Muckraker wishes Zimbabweans a Happy New Year, though knowing full well there isn’t much to celebrate except noting that loads of anxiety and uncertainty continue to derail the noble ambitions most citizens in the country harbour.
Having grappled with economic hostilities since the late 1990s, Zimbabweans are still yearning for better living standards which have been evasive due to governance failures worsened by wilful and greedy plundering of resources by the voracious Zanu PF elite.
Pretending to have finally seen the light, experts at political gymnastics in the ruling party are in yet another inevitable summersault.
As recently as December, we were made to believe President Robert Mugabe would not let any white farmer return to the land.
But just a month later the Zanu PF government appears to have reversed itself saying former white commercial farmers were still welcome and could even forge alliances with the beneficiaries of the chaotic land reform programme that commenced in 2000.
Are the effects of ageing impacting so heavily on Mugabe that he is becoming so forgetful?
When the party held its congress last month, it seemed the leader, who is set to celebrate his 91st birthday next month, and his cronies were determined to keep white farmers off the land.
Didn’t Mugabe accuse some of his party colleagues of working in cahoots with the few remaining white farmers in Zvimba and Hurungwe, among other places, and fired warning shots declaring they also needed to be booted out?
The sudden policy shift by Zanu PF to court former white commercial farmers to add value to the less-productive and ailing agricultural sector 15 years after violently grabbing the farms should breathe a sigh of relief over the suffocating economy.
It seems Zanu PF has finally conceded failure.
And the nation should be reminded Mugabe has never been consistent — he thrives on political trickery.
He was widely publicised as a Marxist during the liberation war, then he rode on the back of the liberation war fighters pretending to be pro-masses.
After Independence Mugabe waved the banner of socialism, while in earnest, governance policies in Zimbabwe were capitalist.
Andre Astrow says the Zimbabwean economy, which had neared its take-off stage if contextualised in Walter Rodney’s view of development, was largely controlled by Lonrho, USAid and Rio Tinto and still Mugabe was a socialist! He also accepted the implementation of Bretton Woods institutions-prescribed Esap — a capitalist policy which had already proved to be disastrous in Latin America and other parts of Africa, and still Mugabe was a Marxist!
After realising he was on the brink of losing power, he encouraged land seizures by war veterans. After cementing his hold on power at the party’s congress in December last year and after ensuring his wife Grace was in the driving seat, Mugabe now wants the land reform issue to be revised to facilitate the return of his former enemies.
Mugabe has never been consistent, he is an imposter. And wasn’t former Vice-President Joice Mujuru kicked out of the ruling party after being accused of dining with whites, among a host of other issues that threatened to rekindle Zimbabwe’s bond with its erstwhile master Britain?
A South African newspaper, THISDAY, in its special Zimbabwe edition of November 1 2003 carried interesting comments on Mugabe concerning his feud with the West:
“Our present state of the mind is that you are now enemies because you really have behaved as enemies of Zimbabwe. Our entire community is angry and that is why … the veterans [are] seizing land.” — April 2000.
“Britain says it will take 20 000 people. They are free to go. We can even assist them by showing them the exit.” — May 2000.
“The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans. Our party must continue to strike fear into the heart of the white man who is the real enemy.” — December 2000.
“There will never be food shortages in Zimbabwe and the economy will never collapse.” — July 2000. Is the same Mugabe who is enjoying himself in the Far East aware that Zimbabwe is sinking.
Our sister paper the Standard reported that Mugabe’s diary for 2015 was already in place and chances of him relinquishing power remain slim.
Mugabe won’t go and that’s the truth. His dream is to be life-president, all other things are secondary. Sceptical of everyone around him, Mugabe is even determined to be ruthless to silence his critics.
MDC-T is also to blame for its lack of tact which frightened Mugabe and developed in him a monster spirit that frowns at everything that calls for change.
An MDC-T internal memorandum presented by the then secretary-general Tendai Biti to high-ranking officials at Harvest House on March 25 2008 and reproduced in the Herald on April 14 contained a statement that read: “Our partners, in particular the Australian, the British and American governments, are united in their determination to have Mugabe arrested and handed over to The Hague as soon as possible to face trial for crimes against humanity relating to Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina, his party’s looting of the mineral resources of the DRC during the war of 1998-2002 and, above all, his violation of property rights in the land reform and his other populist indigenisation policies.”
Would Mugabe feel comfortable to know he would face tortutre after leaving power. Of course with support of the sympathetic military commanders he clung onto power.
“Many of the current commanders have to be arrested and charged for various crimes ranging from corruption to war crimes,” the document said.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition parties needed to be more calculative and diplomatic to rid Zimbabwe of the dictatorial regime. Trying it now is likely to be a disastrous experiment.