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Is Mugabe softening stance on MDC?

A few days after the Sadc summit in Angola, Mugabe uncharacteristically called for peace and unity at the burial of retired General Solomon Mujuru at the National Heroes Acre.

Mujuru died in a mysterious inferno at his Beatrice farm on August 16. The 87-year-old leader usually uses such gatherings to attack his foe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whom he accuses of working with the West to topple him.

Last week, Mugabe held meetings with some legislators from his Zanu PF party and warned them against fanning political violence in their constituencies.
Several Zanu PF MPs have been accused of inciting political violence against members of the MDC formations, especially during times of elections.

Analysts said it was surprising that Mugabe, who has in the past “won” elections through coercion, was suddenly denouncing violence, a tool that has sustained his rule for decades.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer John Makumbe said Mugabe’s latest overtures were forced by unbearable pressure from Sadc.
“The old man can no longer withstand the pressure from his colleagues in Sadc,” Makumbe said.

“(Angolan President Eduardo) Dos Santos’s comments that leaders must win free and fair elections if they want to hold on to power meant a lot to Mugabe, who viewed him as his friend who would not criticise him publicly.”

Makumbe also believes Mugabe’s call for non-violence partially stems from Mujuru’s mysterious death. Some believe the general, who was regarded as a kingmaker in Zanu PF, was a victim of the bitter war to succeed Mugabe.

“It shook him very hard,” Makumbe said. “He suspects that it (death) is a result of internal violence within his party and he is now trying to get his cronies to behave, but it is too late.  “Violence is so entrenched in that party,” he said.

A hard-hitting Sadc communiqué released after the summit in Angola worsened Mugabe’s predicament. The summit endorsed the deployment of regional monitors to work with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) to ensure the full implementation of the GPA.

Mugabe also failed to have Zuma removed from his mediation role in Zimbabwe. In his report to Sadc summit, South African President Jacob Zuma blasted Zanu PF for some of the disruptions to the smooth implementation of the GPA.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said by preaching the gospel of non-violence Mugabe was trying to rescue his legacy. Unfolding events in Libya, the mass uprisings in other North African countries and riots in neighbouring Malawi had sent shock waves down Mugabe’s spine.

“It is difficult for Zimbabweans to trust him because he is known for indicating left but then turn right and in the end cause all kinds of traffic confusion – politically that is,” Mangongera said.

Other political observers said Mugabe had not capacity to stop violence because he had lost power to rein in the militia, war veterans and securocrats.

SADC MOUNTS PRESSURE

A hard-hitting Sadc communiqué released after a recent Sadc  summit in Angola worsened Mugabe’s predicament. The summit endorsed the deployment of regional monitors to work with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) to ensure the full implementation of the GPA.

Mugabe also failed to have Zuma removed from his mediation role in Zimbabwe. In his report to Sadc summit, South African President Jacob Zuma blasted Zanu PF for some of the disruptions to the smooth implementation of the GPA.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said by preaching the gospel of non-violence, Mugabe was trying to rescue his legacy. Unfolding events in Libya, the mass uprisings in other North African countries and riots in neighbouring Malawi seem to have sent shock waves down Mugabe’s spine.

“It is difficult for Zimbabweans to trust him because he is known for indicating left but then turning right and in the end causing all kinds of traffic confusion — politically that is,” Mangongera said.

Other political observers said Mugabe had no capacity to stop violence because he had lost power to rein in the militia, war veterans and securocrats.

 

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