Mutambara’s Paralysis Of Political Analysis

FOLLOWING the Sadc summit in South Africa which urged Zimbabwe’s political protagonists to urgently form an inclusive government with the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Zanu PF co-managing the Ministry of Home Affairs

, Arthur Mutambara of the smaller group of the MDC had several interviews putting across his views.
Mutambara raised a number of issues that need to be interrogated and put into proper political contest because they are misleading and display his continued lack of political judgment on the nature and genesis of the twin crisis of legitimacy and governance that the country has been grappling with for close to a decade now.  
The politician’s lack of political judgment is expressed in his views of the ruling by Sadc, the importance of ministries, his use of uncivilised language against his opponents and reporters, the analogy of the agreement to the 1979 Lancaster House one, is among other things that he has raised so far.
Firstly, Mutambara says although he does not agree with the Sadc ruling, that decision should be respected because doing otherwise would be tantamount to fighting against 15 Heads of States. He further argues that one cannot go to the African Union (AU) and later on to the United Nations (UN) without the support of Sadc.
It is not disputed that Sadc heads of state made a decision but the question is whether that decision is legitimate and serves the best interests of the people of Zimbabwe who went to the polls in March and showed that they want to be governed by the combined MDC formations through the results of the parliamentary, rural and urban council polls. The two MDC formations out-polled Zanu PF and the first round of the presidential poll which was largely free and fair and undisputed was a referendum on Mugabe’s popularity before he went on the rampage against his perceived opponents in the June presidential election run-off.
My point is that any agreement or ruling by anybody on the crisis in Zimbabwe that does not reflect that Mugabe is no longer fit for purpose is unacceptable. The decision by the Tsvangirai formation to dispute or disregard the Sadc ruling is therefore legitimate because the regional body missed the point by a very wide margin.
Mutambara should not attempt to tell Zimbabweans that Sadc is holier than thou to the extent that it should not be opposed when it makes an illogical decision about our country. He should also know that the MDC can still proceed to the AU and UN without Sadc but based on the facts of its refusal to agree with Sadc. In the normal way of an appeal process, Sadc is like a Magistrate’s Court, the AU the High Court and the UN the Supreme Court and the MDC has a right to exhaust all remedies before it comes back to the people of Zimbabwe for a political solution to the crisis. One cannot make an appeal if they agree with the decision of the lower court and the idea that an appeal has been made does not mean that one is being contemptuous of the lower court but simply does not agree with its ruling. The same applies in this matter, the MDC wants to appeal because in their considered opinion Sadc erred and they want a higher body to look into its grievances. They are not fighting Sadc but disagree with it. The outcome of the appeals is another question.
Would it have been wrong for an opposition party during Adolf Hitler’s time to reject any decision by European governments to support Hitler’s policy of extermination of the Jews if such a policy was made? If it could have been the right thing to do in that proposition so the decision to reject Sadc’s decision is based on that conceptual analogy.
Mutambara also tries to allude to the fact that by disagreeing with the co-running of the Ministry of Home Affairs with Zanu PF, the Tsvangirai-led formation of the MDC is suddenly causing the further deterioration of the country’s humanitarian situation and the suffering of innocent citizens. He is erroneously attempting to accuse the MDC of being the problem. This is opportunistic and bereft of political analysis and the political context of the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Those who argue that the crisis in Zimbabwe is caused by the failure or refusal by Tsvangirai to be consumed by Mugabe are not being honest about the political problems affecting the country which lies squarely on Mugabe and Zanu PF’s doorstep.  What we see are the consequences of Mugabe’s failed economic and political policies for the past three decades coming home to roost. It’s neither a problem of Tsvangirai nor Mutambara.
Most fundamentally it is my firm view that if the two MDC formations get into bed with Zanu PF in that proposed government without making fundamental demands such as the sharing of other instruments of power like the provincial governors, it will be a celebration of impunity that led the country to where it is today. If that were to happen and Mugabe gets all he demands, Emmerson Mnangagwa and those who assisted in the running of the violent June 27 presidential election would have triumphed and that is not good for nurturing democratic ethos in our country. That group should never be allowed to feel that they did the right thing but it can happen when politicians are quick to embrace what they don’t know.
From an idealistic point of view, it is true that there is no ministry that is more powerful than another. The problem we face in Zimbabwe is not an idealistic one but an empirical one based on our observation of how Mugabe has used the security ministries to entrench his dictatorship.
It becomes very difficult to appreciate why Mutambara would want to deny that the Ministry of Home Affairs has been used for the wrong reasons by Mugabe against his opponents including him dating back to his days as a student leader at the University of Zimbabwe in the late 1980s.
To Mugabe, the Ministry of Home Affairs is at the core of his repressive agenda and electoral survival. He uses it to arrest, assault, and harass his opponents and most critically to control the voters’ roll through the Registrar-General’s Office. Would people like Tsvangirai, Trevor Ncube and Paul Themba Nyathi have had problems with their passports if the Ministry of Home Affairs was run professionally and was like any other ministry? What about thousands of Zimbabweans who have lost their citizenship through the abuse of that office by the Registrar-General? These are some of the issues that people who claim to be national politicians need to grapple with before they put their positions in the public domain.
I also find it difficult to appreciate how Mutambara sought to make an analogy between the MDC agreement with Zanu PF to the Lancaster House one. The 1979 constitution despite some imperfections was underwritten by the UN, the elections were observed and monitored by the UN, the OAU and the Commonwealth and the result was accepted despite Mugabe’s use of violence against political rivals.
Under the current circumstances, Mugabe does not allow local and international monitors but limited observers with little say on how his thugs organise the elections. In any case when Muzorewa lost the election, he handed over power to Mugabe but now Mugabe does not want to hand over power to someone in his own party and refuses to concede defeat to the opposition. After all Mugabe was left in charge in 1980 and could have directed the country in a proper democratic direction but Mutambara does not see all this because all he is interested is to attempt to be smarter than Tsvangirai while confusing things and alienating himself more from the ordinary people.
lRuhanya writes from the University of Minnesota’s Law School, USA.