Friday, December 12, 2008

Military intervention

Military intervention
Written by Editor

Military intervention in Zimbabwe is not an option.And it is foolish for anyone to even think of it, let alone openly advocate it. None of the problems of Zimbabwe can be solved by the use of military force. What is required in Zimbabwe is an approach that seeks consensus, compromises and unity. And this seems to be the view of most African leaders who are rational and independent in their thinking.

We have enough wars in Africa to start another senseless and endless war in Zimbabwe. However, what is clear is that there are people or forces that want to see nothing in Zimbabwe but a regime change.

And it is these people who are every day undermining the efforts of the United Nations and the African Union, through the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to bring about a negotiated settlement to the Zimbabwean crisis through a unity government.

And SADC was mandated by the African Union to help Zimbabwe come up with a government of national unity. The first step in this direction was achieved and an agreement signed. But soon after that, no effort was spared by proponents of a regime change in Zimbabwe to undermine and derail that agreement. Everything possible was done to undermine efforts to form a unity government, arguing that it can’t work.

And it has been very clear that Britain and the United States – the main sponsors of the regime change approach to Zimbabwean politics – were not in support of a unity government in that country which left Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF with a meaningful role in the governance of that country.

This may also explain why SADC guidance is being discarded and denounced by MDC leaders. Who doesn’t know the sponsors of MDC!

But what the advocates of military intervention in Zimbabwe shouldn’t cheat themselves about is a quick victory. If Zimbabwe is invaded today or tomorrow, there will be an endless war in that country. And Zimbabwe will be added to Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Uganda where there are endless wars.

The path taken by SADC leaders is the most rational one. It may seem to be slow, but it is certainly better than an endless war.

And imperialism still has endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why start another unnecessary, irrational, senseless, endless war in Zimbabwe? If they have a lot of money to spend on wars and they care so much about the people of Zimbabwe, why not use it now on the welfare of the suffering people of that country?

If there is anything that people in leadership should learn from, it is history. History is a source of free advice that people who seek peaceful ends should take seriously. It is very important that people pay attention and learn from history because the past may be the only record that we have for us to discern some similarities to the situations that may be at hand.

It worries us a lot to hear respected people such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu who have said President Robert Mugabe should go and if he cannot go on his own, he should be removed by force.

We also get worried when we hear people like Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga say it is time for African governments to take decisive action to push Mugabe out of power.

When people call for the use of force to remove President Mugabe, we ask them to pay attention to history. We ask Odinga to look at his backyard. The scars of war are clear. Odinga is in his position because some people decided to dialogue. The violence that we saw in Kenya only achieved one thing – dividing the people of Kenya.

Therefore, the position taken by secretary general of Zimbabwe’s MDC-Mutambara led faction, Welshman Ncube, who has dismissed military intervention as an alternative to solving the crisis in Zimbabwe, is the most sensible.

We agree with Ncube that the Zimbabwe crisis should be resolved through political means as opposed to military means.

As Ncube has rightly pointed out, a military intervention is likely to ignite a civil war in Zimbabwe.

Dialogue may be frustrating, but it is no doubt the best solution to solving the Zimbabwe crisis.

No doubt the situation in Zimbabwe is worrying and indeed humanitarian intervention is required urgently given the current situation such as the cholera epidemic, closure of hospitals in big cities, food shortages. The situation is desperate, but it calls for a negotiated political settlement.

However, as we have said in the past, when one analyses the Zimbabwe problem from all angles, one can’t say the problem in Zimbabwe is primarily that of democracy. If lack of democracy were to cause governments and economies to collapse, many capitalist countries we know today and their economies would have collapsed a long time ago.

The Zimbabwe situation is interesting because there seems to be some amnesia from people. Ncube himself has said that the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe have worked to an extent and he is quoted as saying: “sanctions do work and they have worked in Zimbabwe, they may not have provided the knock-out punch we would have liked to witness, but they have managed to paralyse Mugabe’s regime to an extent. Sanctions have made it possible for Mugabe to be an unsuccessful despot, they may not have driven Mugabe out of town but that was not the intention. The intention was to make the dictatorship unsuccessful, sanctions should be looked at as an instrument to make sure dictatorships don’t get away with murder.”

Indeed the sanctions against Zimbabwe have worked. The cholera epidemic, the closure of hospitals in big cities and the food shortages are a clear testimony of how the sanctions have worked in Zimbabwe. Today Ncube is complaining of the cholera epidemic, but forgets that a certain environment must exist for there to be an outbreak of cholera. He forgets that the sanctions that they have asked for to some extent have a bearing on the current situation in Zimbabwe.

It is clear that there are many factors that have led to this situation in Zimbabwe. And as we stated in the past, among them are sanctions – although denied by the Americans and Europeans – which the country has been subjected to for some years now. Some Zimbabweans today have forgotten that they have hired themselves out to work for the British and the Americans against Zimbabwe. They have forgotten that they have called for the tightening of the noose on Zimbabwe. They have forgotten that when the noose is tightened, the next thing is suffocation.

What Ncube should start doing now is call for the easing of the sanctions, which as he has said have paralysed the regime. They have paralysed the regime to an extent where it is unable to offer effective services to the country. As Ncube has stated, the intention was to make Mugabe unsuccessful, but it is clear now that more Zimbabweans are dying because of those sanctions.

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