The End Game
Over the past two years my main concern has been that Zanu PF would abandon
any pretext that they were a democratic party, simply declare that they were
going to govern indefinitely by dictate and continue as a civilian/military
junta. Such a junta has effectively governed us since the security chiefs
declared in 2002 that they would not accept into power anyone who did not
participate in the 1972/80 struggles for Independence.
That they have not done so is due to a number of factors - pride and
reluctance to acknowledge that they, among most other African states, were
not pursuing democracy as a basic system of determining who governs.
Arrogance, in that they believed that somehow they had a divine right to
govern and could use whatever means necessary to achieve the retention of
power. Belief, that no matter what they did, their links with other SADC
States would protect them diplomatically.
There were other factors of course. They had been rigging elections and
using violence as a means of intimidating voters from day 1. Their skills in
the former area were widely respected in Africa and many other regimes took
note of 'how it was done'. The complicity of the Mbeki led government in
this process was crucial and they clearly understood how to manipulate South
Africa. Finally they viewed local democratic forces with distain and
regarded all opposition parties as inferior.
Make no mistake about it, Zanu is a formidable adversary. They are now
nearly 60 years old and are well established throughout the country. They
have almost unlimited resources by local standards, an infrastructure that
has been built up over many years and of course, control of State resources.
They use such resources without constraint and the taxpayer pays for much of
what goes on.
But aside from this they have learned a great deal over the past 60 years -
how to deal with other political movements in Africa, with African States
and the AU/SADC. They are skilled at manipulating global opinion and
controlling local information flows. Some of this activity is quite crude,
but much of it is sophisticated and in recent years I have admired how
swiftly they respond to a challenge or a problem. Like all fascist movements
they are also very disciplined.
For example, next week they plan to launch a propaganda onslaught on the
issue of violence. In the period 1982 to 1987 they were able to conduct the
violent suppression of Zapu in Matabeleland very much behind closed doors.
Civil Society was not as well organised or resourced in those days and the
international community more compliant.
Now when they try to do the same thing in 2008 they have found, after 4
weeks of nation wide violence against MDC and others that they are in all
sorts of trouble. American and other foreign diplomats are visiting Zanu
bases and torture centers without fear and in a deliberate effort to expose
the programme. Civil society is documenting every incident and advertising
the perpetrators and the consequences. Modern information technology and the
satellite communications system does the rest. I am told the outcry is so
great that the UN (that useless lumbering elephant) might actually get off
its proverbial posterior and do something.
So next week we expect the regime to start a campaign to blame the MDC for
the violence and to show what terrible deeds we are carrying out! We can
expect all Zanu actors - Ministers, senior civil servants, diplomats and
party aficionados to speak from the same hymnal. Thank goodness we are in
fact behaving ourselves. I spoke to a young farmer last week who had been
held hostage in his home by a gang of thugs who eventually opened fire with
live ammunition. Although he was armed and perfectly capable of doing some
damage, common sense prevailed and he kept his cool. Incredible when you
think that over the past decade of violence on farms with all the theft and
provocation that has taken place, that hardly a shot has been fired in
retaliation or retribution. That is strength - not a weakness.
So now at last, and to my personal relief, we have a date with destiny - the
27th June 2008, three months after the March election. The rules will be the
same although the regime is changing all the personnel in the ZEC to try and
make it more compliant to orders of a political nature from the Zanu PF and
its functionaries. But we have an election - a chance to use the only tool
for change that we are prepared to use.
For Zanu PF this presents many problems - they must come out of the Jesse
where they are at present, into the open and face their mortal enemy. And
make no mistake about it - this is a fight to the finish. Both sides have
repudiated compromise; we want to see just who has the support of the
people. They must finish this game in front of the whole watching world and
every move will be watched and analyzed. I hope they also realize it would
be a serious mistake to underestimate the MDC or the people.
Watching Mugabe launch his campaign last night on local television was
interesting. It told one salutary story - age matters. At 84 he is no spring
chicken and those beady eyes no longer have the same impact they once did.
Gone was the suave English and Oxford row mannerisms. Sometimes he is a bit
unsteady on his feet and must be helped.
By rejecting compromise and opting instead for a hard line and violence, Mr.
Mugabe and his closest allies have in fact sealed their fate. When they are
defeated on the 27th of June, they will have no option but to relinquish
power to the hated MDC and when that happens they are naked in a legal
blizzard. Could not happen to a nicer bunch of people.
Now all you Zimbabweans - once more into the fray! You may be weary, you may
be bruised and battered, the business may be on its last legs - but we have
to garner the energy and the courage to go back into the field for one last
time. This is our decisive moment. With a gallery of billions we have to
face Zanu and defeat it - defeat it so decisively that no one can argue that
MDC has won and then we can get on with the business of rebuilding this
great little country.
Spare a thought today for Morgan who comes back into the country and
launches the campaign in Bulawayo on Sunday. We eventually got a Judge to
rule that we could go ahead and we expect a large crowd. In front of Morgan
is six weeks of tough campaigning after the exhausting campaign for the
March 29th election. He has not had a break and the pressure on him is
massive. Also pray for the family - there is huge pressure on Susan as well.
When we win on the 27th it will be a matter of days and then we will be
flung into the arena with many wild animals to fight in a new contest -
education, health, starvation and stability, inflation and reconstruction,
potholes and shortages of every kind. At least in dealing with those
challenges we will not be alone. On the 27th June it's only us - no one else
so get involved. Call me if you want to help 091 2227144, its quite secure!
Bulawayo, 17th May 2008