A bubbly President Mugabe Tuesday returned home from the Sadc Summit in Windhoek, Namibia, emboldened he had not been censured by his peers in the region over his procrastination in attending to the outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
The absence of reprimand is being hailed by government information-minders as a victory for the ageing leader whose dead man’s tight grip on power is blamed for the malaise afflicting this country.
What was significant at the summit though, was that Zimbabwe remained a talking point topping the agenda of the regional indaba.
Mugabe is not exactly the flavour of the month in the Sadc region and he knows that.
Pledges for lines of credit by regional leaders in past years have not been honoured. Zimbabwe remains a risky destination for investors.
Sadc mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis South African President Jacob Zuma has committed himself to breaking the logjam expeditiously and the summit also impressed on parties to the GPA to agree on a roadmap leading to a free and fair election.
In a nutshell, regional leaders want the protagonists in Zimbabwe’s treacherous political waters to put their house in order.
But the region remains non-committal about how this would be achieved.
There is no permanent Sadc monitoring team coming here as proposed by the MDC-T nor are we going to see peacekeepers or a technical squad coming to run elections.
The outcome of the summit is debilitating political stagnation. Mugabe returns home to some back-slapping and deification by toadying supporters who have for a long time regarded the political holdup as a victory for Zanu PF. But this is not helpful at all.
From this summit we fear that Zimbabwe’s political leaders are entering another phase of hopeless contestation, this time for the so-called roadmap to lead the country to elections.
There is a roadmap already plotted, as spelt out in the GPA, but there are many roadblocks, hurdles and booby traps on the route.
The securocrats still hold sway in governance, instruments of coercion and repression have remained in place since the bloody 2008 harmonised polls and then there is a whole campaign by Zanu PF stalwarts and war veterans that they want elections but there should not be a change of guard whatever the result.
It is these tree stumps in the middle of the road that have secured Mugabe’s tenure in office and made his party sing the refrain Teerera unzwe irikutonga.
The hurdles on the roadmap have been honed to ensure that the MDC-T remains a junior partner in the inclusive government. It would be naïve for the party to think that Zuma would wake up one day and start punching from Morgan Tsvangirai’s corner.
Mugabe for now will defend the positions of these hurdles to the hilt. They are his insurance cover at the moment.
Going forward, if the MDC is agreeable that the GPA constitutes the roadmap, then the party has an obligation to agitate for the removal of hurdles and to ensure that voters see progress in the Government of National Unity’s march on the road to elections.
Is this not the time to start making noise about the voters’ roll or to discuss the whole issue of peace-building and freedoms?
That way Zimbabwe can start to dismantle the demagoguery that has made this country poor.