Monday, 22 September 2008

That didn't take long, did it?

Business as usual has been resumed in Zimbabwe:
Reports in state media claim some Zanu-PF supporters have been arrested and charged with political violence, and party officials in some areas are said to have told followers and the local police to maintain calm. But thousands of Zanu-PF youth militia members and "war veterans" remain in the torture camps set up during the election campaign, and can only support themselves with what they can extort from the local population. Intimidation is still widespread, and there are occasional eruptions of violence.

In Mbare, a "high-density suburb" of Harare, Zanu-PF youth members attacked suspected MDC supporters on Friday, and the homes of two MDC councillors were reported to have been destroyed. Youths were said to have disrupted the distribution of food at schools, telling aid workers to stop until Mr Mugabe gave permission for them to continue. In the past, Zanu-PF has controlled aid handouts to ensure they went only to party followers, and foreign NGOs were barred from operating during the election period. (1)
The deal signed between Tsvangirai and Mugabe effectively gives him control - he has half the seats in parliament and the remainder as divided between two factions of the MDC:
The peace deal gives Zanu-PF 15 cabinet seats, to 13 for Mr Tsvangirai and three for a breakaway faction of the MDC headed by Arthur Mutambara, who will become one of two deputy prime ministers. Unless the two men work together, Mr Mugabe will have the upper hand. This, and the unwieldy structure of the peace deal, could give Zanu-PF the opportunity to create a parallel government, said the rights monitor, "and implement a Plan B to regain control of the rural areas through intimidation". (2)
Unless they can co-operate, Mugabe can basically do what he wants.

The MDC have been out-manouvered. They are now tied up with Zanu-PF, but will struggle to influence or restrain Mugabe's party. In exchange for this ineffectuality, they've given up their credibility as a focus of opposition. Joining Mugabe was either utterly naive, or completely cynical. But either way it means the end of the MDC in Zimbabwe.

When Mugabe dies the MDC will be associated with the crimes of the Zanu-PF regime. It has no future. If Zanu-PF maintain their grip on power, the MDC will propably be purged b the new incumbent. If the country collapses into civil war, the MDC will be seen as either on the government side, or completely irrelevent.
1 - "Intimidation and fear as Mugabe says he is in the 'driving seat'," by Raymond Whitaker in the Independent, 21st of September, 2008. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/intimidation-and-fear-as-mugabe-says-he-is-in-the-driving-seat-937012.html)
2 - ibid.

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