Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Aftermath of Mugabe
Well, it now seems fact over speculation that Mugabe will haunt Southern Africa no more. With the parliamentary majority moving to the MDC, even if a presidential run-off occurs (the presidential results have not yet been officially released) in three weeks and Mugabe tricked his way into that, he would have little ability to impact policy, besides the use of his veto.

However, the prospect of a Mugabe win is now a distant possiblity anyway. If there was to be the need for a run-off, it is highly unlikely in the first place that Mugabe would contest. For a "fearless leader" such as himself to go through a run-off process in the full knowledge that he would be a lame duck president anyway would be an unbearable embarrassment for him. Secondly, it is much more likely that the people of Zimbabwe would see the change in voter sentiment and be emboldened by the MDC's parliamentary gains and vote overwhelmingly for Morgan Tsvangirai.

There are huge talks going on behind the scenes, apparently mediated by SA, between Zanu-PF and the MDC, and critically, between the MDC and the military. The military have long stated their willingness to keep Mugabe in power, and the threat of a military coup is evident. Much of the work SA has been doing is in convincing the military to step down and support the democratic process.

It is most likely then that Tsvangirai and the MDC will be in control of Zimbabwe very shortly, which despite the flaws of the MDC, is an oerwhelmingly positive result, and the end of an era for Zimbabwe, and for Southern Africa. There are massive aid packages being prepared by the global powers to pour money into Zimbabwe's coffers, all of which is a welcome sight for Southern Africa. It may relieve some of the immigration pressures on South Africa too, as many Zimbabweans return to rebuild their country and their lives.

After watching Mugabe destroy this once proud nation over the last two decades and particularly since 2000, it is an amazing transition to watch, and I can only imagine the joy felt by the majority of the Zimbabwean people.