We are nearly there

There are growing signs that we may be seeing the end of the Mugabe regime.
The principle driver is the economy, but this is now being supported by regional consensus that he has to step down to allow intervention and recovery. Political momentum is supported by renewed gl

obal agreement that change must be allowed to take place.
I watched the Zimbabwe television news the other night and heard Mugabe announce that we are no longer importing maize – we have grown enough maize to feed ourselves! The reality is that in the middle of July we imported 17 000 tonnes of white maize from South Africa. No matter what the rhetoric, the reality stays stubbornly in sight – we will only reap a third of our maize needs, imports will again have to be over a million tonnes. We have grown a scant 20 000 hectares of wheat and barley
and will have to import three quarters of our needs of these essential grains as well.
But aside from the dismal outlook for agriculture, with the exception of the platinum sector where special agreements and the power of a few multinationals are holding the sector together, the Zimbabwe economy is very close to collapse. The fiscal deficit is totally out of control and inflation can only accelerate in the months ahead. The railways and other State controlled parastatals and companies are at an advanced stage of collapse – many struggling to maintain even limited services and supplies.
In the body politic, demonstrations and marches are a daily occurrence. Hundreds are arrested for one misdemeanor or another.
On Sunday I attended a small meeting with Party leaders from the rural areas to outline their participation in the actions that are being planned. The meeting was held behind closed doors and in near darkness. At the end of the meeting the group rose, held hands and pledged to support each other in the struggle that lay ahead. Then a simple meal with water and they returned as they had come – at their own expense and by private transport to their remote villages.
I am so privileged to belong to this movement among the poor and disadvantaged. The man who led the discussions has seen his home for only one day in the past two months. He gets no salary and meets most of his own costs. His freedom and family at risk every day. Today I walked into a meeting with two women there – just back from a meeting in a Church surrounded by four truckloads of police. The one lady has been in prison many times in recent months. They were planning their next moves and action. “Soon,” they said to me “the long night will be over”.
Most observers and commentators do not believe the MDC and its allies can bring this off. I see a very different picture altogether. Zanu (PF) and its cohorts in the CIO and elsewhere are very nervous and with every reason.
They have failed as a government in every sphere of their responsibilities. They have failed to keep us safe and secure, they have failed to protect our freedoms, the very freedoms that were the goals of the liberation struggle. They have failed to deliver a rising standard of living and access to health and education. They have failed to create and secure our jobs. Now they must go and allow others to start to put things right.
Last week the Chairman of SADC, a regional grouping of central and southern African states, invited Morgan Tsvangirai to visit Gaborone and hold discussion with his administration on the crisis in Zimbabwe. An unusual honour in Africa where opposition is often confused with insubordination and treachery. He was well received and the visit given prominence by the media – the government-owned daily carried a full colour picture of the two men embracing and Botswana television carried an hour-long interview with Tsvangirai.
Sure people are exhausted and dispirited. They are denied the information they need to be anything else. But let’s not despair – the finish line is in sight. It has taken longer than any of us expected and it has been much tougher than we anticipated, but we are nearly there.

Post published in: Opinions

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