Archive | November, 2017

Robert Mugabe full immunity – so now he goes scot free?

26 Nov

via Robert Mugabe full immunity – so now he goes scot free?

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Robert Mugabe full immunity – so now he goes scot free?

26 Nov

The Zimbabwe “coup not a coup” came and went. Emmerson Mnangagwa is now the President of Zimbabwe taking over from Robert Mugabe who had ruled with an iron fist for 37 years. Mnangagwa has a lot to deal with: plans to secure the next election for his party and Presidency; a new Cabinet to run for the next 6 – 8 months among other key issues. The new President should be very careful how he maneuvers this period before the next election otherwise the voters will give him a shocker. In fact, he runs the risk of being the shortest ever serving President in Zimbabwe if he does not play his cards right. A more odious challenge will continue to haunt his reign: What to do with Robert Mugabe with regards his alleged crimes of human rights violations and kleptocracy. News has it that in the negotiations to secure his stepping down, Robert Mugabe was offered full immunity in Zimbabwe from prosecution for his family and himself. One sees political expediency on the part of Mnangagwa not wanting to be seen to be retributive after their Lacoste vs G40 factional wars in ZANU PF. However, this position is problematic as it seemingly does not respect Zimbabwean laws and neither the wishes of Zimbabweans who would like to see Robert Mugabe held accountable for his myriad of crimes committed during his reign.

In the interim the bigger question is on what should be done to Robert Mugabe and his cronies who plundered Zimbabwe and committed human rights violations.

Immunity – what immunity and who gave it anyway?

It is quite interesting to note that the news Robert Mugabe was given full immunity for wrongs committed during his reign is being given so much prominence in the news and elsewhere. The issue of immunity post Robert Mugabe’s Presidency has always been on the table for as long as anyone who has tried to convince Robert Mugabe to step down can remember. There are different views with regards this matter.

One can only imagine that the army and Emmerson Mnangagwa would have agreed to this deal because Robert Mugabe is one of their own. They would not want to be seen to be vindictive. More importantly, going after Robert Mugabe has the unwanted potential of unravelling issues about themselves as well with regards corruption and human rights violations (unotsvaga n’anga neinobata mai).

The question that begs answers and must be answered promptly is whether the said immunity granted to Robert Mugabe has any legal status per Zimbabwe’s laws? It cannot be morally or legally right whether for political expediency or national stability that a settlement be reached only by the army, ZANU PF represented by Mnangagwa and Robert Mugabe alone on his fate with regards such serious allegations of ill-gotten wealth and human rights violations.

This question now needs to be interpreted by the courts as well discussed by civil society groups in Zimbabwe to ascertain the legal status of such immunity. If indeed, the said immunity has any binding legal status, would it not need to be promulgated into a law consistent with Zimbabwe’s constitution.

Food for thought!

Sixes and sevens on Robert Mugabe’s immunity

Various interviews have shown opposition leaders such as Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti expressing opinions that Robert Mugabe should be left to retire in peace. While it is important that these leaders express their views on this matter, one hopes that they are personal opinions. Without a clear and transparent process of seeking the views of the people, political leaders cannot purport to give such stances on behalf of the people.

Robert Mugabe’s past is tainted with egregious records of human rights violations which were reportedly committed in his name as Head of State, Head of security services as well as ZANU PF party leader. State coffers were plundered left right and center by his officials using his name in most instances or by virtue of his perceived protection. It would be difficult for anyone to fathom a general immunity being to such a person.

Opposition forces, civil society organizations as well as the rest of Zimbabweans need to critically think about the implications of Robert Mugabe’s purported immunity. Moreover, people who were around Robert Mugabe will need to be held accountable. If as much as they implicate Robert Mugabe when they are under investigations or trial what will that mean for them being held accountable? The potential of any investigation being halted because it has encroached onto Robert Mugabe’s turf will be very real.

Who to hold accountable. Robert Mugabe the system or Robert Mugabe the person?

Robert Mugabe is old and almost senile. Chasing him will not yield much against his own person. However, it must be made clear that what needs to be held accountable is more of the system he prevailed upon. In the spirit of ubuntu it will make sense to argue that Robert Mugabe – the 93-year-old man should be left alone. However, for Robert Mugabe the corrupt and violent system, total immunity should and cannot be an option.

Civil society organizations and opposition political parties need to remain seized with this matter and take it head on. Arguments will be made that Zimbabwe needs to be rebuilt and the prevailing peace should not be derailed. One is of the opinion though that these arguments are defective and throw away principled reasoning. If ZANU PF through Emmerson Mnangagwa wants to give Robert Mugabe immunity then it should be a political party choice not a national choice that has legal implications barring the rest of the country from questioning Robert Mugabe’s past.

Infact, one would expect that by now that legal challenges would have started flowing to the courts to question the legality of this said immunity for Robert Mugabe. More importantly, those aggrieved should also even now start preparing court cases against whatever violations they have suffered because of Robert Mugabe.

Way forward

Mnangagwa did what he had to do with regards Robert Mugabe’s immunity. This should not however hold any other Zimbabwean back. The immunity granted to Robert Mugabe looks fickle and was meant only to subdue the old man Robert Mugabe, show a ruse of magnanimity to the international community and Robert Mugabe’s friends. There is no doubt that Robert Mugabe the old man needs to be allowed to rest. However, as Zimbabwe moves forward, one of the most important issues will be the question of accountability for past human rights violations including the country’s stolen wealth. It is critical that any stolen funds that Mnangagwa can lay his hands on be returned to the national vaults.

For instance, questions need to be answered about Robert Mugabe’s businesses. Have they been paying taxes to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority? Questions need to be answered about how the Robert Mugabes have secured all the money they flaunt around at home and abroad. If indeed it is genuinely theirs, then they still need to answer questions on whether they have given Zimbabwe’s Caesar her share.

This strategy should apply to the rest of the Robert Mugabe hangers on or as the “criminals around him” as coined by the military. Their activities need to be investigated. The stolen money needs to be returned to the fiscus and revive the ailing economy.

The charade cannot continue. Mnangagwa has an opportunity under very difficult circumstances to change the tide. Emmerson Mnangagwa can save his mentor Robert Mugabe’s skin for his wrongs but he can at least extract some of the money stolen by Robert Mugabe and his hangers on back into the Zimbabwe fiscus. Therein lies one path to the healing of Zimbabwe and possibly his path to being properly elected as Zimbabwe’s President in 2018.Robert-and-Grace-Mugabe-laughing

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Robert Gabriel Mugabe must go by any means but Military rule in Zimbabwe is a No – No!

16 Nov

 

Zimbabwe woke up to the mugabe go home and restnews of a “coup” on Wednesday 15 November 2017. The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) is refusing to call this action a coup. The African Union and SADC say they are still assessing the situation. What is clear for me however is that this action led by General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga was a coup against the government of geriatric ZANU PF leader, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. I am more than excited at the removal of Robert Mugabe and will not hide it. However, I refuse to be cajoled or convinced that the actions taken by Mnangagwa and Chiwenga are for Zimbabwe’s good. As Oliver Mtukudzi sings “ngoromera ingoromera chete, harina zvarinoshanda, haringabatsire” ZANU PF and its cohorts in the police, army and intelligence are a violent lot. Violence is violence, no matter what it is supposed to achieve. This is how ZANU PF has managed to lead Zimbabwe up to this far with disastrous consequences. The coup is for all intents and purposes an internal ZANU PF succession problem which must not be given a national status. It is what it is and a spade must be called a spade. Mugabe must go but the idea of a military takeover in Zimbabwe must never be entertained.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe removal most welcome

The removal of RGM from the Presidency of Zimbabwe is the most welcome news anyone would wish for in Zimbabwe. The man has tormented Zimbabweans for ages and the fact that he has reached his twilight without sorting out his succession has now become a threat to Zimbabwe. However, this dilemma must not and never be interpreted by ZANU PF supporters who are jostling to succeed him as something that is common between them and all of Zimbabwe. The Lacoste faction and the ZNA have a different agenda and Zimbabweans at large have another for his demise. The Lacoste group that wants him out is doing so because they have been sidelined from Robert Mugabe’s patronage leadership of plunder, kleptocracy, and national plunder, where they benefited immensely. For the ordinary Zimbabwean, the need to have Mugabe off the Presidential seat is to end the proposed dynastic rule through his wife Grace Mugabe, state sponsored human rights violations as well as being rescued from the jaws of the debilitating economic decline among other things.

Mugabe must just go. There must be no doubt in anyone’s mind. The old man just needs to go – where he goes and how he goes is really none of anyone’s business.

Mugabe’s succession is an internal political party problem

Every Zimbabwean saw what has happened in ZANU PF coming. It was only going to be a matter of time. The jostling between the two ZANU PF factions of Lacoste and G40 was always going to be a do or die encounter for the two groupings. Robert Mugabe delayed his succession to his own peril. The toxic choice to have his dull, dumb wit, fake PHD wife, Grace Mugabe as his successor was just what the doctor ordered for his opponents. This was never going to fly and very soon it had to be thwarted somehow.

My challenge with this whole matter is the apportioning of a national brand that the military and Lacoste faction in ZANU PF are trying to give to their coup. The succession issue in ZANU PF is not a national “Zimbabwe” problem. Of course, Mugabe’s replacement and stay in power has national consequences but the replacement of the geriatric at the ZANU PF level is an internal political matter and it should stay there.

Robert Mugabe fired Mnangagwa and several of his acolytes in the Lacoste faction according to their party rules and regulations. Whether the process was fair or not was for them to deal with internally or even take to the Zimbabwean domestic courts for adjudication. Mugabe’s succession in ZANU PF is not a national problem the ZNA or the Lacoste faction would want the whole of Zimbabwe to be seized with.

Chiwenga is part of the factional successionist politics in ZANU PF

Those in the know and who have followed Zimbabwe politics will note that the Army General has always exhibited signs and interests in the governance of the country. From rumors that he had a car with plates labelled #Zim2 after Robert Mugabe’s Zim 1, and to the fact that he is highly linked to the Lacoste faction led by Mnangagwa – the evidence is written all over the place. The General from his actions cannot be said to be neutral. He is heavily involved in the successionist politics bedeviling Mugabe and ZANU PF and he is a major and interested player with lots to benefit.

Moreover, Chiwenga’s statement last Tuesday betrays him. The man talks about “the criminals” around Mugabe betraying the revolutionary values of the liberation war and ZANU PF. He talks as if the ZANU PF values are shared national values. That cannot be true. If anyone should be accused of betraying their own ZANU PF values it should be him and his acolytes as they have managed to prop up Robert Mugabe’s regime for years after his hands down defeat by Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008.

If at all the Lacoste faction led by Mnangagwa feels aggrieved by their ouster by Robert Mugabe, they should have left ZANU PF to form their own party as Mugabe intimated in one of their so-called youth Interface rallies. Mnangagwa and his acolytes chose another way and they decided to use the military route.

Furthermore, If Mnangagwa, Chiwenga and his Lacoste are of the view that they have been mistreated by Robert Mugabe and his G40 cabal, then they must deal with them decisively by openly challenging him and deposing him in ZANU PF. They should take charge of ZANU PF completely but never and not in any way try to sell this “National Democratic Project” ruse to the whole of Zimbabwe. The revival of ZANU PF cannot certainly be a national democratic project. ZANU PF is not Zimbabwe and neither is Zimbabwe equal to ZANU PF.

Whatever sentiments are being shared now by this Lacoste group, they cannot be deemed national. They are partisan interests being peddled by a group of ZANU PF members either civilian or in the Zimbabwean military or security forces who had been taken off the “feeding trough” by Robert Mugabe, his wife and the G40 faction.

The African Union and SADC stance on the coup puts Chiwenga and Mnangagwa in a catch 22 situation

It is well known that the African Union and SADC will not recognize coups in the region. This has been the norm and it is not likely to change because of Zimbabwe. To acknowledge and accept this coup would present a dangerous precedent for the rest of Africa and Southern Africa specifically.

Zimbabwean commentators have been noting since the coup that they will not accept any interventions or deals from Zuma, SADC or the AU for Mugabe to stay on. This is fair and fine. However, the ZNA through Chiwenga knows better. Chiwenga knows bitterly well that if he in is military fatigues he will not be accepted as a Zimbabwean political leader. His actions and the statements from the army are quite telling of a man and strategy that the army will not attempt the strategy of slipping into Mugabe’s shoes. If they had the wherewithal they would have been violent. But they cannot. It will taint them, so they will not use the army against the people nor their opponents in G40.

The civilian face of Lacoste, Emmerson Mnangagwa also knows too well that internationally and at a local level he will face serious challenges being recognized as the new President of Zimbabwe. He was fired in his own party by Robert Mugabe without a fight – being brought back by the gun will mean that he will have to sustain his rule by the gun. Of course, he could carry on but that would not augur well for him internationally and at home. Zimbabwe did not elect him, so why would anyone outside his Lacoste faction recognize him as the bonafide President of Zimbabwe? If he takes by force without going through an extraordinary ZANU PF Congress he will forever be remembered as the weak ZANU PF leader who got to the Presidency through the back door and by the gun. “Akapinzwa nekumashure”. I’m sure he doesn’t want that tag either.

Whether South Africa through Zuma, and SADC as well as the AU intervene or not is one thing. What is clear though is that any leader emerging from the coup process will not receive the required international recognition in Zimbabwe, the region, Africa and the whole world.

I have mentioned earlier that the Robert Mugabe succession debacle is an internal ZANU PF matter. If Chiwenga and Mnangagwa want to have their way and be respected at least on face value by SADC and the AU they must depose Robert Mugabe from his seat in ZANU PF and then find a way to the top constitutionally but coming from ZANU PF. Otherwise this whole circus will just leave them stranded with Mugabe, G 40 and Grace Mugabe having the last laugh.

Transitional Government or not – what way for the opposition?

Talk and rumors about a transitional government have continued throughout this whole period. There is nothing new about this proposition. It has been there ever since the Zimbabwe crisis in whatever form started.

My take is that the opposition was ready to meet Mugabe in an election in 2018 with or without an interim joint government as well as no new electoral reforms. So, what has changed today? The situation is different today but it does not warrant opportunistic behavior to want to jump into bed with the enemy especially for the opposition. This is a recipe for disaster akin to the Thabo Mbeki brokered 2008 Government of National Unity days. The most likely outcome of this charade would be a delay in elections, huge budgets and unnecessary prolongation of ZANU PF’s hold on power. Clearly unnecessary!

I do not support the idea of a coalition/interim government.

People who were not elected into office should not lead government in Zimbabwe.

It is nonsensical and purely opportunistic to want to argue that Joice Mujuru, Morgan Tsvangirai or even Dumiso Dabengwa or any other political leader who is out of government now should get into such a formation. It is akin to this rhetoric that anything other than Robert Mugabe is acceptable. No! Zimbabweans must be principled and know what type pf leadership they want. The idea of “Anything and anyone that can walk and talk” is not going to fly Comrades!

If at all Zimbabwe should get to the extent of forming that highly undesirable settlement called the interim/coalition government then the political parties in Parliament should nominate representatives from their sitting MPs. I’m sure they would be capable enough to negotiate the terms of a new transitional process leading to new democratic elections.

The way forward

As I mentioned earlier, while the Robert Mugabe succession matter has some national consequences it clearly is an internal political party debacle within ZANU PF. To want to give this matter a national status is akin to elevating the charlatans in ZANU PF to unnecessary levels of importance.

These people have destroyed and run-down Zimbabwe. If they want to run Zimbabwe they must sort out their mess on their own and not drag every Zimbabwe down with them. Robert Mugabe’s ouster as the leader of ZANU PF first and as the President of Zimbabwe should be resolved inside his party. ZANU PF should be able to replace him through constitutional means and then continue until the next election is held.

Zimbabwe has waited for a long time to have this man ousted and for an open election to be held. Why would anyone in their right sense of mind want to spoil the party by forming unholy alliances with the devil?

What is the opposition afraid of?

Honestly, this coup can only be celebrated to the extent it has helped ZANU PF succession battles but it cannot and is not a panacea to Zimbabwe’s deep-seated politico – economic problems.

The election in 2018 should decide who will finally democratically lead Zimbabwe after Robert Gabriel Mugabe!

No! to direct or indirect rule by the military in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe cannot be another Burma. The military are of the misguided view that they can turn Zimbabwe into a mini China of sorts. It can’t!

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