Comment

Zanu PF playing game of deception


TALKS between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), as recently reported in

this newspaper, have been going on behind the scenes for sometime now.


Although there seems to have been glacial headway in trying to remove obstacles to dialogue, it is not clear how much progress the two parties have made to resume formal talks to resolve the country’s multifaceted crisis.


After recent conciliatory gestures by the two parties during the opening of parliament, it appeared that there would be some rapid move towards dialogue.


Church leaders also weighed in to give the talks an added impetus.


But we all seem to have been taken on a wild goose chase by the mandarins in Zanu PF. Zanu PF’s head of delegation to the talks Patrick Chinamasa has been on a warpath against the clergymen. He has accused them of being MDC sympathisers. This has inevitably generated hostility between Zanu PF functionaries and the church mediators.


Zanu PF has also practically refused to submit its own position paper on the agenda and the way forward as agreed with the church intermediaries.


The MDC submitted its own report three weeks ago and has been waiting for the ruling party to do the same.


Then came the blow when Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo told the Sunday News that no-one could tell his party how to do its business.


Deception and arrogance have been the hallmark of Zanu PF’s political culture. How does one explain the fact that President Robert Mugabe tells church leaders that their mediation efforts are welcome while Chinamasa dismisses them off-hand as MDC activists?


There is a saying that politics is the antithesis of reason and an art of deception. Zanu PF seems to be set on the letter and spirit of this metaphor without any regard to the suffering it has caused the people of Zimbabwe.


The ruling party’s position on the talks smacks of chicanery camouflaged in patriotic and flag-waving nonsense. It shouts the loudest about national interest and putting people first but sabotages initiatives to resolve a huge national crisis that it has itself created.


It may wield the instruments of coercion but it has lost the moral authority to rule just as it has long lost the road map to the country’s salvation. People are watching its latest antics. 


It may not be far-fetched to say that the whole issue about dialogue is a fraudulent and juggling exertion by Zanu PF to buy itself more time in power.


Zanu PF is engaged in national deception about talks and President Robert Mugabe’s imminent retirement to keep the gullible working on fancy scenarios while it is busy designing plots on how to win the next parliamentary election in 2005 and the 2008 presidential poll.


The MDC would be well advised to watch out how it engages the ruling party. They could well be singing from completely different hymn books for different outcomes from different gods.


The timing of the current secret talks ahead of the Sadc summit in Tanzania next week and the Commonwealth meeting in Abuja in December should raise suspicion.


Zanu PF is waving the talks dummy to duck scrutiny and censure at these crucial meetings. This speculation, which has been swirling in political circles for sometime, has been consolidated by reports that South Africa ensured Zimbabwe was not an issue during the recent African Union summit in Maputo, Mozambique.


President Thabo Mbeki has in the past pretended to be moving to help resolve the Zimbabwe crisis ahead of key meetings like the G8 summits only to relax once they were over.


He has another opportunity to posture again now as a serious peace broker between Zanu PF and the MDC. It would be nice for Mbeki to prove his critics wrong for once.