President Robert Mugabe’s threats to disregard decisions made by the Sadc Troika and the disparaging remarks against the leaders of the regional bloc are tantamount to political and diplomatic suicide, analysts have said.
The analysts said President Mugabe and Zanu PF risked isolation by their remaining closest friends in Africa after the international community ostracised Zimbabwe for a deficit in the rule of law and slapped targeted sanctions on the Head of State and his lieutenants.
President Mugabe also pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth in 2003 leaving it with very few friends abroad and now he has turned his guns on Sadc, a move the analysts said was “the depth of despair”.
Last week, regional leaders chided their Zimbabwean counterpart for not fully implementing provisions of the GPA and the new wave of violence that has taken root in the country ahead of possible elections President Mugabe wants held this year.
President Mugabe retaliated saying the bloc had no business meddling in Zimbabwe’s politics.
Facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis South African President Jacob Zuma was attacked by the state-controlled media calling him all of sorts of names and denigrating his office.
Zuma said he would not be perturbed by the remarks from both the state media and Zanu PF officials and instead encouraged President Mugabe to use the correct and available channels if he had any beef with him or any other Sadc leader.
Eldred Masunungure, a political analyst at the University of Zimbabwe, said the threats and outbursts by President Mugabe and Zanu PF officials were not helpful to Zimbabwe.
“It is clearly unhelpful. To me it’s political and diplomatic suicide. Zanu PF will lose its genuine friends and it will be isolated,” Masunungure said.
“If you do not take advice from your closest friends, who then will you take advice from? You will become a pariah state in the region. It’s shooting oneself in the foot. It’s unfortunate for Zanu PF and the people of Zimbabwe.”
He continued: “It’s really unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected given the history of Zanu PF and its leaders. It does not accept any type of censure from outside itself.”
He said Zanu PF thought it was going to be business as usual particularly because three of the four leaders are liberation war fighters with impeccable credentials, but President Mugabe got the shock of his life. “It came as a real tsunami, a real shocker,” Masunungure said.
South African leader Zuma, Mozambique’s Armando Guebuza and Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba are former liberation war combatants.
Another political analyst, Charles Mangongera, said despite the threats, President Mugabe was not prepared to withdraw from Sadc because the bloc saved his political life after he lost to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the March 2008 presidential election.
“The threats from (President) Mugabe are scare tactics,” Mangongera said. “He is hoping that Zuma and his negotiating team are going to reconsider their stance. He thrives on fear in Zimbabwe and also in the region, but his big-man of Africa status has been challenged and there will be no relenting on the part of Zuma and Sadc.”
He added: “The stance by Sadc may also have been caused by the realisation that (President) Mugabe is no longer in control of affairs in the country. The facilitators have been able to read between the lines and see where the power lies. It seems he is being held hostage by some elements.
“The concerns raised by Sadc, are a shameful indictment on (President) Mugabe and the Zanu PF element in the GNU because there are the ones who have been stifling progress.”
Constitutional lawyer and political analyst Lovemore Madhuku said while President Mugabe was right in that Zimbabweans should decide their own destiny, he was “very dishonest” because he only agrees with Sadc when it makes decisions in his favour.
President Mugabe says he will not respect the decisions made by the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security calling for a roadmap to bring an immediate end to violence and persecution of political rivals in Zimbabwe.