Zimbabwe: Of Waiting, McGee and Mugabe Paranoia
This is the very last chance for Zimbabwe to actually climb out of this hole we find ourselves in. With the Zim dollar being quoted at $60 million for one US dollar, we are on a slippery slope to hell. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara are still holed up inside the Rainbow Towers as I write this. There is no word on how this will progress. Personally, I still am hopeful that a deal will come today. Mugabe said as much when he told the media as he arrived, "Today is a day for deals."
You see, I have been using public transport, Kombis, we call them here in Zimbabwe, to travel around these days. This is where you get the pulse of the nation. It is pitiful. There is not a single day in the last two weeks or so that I have not heard people asking each other every morning and evening in the minibuses what the status of the talks was. These are urbanites. Their contempt for Mugabe is clear from their words. Yet they are so desperate for this process to yield positive results. It is their only hope. It is from these encounters with people living with Mugabe's destruction everyday that I can say emphatically that those who are calling on Morgan to withdraw from this process are a very insignificant minority. The people know what Mugabe is capable of. As Heidi Holland said in her excellent book, Dinner With Mugabe, after meeting the Zim president, Mugabe is quite willing to totally destroy Zimbabwe in order to prove his point that Britain and America are fighting him over land.
(As an aside, American ambassador McGee also seems to have a death wish for these talks. Why, only days after confirming news that he played golf with Morgan after the signing of the deal, would he come out now to publicly say there were "large holes" in teh agreement that the MDC leader signed. He is surely intelligent enough to know that these comments are fodder to the Mugabe paranoia that Morgan was told to renegotiate everything by the Americans, who, together with the British, do not want this deal to see the light of day? He does not go a day without food, this McGee, so he sees no urgency to this crisis. And can we have no more of this "we give humanitarian aid" nonsense. he reason Zimbabweans are doing well all over the world today is because they are hard workers. Don't give us handouts. We want space in which to work and eat from the sweat of our brows. By pandering to and stocking Mugabe's paranoia, McGee is ensuring that we never get that chance.)
The sensible ones in Zimbabwe know that they will never be able to depose Mugabe through demonstrations (they just don't have it them. They can not stand in front of tanks like that lone Chinese student did during the Tianamen protests in the 80s. They can not follow the example of Middle Easterners who are prepared to sacrifice their lives in order to die for what they believe in. Zimbabweans of today want somebody else do die in order that they may enjoy a good life. The era of fierce warriors died with the end Mugabe's war.)
So, this deal is the only hope Zimbabweans have.
These talks have now lasted longer than any other since the resumption of talks on the cabinet. Something will come from this, definitely. If Morgan lets this one go, I am afraid he will have forfeited his only chance of wiggling his way into the presidency. Tactically, he can contribute to lessening the people's suffering and, once he roams the corridors of power, he will also be able to entrench his position and take over the country eventually. He will have to work like Mandela did to calm fears, unite a divide people, reach out to bigots and be the glue that holds this nation together. If he can achieve that, he will certainly find the military, police and other securocrats eating out his hand, just the Afrikaners ended up seeing Mandela, the man they persecuted, as the best guarantor of their own rights in a new South Africa.
So far, this role appears bigger than Tsvangirai, but people can learn and change. You never know. This is the first step. His principled stand to negotiate is the best thing he could have done on the journey to becoming a Zimbabwean Mandela. Will he throw it away, or will he embrace this greatness that has been thrust upon him.
I am awake. I will post here as soon as the leaders emerge from their conference.