Tsvangirai behaving like Savimbi
Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2008

By Gabriel Chaibva
December 23, 2008
The Herald

NEW doubts have surfaced about the sustainability of the power-sharing deal involving Zimbabwe's three main political parties.

Even if the parties were to agree virtually on everything in dispute, it is still doubtful whether or not the inclusive Government would last long.

The fanfare, jubilation, enthusiasm and sense of hope with which Zimbabweans greeted the signing of the Global Political Agreement on September 15, 2008, evaporated quickly amid acrimonious accusations and counter-accusations.

What is not in doubt in my mind is the fact that the opposition MDC-T does not seem to learn from others who have traversed this path before and hence a golden opportunity for a gigantic leap for Zimbabwe's democracy has been lost.

More shocking is the fact that MDC-T does not seem to have learnt from its own mistakes in the past and it is quite amazing how they have developed a propensity to repeat the same.

For instance, it is now generally agreed that the rejection of the 2000 Constitutional Commission's draft constitution was a grave mistake.

That draft constitution, its shortcomings notwithstanding, provided a good beginning for an improved political dispensation in Zimbabwe.
Instead of looking at the contents and substance and the principles enshrined in that draft constitution, emphasis was on who had authored it and all was lost in this quest for glory and self-gratification.

Eight years later, we still have the Lancaster House Constitution with the opposition at every turn quick to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

What is glaringly obvious is the lack of strategic thinking, serious commitment and sense of civic duty on the part of Morgan Tsvangirai and his party.

In all fairness, Tsvangirai – whose list of demands is endless and is growing by the day – is stalling this all-inclusive Government.

He behaves as if he signed the agreement under duress and without reading it.

One can only begin to suspect that he may not have understood its contents and import given Tsvangirai's limited academic exposure.
It is imperative to recall that the MDC-T leader thrice refused to sign the agreement even in the presence of Sadc leaders, asking for time to "consult and reflect" and thrice he had agreed on the power-sharing structure and thrice he reneged on it!

When he finally agreed to append his signature on September 15, Zimbabweans were dead certain that all outstanding issues and been "reflected and consulted" upon, thus a Government would soon be formed.

It is now more than 10 weeks since and the MDC-T leader's shopping list is growing daily and Zimbabweans do not know any more what this man and his gangsters want.

The agreement is very clear on who is Head of State and Executive President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, who shall share executive power with the Prime Minister on a consultative basis.

Tsvangirai knows that, but from what has happened so far there is no doubt that he still wants to contest the "legitimacy" of the President as can be inferred from his behaviour and the issues he is raising.

It seems that Tsvangirai hopes to become President at the negotiating table, which is impossible and would be a miracle in the mould of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ!

All the same, he hopes it will happen and one can hardly imagine President Mugabe throwing his hands up in despair and calling on Tsvangirai to become President and admitting to a "flawed" presidential run-off and accepting defeat.

This is blatantly impossible and will just not happen.

The question is: Do Tsvangirai and his bunch of hangers-on, praise-singers and bootlickers not learn from other nations who have walked this path before?

Let there be no illusions and hallucinations on anyone's part. As it is right now, the truth of the matter is the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is R. G. Mugabe, a fact one would think MDC-T knows as amply elaborated in the signed agreement.

MDC-T is using the intensity of the suffering of our people as a bargaining chip and this is abominable.

The elephants may enjoy the thrills of mating while the grass suffers only to turn around and want to graze it afterwards!

It is the MDCs who are not in Government and the negotiations were on how they could be integrated in an all-inclusive Government.

It is not Zanu-PF that is being invited to join Government because they are already in it.

That is the reality on the ground and, like it or not, it remains a fact.

Why can MDC-T not learn from the experiences of others? There have been the Lancaster House negotiations, negotiations between the ANC and the National Party in South Africa, the Pakistan People's Party and General Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan and many others.

There are many lessons to be drawn from these situations.

Even though apartheid was the worst form of institutional racism ever seen, with the exception of American slavery and Hitler's Nazism, the ANC never wasted time by insisting unduly that the talks should be chaired by a "neutral prominent person appointed by the UN"!

Nor did they demand that apartheid be dismantled before they could come to the negotiating table.

The ANC also had its hardliners who saw no need to negotiate with the Boers who for 50 years had brutalised the majority blacks and mercilessly murdered thousands of people like Steve Biko.

National Party hardliners demanded a deal that would guarantee enforced, not voluntary, power-sharing for at least 10 years.

It is instructive to note that the NP prevailed and indeed majority rule only existed in theory for exactly 10 years until 2004.

In fact, the first Police Commissioner and Commander of the South African National Defence Forces were whites from the apartheid era!
It was painful, but it resulted in peace.

Nelson Mandela was able to make an unpopular decision popular, for that is what leadership is all about.

There were no ANC national council meetings to "reflect and consult" on each and every proposal on the table as we tend to see with Morgan Tsvangirai.

In Pakistan, the Pakistan People's Party lost its leader Benazir Bhutto to a suicide bomber a few weeks before the general elections. It would have been easy to derail the political process by accusing General Musharraf of the attack, but the PPP did not waste time with things that could not be proved and would not in any way help the nation.

They did not even boycott the election and there were no attempts to force the president out so that a "transitional authority" could be established.

They grappled with the reality on the ground and the facts were that Bhutto was dead and Musharraf was in power.

They concentrated their efforts on consolidating the electoral and constitutional route to power.

No appeals were made to the Arab League or the United Nations for "internationally supervised elections and intervention".

The Pakistanis appreciated that they were the ones who had to deal with their own challenges in a manner acceptable and workable for their country.

The PPP had a strategy and it appears MDC-T is unaware of this and would rather promote British and American neo-colonial interests in Zimbabwe.

In Nigeria, the people never asked for sanctions against their own country even though they were suffering under General Sani Abacha who was indiscriminately killing people like Ken Saro Wiwa.

Repressive laws, which make Posa and Aippa look like child's play, were the order of the day.

America and Britain never said a word about "democracy, rule of law, free and fair elections, the will of the people" and never ever threatened to put sanctions in place.

Instead, they were milking that country's oil and output increased five-fold.

New drills, using state-of-the-art technology, were put in the volatile Niger Delta while deep-sea oil exploration intensified as if nothing was happening.

After Abacha's sudden death, his second in command, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, took over the reins of power and gave the usual rhetoric about a return to full democracy in six months' time.

The people could easily have appealed to the regional grouping Ecowas and the United Nations for intervention and even sanctions.

Were the Nigerians stupid not to invite such interference in their domestic affairs?

No, they soldiered on and, despite the lack of trust and the situation on the ground, they went to elections in 1999 and who can say their situation today is not better than it was under Abacha?
Why did they not do what comes so naturally to Tsvangirai and his friends, which is to invite foreign intervention?

Our brothers and sisters in Nigeria know very well that Nigeria is for Nigerians and that they alone have the responsibility to shape their destiny.

They were aware of the dangers that come with inviting foreign invaders and they were conversant with the double standards, hypocrisy and doublespeak inherent in Western countries' foreign policies.

What, therefore, are the lessons for the MDC-T leadership?
Let's take the debate to the Middle East to illustrate the dangers in cavorting with the United States and Britain.

There was no State of Israel in 1947.

The British had been granted protectorate status over the State of Palestine after the Second World War in the same way they got the same status over German East Africa (now Tanzania) and German West Africa (now Namibia) after the First World War.

What did they do there? Where is Palestine today? Where did Israel come from?

Just a year ago, in a free and fair election, the Palestinians elected their own government led by Hamas.

The US and Britain immediately imposed sanctions on Palestine and they tolerate the current Israeli embargo on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, inflicting untold suffering on innocent people.

Where is all the concern that the Americans claim to have for the downtrodden people of the world?

In May 1986, a pompous ceremony was held at the Pentagon where the then Israeli defence minister signed an MOU setting forth his country's participation in the Strategic Missile Defence Initiative, later dubbed Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars".

It involved the aggressive militarisation of outer space.

It was a happy occasion for Israel as it offered them an opportunity to secure military supremacy over the Arab world.

While other countries were bound by UN resolutions on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (SALT 1 and SALT 2), the US was promoting Israel's rearmament.

In October that year, the British newspaper The Sunday Times revealed that Israel was building an atomic bomb at a facility called Dimona in the Negev Desert.

America has never said a word about Israel's weapons of mass destruction but is quick to bomb countries that do not even have any! What lessons are there for people like Tsvangirai?

Africans ought to know that US propaganda actively seeks to identify willing and gullible citizens who are ready to trade their sovereignty and independence for filthy pieces of silver.

Studio 7, SW Radio Africa, CNN, BBC and a coterie of NGOs masquerading as advocates of human rights are advancing a US and British neo-colonial and imperialistic agenda that seeks to reverse the gains of our liberation through installing puppet governments. Their selection of candidates for this is not without calculation. The targets are usually the financially unstable, the unintelligent and unclever, without record of personal achievement and vulnerable to seduction through money.

They suddenly find themselves driving expensive cars and owning houses with cash stacked in foreign bank accounts.

These puppets are made to look "presidential" and the puppets fall for the bait.

Regrettably, Tsvangirai fits very well into the category of suitable Western puppets who wittingly and unwittingly promote US and British permanent interests of amassing natural resources from other countries.

Why can he not see that the agitation for the deployment of international troops in Zimbabwe after some cholera deaths has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns?

Why were they not deployed when thousands started dying of HIV and Aids?

Such claims are trumpeted daily by BBC, CNN, Studio 7 and others at a time when over two million women and children have been displaced by war in the DRC's Kivu Province?

And by the way, who is funding that murderer called Laurent Nkunda?
A clever leader will know that the US and Britain have never been constructive allies who care to see Africa develop.

The problem Tsvangirai faces today is how to get out of the clutches of the West.

When America gives you money they expect a huge return on their investment and it is now payback time for Tsvangirai.

He may want to join the inclusive Government without giving into all the concessions that the West seeks, but that cannot happen as long as he is tied to America and Britain.

It is on record that the MDC-T national council resolved to join the Government but they have not because America has said no.

The tragedy is that decision-making is not at Harvest House, but is in London and Washington.

I wish Jonas Savimbi were still alive to tell Tsvangirai the whole story.

We don't want to have to stand up one day and say, "Mr Tsvangirai, I told you so!"

Gabriel Chaibva is a founder member of the MDC, a former parliamentarian and ex-spokesperson of the Professor Arthur Mutambara-led MDC formation.

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