Africa’s foremost novelist Chinua Achebe in his most celebrated novel Things Fall Apart, tells a painful story of a man who believes he is acting on behalf of his community by standing up to colonialism but meets a sad end — his own people cannot take down his body hanging from a tree as it is against their culture to touch people who have committed suicide.
Analysts believe that by refusing to take advice from Sadc Troika, President Robert Mugabe, who has been an African hero and an anti-colonial icon, like Achebe’s tragic hero, has met a self-inflicted end.
Zapu spokesperson Methuseli Moyo told NewsDay he believes that Sadc who have been President Mugabe’s saviour are now prepared to cross swords with him because he is finished.
“It is important to point out that from 2000 up to now, Sadc has been President Mugabe’s saviour. He has been winning disputed elections and Sadc has been protecting him. They now see that he is a liability and is compromising every president and Sadc itself in the eyes of the international community.
“Sadc is now sure that President Mugabe is no longer part of the future of Zimbabwe and, for the first time, they now seem prepared to do what is right which is to tell Mugabe that he is wrong.
Sadc has realised they risk being overtaken by events in Zimbabwe, whereby a new government comes into power without their participation,” he said.
However, other analysts believe it is not yet a diplomatic standoff and President Mugabe and his party are not finished yet, as they may be just like Ama Ata Aidoo’s hero in Dilemma Of The Ghost are at crossroads and just puzzled on what path to take after Sadc’s tough stance in Livingstone last week.
MDC president Welshman Ncube has said Zanu PF is in a state of denial, a defence mechanism when a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept.
“What is clear is that Zanu PF didn’t expect the hard position taken by Troika and that they were shocked. Even (President) Mugabe was shocked at the meeting and couldn’t bring himself to terms with it. What is happening is a bravado reaction to try and energise the party (Zanu PF). Zanu PF knows that if President Mugabe loses protection of Sadc, he is finished,” he said.
Academic Lawton Hikwa also said the differences between Zanu PF and Sadc after the Livingstone Summit cannot be described as a diplomatic stand off as yet.
“It hasn’t reached that particular level. This was only a Troika summit. A standoff can only be determined by the full summit. I am sure the Troika will have to make a report to the full summit and if it is adopted by the full summit we can say we now have a diplomatic standoff,” he said.
Hikwa said the Livingstone Summit did not reflect any change of attitude from Sadc but confirmed what has always been Sadc’s stance, only the interpretation. “I don’t think there is anything new.
Remember the summit in Namibia gave Zimbabwe a timeline which the government failed to meet because of differences in the government. The problem is that Sadc tends to look at these things from a technical rather than political point of view,” he said.
After some Zanu PF elements went on a propaganda overdrive last Sunday insinuating a regime change mindset in Sadc’s change of stance, the official spokesperson of the former ruling party sounded diplomatic.
The Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo however said his party was not at variance with the regional body. “Our understanding is that we are working with Sadc and there is nothing untoward by Sadc,” he said.
Zapu’s Moyo said the current facilitator in the Zimbabwean dialogue, South African president Jacob Zuma was not ready to fail on Zimbabwe.
“There is a catalogue of presidents who have failed to deal with him (Mugabe); Olusegun Obasanjo, Joachim Chissano, Benjamin Mkapa and Thabo Mbeki. Zuma is the fifth. I don’t think Zuma is prepared to fail like his four
Zuma is a very simple but very practical person. He would not want to go down in history as having failed in Zimbabwe.
“Zuma is tactful but he has shown, even in his domestic politics, that he doesn’t mind a dogfight. He has got a very capable team of ministers and technocrats. All this Zanu PF propaganda is an attempt to test the situation. After Zuma’s reply which was quick and decisive, there has been silence,” he said.