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No war - so Mugabe is spoiling for a fight with world

By unknown | Jun 27, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

For many Zimbabweans it's not inconceivable that President Robert Mugabe could be spoiling for a fight with the world after failing to lure Morgan Tsvangirai into a civil war.

After the death of 80 of his MDC supporters, - reportedly killed by Zanu-PF thugs of whom not one has been arrested so far - Tsvangirai had been expected to retaliate by going to the presidential run-off fully prepared to get his own back.

He would have been motivated, presumably, by a desire not to appear too spineless to take on this 84-year-old who has defied the world by declaring "only God can remove me". But Tsvangirai might have been dissuaded from that rash reaction because Mugabe has finally lost it. He was, in effect, telling the world he would kill and kill again if that would ensure he won the run-off.

Nobody in their right senses could rate this as the rational decision of a leader aware of the probable consequences of his action, not only for his own people, but also for his own place in history.

As someone whose biography is "in the works", Mugabe must be aware that Nathan Shamuyarira might quail at having to write: "In spite of the opposition of almost all his African Union (AU) colleagues, Mugabe decided he would risk thousands of his compatriots' lives in an election he knew he would lose - unless he caused a bloodbath."

The killing of opposition activists and the wife of the mayor-elect of Harare suggest the Zanu-PF murderers were convinced their victims had sold their souls to British and American devils for filthy lucre.

What you must then ask is whether the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and AU leaders had bought into that evil ploy as well: the dead deserved it for committing treason.

Unless the African leaders are prepared to bite the bullet of a commitment to democracy at all times, they will have betrayed the continent by siding with a man who can condone the murder of his own citizens, not for an armed uprising against the government, but simply for wanting to choose their leaders freely.

Other African leaders got away with such impunity in the past but have ended in disgrace. The list is long, yet Africa continues to pretend it doesn't deserve the reputation of condoning the worst dictators in the world.

In Mugabe's case the continent's leadership has been intoxicated by his "eloquence" in linking his problems to the West's machinations.

Other leaders used the same "eloquence", until their own people saw through it .

In time Mugabe will face the same moment of truth but it might be too late for the nation to save itself from plunging into another Somalia or Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Zanu-PF there are people capable of persuading, coercing or forcing Mugabe to change course. They have to be people no longer susceptible to the lure of power for its own sake, as Mugabe is.

Some were in the trenches during the struggle - Vitalis Zvinavashe (Sheba Gava), Solomon Mujuru (Rex Nhongo), come to mind. Dumiso Dabengwa had the courage to challenge Mugabe and survive.

Otherwise we must rely on God Himself.

l Bill Saidi is deputy editor of The Standard in Zimbabwe.


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