‘Leadership Failure’ Costly For Zimbabwe

THE failure to “forthwith” form an inclusive government in Zimbabwe to deal with the country’s decade-long crisis as directed by Sadc has less to do with what the MDC-Tsvangirai says are outstanding issues than the animosity between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, political analysts have said.

The animosity, the analysts observed, has resulted in Mugabe and Tsvangirai removing themselves from the real circumstances of the people they purport to represent, resulting in the worsening humanitarian and political crisis with no immediate solution in sight.

An extraordinary Sadc Summit last month ruled that Mugabe should constitute a unity government in line with the September 15 agreement between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.

The summit also adjudged that Mugabe and Tsvangirai should co-manage the Home Affairs ministry, but Tsvangirai rejected the ruling as “a nullity” and argued there were other outstanding issues –– appointment of governors, ambassadors and senior government officials and the composition of the National Security Council.

Tsvangirai also said there was need to finalise the Constitutional Amendment No 19 Bill to give legal effect to the deal and resolve the arbitrary alteration of the pact signed on September 11.

Zanu PF and the two MDC formations’ negotiators have since agreed on the constitutional amendment, which now awaits gazetting.

Despite this the MDC-Tsvangirai has threatened to oppose the Bill in parliament and scuttle the formation of an inclusive government if what it said are “sticking points” are not resolved.

The party said if the sticking points were not dealt with to its satisfaction, it would join civil society and embark on mass demonstrations to press for a two-year transitional authority to be set up.

The authority’s mandate would be to craft a people-driven constitution, carry out institutional reforms and prepare for free and fair elections to be internationally monitored.

But political analysts this week dismissed the reasons being given for the failure so far to constitute the inclusive government and argued that politicians talk in tongues that only they can understand.

“The issues of ministries, governors, etc are internal matters that could have been dealt with after creating the (unity government) framework,” observed Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean lawyer based in Canterbury, England. “The main handicap is the extreme animosity between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. I doubt that Mugabe will ever forgive Tsvangirai for daring to challenge him and I fear that Tsvangirai is uncomfortable with the amount of animosity towards him.”

Magaisa argued that the current impasse was worsening the plight of ordinary people in the country and scoffed at suggestions that Zimbabwe should outsource a solution to the crisis.Tsvangirai has since the November 9 Sadc Summit in South Africa been globetrotting asking for international intervention in the country. He has visited France, Germany, Senegal and Kenya, among other countries.

Speaking in Senegal last week, Tsvangirai said he had officially asked the African Union to assume the mediation role in the Zimbabwe crisis from Sadc because the regional bloc had failed.

Britain, the United States and some African leaders have since called for the forceful removal of Mugabe from office saying the cholera outbreak that has claimed at least 600 lives was an illustration of the 84-year-old leader’s poor governance style. The African Union on Tuesday said there was no need for military intervention in Zimbabwe and insisted that dialogue was needed to avert a civil war.

Magaisa said the oppressed people of Zimbabwe have to decide their own destiny at the end of the day.

“You cannot rely on outsiders to provide help. Most likely they will help when you have shown that you are willing to help yourself,” he argued. “Zimbabweans have to be frank with all politicians, even those that they religiously support. Poverty does not discriminate between Zanu PF and MDC supporters.”

Magaisa said there was a view that Zimbabwe would eventually collapse.

“But that is not guaranteed and worse, there is no guarantee that when it collapses the leadership will vacate and the MDC-T will take over seamlessly,” he said. “It could collapse completely and become another Somalia, if not worse.”

Political scientist Michael Mhike said an inclusive government offered the only glimmer of hope, if only the respective parties would give priority to the interests of ordinary people and respect each other.

“They have to look at the bigger picture and determine what’s right for their long-suffering fellow citizens,” Mhike said. “The inclusive government is still a long shot, yes, but other than the complete removal of the current regime, I see no other viable option to stop the slide.”

Another political scientist who asked for anonymity said the problem with political leaders was that “because of their elevated stations, they tend to be removed from the real circumstances of the people” they purport to represent.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday blamed leadership failure in Zimbabwe for putting the country on a slide to become a “full-blown failed state”.

Annan blamed the country’s deepening humanitarian crisis on the “abject failure of its leadership”.

“Due to the abject failure of its leadership, it (Zimbabwe) is now moving rapidly to becoming a full-blown failed state,” Annan said in a speech at The Hague in which the former UN chief urged the international community to do more to save fragile states from becoming failed ones.

Brian Kagoro, a human rights activist, said because of the intransigence of the political actors and the deepening human crisis, there was need for the formation of a transitional authority.

“The dramatic alteration of the situation, with the humanitarian crisis worsening, and the state for once conceding that it neither has the capacity nor resources to resolve this issue -–– an acceptance that Zimbabwean health and other crises are becoming regionalised in the sense that Zimbabweans are now going to Malawi, to Mozambique, to South Africa for treatment whether legally or illegally and that the cholera outbreak or epidemic is now spreading to the region -–– suggests that perhaps what you now need is a system, an authority with a capacity to arrest the decay and the humanitarian crisis,” Kagoro told an international radio this week.

He anticipated resistance from the government to the proposal, but said it would not be much given the changing circumstances.

“There will be resistance, but that resistance I think is much weaker than it was eight weeks ago or even six months ago,” Kagoro said. “Partly because there is no military solution to cholera, there’s no military solution to hunger, you need effective policy and you need international a reengagement.”

He said the sort of support Zimbabwe had received from the international community was “band-aid to a haemorrhaging economy that will not resolve the problem”.

BY CONSTANTINE CHIMAKURE

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