A British MP Kate Hoey says President Robert Mugabe cannot be removed from power through mass protests like what happened in Egypt and Tunisia because Zimbabweans are peace-loving people.
The Labour Party MP said: “(President Robert) Mugabe can’t be broken by any Iraq, Egypt or Libya. It’s not a workable solution in that beautiful country which is full of peace-loving people.
“All we can do is to continue doing things that give hope to the people of Zimbabwe and things that will get Zimbabwe back to a situation where it takes its place among great nations.”
She said the international community should assist Zimbabwe and ensure the country organised a free and fair election.
“We must keep the international interest on Zimbabwe. Sadc, the African Union, South Africa and the European Union must offer Zimbabwe the support it needs to have a free and fair election. They should make sure that the agreed benchmarks are put in place particularly the media which is quite crucial in such circumstances,” said Hoey.
But political analyst John Makumbe differed with the UK MP, saying an “Egypt” was possible in Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabweans can remove (President) Mugabe the way (Hosni) Mubarak was removed (in Egypt),” Makumbe said.
“It will be done at the right time. You must remember that Zimbabweans engaged in a liberation struggle and they defeated the Rhodesia forces and after independence in 1998 Zimbabweans demonstrated and forced the Mugabe government to change some of its policies.”
He added: “The reason why the army was deployed in the high-density suburbs two weeks ago is because Zimbabweans are capable of doing an Egypt on Mugabe. Anyone who thinks Zimbabweans are peace-loving is fooling himself because one day people power will explode and it will explode right in Mugabe’s face.”
Popular uprisings toppled Egyptian strongman Mubarak and Tunisia’s Ben Ali. Mass protests aimed at toppling Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have degenerated into a civil strife.
Planned mass protests by civil society groups in Zimbabwe failed to kick off two weeks ago amid a heavy presence of police and soldiers.
Rights activists, including Munyaradzi Gwisai, were arrested and charged with attempting to overthrow a constitutional government after they were raided by police as they watched videos of the mass uprising in Egypt.
Leaders of Bulawayo-based Mthwakazi Liberation Front were arrested and charged with treason after they allegedly distributed fliers encouraging citizens to disobey President Mugabe’s rule.
The leaders are John Gazi, Paul Siwela and Charles Thomas.
However, Hoey dispelled the argument that Zimbabwe is an African problem that needs an African solution.
“I have said many times it would be great if there was an African solution but we have waited long enough for quiet diplomacy to work. Africans must hang their heads in shame for having allowed such a desperate situation to continue almost without anybody doing anything to try and stop it,” said Hoey.
Hoey has pushed for the expulsion of children of Zanu PF ministers studying at schools and universities in the UK and other Western countries as part of a campaign to pressure for the restoration human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe.
She also wants Zimbabwe to be excluded from all international sporting events until democracy is restored in the country.
“I will continue to call for a sporting boycott of Zimbabwe, something which was so successful in fighting apartheid in South Africa,” she said. —Kelvin Jakachira/Agencies