While Egypt became the first example of expedience over democracy being openly accepted, if not actively promoted, by Western democracies it is going to find its match in Zimbabwe during the course of this week albeit without the fanfare and publicity that is occasioned by a military coup.
The outcome, in my most humble opinion, is that Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC will be the next government of our northern neighbours and that this has been worked on by not only the Southern African Development Community states and South Africa in particular but even certain factions within the Zanu-PF including President Robert Mugabe.
Let’s turn the clock back to the referendum on a new constitution in 2000 wherein the previously invincible Zanu-PF got handed its head by a voting public that was tired of empty promises and pre-election hand-outs invariably followed by wholesale corruption and nepotism.
Instead of reading the writing on the wall and steering the party back towards the centre, Zanu-PF went ahead with its unworkable timetable, including land seizures, which turned the bread basket of Africa into the begging-bowl state.
As a result Zanu-PF is only able to retain power by immense brutality and vote-rigging as it stole the elections in 2002 and 2008.
Of course the fact that the Zanu-PF regime had carried out mass murder, notably in Matabeleland, where an estimated 20 000 were slaughtered, meant that the reprisals were on the cards as soon as they lost power.
In 2008 as an act of desperation Mugabe clung to power and a power-sharing arrangement was reached.
In hindsight this was a shrewd move by all for the following reasons :
The military, no doubt severely compromised by their role in atrocities, had vowed that they would never serve Tsvangirai. This is fascinating in itself because the military in most countries owe allegiance to the state, the people, rather than individuals or parties. The power sharing has allowed the military and the prime minister to form a bond.
At the same time Mugabe, contemplating a time when he would step down, became aware of just how treacherous the various factions within the Zanu-PF had become. His departure would not usher in a new more vibrant party but rather Zanu-PF would tear itself apart as vested interests went head-to-head.
On eNCA this morning details emerged of very prominently placed blogger/s, believed to be within the Zanu-PF hierarchy, who are advising the public on the party’s wholesale corruption. This would never have seen light of day five years ago — the informer/s would have been found and executed.
In my humble opinion Mugabe has realised that if the party — which he dedicated his life to build — is not taken into opposition they will not only lose the election and fragment but in addition face major retribution in the years ahead.
The fact that the president has indicated that he will accept the result is an indication that the talking behind closed doors has finally settled all the outstanding issues and Zimbabwe is finally set to move forward.
No doubt there will be talk of vote rigging and the usual rhetoric over the next few days but the people’s choice Tsvangirai will finally emerge as the victor.
If this is right the economic benefit to SADC and South Africa in particular will be enormous as many of the hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans in exile begin returning home
No doubt the victory owes its beginnings to the work done in the ruins of Zimbabwe’s last election and demonstrates that thinking men and women will always find a solution if their hearts are in the right place.