He has now
destroyed whatever remaining international reputation that he once had, is
deeply embarrassing to all his erstwhile admirers in Africa itself and
while he remains under the partial protection of Thabo Mbeki, this is a
tattered umbrella at best.
As in 2002 when he was facing defeat in the presidential election that
year, he is throwing caution to the wind and in the process sealing his
fate. In 2002 he lost his credibility as a democratic leader and was
stripped of his status as a political leader. In 2008 he will lose much
more – his right to lead this country, his freedom perhaps and finally his
remaining dignity and standing. He will go down in history not as the man
who brought freedom to Zimbabwe but as the man who destroyed the country’s
economy and tried to hold onto power by starving his people into
His actions this week have simply been outrageous and the global outcry
has been not only universally hostile but also informed. If he does not
know it now he will never know the truth that in the 21st century, it is
just not possible to maintain a closed society. Communications are swift
and merciless – you simply can no longer hide the kind of crimes he is
committing, or expect to get away with them.
Like Pharaoh in the Old Testament, Mugabe has worked his way through the
plagues – each one more severe, now he has allowed the people of Israel to
flee bondage for the safely and refuge of the desert but at the last
moment has sent his army after the fleeing slaves in a desperate last
ditch attempt to hold them in bondage. The people of Israel find
themselves up against the Red Sea with the army of Pharaoh approaching in
a cloud of dust. I suspect that we are about to see the hand of God and I
fear for Mugabe and his henchmen.
I am in Johannesburg – you will recall that I had what was diagnosed as a
minor stroke at Christmas. In fact as a result of further tests it was
found that I have a restriction in the Basilar artery in my brain. After
waiting months for the equipment to arrive for the procedure to insert a
stent in the artery, I came down to Unitas Hospital on Sunday for the
procedure. As we approached the border a friend in Harare called and told
us that there was a warrant of arrest out against me in Harare. Nervous,
we cleared the border without incident and came on to Pretoria.
The procedure was carried out on Thursday and it was a marvel to be
involved. My entire team of specialists were Christians, the hospital
superb and the standard of medicine outstanding. I was awake for the whole
time and watched the monitors that showed what they were doing. It was
very delicate and as the Professor of Neurology who was looking after me
said, “we are in Tiger country”.
When they got into the area they found another obstruction lower down and
decided that this had to be dealt with before the Basilar. They did this
and the procedure was a 100 percent success. Then they tried to go on to
the Basilar – deeper in the actual brain and after two and a half hours
the stress on my heart showed and they aborted the procedure.
So now I am recovering and cleaning up my kidneys after all the poisons
they used to highlight the artery system and they intend to go back in
with new equipment in two weeks time to “do” the Basilar. The effect of
the first stent is already quite apparent – the symptoms I have struggled
with over the past 5 months have all but gone and the blood supply to the
brain stem is much improved.
I learned a great deal about the management of medicine from my few days
in the hospital – the largest private hospital in Africa. The manager was
a young woman with a degree in commerce and management and she managed a
staff of 1000 with many specialists and doctors. It had all the most
modern equipment and was spotless. The nursing staff was caring and
How do we bring this standard of medicine to all our people I mused? Is it
possible? I could see that the hospital was a business, a big business and
well run for that. My treatment was expensive but life saving and many
have helped make it possible. Perhaps that is the key to our dilemma –
working together to make it happen. Certainly it is not possible whilst we
have Robert Mugabe in place; he will have to go before we can move on.
Yesterday I watched Hilary Clinton quit the race for the nomination of the
Democratic Party for the November elections in the USA. A passionate and
professional performance. I have supported Obama since he started to run
for the nomination and I think he will beat McCain in the elections. What
a great leap forward for mankind that will be – a man of colour in the
White House. At last we can go beyond a man’s skin when we deal with him
in real life. All my life the colour of one’s skin has determined who you
are, where you can go and what you can do. Belonging to the MDC has been
one of the singular privileges of my life, freeing me from the shackles of
racism and prejudice and allowing me to see people just as they are.
Now for the Red Sea experience! I am sure that we are going to see a huge
wave of support for Morgan Tsvangirai. I am sure also that our erstwhile
critics will have no choice but to acknowledge that we have won and won
decisively. The next question is who will ensure that he is able to take
up his rightful place as Head of State. For me this is the real issue, it
will mark the point at which the sea rushes back to claim the ground it
has been denied all these years, in the process drowning a tyranny that
has survived too long.
Pretoria, 8th June 2008Post published in: Opinions