Let Down or the Last Quarter?
I was in two minds on Friday - drink the whole bottle myself, or put
on our wine rack. That ... SADC communique was the just about the
of pure African politics I have ever seen. They covered all the bases.
Mugabe was 'democratically elected in free and fair elections in
International Community should lift sanctions and allow the recovery of
Zimbabwe economy', President Mbeki is to 'oversee the initiation of
between the MDC and Zanu PF so as to get the process of reform and
We expected that the leaders of the region would never criticize Mugabe
public. Behind closed doors we understand they gave it to him with both
barrels - 'he was endangering their own progress', he had to
'deal with the
crisis or retire', and 'this situation could not be allowed to
drift for any
In the final communique there was at least one major new development
last time they had met they had asked Mkapa - the former President of
Tanzania and a personal friend of Mugabe to mediate, they had
said that the mediation should be between Zimbabwe and Britain. At
this time, they recognised that the crisis was home grown and that the
resolution lay in domestic dialogue. I guess that is a step forward, it
also the first time that they had formally acknowledged the key role of
MDC in any resolution of the crisis.
I understand that they made two specific demands of Mugabe - either
in March and allow new leadership to step up to the plate or start the
process of reform yourself and get Zimbabwe back on track. It is Mr.
role to make sure that he does one or both.
Mugabe did not loose any time in giving regional leaders and Mr. Mbeki
clear view of his intentions. He came home and using his considerable
resources and the support of the security machinery here, he brushed
the internal challenge he has been grappling with inside Zanu PF and
got himself nominated as the Presidential candidate in the March 2008
elections. He then also forced a resolution to the effect that the
would increase the number of seats in the Parliament, elect the Senate
a system of proportional representation and hold elections for
and all local urban councils at the same time.
His assumption in all of this is that he will be allowed to hold the
elections under the same system that delivered 'victory' to Zanu PF
and 2005. Just to give emphasis to his distain for the SADC leaders and
Mbeki in particular, he intensified the crackdown on the MDC -
his thugs to carry out about Z$40 million worth of damage to the MDC
office and taking another 50 MDC people into custody - raising to at
200 the number of MDC leaders taken into detention in the past ten
There was no attempt to follow proper legal procedures - it was just
thuggery and vandalism, carried out in broad daylight.
Hate speech invoking the history of Zanu PF as a liberation movement
own personal vendetta against all his perceived opponents, promising
violence and even death if anyone dared to stand against him, poured
his mouth. The State press simply parroting his words. Joining in the
of crude propaganda and lies about the MDC and its associated
On Saturday we faced yet another spectacle of the human suffering
by this outpouring of hate and intimidation. After dragging their heels
several days over a Court decision instructing the Police to produce
detainees for Court hearings, a group was finally produced at the
Magistrates Courts in Harare. On seeing the men and women in his Court
Magistrate ordered them to be taken to hospital. When they came out of
building to be loaded into ambulances, people standing by wept openly.
Makoni, a quiet local businessman who had been Chief Executive of two
organisations, struggling for his life, gave a MDC hand wave as the
paramedics outside the Court put him onto life support on his way to
hospital. Defiant, even as he faced possible death from his injuries.
You only realize the extent of these beatings in custody when you hear
story of William Bango. A small man, who is a professional journalist
was the Editor of the Daily News, is the PA and personal spokesperson
Morgan Tsvangirai. He was beaten savagely in detention along with
the others, had his glasses smashed and went home after his release and
examination by a doctor. He subsequently collapsed and had to be rushed
hospital in South Africa where he has undergone surgery for extensive
internal injuries. Do you know how hard you have to hit a person to do
with a police baton?
The MDC National Executive met on Saturday and after we had cleaned up
Boardroom so that we had somewhere to sit after the police vandals had
through the building, we opened with prayer and a minute's silence in
remembrance of those who had died in the past two weeks and those
and disappeared. Then we went on the deliberate on what to do next.
We resolved not to respond to violence with violence in any form, we
decided that we would prepare to contest every seat, every city council
and Mayoral post in the country when the elections were held in March
year. However we also decided that unless there were radical and
far-reaching changes in the whole electoral environment and system, we
simply boycott the whole exercise as a waste of time. Zanu can run
in another sham of an election.
We also resolved not to let up on our campaign to maintain pressure on
Mugabe regime and that this coming week, we would not only support the
by the ZCTU for a two day national strike, we would instruct all our
supporters and members to participate fully in the strike action.
cities speak loudest.
We welcomed the SADC resolutions despite their obvious shortcomings and
accepted that the appointment of President Mbeki as the point man of
SADC on Zimbabwe crisis could signal the start of a new initiative.
all, he alone has the power to resolve this crisis and to bring Mugabe
heel. Political leadership is all about the exercise of such power to
achieve identified goals. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is the start of
Bulawayo, April 1st 2007