Mhambi has been redeployed.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A new dawn in Zimbabwe?

By the time you read this Robert Mugabe may have stepped down. We already know that Zany PF, the party that ruled Zimbabwe with Stalinist intent no longer has the majority in parliament.

President Robert Mugabe and first lady Grace during the run up to the March 29, 2008 national elections in Zimbabwe.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.

Mhambi has just been listening to an interview by John Simpson with a senior member of Zanu PF. His analysis was simple. Mugabe had made a strategic mistake by not claiming victory earlier.

It was a moment of weakness. A moment in which doubt settled in the minds of state aparatchiks. And so Mugabe fell fowl of the golden rule of African politics - be ruthless.

Now suddenly these erstwhile sycophantic bureaucrats are falling over themselves trying to demonstrate how even handed and fair they are. Not a little reminiscent of recent events in the post Polokwane South African parliament.

The best Mugabe can hold out for now is a run off AND an intervention by the military. Because in a a run off he is even more likely to loose.

Presidents Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.

In March 2007 I opined in an article titled In Cosatu the ANC sees a potential MDC:

'Allot of people are often depressed by events in Zimbabwe, but Mhambi sees reasons for optimism. A largely non-tribal city based middleclass is revolting against the party and leader of liberation. This is largely because Zimbabwe has (or had) substantial industry and therefore a middelclass and organised labour.'

Recent events in both South Africa and Zimbabwe had me beginning to loose faith. But some commentators like Steven Friedman kept banging the drum - the struggle in Zim, Kenya and Polokwane are the birth pangs of genuine democracy in Africa he said. Not many were listening.
'The pattern is clear. The “right” of African presidents to rule for as long as they like, regardless of what their people may think, is under threat.'

If indeed this is the end of Mugabe it is very good news for Africa and South Africa. Already investors are looking to move back into the stricken economy. Consensus is that their economy can be rehabilitated fast.

Many Zimbabweans will be overjoyed at the opportunity to move back over the border from an increasingly xenophobic South Africa. Many South Africans will be glad that they won't have to compete with Zimbabweans over jobs.

But its in the realm of ideas that a huge shift is occurring. An MDC government's foreign policy is likely to put South Africa's foreign policies in an even more unflattering light.

Internally its likely to seek racial reconciliation and economic harmony before the ideology of racial exclusivity at the cost of the economy.

Beware ANC.

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1 comment:

James said...

Hey Wessel,

Interesting times.... Quick question: you say" Concensus is that their economy can be rehabilitated fast." Can you maybe link to some of the economic commentary you've been reading? I'd be curious to check it out myself.