By Patrick Guramatunhu | “The decision by the Zimbabwean government to deny President Cyril Ramphosa’s envoys an opportunity to meet with opposition leaders was not only disrespectful to the office of the African Union Chairperson, which Ramaphosa currently holds, but seems to confirm that the voices of the opposition and civil society are being muzzled in Zimbabwe,” the report says.
“The Democratic Alliance (DA) now calls on President Ramaphosa, in his capacity as AU Chairperson, to show leadership and go to Harare and meet with all the relevant stakeholders and get a balanced picture of the political crisis unfolding in the country,” it continues.
The decision by Mnangagwa to send back SA President Cyril Ramaphosa’s envoys without allowing them to meet any of the other stakeholders they had expressly said they wanted to meet was rude and disrespectful of the envoys and the man who had send them.
However contrary Mnangagwa’s point of view happened to be as to what is wrong in Zimbabwe, he still had to respect President Ramaphosa’s right to differ. By telling the envoys to their faces that they would not be allowed to meet anyone, after they had come this far, Mnangagwa knew he was throwing his weight around and doing so to humiliate Ramaphosa. That was uncouth and totally uncalled for!
Still, we cannot but ask why President Cyril Ramaphosa send these envoys when there is no hope of SADC getting solving the Zimbabwe crisis.
The root cause of Zimbabwe’s economic and political crisis is the country’s failure to hold free, fair and credible elections. The country has been stuck with this corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship for 40 years now. Four decades of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption have left the country in economic ruins and 34% of the population, according to a 2019 WB report, are living in extreme poverty.
After a particularly obnoxious 2008 election process in which Zanu PF blatantly cheated and used wanton violence to stay in power, SADC leaders refused to recognise Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs as the constitutionally elected government. The regional body pressure Mugabe to accept the need to implement a raft of democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu PF cheating and using violence.
It is a great tragedy that not even one reform was implement during the 2008 to 2013 GNU. The MDC led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai, who were entrusted to implement the reforms, turned out to be breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent, they failed to implement even one reform in five years.
What is clear is that Mnangagwa will never implement any reforms, even if SADC could get him to agree to another power sharing arrangement with MDC. Since Zanu PF cannot be trusted to implement the reforms, the only option left is for the party to step down. SADC has already endorse Zanu PF as the legitimate government and so, unlike in 2008, the regional body has no leverage to force Zanu PF to step down.
So if President Cyril Ramaphosa should listen to the DA and “go to Harare and meet with all the relevant stakeholders”! Then he must be prepared to go the full hog and force Mnangagwa and Zanu PF to step down because President Ramaphosa will look really foolish if at the end of the new GNU no reforms are implemented and Zanu PF rigs the elections!