Where now for Zimbabwe?

November 10, 2008

It was not hard to see which of Zimbabwe’s rivals felt he had come out on top from the regional summit at the weekend.


President Robert Mugabe described the leaders as “persuasive”. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was “shocked and saddened”.


Leaders of the Southern African Development Community demanded immediate implementation of Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal and said the rivals should share the powerful Home Affairs ministry to end weeks of deadlock – a proposal quickly rejected by Tsvangirai.


Anyone hoping the summit might be able to bring Zimbabwe’s increasingly desperate crisis closer to a resolution would have been disappointed.


Instead of highlighting a strong position, it showed up more than anything why the region’s leaders are unlikely to ever be able to force Zimbabwe’s rivals to implement a power-sharing deal that now looks in growing doubt.


What chance is there now for the power-sharing deal? Should Tsvangirai accept the verdict of the regional leaders and share the Home Affairs post? Should Mugabe form a government alone if Tsvangirai does not go along?


What do you think?












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Tsvangirai – fight on, fight on. This is a battle for the heart of Zimbabwe, you are the ONLY legitimately elected man at the negotiating table, don’t settle for anything less than what Zimbabwe voted for.

Posted by Gary | Report as abusive

i think these two leaders are seeking personal gains instead of the needs of the people it is now clear the two dont give a damn about the crisis in that country but they are both power hungry and as for morgan it shows hes being driven by an outside force which doesnt give damn about the situation affecting ordinary zimbabweans and finally the people of zimbabwe need change and they dont really care where it comes

Posted by nkanka sagu | Report as abusive

This has always been a racial issue – directly or indirectly. Since Mugabe evicted white farmers, the west-mostly Europeans – have been trying hard to punish him so as to send a message that no one can mess around with white people and get away with it.

We have seen the western press trying hard to potray the opposition as saints and the government as villains. Every one who accuses Mugabe has been elevated to a hilltop instantly. The Zambian president was described as modern and intelligent because he spoke against Mugabe even though his own economy was in shambles, opposition harassed and corruption rampant in the country.

The Botswana president who never came to power by elections and who has no desire of holding elections is being hailed as wise – just because he spoke against Mugabe.

And so to the Western Press the only resonable answer is to be anti-Mugabe. Never mind the fact that Morgan changes his position constantly and his demands unreasonable even by the standard of his fellow opposition leader Muthambara.

It’s all about symbolisms. If Mugabe wins, African liberation movement will be dignified – if he loses the European power over Africa will have been exended. Wonder which side the western press is on?


Posted by Cedric | Report as abusive

Power-sharing is a bad precedent whichever way one looks at it. The best solution is to have fresh elections with more observers from the world, and peace-keeping forces to narrow incidents of violence. A clear winner should emerge. If the rest of the world really cares about Zimbabwe then the UN must uphold the values of democracy that it purports to champion. These values include free and fair elections. To endorse peace through power-sharing is simply to allow a goat and a hyena to live together, obviously that would be a bad deal.

Posted by Clutton Patsika | Report as abusive

Mr. Tsvangirai is absolutely right in holding out. There is no point of giving in to Mugabe. It will not help the people of Zimbabwe even in this desparate situation.

Posted by Torbjørn Eide | Report as abusive

Mugabe will do as he wants. Before the election, I said the same and it will not change until Mugabe and his power brokers want it to change.

It is critical the west stay out of this situation. The west should only be involved in countries where they have been invited because you can do far more with partners.

North American’s shouldalso work more with our aboriginal people and improve our situation. Pour resources into good at home and not into unwelcome parts of the world like Zimbabwe.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive

Well, Mugabe should form the government. If the opposition would like to field some other candidate then the power sharing deal can go ahead. Tsvangirai appears to be a stooge whose only interest is himself. He has no idea of what sacrifices Mugabe and the Zimbabeans have made for the fight for independence of the country. Nor is he aware of the subtle ways in which neo colonialism operates. Zimabia needs patriots not traitors.

Posted by rui | Report as abusive

Contrary to the previous poster, I would recommend more, not less, pressure from the West. This is a humanitarian disaster, not just a political issue, and it is the responsibility of human rights supporters the world over to voice their dissatisfaction with the lack of progress.

Posted by Keith Harrison | Report as abusive

Power sharing the Home Affairs ministry will not work-the chief of police is a Mugabe man who says he will not salute Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai will simply be bypassed. Any directives from Tsvangirai will simply be ignored by the police chief as he is beholden to Mugabe. At best the police chief must be removed and a neutral third party installed (probably a UN representative) who will act in a non partisan way.

Posted by Rex | Report as abusive

The question for me is, with SADC leaders coming out in support of Robert Mugabe’s position, what is the MDC’s Plan B because we can discuss until kingdom come but Zanu PF is not going to roll over and give them power just like that.

If they go back to the people of Zimbabwe and tell them this is where we are today with the talks, do they think the people will give them the nod to share power or they will say ‘to hell with Mugabe’.

If they go to the African Union, after 15 SADC countries have already agreed they should share the Home Affairs ministry, will the outcome be any different, even if it is put to a vote?

If they fail at the AU then there would possibly be a UN mission to try to break the impasse. Can the UN do anything with Russia and China supporting Zanu PF – the chances are slim.

Which leaves Zimbabwe with two possible options, either the country slides towards a civil war or we have fresh elections. The truth is the ordinary Zimbabwean is suffering and needs help today and not tomorrow. People gave the MDC the mandate to make decisions on their behalf, so what is their PLAN B.

Posted by sandra nyaira | Report as abusive

SADC have now condemned Zimbabwe to Civil War. There is no choice left. Be it on your heads SADC, for this will spill over into the other SADC countries that have leaders in the mould of Mugabe. Once again, this new fight for liberation in Zimbabwe will have an effect throughout all of Southern Africa and hopefully lead to the end of all the weak, corrupt and evil leaders who have raped their countries and peoples. We would ask the rest of the free World to impose whatever sanctions and pressure they can on Zimbabwe’s Dictatorship and these regimes, with our full support, even if it also hurts us. Don’t worry, we will survive and we the people will win this time!

Posted by Bennie | Report as abusive

One needs to go back to the results of 29 March election where Morgan clearly won a majority. The fact that there was such a huge delay in releasing results shows that they were manipulated in Mugabe’s favour. It is Morgan that should be standing up now and forming a government and perhaps he may feel inclined to offer Mugabe the odd ministry for good measure. SADC could hardly argue with this position when their observers pronounced negatively on the so called sham run off.

Posted by James Robinson | Report as abusive

This is the last stage in a coup engineered by ZANU(PF) and backed by SADC after the MDC won the elections in March. There won’t be any civil war. Zimbabwe’s economy and its fall-out will just bring down the rest of the region, leading to less production and development, more emigration of skills, more Western humanitarian aid, and more ruling elites who entrench their own interests and stifle those of the people.

Posted by Roger in Zimbabwe | Report as abusive

Why does the UN wait until the situation gets to a point like Congo is experiencing before thay talk of intervention. As has been said already here, the situation in Zimbabwe is no ;longer political but humanitarian.
Come on U N get some backbone and stop being scared of a despot like Mugabe. Even if you are critisised by him as being colonials save the people any more suffering, they will thank you for it.

Posted by Douglas | Report as abusive

The point for me is not the racial aspect because whether we in Africa like it or not,most Europeans have overcome the aspet of racism and this is Evident in America’s recent elections.

The problem is that Mugabe has over stayed his welcome like most leaders in Africa. His regime has therefore become very brutal to the masses.

I want to remind the world that Idi Amin did the same thing and ended up killing thousands of Ugandans.

SADC should seriously consider the views of ordinally people who are in dire need instead of wasting tax payers money to go for meetings and make statements which are not practicle.

You dont expect a man who has been in power for nearly 30 years to give up power on a silver platter. Mugabe has to be forced to agree to the terms of the agreement.

Posted by sammy | Report as abusive

Mugabe should go ahead and form the government. Viva Zimbabwe!

Posted by Willom | Report as abusive

it seems to me Tsvangirai does not know the meaning of compromise, as sharing is also not the priority for Zanu-pf. he is seen as power hungry, I thought he is clever but now i see the opposite. as long as he continues aligning himself with the west he will make little progress. African leaders are not stupid in a way that they can try to please our former colonial rule.
beside the economis status of zimbabwe driven by the west, he remains a true African hero. he is probably the most powerful man in the world. He has to implement what he has been mandated by SADC leaders.

Posted by Jele | Report as abusive

There is nothing good that can come out of SADC. It is high time the United Nation Interven and stop this Madness and restore Tsvangirai to his position as the legitimate President of Zimbabwe.As long as Mugabe is in control of Police zimbabwean will continue being brutalised.

Posted by Canaan Kangetsambo | Report as abusive

The power sharing thing was a big compromise for MDC because they were legitimately given a mandate by the people, on March 29, to serve the country. That being said its not fair for the SADC not to listen to Tsvangirai but Mugabe instead. A look at these so called SADC heads tells the story..either non of them came into office through a democratic way or they are also trying to hold on to power in their own countries in the future. Bush is even portraying a far better image than these African leaders..look how gracefully he is transferring power to our African hero BARACK OBAMA. Take a look at the SADC table and tell me which of those leaders will ever hand over power peacefully to an opposition president-elect. To all those who speak for Mugabe just because he helped liberate our country, this is no time to talk about slave trade or colonialisim. we are way past that era Mugabe must rest and give this country to new blood.. look at Mandela. We the people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough and all we want is change..if Bush of all people can allow change and embrace it then why cant we Africans do it…this for sure is a cursed continent because we all stand by and watch our brothers suffer…people line up at banks to withdraw pantry monies…some are dying of Cholera in the capital city Harare and the government instead of helping stands and watch and even has the courtesy to hide the truth about the outbreak…we are dying here and all our African brothers have to say is African Liberation.

Posted by baciara | Report as abusive

We have a problem where the western press is selective in its reporting. They know it all and seems to be angling for the fact that Morgan T is a saint, of which he is not. I know of corruption in their rank and file. This is a battle for control of Africa and mark my words Zimbabwe shall never be a colony again!!! Those who are genuine and want to build our country come along. Untill that day when all humans are considered equals then we will b prepared to talk for now we have our Zimbabwe, we will not sell our birthright if it means dying for it.

Posted by Nelson | Report as abusive

Tsvangirai must respect SADC. He is the one who proposed the SADC issue, when Mbeki failed. It show a lot of confusion in theMDC.These guys are just power hungry. You ask SADC to rule and then say yu are sad. Whats that? Why did he go there? Why was Khama afraid of coming to face Mugabe after all the hype. We need more serious politicians. Arthur is showing more maturity

Posted by Tonderai | Report as abusive

Going into this latest talking forum, SADC may have had the solution well within their grasp; if they really had the stomach to demonstrate African leadership it was there for the taking. It’s said that between 4 and 4.5 million Zimbabweans live in refugee camps and the like in surrounding African countries and abroad…if so, a number that appears to represent maybe 30% to 35% of the Zimbabwe population. Many more we hear, live huddled in the bush and grasses near the various neighboring borders to Zimbabwe, ready at a moments notice to run for their lives…while eating what ever they can scratch to stay alive. It seems if SADC really wanted to be part of the solution rather than simply part of this endless talking forum;…if they were serious about putting this blight on Southern Africa behind them…it’s a wonder they’ve never insisted the contestants for leadership of this beautiful country agree to an imposed set of free and fair election directions and management…no matter the sovereignty argument;

Considering the fact that now Zimbabwe is about to take all the surrounding countries presently NOT getting involved in non military solutions…into potentially armed conflict…the sovereignty of many countries will become an issue; an issue when there’s really no need, no reason to loose more lives over making things right for so many. Let’s play the what-if-game for a moment………

What if…SADC agreed amongst its membership to immediately assemble a temporary-time-limited election peace keeping force of sufficient size, to safe guard interior Zimbabwe electoral locations and all routes to and from those locations as well as all routes to and from neighboring country to country transit points where rural populations would have easier access to vote out-of-country.

What if…Zimbabwe’s current government was directed by SADC as condition of continued SADC membership to agree to stand down the entire military structure… to their respective barracks for the vote and potential transition duration, where they will also have free and fair access to vote their hearts decision under SADC management and also directed to stand down the entire police structure to their respective backs where they too will have free and fair access to vote their hearts decision under SADC management….with all national policing for the purposes of the vote to be assumed by the joint SADC electoral security forces drawn from all SADC member countries for a specified period of vote and potential transition to freely elected government.

What if…under SADC agreement and administration, a free and fair election process was set up in all surrounding countries for voting access, where Zimbabweans are currently in refugee and/or transit status.

What if…under SADC/UN agreement and administration, a free and fair election process is set up at UN missions and offices around the world for voting access where Zimbabweans are either in refugee, transit or working abroad status.

What if…SADC determined there’s no logical need to politic in this matter any further, as the entire country, indeed the entire world knows the competing politicians intimately by this stage….what if they determine what is needed here is not more wasted money on kissing babies, flying posters and beating up the electorate but more fundamental actions of hearing the peoples choice at the ballot box…!

What if it worked? What if something as radically positive as peace and stability with regards to all affected countries in this rapidly downward spiraling region… was to break out of the darkness through the TOUGH LOVE of Zimbabwe’s neighbors’……! Wouldn’t the survival of millions of lives in the balance be worth the SADC risk of stepping up and doing something…rather than making more ineffective statements while throwing more hands in the air in embarrassing resignation?

Posted by Doug | Report as abusive

The Botswana position is absolute,We are a beacon of democracy a shinning hope in midst of a dark continent,our stand which our president took,is that the only solution for Zimbabwe,is free and fair election monitored by the United Nations,Our african ruling parties will do all things to hold to power,so i urge Africans to learn from Botswana.We distate a government formed through torture,violence and killing of innocent blood.Changarai should not have entered in any deal with Mugabe,He is a traitor and have massacared Ndebeles and many.Africans time has come for us to arise and denounce this regime.SADC and AU are shameful organs they wont act!

Posted by eric | Report as abusive

Just get rid of Mugabe and the problem will be resolved. As long as this racist has any say all zimbabwe will suffer.

Posted by Billy Hirst | Report as abusive

Another blog about Zimbabwe! The last one was less than three weeks ago.

5 million people are dead and 1 million are displaced in Congo, we get only one blog in six months. White farmers are forced to give back the land they stole through murder, genocide, apartheid, we get a blog every two weeks!

If Reuters wants to be taken seriously, it will let REAL AFRICANS write the Africa Blog so they can focus on issues that really concern them rather than this obsession about the fate of greedy, racist white farmers in Zimbabwe.

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Mugabe is already behaving as if he is hte legitimate government. He is NOT unless MDC agrees to it. Anyways, even if he forms new government, what will happen? not a penny is going to be put in by western countries and the problems of zimbabwe need cash infusions on massive scale. we need the west. and in this case they are right and mugabe is wrong. with the current arrangement, whatever was economically funtional has stopped. the farms, the gold mines, the industries. so please get into some sense. let mugabe go. let zimbabwe live!

Posted by Kishor Kumar | Report as abusive

Zimbabweans are clearly incapable of solving their own problems due to brute force and intimidation on the part of the ZANU PF. If millions are to be spared from starvation and ruin – not only inside Zimbabwe but also in neighbouring countries as a result of the refugee crisis – countries most affected such as South Africa, Zambia and Botswana must act to ensure new and fair elections at the earliest opportunity. South Africa says it cannot force Mugabe to do anything, but the same was not true when Ian Smith ruled Rhodesia. South Africa’s threat to cut Rhodesia’s lifeline resulted in immediate capitulation. Botswana and South Africa’s joint invasion of Lesotho also produced results. If the three neighbours, together with Mocambique, closed their borders with Zimbabwe, moved troops to the border and told Mugabe that he WILL hold new elections under African/international supervision, change could be effected quickly and bloodlessly. In the highly unlikely event that the Zimbabwe electorate chose to re-elect ZANU-PF in a FREE election, so be it … The lack of any meaningful action by Africa or the world will prolong Zimbabwe’s suffering and lead to needless loss of life in a country proven to be capable of being more than self-supporting.

Posted by Mark Adams | Report as abusive

This has nothing to do with racist white farmers embittered by losing their land. This situation is all about a man (R.M.) who cannot fathom his country ruled by someone other than him, regardless of the consequences. I think the consequences are quite clear: A complete collapse of the functioning state. Until the democratically elected government takes power, no one in the Western world will want anything to do with Mugabe. The time for change has come.

Posted by John Cofrin | Report as abusive

Mugabe was asked to recurse himself from the room but he defied the chairman. He showed contempt of SADC and was rewarded in the end.Why the does anyone in their normal state would suggest Tsvangirai take SADC seriously. SADC is spineless and they are all Mugabe’s wives.
Tsvangirai should not just join Mugabe to window-dress his government, but should go in as an equal partner. If there is to be two Home Affairs ministers how do they function and who will be accountable for what. That does not work. Mugabe got defence therefore Morgan should get Home Affairs otherwise let Mugabe form his illegitimate government. Let the games begin. If Mugabe decide to go it alone then he will not last more than six months thats the reality.

Posted by dread | Report as abusive

Mugabe is a despot! Tsvangirai, although also without tarnish, does have the majority of Zimbabwe civilians behind him. In a Democratic world, Tsvangirai should be assisted in securing the higher ground! I suspect that what will transpire will be a rapid descent into civil war, again! While the world, and particularly, the Southern African Development Community, will sit idle in support of failed diplomacy which would appear to be a habit of the SADC. Shame on SADC again! Andrew C.

Posted by Andrew C | Report as abusive

Mugabe should be forced to step down,through elections monitored by the United Nations,We here in Botswana are feeling the hard pinch of Zimbabwe situation,monthly our government spend P1.2million for the upkeep of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants,P64 million used to build detention centre,12000 zimbabweans are involved in criminal activities,This is a very sad situation for our economy,this money could have been used for development of our country.I urge those who thinks that to liberate the country means to own the land,to think twice, ZANU PF is a confused party which will use everything to hold on power,Africans we need to stand up and advocate for democracy,we should do a fact finding mission about democracy in Botswana.We need change in Africa,change we can believe in.

Posted by eric | Report as abusive

Has the world forgotten about Zim now? We shouldn’t, despite the Western worlds economic issues. Those will filter to places like Africa soon and be another double whammy for those poor folks.

Posted by KT | Report as abusive

The web site, http://www.arrestNKUNDAnow.org , provides information about war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by troups under Nkunda ‘s command since 2002 . The website is also launching a petition calling on concerned people around the world to demand that MONUC immediately arrest Nkunda for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The U.N.’s biggest peacekeeping mission will soon be over 20,000 in Congo “must ensure that those responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws are brought to justice” said Mr. Kyubwa.

Nkunda is accused of multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity of which most cases are well documented by various human right organzations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In September 2005, the Congolese government issued an arrest warrant for Nkunda, accusing him of numerous war crimes and crimes against human rights. Human Rights Watch, for example, which has been calling for his arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity since February 2006 has documented summary executions, torture and rape committed by soldiers under the command of Nkunda in Bukavu in 2004 and in Kisangani in 2002. Also armed groups loyal to warlord Nkunda have been repeatedly accused of using rape as a weapon of war and the recruitment of child soldiers, some as young as 12 after the abduction from their homes.

According to Mr. Kyubwa, NKunda continues to be involved in the committing of crimes in DRC, and in particular in the province of North Kivu, where again groups armed acting under his command are reportedly responsible for killing civilian systematically in the town of Kiwanja. The continuing horrific killing of civilians testifies that Human Rights Watch was absolutely reasonable in its warning then in 2006 and it’s today. “So long as Nkunda is at large, the civilian population remains at grave risk”

The website http://www.arrestNKUNDAnow.org encourages concerned people around the world to sign a petition to demand that MONUC immediately arrest Nkunda for war crimes and crimes against humanity. For more information please call the project coordinator in the United States , Amede Kyubwa at (916) 753 5717 or email: arrestkundanow@hotmail.com

Posted by Joseph Robert | Report as abusive