“If you see a frog hopping in the midday heat as if his very life depends on each hop, you can be sure something is after him and his life is indeed on the line!” I wrote in my last piece.
In it I went on to show by accepting to have talks with every “including the opposition and civic society” as Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumba say, Mugabe was leaving the political security of absolute power he had secured by rigging the July 2013 elections to form another GNU he had shown nothing but contempt for. This was Mugabe hopping in the midday heat as if his very life depended on each hop because something was after him!
The danger threatening Mugabe was the reality that he had failed to rig economic recovery. The consequence of this failure was the empty ZimAsset begging bowl that remained mockingly empty, a year after the plan was launched. But worse still the failure to rig economic recovery had resulted in a dangerous economic nose dive and poverty has spread everywhere like a plague more virile and ruthless than ever. He has brought havoc amount the poor dragging them into greater depths of economic misery and despair. Poverty, that rogue, has no respect for chefs either!
Poverty has walking into the homes of Zanu PF grandees like the late Nathan Shamuyarira without even knocking. He has been living in abject poverty for years and he died a pauper. Zanu PF cynically painted his house the day he died to hide the years of neglect, rot and decay.
Poverty is spreading so fast and he is on first name friendly basis with everyone across the political divide in Zimbabwe; if he was a politician then even Mugabe’s motorcade will pull over to let him pass!
It was the mocking ZimAsset begging bowl and the fear of poverty’s growing power and influence that forced Mugabe to forgo his struggle hold on power and seek to share it in another GNU.
The three interrelated questions to answer here are: What kind of power sharing would Mugabe want? What political solution would the nation want? And lastly, what kind of solution are we most likely to have?
When Rugare Gumbo announce Zanu PF’s willingness to talk he nailed the one condition that Mugabe wanted accepted and understood from the onset; drop all claims of Zanu PF rigging July 2013 elections. In other words Mugabe and Zanu PF must be accepted as legitimate and thus the government of the day.
Whatever political animal that will emerge from the proposed talks, Mugabe will want to have the final say in defining it and oversight of all it does.
By selecting his old partners in the GNU and, no doubt, only those in civic society who accept Zanu PF’s precondition will be allowed to take part in the talks; Mugabe is assured his hold on political power is secured. As for MDC leaders, most of them will only be too glad to get back on the gravy train. They will be some grandstanding and posturing but at the end of the day they will whatever role Mugabe assigns them.
The solution the nation would want is one that will end the economic meltdown and deport comrade poverty back wherever it was he comes from. GNU mark II will not address any of the fundamental economic weakness in Zimbabwe just as the first GNU of 2009 to 2013 failed to do because one cannot end corruption, for example, without dismantling the very foundations of Zanu PF’s political patronage system on which it depends.
The reason why Mugabe nailed the condition that Zanu PF is the legitimate government is because he did not want any of the democratic reforms designed to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship implemented.
After the formation of the first GNU in 2009, the then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai visited most of the key Western countries’ capitals convinced they will bankroll Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. They were not convinced that Mugabe had changed contrary to Tsvangirai’s claims and so the sent the PM back empty handed.
There was evidence back then that Mugabe had not changed one bit; he was the same corrupt and murderous tyrant with no respect for the rule of law. Events that followed culminating in him rigging the 2013 elections showed just how naïve and incompetent Tsvangirai been to have been so easily bamboozled by Mugabe.
The international community’s position is simple enough, they will only engage with a legitimate government coming out of free and fair elections. None of the Western leaders will be fooled by the GNU mark II in which Mugabe has even more political power than before.
So the ideal solution would be for Mugabe to accept that he has failed to rig economic recovery and for him and Tsvangirai and their respect political parties to walk into the political sunset. The nation must then appoint an interim administration to implement all the political reforms and hold fresh free, fair and credible elections. The government to emerge will have the mandate of the people and legitimacy to govern and the support and goodwill of the international community.
It is not in the nature of tyrants to give up power even with a deadly adversary like poverty already running rings in one’s back yard. Mugabe will still pursue a meaningless power sharing arrangement with MDC in the hope of sharing the blame for the economic hardships and to buy time.
Zimbabwe has a lot of things, gold, diamonds and lots of other goodies beside but time is the one thing it does not have. The shortage of clean drinking water means the nation is sitting on a health time bomb. Poverty is causing untold human misery we are sitting on a ticking social time bomb. Anyone of these bombs or both could explode anytime. The consequences of such an outcome are catastrophic for us all!
Time is of the essence; only a democratically elected government can defuse these time bombs and it is important that such a government is elected a.s.a.p.
It should not be left to Mugabe to decide when Zimbabwe will finally have free and fair elections; he has kept the nation waiting for just that these last 34 years. He should not have a say in this time!
It should not be left to Tsvangirai and his MDC friends to implement the reforms, the prerequisite for free, fair and credible elections; they five years during the GNU but failed to get even one reform implemented. The only reason they failed was that they were easily bribed by Mugabe with the trappings of power and high office and that they are breathtakingly incompetent. It is folly for the nation to once again entrust such irresponsible individuals with the very survival of the nation!
Zimbabwe, each and every one of us wherever we are must step up and for once take full responsibility and demand that Mugabe and Tsvangirai step aside and allow others to take charge. Zimbabwe has a population of 12 million, it is bound to have the 20 or so competent to get the reforms implemented without having to rely Zanu PF who do not want any reforms implement or MDC who do not what reforms we are talking about.
In one of his great speeches former US President John F Kennedy said to the American people: “Do not ask what my country can do for me? Ask instead, what can I do for my country?” There will never be a better moment, with millions groaning in abject poverty and a devilish storm threatening, for Zimbabweans to do their best for their country before it is too late!