So how should the MDCs and the other progressive democrats of Zimbabwe respond to this?
The democratic forces in Zimbabwe should give Zanu (PF) and Mugabe the rope on which to hang themselves by allowing Mugabe to contest the elections. While the constitution that Mugabe will sign into law should still limit the terms of office of a president to two, it has to be effective from the day that the constitution came into force, giving the aged dictator a chance to have another go at the presidency.
While the constitution that Mugabe signs into law must have an age limit, for Mugabe the democratic forces of Zimbabwe must allow him to contest as the founding president of Zimbabwe. Let us allow Zanu (PF) their wish that Mugabe can be life president as long as he is electable.
If we fail to honor Mugabe that way, the elections that every sane Zimbabwean expects to end Zanu (PF)'s reign will never be, because Zanu (PF) will continue to disrupt progress. We are likely to see more chaos when the draft constitution that has been completed comes up for the second stakeholders' conference.
The MDC-T should be particularly pleased with such an arrangement because it is very clear to all Zimbabweans that Mugabe has less chance of winning in an election than other potential candidates in Zanu (PF) like Joyce Mujuru, Emmerson Mnangagwa or Obert Mpofu. Mugabe is too old to match Morgan Tsvangirai or any other candidate the MDC-T may present, and victory for Morgan Tsvangirai is more certain against Mugabe than against Joyce Mujuru, for example.
For that reason, I join Paul Mangwana, the war veterans and the die hard Green Bombers in their call to allow Mugabe another shot at the Presidency, while allowing the adoption of an impartial constitution that is good for the future.
It is Morgan Tsvangirai who should be complaining about a constitution that will give him only two terms in office, because he is the person with a 70 percent chance of being the next President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Mugabe must make sure that his sworn enemy does not remain in office for more than 30 years.
Kugona mbava huirongera! – BENJAMIN CHITATE, New ZealandPost published in: Letters to the Editor