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The Hot Potato From China

THE turning away of the arms shipment from China last week after loud resistance by neighbouring countries for it to pass through their borders is a victory for all the democratic forces in Zimbabwe in many ways.


For a small African country like Zimbabwe, whose people have been facing the hardest living conditions in the region under an increasingly brutal establishment, there’s no reason why arms should take priority over other necessities such as food.

For Zimbabweans fed up with a worthless currency, endless queues, shortages of food, fuel and cash, collapsing social services in health and education, there’s all the reason to celebrate, even as thousands continue to face political intimidation and cringe under the shadow of President Mugabe’s illegitimate government.

For the people of Zimbabwe, who have been denied their democratic right to know the outcome of a presidential election that took place a month ago, the turning away of the arms ship shows how global opinion is beginning to turn in their favour.

For the MDC it comes as a boost to its sleepless campaign of knocking on the doors of regional leaders, of Sadc, of the UN, of labour unions, the clergy, and the ordinary man all over the world to spare a moment for Zimbabwe.

For Zanu PF the turning away of the arms cache spells doom for a proud party that refused to embrace change long ago.

Two weeks ago the Sadc emergency meeting held in Lusaka gave a lukewarm response to the crisis in Zimbabwe, a response that no doubt failed to satisfy Zimbabweans.

But the arms shipment allowed the Sadc region to bring out their true sentiments regarding the political situation in Zimbabwe that has been prolonged for nearly 10 years.

No port from Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia and finally even Angola — all of them governed by liberation movements that have had cosy relations with Zanu PF for so long — could accept the package from China.

For the people of Zimbabwe the forced u-turn of the arms shipment is proof that change is much more imminent now than ever before.

By Givemore Nyanhi :freelance journalist based in Harare.

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