The West and SADC

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) seems to have come to terms with the date for the Presidential, Parliamentary and local government elections to be held in Zimbabwe on July 31, 2013.

SADC can ill-afford to have Zimbabwe withdraw from it.
“It would destabilise the entire region,” a former South African Ambassador told this writer. “Neither an envoy, nor an advisor to the President would have the authority, or the capacity to prescribe to any sovereign, independent country, its President and cabinet, how and when to hold its elections.
“Ms Lindiwe Zulu (President Jacob Zuma’s international relations advisor) is no exception. To the best of my knowledge, South Africa is not a proxy and would not insult by prescribing to sovereign Heads of State and their governments.”
Most ruling parties in Southern Africa have bilateral relations on a party-to-party basis, where most matters affecting either one or the other – or both – are continuously discussed, understood and resolved.
Most of the current ruling parties have in fact, fought shoulder-to-shoulder over decades to respectively achieve their freedom from oppression, to get back their land that colonial occupiers had brutally stolen.
It means, they know one another well, although they do not always agree on every topic. Their relationships remain close and cordial.
In the case of South Africa’s governing ANC and Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF, a similar relationship has been built over decades.
The ANC was closer to the late Joshua Nkomo and his ZAPU, when both were based in Lusaka, Zambia. The late Samora Machel’s Mozambique was the base of Robert Mugabe and his ZANU.
The fall-out between Zambia’s retired President Kenneth Kaunda and Robert Mugabe during the war against the colonial-UDI occupiers of Rhodesia was widely publicised.
This writer was informed that: “If Nkomo and his ZAPU would have taken over government in Harare in 1980, colonial-apartheid South Africa’s armed forces would have put Zimbabwe under the same siege as they did Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia.
“Nkomo and ZAPU were much closer to South Africa’s exiled ANC in Lusaka. On the other hand, Mugabe and ZANU were at that time much closer to South Africa’s Pan-Africanist Congress.”
One of the former close associates of the late ZAPU leader, Joshua Nkomo, was recently Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Pretoria. Ambassador Khaya Moyo returned to Harare to become chairman of ZANU-PF.
While Ambassador to South Africa, Khaya Moyo had a good working relationship with former President Thabo Mbeki and his team of SADC-appointed mediators in Zimbabwe’s political impasse.
A senior diplomat said, “Since Zimbabwe’s Independence in April 1980, Prime Minister Mugabe, later President Mugabe, was able to avoid much of colonial-apartheid South Africa’s military attacks on Zimbabwe.
“Mugabe’s careful balancing act then secured Zimbabwe’s stability and saved many lives.”
As from 1998 mainly British and American interests attempted to force a highly treasonous, so-called regime change in Zimbabwe.
Any agreement that accommodated President Mugabe in government – despite what the Zimbabwean voters said – was not acceptable to the West.
Both MDCs pushed hard for sanctions so that the country’s economy would collapse and people would vote President Mugabe out in much the same way as was seen in the “colour revolutions” in former Eastern Bloc countries of Europe.
This resulted in the collapse of Zimbabwe’s currency. It undermined the economy, bringing serious hardships to the majority of the population.
The West overtly and covertly unleashed illegal, punitive and destructive economic sanctions. It is their dishonest strategy.
Reverend Frank Chikane, Director-General in the Office of President Thabo Mbeki, documented in his latest book, “The Things That Could Not Be Said – From A{ids} to Z{imbabwe}”: – “In a campaign of this nature, misrepresentation of facts and distortion of reality become permissible as long as it advances the cause people were pursuing.
“The saying that ‘truth is the first casualty of war’ proved correct. People lied or accepted lies with straight faces and without moral qualms.” Rev Chikane explains the situation the South African mediators found themselves in.
“The objective was to influence the outcomes, or intervene in, or disrupt processes that seemed to be heading in the direction that may not be compatible with the policy objectives of those who wanted ‘regime change’.
“The third objective was to discredit the outcomes of the facilitation processes before the process was completed.
“Every effort was made to divide the SADC leaders in particular and African leaders in general. In some instances the lobbying went beyond acceptable diplomatic practice to threats involving the withdrawal of development assistance to some of the more vulnerable countries.
“The discussions about these were at presidential levels”, wrote Reverend Frank Chikane in his latest book in chapter 6 under the title, “Zimbabwe Facilitation: Caught in the Crossfire”.
Chikane goes on record saying, “The ‘regime change’ approach wanted a ‘win-lose’ solution but it never stated clearly how this was to be achieved.
“Elections had failed to produce universally accepted results and the MDC’s ‘Final Push’ campaign had proved that the opposition did not have the support it needed, for whatever reasons, to force a ‘regime change’.”
With the weight of the Western powers behind the MDCs and against a President Mugabe-led ZANU-PF, one would expect SADC not to be used as proxies against their kith and kin. Regional stability has to be the main focus.
• Udo W Froese is a political and socio-economic analyst and columnist based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

July 2013
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