HomeOpinion & AnalysisSundayOpinion: Urgent action in Sadc’s interest

SundayOpinion: Urgent action in Sadc’s interest

Three years or so after the signing of the GPA, the only thing that seems to have happened is a nominal government of national unity (GNU) with Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, with some of his Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) colleagues in some ministerial positions.

Whether this GNU has been more than just in name, and good intentions, my guess is good as anyone’s.

To date, since the signing of the GPA as on which most, especially our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters, and we their Southern African neighbours, pinned hopes, it remains only a pipedream with hope of its implementation fading slowly, if not forever off the rail.

Frankly, the process has been iced and whether it shall ever thaw remains a million-dollar question. Political agreement on outstanding issues such as ministerial powers and duties, the appointment of provincial governors, media liberalisation and a national audit of land ownership in the country still have not been reached, as important as these are as milestones toward putting Zimbabwean on a new plain of reform, including amending the country’s constitution and eventually free and fair elections.

This is not to say that there have been no positive developments, notably in the economy, where some degree of normalisation has been observed, including a dip in hyperinflation. But all these still remain a far cry from the necessary foundation and head start Zimbabwe needs to embark on meaningful change. And that is why Sadc eventually seems to adopt a hands-on attitude towards the Zimbabwean issue by the appointment of a team to assist the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee of the GPA on Zimbabwe.

Certainly, this must be a sober re-wakening on the part of the Sadc states, that unless they do something drastic to defuse the Zimbabwean situation, and to spur her towards real transformation, the country, as much as the entire region, run the risk of manipulation by Western powers.

 

One needs to look no further than Libya. What is currently happening in Libya can partly be blamed on the regional blocs, notably the Arab League, first and foremost, and secondly the continental body, the African Union (AU). For their own hegemonic reasons and strategic interest the Western power bloc of Britain, France and others, through the United Nations Security Council, the body through which they usually advance their hegemony on the world platform, exploited the delayed boldness, if not lack thereof, on the part of the Arab and African regional blocs to intervene in Libya.

Sadc should be forewarned that the longer they dilly-dally on the Zimbabwean issue, and play Big Brother to President Mugabe, the more they risk the country, and the region, to the hegemonic Western powers’ self-interest. The Arab League and the African Union did not lose the initiative only with the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution but with their obliviousness to the cry of the Libyan people in the face of alleged state brutality and disregard for human rights and freedoms.

 

African and Arab leaders hesitated on the pretext, first, that what was unfolding in Libya was an internal matter. Secondly, that the Libyan government was dealing with Western-sponsored rebellions. They seemed to be ignorant of the fact that what started in Libya started as genuine aspirations by the Libyan people for liberalisation.
That is the moment African and Arab leaders should have been bold and intervened. During the initial stage of the demands of the Libyan people, there was no talk of the people being armed. To date we cannot for sure know how many people may have been killed by the Libyan authorities, as there was total media black-out on the protests and retaliation by the authorities.

African leaders simply and strangely seem too slow, reluctant and ominously blind to signs of human rights abuses? One cannot but conclude in the face of such blatant dereliction of leadership that with a few exceptions, most of our African leaders’ democratic credentials are simply artificial, transient and parochial.

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