So the MDC have boycotted the parliamentary cabinet in Zimbabwe in protest of the treatment of one if its key members of its own cabinet Roy Bennett who is currently on Police bail awaiting trial on charges of amassing arms of war.
The authorities in Zimbabwe have dropped its somewhat dubious and unsubstantiated claims that Roy Bennett was initially involved with an attempted assassination of Robert Mugabe by pouring oil on the road to Mutare. I mean who ever heard of assassinating a premier by oil when Mugabe travels in a hundred thousand pound armoured vehicle capable of protecting him from a rocket strike. This is a well known and common fact to all Zimbabweans who are familiar with the longest presidential protection procession of any leader in the world.
It is also a well known fact to anyone who has followed the legal situation in Zimbabwe that the charges that have been trumped up against Roy have failed to stand previously when the authorities tried to convict a local arms dealer on the exact same charges three years ago. After a year of repeated arrests, detention and scrambling around by the public prosecution a court date was finally set for the 13th October 2009, but on arrival at court, the police were forced to bail the public prosecutor out of a tight corner by re-arresting Roy on the pretext that the case should appear in the High Court due to its seriousness, when the reality is that even at this late stage the Public prosecutor does not have one single witness against him.
The truth in fact is that Bennett has always been a thorn in Zanu PF’s side. Senior officials who are responsible for calling for the harassment of the MDC politician fear that his appointment to cabinet will open the doors to official calls for those responsible for the destruction of his personal holding, the beating of his wife causing the loss of his unborn child and the confiscation of his business assets, all paid for in cash and approved by the government after independence in 1980, to be brought to justice.
Since the high court called for the permanent stay of the criminal proceedings against Justina Mukoko in September this year, the Zanu PF elite have been nervous as to what other trumped up charges brought against those that are deemed a threat to Zanu PF, will be turned out of court and dropped. If this were the case with Roy Bennett there would be nothing stopping his appointment to cabinet and that is something that Zanu PF cannot allow at this time.
And so MDC-T reaches a standoff with Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF and has opted to boycott the cabinet in protest of this prolonged campaign of disruption against its elected officials. Personally I can understand their frustration, but in entering into any agreement with Mugabe, it was always destined to be an unequal yoke that bound the two together. There is no way that Mugabe intends to play by the rules, and it has been one uphill battle after another for anything to be achieved as laid out by the GPA.
I read a speech recently given by Arthur Mutambara, leader of the breakaway MDC-M who claims to be an equal member of the Inclusive Government, seeing himself as part of a threesome that works to bring prosperity to the nation. I had to smile to myself at how deluded Arthur must be if he really believes that he has won the bride on equal terms and now lies in bed as an equal with Morgan and Robert. While Arthur is clearly able to play both sides of the table as he leads the party that gives weight to any law that one or the other wishes to pass through parliament, he most certainly is not an equal, as Mugabe will merely brush him aside when he has fulfilled his usefulness. Both MDC parties really need to wake up to the reality that neither Mugabe nor his Zanu PF see the MDC as credible partner going forward.
Personally I have come to the conclusion that until Mugabe is removed from office there will never really be any change in Zimbabwe. Over the last three decades Mugabe has entrenched himself into a fixed place of power, where even a potentially credible threat to his establishment can easily be thwarted by skilful manipulation of his press, secret police, the army and the hierarchy of officials gathered close to the core of his government. It is a widely accepted fact that the ZBC and Herald newspaper are a propaganda machine for the Zanu PF, and it is only those that live outside of the country that get a true and viable reflection of the goings on within Zimbabwe through the international and external press agencies reporting from or about Zimbabwe.
The average Zimbabwean on the ground in Zimbabwe does not understand that sanctions are applied only against specific people within the Zanu PF leadership. They are told that the failure of their crops is due to lack of money due to illegal International Sanctions. When food aid is distributed, it is not done from the WHO or World Food Program, it is done of the back of military vehicles, with the message this is food from your leader to help you survive. No mention is made to the fact that it is infact from the very West that is meant to have caused the crops to fail in the first place.
How then are Morgan and Arthur meant to fight on equal terms while trying to win an election? When games of intimidation and electoral violence are played, even when away from the polling stations, how can any viable opposition party rally its supporter without fear of watching them being beaten and tormented for not supporting the national Zanu PF party?
It is disturbing that the GNU has hit the rocks less than a year from its inception but for any Zimbabwean watching from the side lines it is of no real surprise that we are at this situation. For many of us it is just the expected results of a period which Zanu PF saw as an opportunity to fool the world into granting aid deals to a government desperate to line its pockets.
It is worrying that the political situation could deteriorate further especially in view of the situation which prevailed before the formation of the inclusive government. The greatest concern is the destabilisation that may occur to efforts to recover the economy which the MDC had been undertaking. A total collapse of the GNU could provide Mugabe with all the ammunition he needs to never again agree to a power sharing agreement sitting the failure of the GNU for his dogmatic dictatorship of Zimbabwe.
There are genuine fears that the situation could slide back to desperation. The country had been gradually moving towards stimulating investor confidence but these latest developments will have a devastatingly negative effect on the so-much needed foreign investment. On the political front, a brutal reaction by Zanu PF hardliners cannot be ruled out. The arrest and re-detention of Roy Bennett could be regarded as a warning shot over the bows of the MDC. The Zanu PF is a brutal regime determined to cling to power under any circumstance at any cost necessary to achieve its goal.
Our nation stands on a precipice poised to either spiral into an abyss that all likelihood will spell yet more despair and frustration for the people of Zimbabwe under the evil dictatorship of this one party government lead by Robert Mugabe. The only alternative that remains is for any opposition to rid Zimbabwe of Mugabe and the Zanu PF regime. I can only foresee this happening with international support for regime change within Zimbabwe, and that is going to mean that any leadership really serious about changing the future of Zimbabwe will need to gain the approval of the SADAC member states and support of the West in their bid to remove Mugabe.
The real future of the GNU is uncertain that is for sure, but one thing is definite. You cannot boycott the agreement and expect to remain a respected member of the organisation. No one enjoys being forced into a corner, and Zanu PF will certainly not react well to MDC’s attempt to force them to meet their demands. The sad truth that I think the MDC will find moving forward is that this move has damaged their ability to be taken seriously, and while I fully understand their reasons for the boycott, you cannot be involved only when it suits you and expect to be a full player in the team. I have a horrible feeling in the depth of my stomach that this ploy can only backfire to the detriment and hopes of a nation of desperate Zimbabweans.