The Pressure Mounts
In the past few weeks the pressure on the Mugabe regime has increased
significantly. Just yesterday the US government announced a raft of new
measures against the regime with the Under Secretary of State responsible
for Africa making a very strong statement on the continued human and
political abuse being perpetrated by the Zimbabwe regime.
The decision by the Prime Minister of Britain not to attend the EU/ACP
summit because of the attendance by Mr. Mugabe will also highlight
international disquiet over the behavior of the regime in Harare in the past
But the pressure is not just coming from the normal sources - the President
of Nigeria has said that the situation in Zimbabwe was no longer acceptable
and has to be addressed. The President of Zambia made a statement to the
Zambian press on Sunday to the effect that the Zimbabwe situation was a
problem for all of the African leadership.
At home the economic crisis is spiraling out of control. Prices are changing
daily and the currency has collapsed in open markets - it was trading today
at over Z$3 million to one US dollar and there is no bottom in sight. State
institutions are being forced to change prices dramatically and costs are
spiraling out of control in all sectors. Bus fares have shot up to one
million dollars for a short ride in a mini bus into town. A local company
with a cash payroll of Z$30 billion has only been able to get Z$1 billion
out of the bank.
Inside the ruling Party, Zanu PF the crisis of leadership deepens. A
'million man march' on Friday attracted a few thousand people and was a
dismal failure despite free transport and food and threats. One Minister in
Government was said to be telling his family to be ready to move if they
lost the election in March as the situation that followed such an event
could spiral out of control. I think he is right - right to anticipate the
result of the elections and right to assume that things will get rough for
those sorts of people when they lose power and control.
What has suddenly put a lot of pressure on the Mugabe regime has been the
actions of the MDC in recent weeks - Tendai Biti sharply increased tensions
when he refused to accept what the State was trying to do in the
negotiations. He said that free and fair elections are simply not possible
if Zanu PF is going to be allowed to behave as it is in and outside the
talks. Mbeki was forced to intervene directly and apparently demanded that
Zanu PF get on with the talks and stop stalling and baulking at many of the
reforms required to make the election process credible.
We are at a very critical stage in this whole process. The dip tank has been
filled with new Mushonga, the cattle are in the pens and despite every
effort have been unable to get out. The time is fast approaching when they
must take that leap of faith into the dip and swim through to the other
side. Mbeki is using his cattle prod and the results are evident. They said
they would never talk to the MDC - we have been talking for 6 months; they
said no to a new transitional constitution, we have one agreed and signed.
Now they are trying to frustrate the final steps to a free and fair
Itís 'D' day in this country and our future and the future of the country
will be decided in the next few days. With Zuma poised to take the
Presidency of the ANC away from Mr. Mbeki, the South Africans might be
feeling the same way - but for Mugabe the news is all bad.
Bulawayo, 4th December 2007