Monday, 21 July 2008

Zimbabwe deal

This (1), I have to say, I did not expected. Some immediate thoughts on why the MDC and Mugabe might, suddenly, have found common ground:

  • Mugabe has decided to exit and this is a deal to grant him and his family immunity. This would not be a bad outcome. While in an ideal world criminals should always face justice, getting Mugabe and Zanu-PF out of power without further bloodshed would be a good thing. Unlike some, I'm not aroused by the idea of guerrilla warfare and bloody revolution if it can be avoided. Let the old bastard go if necessary, so that other not-bastards might live.
  • Alternately, Mugabe has no intention of stepping down, but he is weaker than previously thought. Perhaps he genuinely fears the MDC, or is worried about elements within his own party. By coming to an accomodation with the MDC, he may hope to stengthen his position and extend his reign.
  • If Tsvangirai is seeking to pull of a Mandela style 'historic compromise' with Mugabe then he's naive. Mugabe is a snake and can not be relied on to keep faith.
  • The most pessimistic option is that Tsvangirai is joining the hegemony with his eyes wide open and with cynical motives in his heart. In which case, he is engaging in a bauble grab to make Winston green with envy.

My gut feeling is that it is either a stalling tactic by Mugabe, or a cynical power grab by Tsvangirai. It won't be the first time an opponent of tyranny has become the thing he sought to overthrow. There is a recent example from the region - think back to Laurent Kablia, one time Congo guerilla, associate of Che Guevara and eventual tyrant of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

1 - "Zimbabwe leaders 'to sign deal'," unattributed BBC atricle, published online, 21st of July, 2008. (

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