As Barack Obama finally ascended to the US presidency, George W. Bush wasted no time crawling into a well-deserved oblivion while his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, continues to precariously cling to power in a tight race against time. SADC intensified diplomatic efforts after several months of political paralysis which emanated from a deceptively written ‘unity’ document. With an economy that is in intensive care unit and a spiraling cholera crisis that killed over 1000 people in the last 15 days of January 2009, according to the World Health Organization, the massive challenges facing Zimbabwe are tragically mounting. If the country is ever going to regain normalcy, a number of things have to happen.
First of all, let us gain a perspective on why the government of national unity (GNU) is a necessary evil. We have already heard enough from populist commentaries and academic arguments coming from career politicians and activists devoid of pragmatism. While some of those cryptic predictions are not without merit, the people of Zimbabwe also want to hear more from scribes who hold positive opinion and contributions on how to make the unity government a success. It is sad that many continue to fantasize in the comfort of their homes, mostly in the Diaspora, while Zimbabwe is burning.
As a proponent of the Government of National Unity even before the elections were held, I wrote a piece back in February 2008 entitled “The myth of a smooth transition” arguing that Mugabe’s grip on power was carved in stone in spite of democratic voices that did not recognize him any longer. As soon as GNU was first announced in September 2008, I wrote “Houston we’ve got a Problem called Mugabe” which succinctly pointed out the extraordinary slipperiness of the deal given Mugabe’s time-tested trickery and megalomania. However, I still reminded Zimbabweans that “it is better to light a candle than to continue to curse darkness.”
A few months later, as the deal teetered on the brink of collapse, cholera became an epidemic representing a ‘man-made’ disaster of cataclysmic proportions. It is continuing to decimate thousands while Mugabe’s bankrupt government watches haplessly. Whoever called the carnage ‘passive genocide” got it right!
Many Zimbabweans are fully cognizant of the fragility of the unity government announced recently (one more time) and it is their right to be suspicious of politicians. In spite of the disillusionment, I think it is in every Zimbabwean’s interest to work towards its success. Unity government is the only solution that will help Zimbabwe to confront the challenges facing the country.
Call them peace-loving, oppressed or outright pusillanimous, the people of Zimbabwe have successfully demonstrated that they are incapable of mounting a formidable civil disobedience campaign to topple the regime. Their desperate socio-economic circumstances have caused them to resign from political engagement having seen the futility of their efforts, most notably after Mugabe stole the 2002 and 2008 election. The people of Zimbabwe now belong to a failed state or at least a failing state. By definition, a failed state is a country that can no longer perform basic functions such as health delivery, education, social amenities or governance. After all Africa is home to many failed states such as Somalia, DRC and Sudan. Zimbabwe is arguably another one or at least fast teetering into becoming one.
The notion that maintaining the status quo will somehow lead to change is tantamount to fighting a utopian agenda. Mugabe refused to go at least twice but no activism (outside of MDC) yielded anything. If Mugabe was going to be left with his ‘power’ intact with the MDC continuing to ‘pressure’ from the sidelines (assuming power-sharing failed), his departure would inevitably create an irredeemable power vacuum that could only be filled by the vicious military and the more radical elements of his Zanu PF party.
It is no secret that beyond the Zanu PF façade, real political power lies within the military and the deadly spy organization, the CIO. There is a defacto military rule in Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai has to come in now, the people of Zimbabwe elected him as their leader and they desperately need him, it is their right to be led by him. While the GNU is a temporary reprieve, it must be exploited quickly and to the fullest.
As the unity government gathers momentum, Zimbabweans expect the new government to do away with the Guantanamo’s that Mugabe and his cronies built. These Guantanamo’s come in three forms: Firstly, they are unknown locations holding political prisoners of war, where perceived enemies of Mugabe are being tortured endlessly. It is a war declared by Mugabe on the citizens of Zimbabwe.
Secondly Zimbabwe’s Guantanamos are dangerous dysfunctional prisons where ‘inmates’ go to die. Many activists such as Jestina Mukoko, continue to suffer behind bars facing trumped-up charges. If the new government decides to keep these Guantanamo’s open, then they must be occupied by qualified residents who happen to be Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs who for decades shamelessly killed, looted and raped Zimbabwe. They can begin to have a taste of their own medicine. They can also tell us what it feels like to take a vacation in their filthy and lice-infested prisons where food barely exists.
The third Guantanamo is Zimbabwe’s security apparatus (which I prefer to call security insurgents). These are men and women who carried out unprecedented wave of violence and spectacular attacks against defenseless citizens causing hundreds of deaths.
The nation still mourns them, especially the likes of Tonderai Ndira, Joshua Bakacheza, Tichaona Chiminya, Tapiwa Mbwada, etc. We should never rest until closure is brought to sweltering injustices and harrowing murders that robbed Zimbabwe of its great citizens. There is need to reform the police, military, police and the secret service (Central Intelligence Organization) starting with those in the hierarchy. If Zimbabweans had their way, disbanding the CIO and military leadership would be considered priority number one that would effectively end terror. To ordinary citizens, the CIO and military represent death and torture having infiltrated every aspect of their life. But the nation must ask: What is it that they are supposed to do in the first place?
Another hurdle to overcome is Zimbabwe’s own Blagojevich’s who largely caused Zimbabwe’s economic ruin. They that must be dismantled immediately. These are obstructionists. They will continue to impede progress for personal gain. The bureaucracy of Zimbabwe is run by inept ‘denialists’ who will never admit that their failed policies created the economic catastrophe that exists today. Instead, the conventional excuse is to lay blame on the so-called meddling in internal affairs by Western imperialists.
Blagojevich’s also come in form of inflated egos that represent serious liabilities to the people of Zimbabwe. We all saw the spectacular rise and fall of former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, Mugabe’s apologist-in-chief and the man behind the engineering of draconian anti-media laws that breathed life into the dictatorship. Wait a minute!
We just heard that he has been earmarked for another rise again! Now, that is a fascinating development. Moyo is the architect of Zimbabwe’s Broadcasting Services Act that created TV monopoly and barred would-be-operators except ZBC. His Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act created the world’s harshest conditions for journalists operating in Zimbabwe. Even his former master, Robert Mugabe, sacked him at one time accusing him of plotting a coup. In February 2005, Mugabe chastised Moyo in public saying: "No, Jonathan, you are clever, but you lack wisdom. You are educated, but you do not have wisdom."
Jonathan Moyo alongside Arthur Mutambara easily make it on the list of Zimbabwe’s ten most dangerous politicians as well as another list of the ‘most opportunistic opportunists.’ Whereas Arthur Mutambara is a grandstander and an overrated clown consumed with boosting his own ego, the foul-mouthed Jonathan Moyo has proven impure intentions to such an extent that many Zimbabweans regard him as the ‘evil professor.’
If anybody thinks that I am vilifying Moyo, then he/she needs to start profiling him. Here is a sneak preview, an extract of what he wrote on November 18, 2004 in an article entitled Why Mugabe should go now: “That Mugabe must now go is thus no longer a dismissible opposition slogan but a strategic necessity that desperately needs urgent legal and constitutional action by Mugabe himself well ahead of the presidential election scheduled for March 2008 in order to safeguard Zimbabwe's national interest, security and sovereignty.” Mugabe is “a fatal danger to the public interest of Zimbabweans at home and in the Diaspora that each day that goes by with him in office leaves the nation's survival at great risk while seriously compromising national sovereignty”. (http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/sky90.12869.html)
Why does Jonathan Moyo even warrant my attention or that of the nation for that matter? The answer is very simple: Jonathan Moyo is a dangerous man whose impending appointment as Minister of (mis)Information (or whatever portfolio) brings back stressful and horrible memories having previously played a role tantamount to that of Hitler’s mouth-piece, Dr Joseph Goebbels.
The nation will never forget how on January 28, 2001 the printing press of the independent Daily News was bombed military-style, yet five days earlier, Jonathan Moyo, the then Minister of Information and government’s chief propagandist, publicly stated that the independent daily would be silenced “once and for all” because it posed a ‘serious risk’ to the nation. On denying the Daily News a license, in October 2003 after his sponsored new laws, Jonathan Moyo stated, “I have always had a nagging feeling that for their entire propensity to liberal values and civilised norms, these people are dirty. In fact, they are filthy and recklessly uncouth and actually barbaric”. Back in June 2008, before he switched again I wrote an insightful piece entitled “weird Professors and Opportunism in Zimbabwe.”
Do Zimbabweans want these Zanu PF toxins like Moyo to be in charge of their future again? They constitute part of several blue-eyed expectant successors and power-freaks that have been groomed by the dictatorship of nearly three decades.
Zimbabwe needs to see more impeachments of stubborn yet failed politicians as we have seen in the former Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich who was recently unanimously voted out of office. They are forever shameless! When Blagojevich was giving his defense, he retorted: “How can you throw a governor out of office that was acting to protect the lives of senior citizens and infants and trying to find ways to be able to help families?”
Too often Mugabe and Gono have used the same line of defense masquerading as ‘givers of land’ and ‘protectors of sovereignties’ as well as appealing to Zimbabweans that they should continue to suffer peacefully yet Zimbabweans know very well that they are a bunch of hypocrites who live in extreme luxury at home and in Asia (remember the self-serving Look East policy?), while Zimbabwe’s schools and hospitals have all shut down. They will continue to lie until cows come home. C. J Lewis was right in saying that “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive” and that “those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” But again, the tyranny in Zimbabwe was not a fluke event.
Like most Zanu PF thugs, Mugabe, Gono and Moyo must be the first to seriously consider stepping aside in order to pave way for new leadership that Zimbabwe desperately needs.
While a dangerous and somber precedent has already been set by Mugabe since the announcement of the first GNU deal that eventually collapsed, the people of Zimbabwe must be vigilant to rise up against Mugabe’s hidden agenda. Zanu PF is full of toxic waste that will only serve to derail peace and prosperity for ordinary Zimbabweans. For nearly three decades, its Members of Parliament and the whole establishment has always been complicit in crimes against the economy and humanity. Why should the people of Zimbabwe ever take Zanu PF seriously given the fact that it has always choked on its own vomit? Never mind the posturing that we are seeing these days. Thankfully Mugabe and Zanu PF’s days are numbered!
I do not doubt Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s ability to govern. He has promised swift political reform starting with normalizing Zimbabwe’s self-serving constitution that created the Mugabe monster. Morgan Tsvangirai brings to the table confidence, authority and legitimacy to the new government thereby rebuilding the much-needed international alliances for economic restitution. I have no doubt there will be a maximum of two-term limits and that Tsvangirai will follow the Mandela model – that of never overstaying his welcome.
Even though Mugabe has left Zimbabwe in smoldering economic ruins, now is time for change! Undoing the damage done in Zimbabwe is not for the faint-hearted. However it is heartening to note that no matter what happens next, Tsvngairai’s ‘entrance’ will mean that the worst is over. Decades of national embarrassment will be over too. With Morgan Tsvangirai at the helm, Zimbabwe has a great opportunity to renew and Zimbabweans must rally behind the man with the people’s mandate.
By Dr Paul Mutuzu
CEO of the US-based National Vision Institute
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