Zimbabwe Running Out of Time

The chairman of the European Union Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Geoffrey Van Orden, recently told Zimbabwean demonstrators in London that the situation in Zimbabwe remained a cause for worry in the EU, especially the resurgence of political violence against those that oppose Zanu (PF).

Washington-based Zimbabweans showing their posters following the demonstration at the South African Embassy.
Washington-based Zimbabweans showing their posters following the demonstration at the South African Embassy.

He was referring to murderers in Zaka and Mbare of MDC supporters by Zanu (PF) supporters, but nobody in Zanu (PF) has come out in the Press denying that the murderers were Zanu (PF) supporters, nor have they denounced the murders, nor apologized for them.

Yet the European Union in the same week announced the easing of sanctions on some 51 Zanu (PF) characters, the implication being that the 51 had reduced responsibility for Zanu (PF) violence; but a cursory glance at the list of the 51 individuals reveals that they all have serious cases to answer. See Den Moyo article here.

Van Orden said, while SADC and South Africa had begun to demand concrete action from Mugabe, they could still do more to support the transition towards democracy. That was the understatement of the century and was the reason for Zimbabweans in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and South Africa demonstrating for more international pressure on Mugabe since January this year.

Zimbabweans have started demonstrating on the 21st of every month for the international community, particularly President Jacob Zuma, to put more pressure on the Mugabe regime to implement the roadmap to free and fair elections, including all the reforms that have been agreed under the SADC Roadmap.

Zimbabweans had expected that, following the failure and outright refusal by Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) to implement the resolutions of three different SADC summits, the SADC-appointed mediator, South Africa, would announce some measurers against Zanu (PF) and President Mugabe to ensure that the next election in Zimbabwe would be free and fair.

But this has not happened, which has led to the formation of the 21st Moment Free Zimbabwe Global Protest (FZGP), led by Den Moyo, the MDC chairman in the United States, with representatives in other parts of the US, Canada, the UK, Mainland Europe, Australia and South Africa so far.

Moyo and his global co-ordination team want the movement to spread to every country where South Africa has an embassy or a trade mission, including African countries, so that it can be a truly global movement, putting pressure on South African Ambassadors to take the message back to President Zuma.

The media has been sympathetic and the protests have been carried in many Zimbabwean and non-Zimbabwean media; but what the organizers now want is all Zimbabweans to come out to show that they are really concerned about this and that they realize that without such pressure Zimbabwe may be doomed to perpetual strife.

The21st Movement is not a purely MDC movement and all Zimbabweans are welcome to join initiatives in their areas, or to start initiatives in the cities where they live, targeting with a demonstrations South African Embassies, trade missions and consulates once a month on the 21st.

The EU’s view as expressed by Van Orden, that Europeans are encouraged that SADC has been increasingly helpful in trying to come up a solution to the ongoing problems in Zimbabwe, is at variance with the evidence.

While SADC heads of states have met and made resolutions, firstly that the parties should enter into the Global Political Agreement, which they did, then that Mugabe is not living up to his end of the bargain, that there should be an end to political violence and a roadmap to elections, and that there should be SADC monitors assisting the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) to monitor violations; as long as the resolutions are not being enforced, they may as well not have been made.

(from left) Interim Wolverhampton Branch youth chair Mashiri, and Organising secretary Simba Manyonga, take time during the 21st demonstration in London to chat with MDC UK chairman Tonderai Samanyanga, and South East District Chairman, Khama Matambanadzo
(from left) Interim Wolverhampton Branch youth chair Mashiri, and Organising secretary Simba Manyonga, take time during the 21st demonstration in London to chat with MDC UK chairman Tonderai Samanyanga, and South East District Chairman, Khama Matambanadzo

Elections are not a single event but a lengthy process, starting with creating an atmosphere conducive for the election. It is obvious that if the election is to take place before April 2013, when the term of the current GNU ends, then reforms set out in the road map to elections need to be implemented NOW;

There are changes to be made to the constitution, to be agreed and passed in Parliament, confirmed in the Senate and signed into law by the President;

Then there are changes to the institutions that would have been agreed in the constitution, like the Electoral Commission and appointing and training of personnel, the proper registration of voters according to the rules, delimitation of constituencies; and inviting and accrediting, in good time, of local and international monitors;

There has to be implementation of the GNU agreement on the appointment of a police commissioner general and other service chiefs, their retraining for operating in a democratic environment, and enforcement, monitoring and confirming of an end to politically motivated violence;

Changes to the media to make it neutral, which will entail new boards for the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and the Mass Media Trust, re-training and appointments of personnel at Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings and Zimbabwe Newspapers, registration and coming on stream of new and truly independent TV and Radio stations and newspapers.

These are just but some of the changes which should already have taken place over the last three years, but there has not been a start on them because of Zanu (PF)’s intransigence, according to an SADC resolution – clearly because Zanu (PF) fears that a free and fair election will take it out of power.

But if Zanu (PF) does not accept that getting in and out of power is the essence of democracy, that it has to go to free and fair elections, it means they have not accepted democracy and that all the last three years have been a waste of time where they signed agreements which they had no intention to keep.

And if Zimbabweans, both abroad and in Zimbabwe, do not force these changes to happen now, there is a danger that the term of the current GNU will end in April 2013 while the country is not ready to hold a credible election, and we will be forced into another Government of National Unity in which we do not know who is responsible for what; we will have corruption and unaccountable leadership and the same problems of lack of delivery of services that have resulted in hunger and disease stalking Zimbabwe as if it is a failed state with no resources.

By Makusha Mugabe -Information and Publicity Coordinator, 21st Movement. He can be contacted on [email protected], Mob +44750 332 2918

Post published in: Africa News

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