Tsvangirai calls for a single front to dislodge dictatorship

BY TERERAI KARIMAKWENDA The struggle in Zimbabwe for true independence and democracy has so far been a fragmented effort that has failed to gain momentum and public support enough to dislodge the government of Robert Mugabe. The major players are well-known and their trials and tribulations well-


But that is where it usually ends. And ZANU-PF continues to run the show, dictating not only domestic policy but international response. They decide who feeds people and who gets fed, who gets treatment for HIV and who dies without it, and most recently who leaves the country and who stays. The combined power of all the independent stakeholders has never been tested, and the level of suffering in Zimbabwe now demands unity more than ever.

In that respect, MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai’s recent call for a united front to fight dictatorship is right on point. Speaking at a press conference at the MDC Harvest House headquarters, Tsvangirai said: “The challenge before us is to rally the nation, rally the people and rally the international community to help end the current crisis.” These words should not fall on deaf ears, and they need to be followed up by strong decisive action that shows clearly that the people now really mean what they say.

Previous campaigns have had no threatening effect on ZANU-PF. In fact they were quite laughable in Mugabe’s eyes. We have seen stayaways where people stayed at work, demonstrations where only dozens took to the streets and demolitions where hundreds of armed soldiers forced an entire country to destroy their own homes. It almost sounds insane, but that has been the genius of ZANU-PF, using fear to divide, conquer and demolish.

The fact is the ruling party does not have enough resources to deal with disturbances in several towns all at once. They can barely bring a few hundred prisoners to court as it is due to fuel shortages. Food shortages are causing soldiers to be sent home, and power and water rationing have been critical issues for the government. Robert Mugabe’s Achille’s heal is no secret. And Tsvangirai has finally exposed it.

Tsvangirai said: “May I call on the leadership of civil society to join hands with the MDC and assume positions at the forefront of this struggle.” Imagine Lovemore Madhuku of The NCA walking Jenni Williams of WOZA, Archbishop Pius Ncube, Lovemore Matombo and Wellington Chibebe of the ZCTU, and representatives of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and The United Nations. Mugabe would be mad to shoot any of them should they show up at his doorstep with thousands of Zimbabweans behind them. That is a powerful image. And to reduce fear, analysts have suggested that soldiers and the police be offered amnesty after Mugabe if they stand with the people.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told us on Monday that the struggle is bigger than any single institution, and Zimbabweans everywhere have the responsibility to disentangle this dictatorship. Chamisa said Zimbabweans are ready and so are the leaders. He explained how a plan was already in place and the party was meeting with officials from various organisations including The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU). Unity is a powerful force, and whoever said United We Stand had obviously seen it in action. So now that Tsvangirai has said it, what will he do next? – SW Radio Africa

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