Monday, September 15, 2008

Zimbabwe deal deja vu?

There is considerable hope that the deal between Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangarai's MDC will result in real change in Zimbabwe, although to be honest that hope is only because the alternative is so bleak.

The power sharing deal means day to day power is meant to be transferred to Tsvangarai as Prime Minister leading a council of Ministers, whilst Mugabe remains President and chairs another Cabinet. In short, Mugabe loses little, and gains some scapegoats and the chance that aid may once again flow to his beleagured land of subjects. Zimbabwe, with a life expectancy of 32 years, and inflation that averages at over 4% every single day, meaning prices double every 2.5 weeks, is on its knees - and the man that did it, and the men and women who stole from Zimbabwe will remain immune.

As Ayn Rand once said the only winner when good and evil compromise, is evil. It is clear that the murdering, thieving, destroying thugs of Zanu-PF will get away with their kleptocratic homicidal deeds. It is clear that Robert Gabriel Mugabe will continue to be President, continue to fly in a private jet and be feted by lesser (and occasionally greater) thugs and murderers around the world. In short, there will be no justice for the people of Zimbabwe, when the appropriate response would be to put him and his cronies on trial, Ceausescu style and put them in front of a firing squad.

However, Morgan Tsvangarai is tired of hoping for that outcome. Thabo Mbeki, another accessory to murder and theft, has long insisted on a compromise that would suit his fellow gangster mate Mugabe. Only a handful of African leaders spoke up against the festering sore of that regime, and so Tsvangarai felt stuck, without arms, without a means of overthrowing the kleptocracy that murdered and tortured his supporters, he sought peace.

Peace has a price.

Joshua Nkomo of ZAPU, a tribal based party aligned with the Ndebele minority saw how Mugabe could operate. As recalled by the Times, Nkomo was an opposition leader who also fought for Zimbabwe's independence. After some violence and rivalry, Mugabe gave Nkomo a cabinet seat before accusing him of plotting to overthrow the government. Following that accusation, Mugabe ordered his murderous Fifth Brigade (trained by North Koreans) to unleash a genocidal campaign on Matabeleland that saw 20,000 Ndebele murdered. Nkomo relented and announced the merger of ZAPU and ZANU, creating ZANU-PF - destroying Zimbabwe's opposition. He did it for peace, and died a broken man:

"The parallels with today are uncanny,” Heidi Holland, author of a recent book, Dinner with Mugabe, about the tyrant’s political rise to power, told The Times. "

Peace, you see, isn't a virtue when it is under slavery. One would hope Tsvangarai knows this lesson from history and is seeking to not repeat it, but one also knows Mugabe is cunning and slippery.

I notice the NZ government is welcoming the deal with caution, but saying many issues need to be addressed. I'd prefer to say that the sooner Mugabe and his cohorts were deposed from power and subject to trial for their crimes against Zimbabweans the better.

The heartbreak that is Zimbabwe is far from over, there is no reason to cheer just yet.

UPDATE: The Times writes about what is needed to make a real change in Zimbabwe. Repeal of the draconian security laws. End of the blockade on humanitarian aid being delivered directly to those in need. End of the intimidation of opposition supporters. Drastic action on inflation. Restoring to productivity the formerly white-Zimbabwean owned farms that have been pillaged and ruined. Constitutional reform to hold truly free and fair elections. Without that, this deal is window dressing.

1 comment:

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