Livingstone’s ghost at SADC meeting

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DURING the liberation war, we had a few cases of fighters who ‘accidentally’ slashed their hands or legs with the bayonets of their AK47 rifles because they were afraid to go to the front to engage the Rhodesians in battle. The trick worked because war rules did not allow guerrillas to send an injured or sick fighter to the front. The incident of the alleged bomb at Minister Tendai Biti’s house reminded me of those distant little occurrences during the war. Minister Biti is under siege. Sometimes, from a purely humanitarian point of view, one cannot help feeling pity for him. But then, Tendai Biti’s problem is that of people who get into politics without an agenda, people thrust into the political limelight riding on lies. They do not have a moral defence to fall back on. In the end, they create many more other lies. Minister Biti’s MDC wants the world to believe it is a victim of ZANU PF violence. In the absence of such violence, they are left with no choice except to create it themselves. Except that the situation is slightly worse for the MDC. The violence that surrounded their congress in Bulawayo could not have come at a worse time. How on earth could it come immediately after the controversial Livingstone Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika meeting where the party’s entire argument, and Jacob Zuma had surprisingly believed them, had been constructed on the premise that they were innocent victims of ZANU PF violence? How could the world be so cruel to the MDC? We watched in shock as delegates to their congress bloodied each other over differences that everyone thought could be resolved peacefully. If they could do that to themselves, most of us thought and shivered, what would they do to other people? A friend of mine from the private media told me a nasty experience that he had with his employers. The people who controlled the paper he wrote for instructed him to kill a story that he was writing about MDC violence at Harvest House before their congress in Bulawayo. He refused and they fired him. He was fired for a story that never saw the light of day. He threatened to take them to court, but later decided against it. His sudden satisfaction, he later confided in me, was his ultimate refusal to continue to be paid so little for the horrendous selling out he was doing his country. I was surprised he didn’t know all along that he was selling out his country to our former colonisers. At the SADC Troika meeting in Livingstone, the MDC submitted a report that facilitator Jacob Zuma believed, where Zimbabwe was portrayed as having slipped into the control of a vicious military dictatorship where the politicians had become helpless hostages. That was a month ago. Then things started going wrong for the MDC. When SADC met in Namibia three weeks later where Jacob Zuma was supposed to present his report of progress in Zimbabwe, the MDC had not even killed the police officer in Glen View. They were still battling to clean up the blood spattered around their congress, to attempt to go to Windhoek clean. Jacob Zuma did not have the courage to face his colleagues from SADC with a report that claimed the MDC was a victim of ZANU PF violence because he would be asked to defend it. He pretended he was too busy at home with the local elections, but everyone knew the elections were over. If there was any domestic reason why he didn’t go to Windhoek, it was the fright that he got from his own white-controlled MDC in South Africa called the Democratic Alliance (DA). It had made incredible electoral gains in areas his ANC previously controlled. The report by the Troika was deferred to South Africa. It was something that Zuma could not wish away. Now to compound the MDC and Zuma’s woes, Tendai Biti’s party killed a police officer in Glen View. Who would not try to do what Tendai Biti is suspected to have done, to organise the petrol-bombing of his own house to create some furore, some commotion, and perhaps give a semblance of truth to their argument that there is violence in Zimbabwe and they were the victims? The MDC is under siege. We understand the MDC has bussed thousands of their activists across the Limpopo to disrupt the SADC meeting and the South African police have granted them permission to do it. The same police have refused ZANU PF to have its supporters demonstrate at the same meeting. If there was any doubt where Jacob Zuma’s sympathy lies, there should no longer be any doubt. But the ghost of the Livingstone fiasco will be there to haunt him. Zimbabwe’s revolution is not founded on fabricated lies that the MDC is peddling around the world. The people’s wishes will prevail.

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