Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Zimbabwe: Crisis, what crisis?

Robert Mugabe and his police and army cohorts must be sniggering behind their truncheons today at the tactical ineptitude of the Zimbabwean opposition. Calling an indefinite general strike in a country where four fifths of the people are out of regular work and the other fifth so desperate they can’t afford to miss a day’s employment was always going to be a questionable strategy. Giving Mugabe and his security services 17 days to prepare for it after the election on 29 March was a sure recipe for failure.

Regrettably, for anyone with a smidgeon of commitment to democracy in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change has been all over the place tactically ever since it first began to challenge Mugabe’s rule. As I've written here previously, they don't even appear to be capable of getting their basic story on the election results straight. Oh, how the opposition there could do with even a fraction of Mugabe’s strategic and tactical nous.

Better news today, however, comes from the ANC in South Africa, which has contradicted President Thabo Mbeki’s incredible assertion that ‘there is no crisis in Zimbabwe’.

‘The ANC regards the ruling party Zanu-PF as an ally. However, it is concerned with the state of crisis that Zimbabwe is in and perceives this as negative for the entire SADC region,’ ANC spokeswoman Jesse Duarte said after a meeting of the party's central working committee on Monday night.

Perhaps, at long last, it is getting through to the ANC that Mugabe has long since used up whatever call on people’s loyalty he might have been due for his past role in the liberation struggle.

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