Former SA President Thabo Mbeki has used his latest article to justify why his administration had opposed the UN Security Council’s attempts to imposed UN sanction on Zimbabwe after the 2008 rigged elections. He said “Zimbabwe posed any threat to international peace and security” and he wanted the UN to leave the Zimbabwe crisis to the AU and SADC who were helping the country resolve its problems.
“To the contrary, by exercising their right to self-determination, in 2008, and with our facilitation, the democratically elected representatives of the people of Zimbabwe adopted the Global Political Agreement (GPA),” wrote President Mbeki.
Whilst one would readily accept the UN principle that regional bodies should be given the chance to solve member country’s problems; what is disappointing about the AU and SADC is they have a track record of failure. The Zimbabwe crisis has proven to be yet another AU and SADC failure. SADC promised to deliver free, fair and credible elections at the end of the GNU, that never happened and the country is in any even worse political and economic mess today than in 2008!
President Thabo Mbeki knew that Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies were NOT “the democratically elected representatives of the people of Zimbabwe”. The GNU proposed after some of the worst cases of vote rigging and wanton political violence in modern history; it is an insult to the victims of the barbarism to call the process a democratic one.
The only logical explanation why SADC proposed the formation of a GNU was to give Mugabe, who had been soundly defeated in the 2008 elections and had a reputation of rigging elections, a soft landing out of office. The GNU was tasked to implement a raft of GPA reforms designed to deliver free, fair and credible elections at the end of the GNU.
Having granted Mugabe the soft land, God knows he did not deserve that, one expected SADC to show some human compassion for the long suffering people of Zimbabwe by ensuring that Zimbabwe did indeed have free, fair and credible elections. Sadly they did no such thing.
On many occasions during the GNU, SADC leaders expressed their concerns for the lack of progress in the implementation of the GPA reforms and raised these with Morgan Tsvangirai and the rest of his fellow MDC leaders who were tasked to implement the reforms. After two or three years of the GNU with still no single reform implemented, SADC leaders should have known by then that MDC leaders were incompetent, corrupt and that they had sold-out on implementing the reforms. SADC leaders should have taken steps to force MDC leaders to implement the reforms; instead they did nothing other than wash their hands clean of Zimbabwe.
SADC was the guarantor of the GPA and free, fair and credible elections; they could not therefore just abandon the ordinary Zimbabweans to the mercy of the corrupt and incompetent MDC. The argument that bringing pressure to bear on MDC leaders would have constituted interference in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs does not hold water given SADC was the guarantor and worse still they had engineered a soft landing for Mugabe!
“The accusation that we have betrayed the cause of human rights derived from the fact that, by asserting the rule of international law in the interest of ‘countries without global leverage', we opposed the pernicious global diktat of those who, in their interest, see themselves and act as the universal benevolent hegemon,” concluded Mbeki.
What simpletons like President Mbeki and his fellow African leaders have failed to understand is that when leaders like President Bush, PM Tony Blare and other Western leaders play this “pernicious global diktat”, as Mbeki called it; they always do so from a position of strength and they never shoot themselves in the foot. Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis has caused untold human suffering in our country and has, at the very least, held back the region’s economic development. So of course no thinking Zimbabwean will ever thank President Mbeki for keeping Zimbabwe in this mess all these years!
It is one thing for SADC or the AU to demand that the UN should allow them to deal Africa’s problems but quite another for them to fulfil that commitment and resolve the problems, particularly when they lack the political will and/or material resources to deal with them. The AU and SADC are there to save the people and not to prop up tyrants and despots!
As long as Africa continue to be ruled by tyrants like Mugabe, assured of AU protection and Russian and Chinese veto from UN censor, good governance, peace and prosperity will remain a distant dream for many Africans and the continent will never be taken seriously on the international political stage!