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Wednesday is a political watershed
February 09, 2009
I AM very tempted to
hold my breath and cheer, wishing with every fiber of my existence
that the Government of National Unity (GNU) to be consummated by
dictator Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for
Democratic Change on Wednesday will take hold and succeed.
Sadly, I am cursed with
pessimism. Fear comes uninvited.
With all the odds staked
against the success of this GNU, this thing called hope, remote
and faint as it might be, lingers and flatters lazily about. It
is hope forcibly born out of a desire to see the cessation of hardships
inflicted on our compatriots by the same man whom we are now expected
to trust to bring national salvation.
We are expected to put
our lives in the hands of the same man who, over the decades, has
taken so many of our peoples- lives. Our break with the past
is to be overseen by the man who has soiled the past we are so desperately
trying to abandon and forget about.
Unfortunately, I am one
of those who can never think that Robert Mugabe can do anything
positive for the people of Zimbabwe; not after the man gave himself
almost 30 years to destroy everything in his path, like the fabled
bull in a China shop.
He used the 30 years
at the helm of a peaceful, prosperous country to convince the world
of his character.
There was a chilling
display of brutality. There was an undisputed demonstration of economic
incompetence and of corruption.
We lived through human
rights abuses during which we witnessed so many of our compatriots
die and many more go missing.
Property rights were
taken away from us and many of us lost property to our own government.
Our judiciary was contaminated
while our Parliament became a madman-s bedroom, where political
sadism was practiced at the expense of legislative protocol.
Our homes were bulldozed
to the ground and others were set alight as our own government,
our supposed protectors, exposed our infants, the elderly and the
infirm to the elements.
Millions of our compatriots
were forced to flee the country of their birth to seek protection
among strangers outsider our borders because our own government
wanted to do them harm.
I find it ironic that
I sit here in Gaborone, unwelcome in Zimbabwe, my mother country,
where a foreigner, Mengistu Haile Mariam, the Butcher of Addis,
where he is known to have killed more than 500 000 of his own people,
is given sanctuary and sits and lives in comfort at our expense.
That is the ultimate
Meanwhile, the so-called
African leaders met during of their endless and now meaningless
summits in Addis Ababa and elected Libyan tyrant Muammar Gaddafi
as Chairman of the African Union.
They were also addressed
by Mugabe who bombarded the hapless presidents with details of his
"impressive" record as President of Zimbabwe.
After the March 29 elections
SADC forced the winners of an election to relinquish a clean mandate
legitimately given to them by the people. For SADC-s sake
this arrangement must succeed then SADC may, at least, claim that
they achieved something.
But I am a worried soul.
My greatest fear is that
the presence of the MDC in this government, in which Zanu-PF is
clearly dictating both the terms and the direction, resuscitates
Mugabe and strengthens his brutal regime. The MDC-s presence
in this government legitimizes Mugabe in the eyes of the world and
the last thing we want to see now is Mugabe replenishing his strength.
I pray that this unity
is temporary. I wish it could have been slated to last only a few
hours because I feel terribly uneasy with an angel (figurative)
who keeps following and asking the devil-s help to cross a
river. Can the angel do so without compromising himself?
I hope this is temporary.
Zimbabweans had voted
for a clean break with Mugabe and the opening of a new chapter.
We got neither.
It is my hope that the
MDC knows something we do not know. They are obviously taking a
very big risk on behalf of the nation, a risk that might end up
leaving Mugabe in a stronger position than he enjoyed before the
While the contestants
literally circle around each other in the arena, sanctions on Mugabe
and his cronies must remain firmly in place.
There should be no letting
up and the pressure must be maintained or even tightened until we
see a deliberate willingness to free the Zimbabwean people and to
give back the people their freedom and protection.
I do not believe this
marriage of convenience will last. I fear its consequences. There
is too much at stake for both sides and compromise is going to be
necessary. Yet compromise is one thing the two camps are at pains
I do not believe in this
exercise at all, not because of Robert Tsvangirai but because of
Robert Mugabe. My fear and reluctance are born from past and current
The resilience of the
Zimbabwean people is a matter of public record. Zimbabweans have
managed to somehow survive under the most of excruciating circumstances.
They have miraculously provided food for themselves and their families.
We fought like lions
to liberate our country and still refuse to be tamed by anyone.
For several decades,
everyday has been D-Day for Zimbabweans because Mugabe treated us
On Wednesday, we enter
a new phase which, regardless of whether the GNU holds up or not,
will peg a watershed on our political landscape. It alarmingly requires
of us to trust Robert Mugabe more than we have ever done before.
I think the international
community is expecting a little too much of Zimbabweans, knowing
as we do that there is absolutely no way something called a government
of national unity can emerge and last in Zimbabwe.
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