Our duty to Zimbabwe

There can be no gainsaying that the Zimbabwe deal is not perfect. Ordinarily we should be condemning the fact that Robert Mugabe is still part of the government even though he lost the March elections and it was only when he ensured he was the only horse in the race that he "won" what was supposed to have been a run-off election.

There can be no gainsaying that the Zimbabwe deal is not perfect. Ordinarily we should be condemning the fact that Robert Mugabe is still part of the government even though he lost the March elections and it was only when he ensured he was the only horse in the race that he "won" what was supposed to have been a run-off election.

Many analysts have correctly decried this as setting a wrong precedent for the continent, especially after Kenya's ruling elite decided to hold on to power despite the views of that country's electorate.

But Zimbabweans have generally welcomed the deal. The duty of the international community is not to prescribe to them what is good or not, but to support them in these trying times. This may be a marriage of convenience, but the difference between this and other such unions is that the parties here say they want to make it work.

Our commitment to Zimbabwe should therefore be to its people, not even their governments. We therefore should not prophesy doom. Instead, we should urge our government, which has already done stunningly to place Zimbabwe where it is, to continue using whatever influence it has to ensure that Zimbabwe restores its place as one of Africa's best hopes. It is the least we can do as neighbours.

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