A LOT of debate has been generated both within and outside Zimbabwe’s borders on whether or not the country’s major protagonists – President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai – understand the state the nation is in and the urgent need for a political solution.
The most striking question on that matter has been that if Mugabe and Tsvangirai understand the enormity of the country’s problems, why are they not ready to compromise for the common good of the toiling Zimbabweans?
The signing of the September 15 power-sharing agreement gave Zimbabweans hope of a better future, but that hope has been turned into a nightmare as Mugabe and Tsvangirai continue to haggle on issues that have nothing to do with delivering on their parties’ electoral promises.
The crisis has taken a new twist with the outbreak of cholera that has claimed about 600 lives and serious shortages of basic food faced by about five million people.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai are worried about who between them should have “real power” in the unity government instead of putting the country’s national interest above self.
Unfortunately regional pressure has been piled on Tsvangirai to set aside what his party terms outstanding issues of the September 15 deal and be part of the inclusive government.
Tsvangirai’s concerns have been reduced to nothing except the allocation of posts, but more significantly they are a battle of ideas and philosophy.
I have no doubt that Mugabe’s idea is to cling to power at all costs and I suggest that must be resisted. Instead, his role should be to inspire people and he must above all unite them.
Mugabe has failed to provide leadership even during the last mile of his journey in power. Â
An inclusive government must offer a glimmer of hope and not contribute to darkness and confusion. Â
With Mugabe at the helm and his thinking intact no progress can realistically be expected.Â Zimbabwe needs change and urgently.
The challenge is for Zimbabweans to start speaking about the kind of Zimbabwe they want to see. The likes of Desmond Tutu and Ian Khama have been providing their views and it is time that opinions start emanating from Zimbabweans voicing the shared concern that leadership change is necessary.
People have been afraid for too long and the people in the diaspora have chosen to be spectators while their national brand is being murdered.
Mugabe has contributed much in contaminating the Zimbabwean brand and this injury cannot be rectified through a manufactured outcome of an inclusive government. Â
The credibility of any government has to be based on its record and Mugabe has refused to run on his record or even be judged by his own actions, choosing instead to be judged by the actions of other people.
I strongly believe that it is Mugabe, not Tsvangirai, who is holding the country to ransom.
He has been in power for 28 years and he simply has run out of ideas. Mugabe promises nothing new and he must accept that time for change has arrived. Â
He continues to look in the rear-view mirror instead of looking into the future and what is needed now. Â
Those asking for compromise from Tsvangirai’s side should know that you could only compromise when the times and conditions require compromise. Â
Zimbabwe is in an uncompromising mood and the injury is so great that action is required. Mugabe has demonstrated in the post-election period that he does not know what time it is. Â
The ageing Mugabe is still playing the power game in its classical sense and is not moved by the pain and suffering people are going through. People of Zimbabwe have to register their own distaste at what is taking place. Â
Mugabe has 24 hours in a day so has Tsvangirai and people who say nothing and do nothing about the situation have themselves to blame. Â
It cannot be right to say that only two people are responsible for the Zimbabwean condition. We are all responsible. We have to ask ourselves what have we done to resolve the crisis?
Mugabe continues to believe that he is the last defender of the revolution and it is time to tell him that he is not.
Editor’s Memo with Constantine Chimakure