The Lusaka Troika meeting has come and gone . . . so has the Johannesburg one! Not to mention several other Sadc meetings held in various capitals prior to all this, all with the same conclusion, that the government of national unity (GNU) terms and conditions have to be implemented in full.
The last decibel of semantic noises about “noted” and “endorsed” that hogged the limelight for a while, played out long ago now, but still, the GNU terms and conditions remain unconsummated. The status quo generally remains . . .!
Does Zimbabwe’s leadership have any respect for Sadc or the African Union, or at least, for its long-suffering people, in whose name they purport to rule?
There has not been any movement on finalisation of consummation of the GNU, notwithstanding all the hullabaloo about both Lusaka and Johannesburg. Issues that can be done at the drop of a hat still stand unresolved. It’s like forcing an estranged couple whose marriage has broken down irretrievably, to fulfil conjugal obligations.
The devil was always in the Thabo Mbeki’s architecture of the construct and his intrinsic assumption that he was dealing with men of honour — a dangerous assumption indeed! If there was a whiff of goodwill, of course all would have been resolved and over by now.
Our leaders can be childish and naïve.
Even at Lancaster House, the Frontline Leaders had to send a stern warning with their spokesperson, one Fernando Honwana, to tell the die-hard political leadership that if they did not want to sign the Lancaster Agreement, they could do so, but on pain of getting repatriated to fight the war from the then Rhodesian turf, where all the action was.
That threat put “paid” to all the posturing and the agreement was signed very quickly.
The civilian political leadership did not relish the thought of being hurled back into the war zone from where they had escaped in the first place. It’s called self-preservation!
The Global Political Agreement (GPA) and GNU are proceeding at a snail’s pace because some in the number are fishing in the troubled waters — they are profiting from the status quo. They have everything they could ever possibly want, and more!
They have unimaginable wealth, properties, farms, and their children attend the best schools outside the country, and when they fall sick, they fly out of the country to the best hospital facilities in the world — plus, more importantly, political and governmental positions from where they can best protect their interests.
In fact, the longer they hold out, the more they benefit, personally. So, why would people so situated hurry to resolve national problems which do not really affect them negatively, but which only gnaw at the poor masses?
The GPA and GNU had serious fault-lines from day one. Both did not spell out the power relations clearly and did not state what would happen if there was dereliction of obligation, or the position that the sponsors would take in such an event.
In such fragile experiments it’s best to anticipate all possibilities and set out, in clear terms, the sanctions that would follow non-compliance by any one party. It’s called a carrot- and-stick approach and it works.
Because this was not done, a whole nation and an entire region’s progress has been inexorably held back by posturing, truculent stubbornness and downright obduracy from people who hold their positions not by virtue of a mandate from the people, but by virtue of some makeshift shotgun arrangement foisted upon the people merely to forestall a worse disaster in governance.
The agreement should have been such that, once the GPA and GNU had been signed, implementation should have been a matter of course, with no room for the whims and caprices of individuals, irrespective of what office those individuals hold in the GNU construct.
Ideally, the principals should have been holding office as equals and the “gradient” merely reflecting an administrative first among equals profile.
Zimbabwe’s greatest failures have largely been lack of respect for institutions and systemic haemorrhaging and killing of same, in preference to personality cults. But for that malady, Zimbabwe would rank among the best democracies in the world today.
To suggest that negotiators should continue negotiating already agreed positions is disingenuous and a recipe for the Palestinian-Israeli syndrome of perennial negotiations. Agreements once signed, are not the subject of negotiations, but implementation. There was no further negotiations after the Lancaster House Agreement, but mere implementation!
It must be borne in mind, at all times, that individuals are susceptible to human frailty. Human beings, by their very nature, are selfish.
Personal and selfish interests should not be allowed to eclipse broader national interests in public affairs.
Until Sadc and the AU get back in the driver’s seat and start calling the shots again, this merry-go-round will continue ad infinitum. The culprits are protecting personal interests, not national ones. There is absolutely nothing patriotic about the reasons being given for not honouring the terms and conditions of the GPA and GNU!
The hardships Zimbabweans are being put through are totally unnecessary and avoidable – they always were, for they are man-made.
How man can bring about in Zimbabwe, the kind of suffering only natural causes like floods, drought, earthquakes and hurricanes can bring in other jurisdictions, is astounding.
A times we can be our own worst enemies!
The next Sadc meeting is due in Angola in a few weeks and the leaders will, once again, assemble and be told the same old and stale story about sanctions and that some progress has been made and they, in turn, will routinely encourage GNU partners to keep on talking about the talks — and the whole thing will go on, over and over and over and over again….!