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ED’s reckless statement to Putin positions Zim as a security threat

Opinion & Analysis
As a matter of fact, Zimbabwe is one of those countries that has benefited immensely from this “see no evil, hear no evil and say no evil” policy maintained by Sadc.

THE southern Africa region has, by and large, been regarded as a peaceful place.

Save for a few conflict zones — such as Mozambique, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo — we have avoided stoking the flames of war.

This is particularly so as it pertains to inter-nation conflict.

Of course, countries such as Rwanda and Burundi (although not in southern Africa) have repeatedly been fingered in sponsoring cross-border wars in the Sadc member State, DRC.

Our region has been known for maintaining peace and stability by any means necessary — even if that meant States turning a blind eye to gross injustices perpetrated by their neighbours on their populations.

This has been done as an unenviable and ill-conceived way of avoiding fomenting tension between member States, since the offending country may likely not take too kindly to being called out by its neighbours.

As a matter of fact, Zimbabwe is one of those countries that has benefited immensely from this “see no evil, hear no evil and say no evil” policy maintained by Sadc.

That is why, in spite of a damning election observer mission report by Sadc itself on the August 2023 harmonised elections, the regional body did not take any stern action or even strongly condemn Zimbabwe.

The heads of State preferred to pretend as if all was well in Zimbabwe. As it turns out, the country is even taking over the Sadc chair in August this year.

It then came as a huge shock watching a video of President Emmerson Mnangagwa moaning to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, over what he perceived as Zambia’s close alliance with the United States (US).

This was during his (Mnangagwa’s) visit to the eastern European nation for the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

In his remarks, which I am sure have sent shockwaves not only across the region but the entire: African continent (if not the world), Mnangagwa appeared to be begging for military support from Putin to ostensibly counter “Zimbabwe’s loneliness” in the region.

In his pitiful display, he seemed to paint a picture of a Zimbabwe under possible threat from the US using Zambia as a launching pad.

How outrageous can one get?

Surely, on what ridiculous basis would Mnangagwa assume or even conclude that the US wants to attack Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe, of all countries!

Really, Mr Mnangagwa! Really!

I am quite certain that US President Joe Biden — or even Donald Trump, should he win the November 2024 presidential elections — is not at all thinking about Zimbabwe at the moment, let alone preparing a military attack.

The fact that the US recently removed most sanctions against targeted individuals and entities in Zimbabwe proves that it has lost all interest in the southern African country.

It would not surprise me at all if Biden or Trump did not even know the existence of a man called Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

Granted, the US, on April 26, 2022, established its military Africa Command (Africom) in Zambia.

However, it should be noted that this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a military base.

Africom in Zambia is merely an office set up in the US embassy in Lusaka to assist the Zambian forces in the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic.

As can be clearly determined, this is neither a military base nor targeted at Zimbabwe.

Similarly, Zambia itself has never indicated a desire to engage in military hostilities with Zimbabwe.

Indeed, under President Hakainde Hichilema, Zambia has sought to hold the Mnangagwa regime to account for its gross human rights abuses and violation of basic democratic tenets.

He pushed for the unactioned Sadc election observer report to be taken seriously on the basis that Zimbabwe had been indicted for violating regional principles and guidelines governing democratic elections during the August 2023 harmonised elections.

Nonetheless, there were never any signs of desire on Zambia’s part to wage a war or take any other action against Zimbabwe.

This then poses a crucial question.

Why did Mnangagwa say what he said to Putin?

For what reason did he make it appear as though Zimbabwe was under threat from the US using Zambia?

Does he now hate Hichilema so much that he will do anything to “punish” him for his bold stance, including launching a military attack on Zambia?

We may never know as this is a question only Mnangagwa himself can answer.

Nevertheless, for those of us in Zimbabwe, this stunt pulled by Mnangagwa in Russia is quite dangerous and makes us all uneasy.

We are a peace-loving nation that is averse to conflict of any type.

That is the main reason we have not even risen up against the Mnangagwa regime, regardless of its relentless onslaught on the innocent people of Zimbabwe, whose rights are trampled on each and every day. We have watched as those in power loot our national resources without any remorse, while millions are driven into abject poverty.

They have arrested and jailed voices of dissent on spurious charges while at the same time ruthlessly clamping down on the opposition and flagrantly rigging elections.

Yet we have hardly lifted a finger against the kleptomaniac oppressive regime.

Here we have our head of State seemingly pleading with the Russians to offer military assistance to the regime in apparent readiness for a war against Zambia.

How reckless can a leader get?

Mnangagwa’s statement has potentially positioned Zimbabwe as a regional security threat.

This may demand the immediate intervention of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security which is, interestingly, currently chaired by Zambia.

In fact, this may also require an extraordinary summit of the Sadc heads of State to discuss this possible danger to the region.

We do not need war.

Whatever Mnangagwa is planning or had on his mind when he met Putin, it must be nipped in the bud.

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: [email protected], or visit website: https://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/


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