A SOLUTION to the country’s decade-long crisis should not be outsourced to foreigners, but outside pressure is needed to prod the main protagonists, President Robert Mugabe and the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai, to implement a political settlement, analysts have said.
The analysts said it was clear from protests by members of civil society at last weekend’s Sadc Summit in Sandton, South Africa, that there were people who wanted the regional bloc and the international community to prescribe a solution to the protracted crisis in Zimbabwe.
Members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the little known Revolutionary Youth of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum, Zimbabwe Exiles and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition picketed outside the venue of the summit last Saturday against the continued participation of Zimbabwe in the regional body’s forums.
During the demonstration, organised by the Congress of South African Trade Unions, civic society called on Sadc to deal decisively with the Zimbabwe issue.
They called for a transitional government headed by a neutral person and to come up with a people-driven constitution and embark on institutional reforms.
Pressure for external intervention in the country has been mounting since the March 29 harmonised elections and heightened after the June 27 one-man presidential election run-off.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the second election alleging state-sponsored violence against his supporters, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission went ahead with the poll.
“From then on, there has been pressure on Sadc, the African Union, the Group of Eight and the United Nations Security Council to come up with a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis,” observed political scientist Michael Mhike.
“The danger is that a foreign solution lacks ownership of the people of Zimbabwe and may in the long run prove to be disastrous.”
Zimbabweans, with the assistance of Sadc and the AU, he said, should come up with a homegrown solution.
“The on-going Sadc-initiated talks between Zanu PF and the MDC create the best base for a homegrown solution.
“If Zimbabweans agree on how they want to be governed, I do not foresee the international community rejecting a deal desired by the people,” Mhike said.
The US, Britain and its allies in the European Union are on record saying talks between Zanu PF and the MDC should result in Tsvangirai becoming the leader of the country after he out-polled Mugabe on March 29.
They said they would reject any deal that does not thrust Tsvangirai into the leadership seat.
This entails that economic sanctions on Zimbabwe would remain in place, further worsening the country’s political and economic situation.
The negotiations are deadlocked on what powers Mugabe and Tsvangirai would have in a unity government.
The talks mediator, South African president Thabo Mbeki, told journalists after the Sadc Summit on Sunday that any deal in the country should be by Zimbabweans.
“That (solution) must truly come from the Zimbabwe parties because I think all of us know best what is good for Zimbabwe and the thing is that everybody —— the facilitator, Sadc, the international community —— would have to respect what the Zimbabwe political leadership says about Zimbabwe,” Mbeki said.
“It is not any determination that can, nor indeed should, be made by anybody. Let’s really allow the people of Zimbabwe to determine their future.
“This is critically important because any solution that is imposed from outside will not last, it will not last, unless it is a common product that is owned by this entire collective of the leadership of Zimbabwe.”
He said if the facilitation tried to impose any solution, it “would amount to creating conditions for the failure of whatever might be incorrectly described as a solution”.
Zimbabwean-born South African businessman Mutumwa Mawere said the solution to the crisis must ordinarily come from Zimbabweans, but argued that to Mugabe the problems are externally driven and, therefore, he does not believe that the solution lies in any change of policy or direction.
“The crisis has been framed as a crisis of governance and there is a legitimate expectation that any resolution that leaves Mugabe at the helm will not be necessarily legitimate,” Mawere argued.
“It has been accepted and recognised that without the use of the state machinery, the results of the June 27 election would have been dramatically different.”
He averred that the AU and Sadc leadership believed that change was required in the country, but were not convinced that the people of Zimbabwe are mature enough to know what they want.
“For how can Sadc observers condemn the June 27 run-off election and then the same body through Mbeki’s mediation come to the conclusion that a beneficiary of an irregular process ends up at the helm of a negotiated arrangement?” he questioned.
University of Zimbabwe political science professor Eldred Masunungure said Zimbabweans should be the authors of their destiny and was optimistic that a negotiated political settlement would be found soon.
“I don’t see any exit route from this protracted crisis, other than a Zimbabwean political settlement,” Masunungure said.
“The two main protagonists, Mugabe and Tsvangirai, need more prodding. The circumstances compel that a political settlement be found.”
At the talks, Tsvangirai is reportedly insisting that if he is to become prime minister in an inclusive government he should be its head and chair cabinet.
He also wants the government to be in power for at least 30 months. On the other hand, Mugabe wants to retain executive power and the unity government to be in office for five years.
These sticking points have stalled the negotiations, with Sadc insisting that the talks continue until a compromise is found.
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku told an international radio station this week that an internal solution was desirable, but was pessimistic that a deal was nigh.
“It is unthinkable for Mugabe to sign away his power. He is not going to budge as he probably thinks he has gone far enough by offering Tsvangirai the prime minister’s post and some ministries,” Madhuku said. “So this process will either collapse or the MDC will capitulate. The fact that they have stayed in this process this long shows they could eventually capitulate and be swallowed by Zanu PF.”
By Constantine Chimakure