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MDC Parliamentarians, a bunch of pussycats

By Psychology Maziwisa

Mugabe’s continued desire to run this country into the ground tells us everything we need to know. He is determined to become President for life and his determination is becoming more extreme by the day.

His contempt for the unity government is clear for everyone else to see except the MDC who have been silent to the point of misleading the whole nation into believing that theirs is a progressive and amicable working relationship despite all the facts pointing in the opposite direction.

The inescapable truth is that, ever since the advent of the inclusive government, it has been one-way traffic much like that Chelsea v Wigan match that ended up as an exercise in counting.

Despite his September 15, 2008 undertaking to ‘work together to create a genuine, viable, permanent and sustainable solution to the Zimbabwe situation’, Mugabe has arrogantly shown that he has no intention to cooperate with the MDC in order to redress the crisis caused by none other than himself and his henchmen.

Indeed, he has shown that he has no intention either to be ‘genuine’ about creating a new Zimbabwe. Simply put he is not interested in being party to any reform arrangement that could eventuate in Tsvangirai replacing him as President.

Article 20.1.3 (p) of the Global Political Agreement provides that when exercising his executive powers in terms of the Constitution or any Act of Parliament, the President shall act ‘in consultation with the Prime Minister’.

Make no mistake about it, if Mugabe and Tsvangirai have ever acted in consultation with each other on anything, it has not been in respect of senior and crucial public appointments.

From the appointment of the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the Attorney General- to the appointment of George Chiweshe to the High Court bench as Judge President, Mugabe has acted single-handedly.

By systematically ensuring that crucial government positions are occupied by ZANU PF loyalists without any effective condemnation, Mugabe has had it all his own way.

Meanwhile Roy Bennett has yet to be sworn in as Deputy Minister for Agriculture. He has been persecuted, vilified and his rights have been grossly violated- all at the behest of Mugabe.

ZANU PF thugs have been deployed across the country to inflict terror ahead of the constitution-making process. When Tsvangirai dares to question why the Zimbabwe Media Commission is dragging its feet in the licensing of new media houses, he is ridiculed and labelled as ‘impatient’ by the Charambas of this world.

The point is simply this: all of this craziness is taking place with the MDC not merely as a distant, impotent opposition party but as a supposedly equal partner in an inclusive government whose President is doing as he chooses right under their noses. At the grass roots level, a whole host of courageous MDC cadres across the country deserve our unstinting admiration.

However, the very fact that Mugabe can continue to consolidate his grip on power without let or hindrance- even with a coalition government in place- shows that the parliamentary MDC is increasingly becoming a party of pussycats. Either that or they have completely taken their eyes off the ball.

When the MDC convened the weekend crisis meeting following ZANU PF’s registration of their intent to further persecute Bennett, the majority of Zimbabweans were upbeat about the prospect of that meeting breaking the silence. In particular we hoped that it would resolve, once and for all, to boldly stand up against Mugabe. Alas, it was too much to ask.

More recently, Mugabe has unilaterally appointed a string of judges to the bench- some of whom have more of a reputation for violating the rule of law than for upholding it- yet all the MDC had to say was ‘We are gob-smacked.’ For goodness sake, where are the unrelenting howls of protest and refusal to accept these appointments?

Although it is not misplaced for the MDC to refer each and every act of Mugabe’s tyranny to the SADC as the guarantors of the unity government, it would be foolhardy in the extreme if we believed that the SADC will change their tone after two years of a largely softly, softly approach.

There is a visibly ingrained reluctance on the part of African leaders to openly and strongly criticize each other out of some warped sense of loyalty to one another.

If anyone is going to boldly stand up against Mugabe it must start with the people of Zimbabwe themselves. Indeed, it must start with the parliamentary MDC and perhaps then the SADC will follow suit. Until it is clear to the SADC that the parliamentary MDC is standing up to Mugabe, no effective action can be expected from the regional bloc.

Our circumstances now demand that we explore the Christian maxim: ‘God helps those who help themselves’ if we are to bring an end to three decades of Mugabe’s despotism. The parliamentary MDC cannot continue to pursue their reserved and sterile approach without running the risk of condoning what Mugabe has already done and paving the way for more terror and misery ahead.

© Psychology Maziwisa LLB, Union for Sustainable Democracy, www.usd.org.zw

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