Zimbabweans blame Mbeki for world silence

By Mxolisi Ncube
BULAWAYO - Zimbabweans, tired of waiting for the day they will finally see the back of their ageing leader, President Robert Mugabe, have blamed the country's growing political crisis on South African President, Thabo Mbeki's lies to the international community on the situation in the country, as security chiefs appear to have lived to their threats that they will not to allow Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

This follows the withholding of the March 29 Presidential election results by Mugabe, who is believed to have lost the poll to Morgan Tsvangirai, and the subsequent political violence cases reportedly being committed by war veterans, the ZANU (PF) youth militia and other ruling party supporters, which has gripped most rural districts since the announcement of parliamentary and seante election results.

Soon after a declaration on national television by war veterans chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, that the former freedom fighters would return to the bush in protest of the MDC’s announcement that Tsvangirai had won the Presidential polls, the war veterans have unleashed an orgy of violence, believed to be a retribution campaign on opposition supporters and activists.

The rogue war vets, who went on the rampage and invaded white-owned farms in 2000, killing five white farmers in cold blood in the process, have gone on that trail once again and are said to have invaded 20 such farms during the past week.

Appealing to the international community for assistance to prevent bloodshed, the MDC has reported that its activists and supporters in some rural districts have been targetted for harassment and torture by the ruling party supporters, while some villagers in Binga and Umguza have fled their homes in fear, after they were allegedly beaten up and threatened with death by the war veterans.

“There’s been massive violence inside our country since the 29th of March 2008 . . . MDC people are being beaten up . . . farms with remaining pockets of white people are being invaded. Farms with known MDC supporters are being invaded. They (African leaders) should not wait for dead bodies in Mbare, dead bodies in Dotito and elsewhere in the country. They must intervene now, said Tendai Biti, MDC secretary-general during a press conference in Harare on Tuesday.

Military sources have also revealed the deployment of about 200 senior soldiers to spearhead Mugabe’s campaign in an anticipated run-off with Tsvangirai, as security chiefs seem to have lived to their pre-poll threats that they will not allow Tsvangirai to rule the country even if he won the polls.

The 200, it is said, wiil command troops, comprising war veterans and Zanu-PF militants, including the notorious Green Bombers, all key to Mugabe’s campaign in 2000 and 2002, when violence characterised both the Parliamentary and Presidential election.

Deployed on Tuesday, the top soldiers will work under the direct command of Zimbabwe National Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Phillip V Sibanda as their overall commander.

“He will be assietsd by Maj. Gen. Nick Dube, while General Constantine Chiwenga will be the overall commander of the operation, assisted by Maj. Gen Last Mugova and Col. S. Mudambo. These will be expected to instill fear in the people and sway the vote in President Mugabe’s favour, ensuring that he wins the poll re-run,” said a senior army source.

Depite all this happening on the ground, Mbeki, who is a SADC appointed mediator in the Zimbabwean crisis, seems to be content with the happenings in his northern neighbour and continues to tell the world that the situation is under control.

Last Saturday, he told delegates at the Progressive Governance Conference in Watford that things were still under control and rejected a call by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change for international intervention to prevent bloodshed.

“No, it’s time to wait. Let’s see the outcome of the election results. I think the situation for now is manageable. If there is a rerun of the presidential election let’s see what comes out of that. Let’s allow the election process to go forward,” said Mbeki, who skirted the issue of the delayed Presidential election results.

Due to this statement and his ineffective “quiet diplomacy”, Mbeki has courted the anger of most Zimbabweans, who accuse the South African leader of exarcerbating the crisis by “lying to the world’ that things are under control.

“Mbeki has shown us that he is incapable of solving our problems and now he should just shut-up. He has never been to Binga, Dotito and Nyamandlovu, where political violence is more pronounced and people are beaten up and threatened with death everyday. We have seen that he and Mugabe are partners in crime. I do not want him to do anything because he has failed. He should just shut-up and stop standing in the way of the concerned international community that wants to intervene,” said a human rights activist in Bulawayo on Wednesday.

Most analysts said that it is now time the international community ignored the “coward” Mbeki to take an active approach on Zimbabwe.


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