offer of a comprehensive "rescue
to the Zimbabwe government.
If it is true that South Africa broached the subject when the Vice
visited Mugabe on the 12th July and that this was subsequently followed
detailed negotiations in Pretoria in the week that followed, then I can
little real sense in this sudden rush overseas to try and raise
(or alternative) funding? In fact the actions of the Mugabe regime
It would appear that the South Africans have made an offer with
conditions attached to it - negotiate with the MDC, restore the rule of
and press freedom and stop Murambatsvina. In addition a range of
tough economic reforms could be listed as conditions for any funding -
imagine what they are as well - exchange rate and interest rate
with the market, stringent controls over government borrowing and a
of price controls and a reduction in State subsidies to key
When the Americans sorted out Ian Smith in September 1976, the exercise
preceded by a carefully managed series of consultations and consensus
building by the major powers. On this occasion Henry Kissenger was
man". When the South African government was brought to the negotiating
by the UK government in 1989, it followed a similar exercise and
planning with Mrs. Thatcher as the "point man". On this occasion it
increasingly as if the major powers are working with South Africa on
issue and with Mbeki as "point man'.
What we have seen over the period leading up to the G8 summit and its
aftermath has been a coordinated attempt to ensure that Mugabe has
to go but to Pretoria for the help he needs to avoid a total internal
collapse of his regime. If this is true he will come away from China
little to show for his efforts except some flowery promises and token
assistance in financial terms - probably tied. Their approach to India
receive little publicity or attention. Mugabe will be forced to come
and face Mbeki with nowhere else to go.
Charamba bravely or foolishly claims they will not accept aid that is
to any conditions. He may be right, in which case we are in for a very
time. But I do not think that this regime has the residual strength
resist any serious offer of help - no matter what the conditions are,
beggars cannot be choosers.
So we look forward, as we have so often in the past, to a week when our
fortunes and futures will again be on the line and in other people's
That is what happens when you fail to manage your own affairs properly.
If we are in the midst of the skilful execution of a coordinated
the major powers what might the outcome be? It looks pretty grim from a
PF perspective. They are deeply divided with two main factions - both
strong men who have little chance of ever winning a national election.
Munangagwa who could not even win in his own backyard against a virtual
unknown candidate from the MDC against whom he has now lost twice.
General Mujuru who has never run for public office and has a very small
regional base and is now getting on in years.
Mugabe himself is clearly now identified as being the main obstacle to
progress and with his declining authority in the Party and in the
will be in no position to really defend his own position. His vice
could never hope to replace him and was probably appointed to block
Munangagwa more than anything else.
South Africa found its own way back from the wilderness via a national
parties' constitutional process and Zanu PF would find it almost
to avoid such an outcome here. They are already committed to
reform and can hardly oppose any agreement that simply puts this
into a national context rather than a parochial one based on Zanu PF's
If they have to agree to restore the rule of law and the freedoms of
press and association - they are dead anyway. The former will sweep
much of what they have been trying to do in the past 6 years and the
would open the flood gates of public opposition and pressure.
They are trying desperately to split the MDC and to try and weaken its
position in the country and the region, but with little success. I have
some of the latest swipes at the MDC and quite frankly they are so
to be funny. The charade taking place in the High Court in Harare where
Mudede is still trying to hide the evidence of poll rigging in the 2002
Presidential elections is yet another symptom of panic.
The reforms required by the international community to our economic
will derail the gravy train and the passengers thereon will abandon
and then stand alongside the wreck with the rest of us and pretend they
never supported that collection of sorry rogues!
The toughest question will be who can run the country while we work out
new constitution and try to get things here back to normal? To do the
we would have to finance and source up to 2 million tonnes of food,
stabilize domestic markets for everything else from liquid fuels to
medicines, get the public media under some sort of non partisan and
professional management and control. We would also have to replace much
the Bench in the Court system, the majority of senior Police Officers,
leadership of the army and the air force and bring the CIO out into the
and under control.
We would also have to rebuild the managements and leadership of all the
major public institutions and parastatals and make efforts to stop the
looting of State assets and the flight of capital. Restoring public
confidence in the government and in the private sector would be
any sort of turn around. That is a tall order and it is certain that
present collection of failed Ministers and geriatrics are simply not up
it so we will need some sort of transitional authority - that may be
Zanu may recognize that they have nowhere else to go and the end of
world is in sight and we may yet be surprised. But I would not bet on
there will be a fight; hopefully they cannot win this one because at
the region may be on the "good guys side" for once.
Bulawayo, 24th July 2005