Mbeki’s concoction: candy from poison ivy


There was pomp and fanfare, cheers, jeers and chides, some cried tears of joy and cautious optimism while others sobbed with foreboding and trepidation as the three political gladiators entered the arena at the plush Sheraton Hotel to sign the Global Political Agreement.

The document was intended to end yet another time of madness.

Many thought that common sense had finally prevailed, in a land whose name had become synonymous with human rights abuses, selective application of the law, violence and extra-judicial murders.

Zimbabwe appeared to have turned a corner and well on the path to its rightful place in the league of civilised African nations.

But that was a desert mirage !
The political landscape is complex . . . too complex, almost in a National Geographic sense! It’s a land of astonishing political contrast, where repression has become profession and culture.

Those with extra-sensory perception and good psycho-analysis saw the whole pageantry for what it really was, from day one – just another hoax.

There was never a serious and sincere intention to consummate the agreement.

Not that the GPA, in spite of its imperfections, is dysfunctional, no . . . ! It’s just that some among the players in the mix are just simply that . . . players — and never meant to commit to the “agreement” from day one.

Any agreement is as good as the players. Had the same GPA been signed between men of honour and goodwill — men who put the interests of their people ahead of their own selfish interests, and men who respect covenants to which they append their signatures, Zimbabwe would have turned the corner.

The essence of any agreement is utmost good faith, but exactly the antithesis pervades the GPA.
I think it’s fair to say it’s advisable to count one’s fingers each time one shakes hands with some of the characters in the GPA.

Resultantly, the coalition is nothing, but a farce.
It has failed to stop the sausages rolling off the barbecue. It was never meant to, in the minds of the culprits . . . but just to buy time for them to regroup.
It’s easier to mix oil and water, than get this coalition to work.

What national unity . . ? Between who and who . . ? Not in a . . . years!

For years now, Sadc has been sparing no effort to get the parties to consummate the agreement. In Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia among others, they have pushed, pulled, cudgelled . . . but to no avail.

Even the most basic and rudimentary items, like freeing of the airwaves and appointment of governors has not been done.

There are no real substantive or ideological issues between the parties to forestall progress, but an inherent determination to ensure that the coalition fails and the country reverts to the status quo.

Far too much has happened since independence in 1980, and there are too many skeletons in the cupboards, so there is fear a shift in power may leave some exposed.

Zanu PF believes anyone else will hand back the country to the former colonisers while the MDC-T, thinks Zanu PF‘s take is simply self-serving pagan mythology.

Zanu PF also claims to be anti-West, long after the death of the bi-polar world and accuses MDC-T of being aligned to the West, yet it wants sanctions or restrictive measures removed so that it embraces the same West it despises.

The strange thing is that when the world was clearly bi-polar, and the need for alignment, one way or the other, existed, Zanu PF decidedly chose to be non-aligned. We know they were forever in Western capitals and seldom in the East.

So, how genuine and sincere is this anti-West rhetoric?

This lends credence to the notion that Zanu PF’s disaffection with the West is not ideological, but simply stems from the fact that the West rapped it over the knuckles for its excesses and embraced its avowed enemy in the MDC-T.

With the benefit of hindsight now, South Africa’s Mbeki’s coalition was not sufficiently anticipatory.
In short, it was a forlorn attempt to make candy from poison ivy.