‘Warning To Khama, The Zimbabwe Crisis Will Pull Down SADC Region’ – Eddie Cross

Eddie Cross

I know everyone is fed up with the continuous state of crisis in Zimbabwe but that is no reason for not paying attention to its implications. In 1976 it was an intervention by the American Secretary of State that attempted to address the political, economic and social crisis in Zimbabwe, compounded at that time by a “low level guerilla war”.

In 1980 it was the British, led by the Foreign Secretary, who attempted to address our situation in the form of a regional conference held in London. Then in 1996/7 the UN attempted to tackle the land issue and in 2000 the Mbeki administration considered what to do and came down on the side of supporting the established regime against the democratic forces in the country.

In 2006/7 Mbeki was forced by the deteriorating situation to review his approach and attempted to set up the conditions for a return to democracy resulting in negotiations and the 2008 elections that were finally won by the MDC. Instead of supporting the democratic outcome, Mbeki stuck to his 2000 decision and supported Zanu-PF, facilitating the GNU in 2009 and regional leaders then allowed to opportunities created by their intervention to lapse in 2013 with the result that Zanu-PF was returned to power.

When that happened the economy simply rebelled – stock markets crashed, capital flight resumed and banks failed one after the other. After the GNU when the informal sector in Zimbabwe had come out of its hiding places and assumed its role in the national economy – suddenly the process of informalisation accelerated and today official statistics suggest that 95 per cent of our population is dependent in one way or another on the informal sector.

Every aspect of life is affected by the economy and how it is performing. Despite the statements by the pundits, our economy has resumed the downwards slide that characterized the economy from 1997 to 2008. Inflows to State coffers have shrunk and suddenly there is no money in the markets. Companies are retrenching staff or simply winding up their affairs. Human flight has resumed with a vengeance into any country that will have our economic refugees.

The agricultural sector is in dire straits and will contract again this year – reflecting a continuous and rapid decline in output and activity since the farm invasions began in 2000. This year the situation is compounded by a very poor season and a nationwide shortage of spending power. Unlike 2008, the shops are full of everything you might desire or need. But this time people simply do not have the money to buy what they see in the stores. Real hunger and deprivation is now common in all rural districts.

Zanu-PF plotted their 2013 victory and got what they wanted – full control of the State. They have been shaken by the reaction of the economy and the consequences. More seriously they do not seem to have any idea about what to do and to compound their difficulties they are tearing each other apart. The situation in Zanu-PF cannot be exaggerated – they are fractured, they have expelled many key leaders, those that remain are deeply factionalized and divided.

But it is what is coming that makes me really apprehensive. The weather forecasts suggest that we will have serious el Nino activities in the coming season. One observer said to me that it will be the worst in 100 years. Coming on top of the disastrous season we have just had, the poor prices paid to farmers for their cotton, maize and tobacco, the ongoing destruction of what is left of commercial agriculture, it is easy to predict a catastrophic agricultural season this year affecting millions of people.

There are no signs of any changes in our political leadership, Mr. Mugabe looks as if he really does want to run again in 2018 and in the interim he is not permitting any changes in the policies and leadership that have created the economic conditions that now cripple the Country as a whole. Company closures will accelerate, incoming investment will continue to be restricted by investor sentiment and capital outflows by residents and companies will continue, draining away whatever liquidity is being created.

The State is now incapable of maintaining itself and meeting its essential obligations. The consequences will be fully established by year end – hospitals unable to function except as mortuaries and schools becoming day care centers for young people who will not get an education. The Diaspora will strive to keep their extended families fed but there will be little money left over for anything else.

And as if that were not enough – by December, unless they curb power generation at Kariba dam now, they will have to close the whole power plant down on both sides of the river. The withdrawal of 70 per cent of our only reliable and inexpensive source of power will be very serious and it is unlikely that any of our neighbors will be able to fill the gap.

Internationally we remain as isolated as ever, even the Chinese are saying that to qualify for their assistance we have to reform the way we do things. In the absence of fundamental political, social and economic reforms there will be no possibility of any international assistance. The only option for Zimbabweans, caught up in this spiraling crisis will be to flee and find refuge in another country.

I estimate that up to 5000 people a day are now crossing our southern borders into South Africa – more than 40 000 a week or 2 million people this year. Some will return but the majority will stay and seek new lives, can South Africa take such an additional burden at this time? I think not.

This week the leadership of the SADC passed from Mr. Mugabe to the President of Botswana. Regional leaders have to understand the consequences of having a pariah State in their midst – straddling their key infrastructure and transport, power and communications systems. They have to understand the collateral effects on their own diplomatic and investor relations. This is a globalised world – no one can ignore international sentiment.

When the USA imposes sanctions on a regime anywhere in the world, the consequences are serious – USA influence in global banking and financial markets is enormous. Their diplomatic reach is unmatched. Continuing human rights abuse, political killings and disappearances are reinforcing the status of this country as a pariah State in all respects. We do not pay our bills, we abuse our people’s rights and we ignore legal niceties and property rights.

While this situation pertains in Zimbabwe we cannot recover our place in the world or in the global economy. We will in the process pull down all our neighbors and impede their own progress into the future. by Eddie Cross

Zanu-PF pleaded for mercy after losing March 2008 elections, says Tsvangirai

Tsvangirai pictured in Chitekete

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday revealed how a desperate Zanu-PF had dispatched its leading lights to him, allegedly including former State Security minister Nicholas Goche, to try and broker a deal that would save the party’s and President Robert Mugabe’s bacon after they had lost the March 2008 elections.

Amplifying the stunning revelations at the weekend by former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa that Zanu-PF bigwigs had been left numbed by that surprising loss, the former prime minister’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, said Zanu-PF had initially conceded defeat but soon changed its position and went on to use thuggish methods to remain in power.

Speaking to the Daily News from Tsvangirai’s Highlands home where he said he had gone to get more details and “the true story” about the 2008 events from his boss, Tamborinyoka however, disputed Mutasa’s assertion that the opposition leader had contrived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by running away from the country after winning the polls instead of seizing power at the time.

He said Tsvangirai had only left the country for Botswana at the time because his life was indisputably in danger at the time, in addition to also using the opportunity to drum up much-needed regional and continental support.

“You should know, for example, that Goche held a meeting with (former MDC deputy treasurer-general Elton) Mangoma and conceded defeat.

“Goche asked that we accommodate Zanu-PF in the new government. After initially conceding defeat, they then went on to hold their own politburo meeting where they reversed that decision and said they would now go for a presidential run-off.

“Mind you, in the March 14 Sadc meeting before the delayed election results came out  (former South African President Thabo) Mbeki spoke about the possibility of a run-off and when we look in retrospect we can now conclude that a plan was already underway to subvert the will of the people,” Tamborinyoka said.

Goche, who has since been brutally purged from both the post-congress Zanu-PF formation and the government – on untested claims that he, former Vice President Joice Mujuru and other party bigwigs were plotting to oust and kill Mugabe – was once one of the nonagenarian’s most trusted lieutenants.

It was in that light that he was subsequently appointed one of Zanu-PF’s negotiators in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) talks that ultimately led to the formation of a stabilising government of national unity.

Although the MDC and Tsvangirai won the 2008 elections, authorities later said, after weeks of suspicious prevaricating on the election outcome, that he had failed to garner enough votes to win the presidential poll outright – which they claimed necessitated the holding of a run-off that was characterised by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of opposition supporters.

“Tsvangirai went out to engage the region and he didn’t flee as alleged by some. He went to engage the region and the region did intervene if you check the record,” Tamborinyoka said yesterday, going on to urge Mutasa to “reveal all and stop hiding under the alleged oath of secrecy”.

“It is really amazing that Mutasa is finally coming out and stating what took place. But we want to know everything. He should tell the nation who withheld the results, who killed innocent Zimbabweans and who subverted the will of the people. He should tell all,” Tamborinyoka said.

“While we appreciate that he has finally seen the light, he must stop hiding behind the oath of secrecy and reveal all about the murders, abductions and violence,” he added.

Tamborinyoka said Mutasa’s weekend remarks fully justified why his party had resolved to boycott elections until critically-needed electoral reforms were implemented.

“What Mutasa said vindicates our stance that no reforms, no elections. As long as there are no reforms, the will of the people will always be subverted. So we say no reforms, no elections and we are not going back on that,” he said.

Mutasa, a former close Mugabe confidante revealed for the first time at the weekend that he and other Zanu-PF officials were shocked out of their pants after Tsvangirai and the MDC won the 2008 elections – to the extent that he had rushed to Harare from Rusape to try and protect Mugabe at his official residence.

Now out in the cold after being axed from the ruling party for siding with Mujuru, Mutasa said: “I immediately drove, at speed and alone, from my home in Rusape, to State House in Harare.

“I was terrified, I had to go and protect the president from harm as we were frightened Tsvangirai would do what he said he would do and march to State House. If he had, no policeman would have stopped him. Instead,” Mutasa laughed, “Tsvangirai went to Botswana.”

In those elections, Mutasa was the only Zanu-PF senior official who retained his parliamentary seat, while Tsvangirai easily beat Mugabe in the first round of the presidential poll before pulling out of the second round because hundreds of his supporters had been killed.

“I don’t know how much cheating there was in elections, but I do know that in 2013 (Finance minister) Patrick Chinamasa cheated to win. He bussed people in (to vote for him.) I protested to him and to the Zimbabwe Election Commission.

“We will never know how many people voted for Zanu-PF out of fear. I didn’t know there was fear in those days. I now see it myself. And there is a lot of fear. And I must say, again, I am very, very sorry. That I must stand up to be counted.”

Mutasa also said that he regularly chaired the informal but powerful Joint Operations Command, a structure of top security personnel that meets once a week.

“We discussed many things, such as violence. How to stop it. If food was short we talked about how to find it, usually from South Africa. The joint command did produce top-secret documents every week.

“Secrecy still binds me, from when I was minister. But of course, you know that some waiters in hotels work for the CIO. Your phones are listened to a lot. The CIO is huge.

“It produces many reports. From the UN, there will regularly be a report. A report about the British. Or India. Not very good reports really. I had to read them. They made me tired.”

“I do now know that Zanu-PF did violence. And cheated in elections. But both sides did violence, I accept it was mostly Zanu-PF violence. I am very sorry about that,” Mutasa said.

Source: dailynews