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MoU: Zim must shape own destiny
Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2008

By Reason Wafawarova
July 24, 2008

The Memorandum of Understanding signed between Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations on the July 21 has been received as an act of assiduity on the part of the political leadership of Zimbabwe on the one hand and also as an exercise shrouded in dubiety on the other.

The MoU comes at a time when many of our people are beset by intolerance and the polarity that has become synonymous with the political landscape of Zimbabwe in the last nine years. It is an MoU between a ruling party that has become synonymous with liberation and the doctrine of sovereignty and an opposition that has become synonymous with neo-liberalism and the doctrine of liberties and human rights.

In the eyes of the mainstream African public opinion, it is an agreement between a revolutionary liberation movement and a somewhat insidiously pro-Western opposition movement. Yet in the mainstream Western public opinion this is an agreement between a perceived dictatorship and an assumed pro-democracy movement.

Some radicals in Zanu-PF will view this development as an unwary compromise with reactionaries bent on reversing the gains of the hard won independence of Zimbabwe while the radicals in the MDC will maintain that the memorandum is an inadvertent trap of their leadership by a seasoned political party capable of derailing the route and destiny of their party.

To the optimistic, moderate Zimbabwean this memorandum is a gesture of goodwill. It is a compendious act of maturity so meritorious that many are already convinced that the piece of paper is the beginning of the end of the economic and social instability in the country.

To the spiritual and the religious, the mere act of President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai holding hands is an undeniable sign of the beginning of a national healing process.

But what does this MoU mean to the politicians involved in its signing?

This is a trilateral treaty that obviously provides opportunities for these people who have opted to pursue the perplexing career called politics.

The politicians will be very busy in the next two weeks and it is very comforting to imagine that these men and women who should be the voice of the voiceless will be busy mapping the way out of Zimbabwe's economic problems.

This is the perception of the ordinary voter and it is one many politicians are very comfortable with for their own varying reasons.

It is not a secret that the negotiations are about power sharing. Basically, this means that the half-dozen negotiators are going to be talking about sharing what democracy would call the people's power on behalf of the generality of Zimbabweans.

This is not bad for as long as the negotiators will forever remember that they are negotiating to share the people's power, not their own. The guiding principle in such an exercise is neither the insatiable ambition to taste power nor the jingoistic quest to protect the same.

Rather, the guiding principle is to snatch Zimbabwe from the route of perdition – to sacrifice the self for the sake of the whole. This is why the signed MoU must, by popular demand, be a meritorious document carrying the hope of Zimbabweans and not an artifice carrying the fraudulent machinations of selfish political ambition.

This writer has been wrestling with the question of what the anti-imperialist position is on the talks between Zanu-PF and the opposition.

This question is surmised on the presumed position that the MDC represents or identifies with imperialism while Zanu-PF represents anti-imperialism, if one were to draw crude guidelines.

There is no doubt that the MDC is a beneficiary of financial and moral support from the most prominent imperialist countries on the planet and the West has openly bragged about this.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that Zanu-PF thrives on the legacy of sovereignty, self-rule and African emancipation.

This does not mean that Zanu-PF has a monopoly over sovereignty or that the party is the definition of emancipation and empowerment. Equally, the MDC has no monopoly over Western friendships and alliances, whether by calculated synergies or docile puppetry.

Zimbabwe can relate and partner with the West on anti-imperialist terms just like Zimbabwe can be sovereign and self-ruling on non-imperialist but Western friendly terms.

Simply, a self respecting MDC that enters talks on the basis of empowering Zimbabweans under the collective sense of the national interest is welcome just like is a Zanu-PF that defines sovereignty in the context of fair and sustainable international relations.

In these talks the gap between rhetoric and reality must be narrowed to zero. The repugnant and inimical approach that labels opponents as evil enemies must be rooted out of the political culture of Zimbabwe by both sides of the political divide.

The mediation process has so far been excellently executed by the able leadership of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and this is despite the baseless and politically motivated criticisms from Western countries.

The history and reputation of Western rationality continues to be written by the West, so not surprisingly, Western opinion is portrayed as based on right and justice – upholding the highest values and confronting evil and injustice with admirable courage and integrity. The record reveals a rather different picture and this is the picture by which Western opinion on President Mbeki and on Zimbabwe must be judged.

As former US President John Adams said two centuries ago, "Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak."

That is the deep root of the combinations of savagery and self-righteousness that infects the imperial mentality – and in some measure, every structure of the imperial order as seen in the credo that drives the editorial policy of the Western media.

It can be added that reverence for that great soul is the normal stance of Western elites, who regularly insist that they should hold the levers of control, or at least be close by – whenever a process such as the current negotiations in Zimbabwe is in progress.

How does a peace loving Mbeki get to endure all this barbaric criticism from such countries as the US and the UK while Africans either stand aside and look or in some cases applaud such madness? Are we all oblivious to the atrocious aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Or is the English language so romanticising that we believe that the race that brought it to us cannot err? What morality can be preached by people who are obsessed with such cruel retribution as sanctions and military invasions?

A Mbeki who stretches a hand of peace is accused of ineffectiveness and advised to descend on his neighbours with a punitive hand that destroys what it will never be able to rebuild and some Zimbabweans and South Africans have the dishonour and indignity to chant "Amen".

The ongoing negotiations must, by definition be for the good of Zimbabweans and not for the good of their politicians or that of Zimbabwe's Western foes. Neither should they be for the good of President Mbeki's CV.

This is why Western interference must be fought like an intruding snake. There is simply no room for Western input into this process. It is not welcome, however noble or intended.

The context just does not allow for such interference. The tainted have no right to carry the sacrificial blood vessel of atonement just because they are not holy enough to do so.

The Western community might have heavily invested in the politics of Zimbabwe but there cannot be any hope that such an investment can make a justifiable locus standi on matters so sovereign and internal such as the current talks are. This the West must swallow without question and against such there is no law.

It is Zimbabwe's inalienable right to determine her own destiny and all children of Zimbabwe must stand as one on the protection of this right.

Zimbabwe we are one. It is homeland or death! Together we will overcome.

Reason Wafawarova can be contacted on or or visit

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