Many Zimbabweans continue to blame SADC and SA’s former President Tambo Mbeki for Zimbabwe’s worsening political crisis since 2008. What these people have failed to understand is that we are an independent nation and per se masters of our own destiny. When our political leaders join in the blaming game, the whole affair becomes a farcical parody.
“Mr Mbeki is burying his head in the sand by ignoring the fact that the problem in Zimbabwe is Mugabe and not the British. You cannot expect to get an answer from a wrong question and what we have in Zimbabwe is a dictator in the name of Mugabe who has failed to run the affairs of the country, hence, we are saying there has to be change to meet the clearly looming obstacle,” said MDC-T VP, Nelson Chamisa.
“Mr Mbeki has failed to correct Mugabe; any responsible African should be able to tell leaders where they are wrong instead of shying away from real problems.”
If President Mbeki had his head buried in the sand what was MDC and Zanu PF leaders doing if they too did not have their heads buried in the sand?
President Mbeki has made is very clear that Zimbabwe was not progressing and, more significantly, why. “Zimbabwe is not where it is supposed to be, they have failed to implement the GPA (Global Political Agreement).”
If MDC people did not like the terms of the GPA, why did they agree to it? Many people, notably USA Ambassador to Zimbabwe at the time, James Mcghee, felt the agreement favoured President Mugabe and they advised Tsvangirai not to accept it. MDC ignored the advice.
There was sufficient scope within the GPA for MDC to implement the democratic reforms necessary to end the Zanu PF dictatorship. SADC leaders did their best to encourage Tsvangirai and his team to do this; but, once again, the good advice fell on deaf ears. MDC leaders failed to get even one reform implemented in five years.
It is rich for Chamisa to now be preaching to Mbeki on what a “responsible” leader when he and his MDC friends had not only the opportunity to tell Mugabe what was wrong with his corrupt and tyrannical dictatorship but, better still, to end it. Instead of implementing the reforms, MDC leaders wasted the five years praising Mugabe to the high heavens.
“President Mugabe is the fountain of wisdom,” cooed Tendai Biti, MDC Minister of Finance during the GNU. “He is unflappable. He is the father of the nation.”
“It only demonstrates the bankruptcy of African statesmanship that lacks the spine to tell a fellow African leader the truth.” Chipped in Gift Nyandoro, NPP secretary general, in the criticism of Mbeki.
Zimbabwe would not be in this political and economic hell-hole if leaders like Joice Mujuru and the rest in Zanu PF had not been so utterly corrupt, incompetent and useless. “Vakadzi vaMugabe!” (They are Mugabe’s subservient concubine!) Said Margaret Dongo of the Zanu PF cabinet ministers, MPs and the rest of the nation’s political and apolitical leaders right down to the village head! Of course, Dongo was right!
It is the crass of hypocrisy that Nyandoro should see the speck in Mbeki’s eye but fail to see the log in his own party leader’s eye!
“In the interest of reviewing conflict there, the view we took then which I would hold on to today is that it really is the responsibility of the people of Zimbabwe to determine their future; its responsibility of the people of South Africans to determine our future,” said Mbeki.
“They talk about things that cannot be compared. An Apartheid South Africa is very different from an independent Zimbabwe. You say you want to impose sanctions on apartheid, of course you can, of course you must but to resolve a problem amongst Zimbabweans in independent Zimbabwe our view was and remains; let the Zimbabweans come together and sort out this thing among themselves.”
“Particularly because, given among other things, all my experience tells me, an external solution that gets imposed on the people, when something goes wrong, the owners won’t take ownership of it, they will say this thing is not ours.”
Yes, President Mbeki and SADC could have done more to force Mugabe to hand over power to Tsvangirai after the March 2008 vote or to force the GNU partners to implement the reforms. But to what end and purpose? A reluctant President Morgan Tsvangirai, scared stiff of his own shadow, would never have controlled the unruly Police, Army and CIO who had publicly said they would not salute Tsvangirai if he won the election, for example.
So, the GNU was the midway house to allow the orderly dismantling of the dictatorship.
Zimbabwe’s slide into this political and economic mess started way back in 1980, long before President Mbeki and SADC ever got involved in Zimbabwe’s affairs. SADC only got involved in Zimbabwe’s affairs because we were in a mess. SADC gave us sound advice and it was not their fault our political leaders, like Nelson Chamisa, ignore the advice.
Zimbabweans criticizing President Mbeki and SADC today do not want to accept the fundamental point at issue here: whatever happened, be it before the GNU, during or after, we, Zimbabweans, must take full responsibility. The buck stops with us; not SADC, Mbeki or anyone else, us!
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