Interrogating Zimbabwes preparedness for a humanitarian crisis

lovemore_madhukuIBADAN, NIGERIA - I can see it coming and I can also see that we are least prepared for it. (Pictured: Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly - hasnt he been vindicated?)

There are a number of things around us that may have diverted our minds from seeing the obvious. What I see in the aftermath of next years election is a humanitarian crisis of monolithic proportions. This is largely a result of the fact that the man presiding over the affairs of Zimbabwe, that man we call President, doesnt at all have the legitimacy and credibility to be there. As we all may be aware, he is very reluctant to leave the office of President.

My present location has done little to reduce my frontal criticism of the Zimbabwean dictator. This has to be because I am fulfilling my patriotic duty and professional call. Mine is a humanitarian call and am wholly committed to seeing human suffering coming to an end, I dont want any more lives to be lost and we are all sick and tired of witnessing the flagrant violation of our most prized possession. We all have it, we all want it and nobody wants to lose it. We are all born with it. Yes, I am talking about the intrinsic value that we all have, that value that we call human dignity. For this reason, allow me, my dear esteemed readers, to bring to your attention the fact that I am at the present moment very much interested in issues related to forced/involuntary migration (refugee flows and the plight of internally displaced persons and asylum seekers).

I will tell you for instance, that internal displacement (forced/involuntary migration) in Zimbabwe has largely been caused by four factors: the fast-track land reform programme, demolition of houses and forced evictions in urban areas, forced evictions in mining areas (kwaChiadzwa and Kitsiyatota) and electoral violence. I wont labour talking about the first three causes of internal displacement (although am currently working on a term paper on Rural Development and Land Redistribution as Migration Controls In Africa with Zimbabwe as my Case Study of course), but the fourth will obviously require some attention. We have been informed through the media, that President Mugabe has ordered the Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, to budget for the election earmarked for next year. A number of concerns have already been raised concerning the said election with some saying Zimbabwe is not ready for the election. We still have fresh memories of the period immediately after the harmonised elections of March 29, 2008. Mugabe lost the plebiscite and we all suffered for it.

Vindicated

The constitutional outreach exercise has reminded people that what we actually experienced in 2008 can be replayed next year. Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly admonished us that we cannot allow politicians to lead this process. He passionately argued and rightfully so that this was supposed to be a people-driven process but we ignored him. Hasnt he been vindicated? We thought it was utter rubbish and my reading of next years election may as well be read as utter nonsense by somebody who has lost touch with the situation on the ground. Obviously not knowing that I have not missed an inch of what is transpiring in the homeland.

I am first and foremost a Zimbabwean and will die one. Zimbabwe is ours and we all have a say in the way the country is governed. My hunch is that there is a humanitarian crisis come next year hence the need to interrogate our preparedness for the same. All of us need to be prepared including the victims who may not have the ghost of a chance to read this early warning. We are in a sensitive, fragile and dangerous political environment right now and we need to be psychologically prepared for the worst. We still have in our midst those men in uniform who vowed never to salute anybody without liberation war credentials. Have their mindsets changed? Have these men changed their position on the war credentials issue?

Liberation struggle

This is the major problem we have, that we have in leadership people whose vision cannot go beyond the liberation struggle, people who constantly remind us of how bad and evil white people are. Where is the reconciliation of 1980? I sincerely dont think that their (men in uniform) position has altered. Personally, I have not altered my position that Mugabe is illegitimate and a sizeable number of people havent also changed. These are the very people, who like me, are saying we want to finish off Mugabe come next year. Mugabe and his people would also want to finish us off. But how? Rigging instruments, like we have witnessed in the past, are already in place. Just think about the idea behind the amendment of the Electoral Act (certainly, results will be announced in five (5) days time but for Mugabes early inauguration). There are still many electoral petitions filed with the Electoral Court and we will continue to file them ad infinitum. We are going to challenge the outcome of next years election and we will run to and fro for help and SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) and Africa Union (AU) are not going to do anything. I am sure they have pressing issues to attend to. The AU for instance has Sudan, Somalia and Chad in mind. Why should the AU be worried about Zimbabwe for Gods sake? SADC on the other hand has brought us this nonsense we call the GNU and nothing much has changed in terms of political tension. We have heard of parallel structures in the coalition government for instance. Where will all this lead us to?

Potential humanitarian crisis

The thing is what seemed to be a peaceful election in March 2008 ended up being something else. Believe me; call me whatever you want, an alarmist or a prophet of doom. History and painful experience have taught us that elections and violence are an inseparable duo. What I also know is that: Surely the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secrets to his servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7). I maynt be the biblical prophet Amos but do I really have to be him to be saying what I have been saying all this time? I pray to God to give us the necessary intelligence and calm to decipher and read correctly the national mood especially in view of the 2011 election. Our failure to correctly grasp this mood will lead us into a national humanitarian crisis of surpassing difficulty. Only Mugabes death then (as some have suggested time without number) will save us. But why not retiring peacefully? Why wanting to die in power? Dying in power will again be very disastrous for us.

Zimbabwe is a fragile emerging democracy and there are serious security and safety implications. We need to be extra-careful come next year. We need to prepare ourselves for anything including a potential humanitarian crisis associated with the election. We must borne it in mind that people deprived of shelter and their habitual sources of food, water, medicine and money have different and often more urgent material needs. I rest my case at least for now. I put it to you, fellow citizens.

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