Mugabe exit plan: in whose interest is it?


It was also ironic that Tsvangirai could have acceded to such a plan when he has reiterated in several interviews with The Insider that it is not just Mugabe who is the problem but the whole political set-up. "We are not fighting for an event but for an alternative political culture," he told The Insider last October. "If you do not change the national constitution, reform the army, end the current lawlessness and strengthen parliament to be more accountable to the people, removing Mugabe and putting in Tsvangirai will not solve the country's problems. People who have gone through the current nightmare will not accept this."

As Shamuyarira said, the moves by Tsvangirai which include his outbursts that the British, South African and Nigerian governments were trying to squeeze his party out, could be a sign of desperation. His party was launched amid high expectations as the electorate was now disgruntled with two decades of Mugabe's rule and a deteriorating economy. It nearly swept the 2000 parliamentary elections as well as last year's presidential elections. But it now seems to have hit a wall. Its supporters are getting anxious because the party has failed to deliver, though it has poured millions into litigation.

It is also interesting that Britain, which is fighting for the international isolation of Zimbabwe and has been accused by some quarters of deliberately letting the people of Zimbabwe starve so that they can rise against their government, was prepared to pour in 500 million pounds to "jump start" the country's economy. This kind of money has been unheard of since the Lancaster House accord of 1979, which ushered the country's independence, and the Zimbabwe Conference on Reconstruction and Development soon after independence. The money is enough to enable the country to import much needed fuel for two years, and could fund the entire budget for 2003, leaving enough change to pay some of the country's outstanding debts.

What was even more astounding was that the British government was reportedly prepared to pay this kind of money with a ZANU-PF official, Mnangagwa, at the helm. According to WSWS, "the choice of Mnangagwa in the latest plot to remove Mugabe is not accidental. For all the sermonising about Mugabe's suppression of the MDC opposition, Britain is clearly prepared to accept transitional rule by a man who as a former Minister of Security is particularly associated with massacres carried out by the notorious Fifth Brigade in Matebeleland in the 1980s. There is no doubt that he would be even more brutal than Mugabe in suppressing opposition amongst workers and peasants," which would augur well for business.

The plan seems to clearly indicate that despite the rhetoric, Britain's interest in Zimbabwe is not humanitarian at all but is purely business. Mnangagwa, an astute businessman, seems to have curried favour with Whitehall for some time. Whitehall is even prepared to write off allegations that he was involved in the looting of the wealth of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as long as he can protect British business interest.

Continued next page


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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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