Zimbabwe's democratic push: end of the road for Mugabe?

By: 
Ken Sibanda

I had originally written a piece which I felt would discuss the necessary need for election governance in Africa, and Zimbabwe in particular but the tide in Zimbabwe has shifted the focus of this to another area that needs some attention and that is the despotic intransigency of Robert Mugabe, and how that should be handled as that country slides into further abandonment.

Zimbabwe is important in the African scheme of things because unlike countries, such as Israel or United Kingdom in the developed world, it is in Africa and stands as a living example of many issues affecting other countries - democracy ( United States), land rights (South Africa) and presidential transfer of power (South Africa).

On July 21, 2016, Robert Mugabe’s biggest support group, the War Veterans, the very architects of the land redistribution program repudiated him in very clear terms. You can read their statement here.

What started as a national protest from Pastor Evan Mawareri has now turned to one of the most embarrisng exits from power since the late Mobutu was chaufferred to  the Airport - and yet, Mugabe faces the same fate again but albeit with a more literate population - Zimbabweans have one of the highest literacy rates in Africa. Will they allow Mugabe to leave power unaccountable?

Mugabe, by his manner, attitude and rule has forced Zimbabweans to treat him as an impediment to their very existence. He has made the youthful hate the very heroic statesman he once represented.

The letter which, describes him as, “an egomaniacal, manipulative and dictatorial,” says in no uncertain terms that he Mugabe is the mastermind behind the current downward spiral of Zimbabwe.

It is bold, factual and reads like the charging docket  of a legal charging sheet for some international prosecutor in the near future.

The war crimes against Mugabe will includes many instances of State sanctioned murder, kidnap and disappearances. As we speak, a young man known as Itai Dzamara was abducted by Zimbabwean Security offices under Mugabe's watch. The whole issue, of the missing activist was never taken seriously by Mugabe's government.

To Dzamara many more have their stories and families as witnesses. Then there is the issue of Mugabe's wealth, who according to Forbes Magazine is worth $3 billion, all this taken as a whole requires some international attention in any discussion that deals with a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.

As was the case with South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Committee under Bishop Tutu, Zimbabwe needs its own Truth and Reconciliation Committee to dissect the accusations and charges against Mugabe before democracy can be seriously considered for a new Zimbabwe. What was useful in South Africa must be transplanted in the region.

This letter by the War Veterans is long overdue, finally a group with serious power in Zimbabwe realized what everyone has been saying for the past twenty years. It is now up to other parties to play their role in order to set into precedent some institutional structure for democratization in volatile countries such as Zimbabwe.

For one, the African Union must denounce Mugabe; the United Nations must set up a commission to investigate War crimes and Crimes against Humanity by Mugabe based on the evidence and testimony of witnesses currently residing in South Africa and other boarding countries; such a broad mandate exists from the UN Charter under its Security Counsel Clauses, thirdly, South Africa must begin to set up a committee to facilitate the safe return of Zimbabweans to South Africa for what looks like an early election to elect a new president in Zimbabwe in the near future, before 2018, sometime in 2017.

And perhaps in the interim Morgan Tsvangirai can act as President of Zimbabwe, this will allow sanctions to stop and for money to begin flowing into Zimbabwe. 

The international committee should insist that because of the mass protests no aid will issue with Mugabe at the helm. To say he has a mandate to be in power is to ignore the manner and abuse of Zimbabweans.

A mandate to rule a country is only as good as the citizens' continued consent of that mandate. Citizens do not get democracy only on election day, it is a holistic process.

It is clear that with Mugabe at the held Zimbabwe is not a viable State.With the exception of China, it now has very few friends. In addition, Mugabe has over a period of close to four decades created personal feuds with many world personalities that even if there is a push to help[ Zimbabwe he stands in the way, this includes Tonty Blair, Desmond Tutu to mention a few.

A new dawn has set in Zimbabwe, and I am happy for every Zimbabwean. It is time this beautiful country gets the loving leadership it deserves. And it is also time, Africa and South Africa in particular stop ignoring the white elephant in the room. Mugabe's defense of Sovereign State cannot be used to suppress popular dissent, that is a poor choice of words for a very learned man.

Curious enough, today in South Africa you cannot find a single person who supported Apartheid, will that be the case when the repressive regime of Mugabe is discussed? Democracy in South Africa is democracy in Zimbabwe! Perhaps, due to xenophobia, Zimbabweans are expected  to accept a lesser form of democracy.

Ken Sibanda is an American Constitutional Attorney, born in Transkei South Africa. He is the author of the book - International Law: Peace Accords, Tovakare Press, 2016.

 

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