Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mugabe Misfires (again) on Independence

Zimbabwe commemorates the 26th annivesary of it's independence today. As has become customary over the years, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe used a gathering to commemorate a national event as a platfrom for another vitriolic attack on his opponents. There was very little celebrating at the National Sports Stadium in Harare today, Mugabe had a lot on his mind.

Mugabe, fresh from publicly deriding Tsvangirai a couple weeks ago at the burial of Winston Changara at the national shrine, fired another salvo at Tsvangirai. Said Mugabe,
"There are some who say they no longer want elections saying they now will change the government through mass protests …. I warn them, they are playing with fire and they should stop."
Tsvangirai has been holding rallies across the country in preparation of what many expect to be mass demonstrations planned to force Mugabe's government to quit.

One would be forgiven for thinking that when the old man stepped to the podium today he's ascerbic aresenal would be low since he just attacked Tsvangirai at another national event weeks ago. But there are there things bothering Mugabe in a very real way.

Masked beneath the thin veneer of boisterous threats is genuine fear and trepidation in ZANU-PF. Speculation is rife that he and his cronies are nervous about the possibility of mass revolt. There even is some speculation that he is talks with the MDC about a peaceful transition.

The proposed plan, tipped to be UN Secretary General Koffi Annan's last hooray before retirement, will see Mugabe retire in 2008. After Mugabe's retirement, a coalition government led by a ZANU-PF transitional president will preside over the country before elections in 2010.

The key element of all this is the claim that the composition of the transitional government will, "reflect on the country's ethnic and gender balance." Why? Because as Jonathan Moyo (a former ZANU-PF henchman) reveals in this article
The top four leadership positions in the ruling Zanu PF - president and first secretary, two vice-presidents and second secretaries and national chairman - which make up the party's presidency, should reflect Zimbabwe's regional diversity and ethnic balance between and among the country's four major ethnic groupings, namely Karanga, Manyika, Zezuru and Ndebele in order to promote and maintain representative national cohesion, development, peace and stability while fostering a broad-based sense of national belonging and identity; that the top position of president and first secretary of the party should not be monopolised by one sub-tribe (or clan) but should reasonably rotate among the four major ethnic groupings; that the filling of these top four positions should not be by imposition by the party hierarchy but through democratic elections done by secret balloting; and, that the filling of the top four leadership positions and the democratic elections should be defined and be guided by and done in accordance with the constitution of the party to promote the rule of law within the party as a foundation for maintaining the rule of law in the country.
ZANU-PF has long been wary of disproportionate gender and ethnic balance of the country's top leadership. The presence of concern for the same principle in speculated plan lends credibility to the proposed plan.

As we have now come to expect, when national events like this happen, Mugabe will address not the nation, but only his opponents. Makes one wonder what he spends more time thinking about; the nation and the plethora of problems beseiging it, or his enemies?

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