Once upon a new Zimbabwe
The more pragmatic and positive minded are likely to remember that not so long ago I wrote an article, Role of Donors in Zimbabwe Crisis, which was published on one of the Zimbabwe news sites.
I deliberately back-benched myself to allow otherZimbabweans, many of them, who I deem to be of much higher Calibre than me, andhave seen more of Zimbabwe than I have, to digest my posits.
I haven’t seen much of Zimbabwe, really, because I am only a Born-free (Born afterIndependence in 1980) and my country has always told me that “you haven’t seenanything.”
I was once detained, me and two of my childhoodfriends, we were teens then, in the run up to March 2000 Parly Elections. Ourcrime was, we were overzealous Born-frees who had the guts to celebrate openlythe “NO” (rejection of draft constitution in the1999 Referendum result) and Iwas accused of being an MDC Chairman and a threat to the freedom of Zimbabwe.
The three of us were taken in what was almost like anAnti Terrorist raid at dawn when we were only three innocent teenagers who hadbarely touched the breast of a woman.
I was the older one at 19 and the youngest was 16.From 0300 Hours to 0600 Hours we were in filthy cells at one of the policestation in the suburbs of Harare.Though I was the oldest I was in a state of complete shock yet our youngestcolleague saw it as an adventure and thus enjoyed the moments in that filthycell and he even scribbled his name on the walls of the cell, with a smallstone, that he was once there.
My shock was a genuine fear of what was happening tous. With all those stories I had read about being in police custody let alonefor an alleged political crime and also being a second year at the Universityall I could see was an end to my future. We were not charged until 0600 Hourswhen we were told that we had been charged under the Law and Order MaintenanceAct (LOMA).
Being the eldest and the most educated of the three or,should I say the whole Police yard, I knew we were in trouble and when we weretold that we were being transferred to Harare Central Law and Order Section Isaw a dark cloud heralding on my career.
To make matters worse at Harare Central ourInvestigating officer was not sure of wherethe Law and Order Section was so he mistakenly took us to a floor where therewere dark corridors and all the office doors seemed to have a C.I.Oinscription.
There are times when people say they feel butterfliesor their tongues dry to me all this happened and I even got to a point where myname (Perseverance) lost relevance and did not seem to mean anything to me. Whocan blame me, I had heard about the mystery of Rashiwe Guzha. I had heardstories about an organisation which does not have a postal address.
I had heard about men who wore dark glasses and drovetinted cars and would drive you around Harare whilst you are blindfolded andafter all that confusion dump you in Epworth and tell you that they are leavingyou in Chimanimani. I had a reason to be that scared.
I know I have generated so much excitement with mystory so much that people want to know what then happened, but this story isnot the legacy of this article.
At this point let me take you back to the bequest ofrebuilding a new Zimbabwe which is the reason I wrote this article and Ibelieve is a duty for the born-frees, the liberators and even for those who areoppressed now in our dying Zimbabwe.
In my articles on donors some felt that I justcriticised donors and International community without proposing how they canhelp in the Zimbabwe crisis. I have taken my time to look into ways theInternational Community can produce results in Zimbabwe.
UN and theSecurity Council
Being a signatory of the UN's General Assembly, Zimbabwe is required to adhere to the Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights. Once the declaration is violated, as it has been severaldocumented times, Chapter VII allows the Security Council to bypass thesovereignty of the state where rights are being violated, in favour ofnon-permissive humanitarian intervention.
A nation's "sovereignty" could only beguaranteed under Article 2 of the UN Charter if a government protected allpeople under their charge. But is the Zimbabwe Government protecting its entirepeople today.
No!. What about Murambatsvina? What about all thepolice beatings? Certainly learning from the Zimbabwe crisis there is need for the UN to revisit the measure and definition of Complex political emergencies taking note that somemight not have an overt conflict like Iraq, but they have the same impact as those with war.
To avoid the controversy of neo-imperialism againstthird-world solidarity the Security Council should justify intervention ongrounds of humanitarianism and constitute a multinational response model.
This response based on the “Responsibility to Protect”would result from a Security Council Resolution to form a UN-led multinational,multiagency, and multiorganisational approach to the crisis to bring apolitical solution. Such a multiorganisational approach brings my article tothe next recommendation regarding donors.
Instead of withholding funding and imposing sanctionsthus turning fragility into state failure, in the case of Zimbabwe donors need to operate within their principles ofprotecting humanity.
Donor countries, instead of fuelling the conflict shouldnot isolate the country and thus make the people victims of the state, butshould shift from the high profile confrontational and isolation strategies tolow profile all-inclusive strategies which take into cognisance the fragilityof such a state.
These strategies are based primarily on respectinghumanitarian principles and continued engagement.
With the donors realising and accepting theirpotential role in fuelling a crisis there is need for a shift fromconfrontational diplomacy to more engaging and what this paper refer to as‘incentive’ based diplomacy which will foster both humanitarian and developmentobjectives in a politically engaging mood.
Lessons learnt so far from their strategies in Zimbabwe are that if a country is fragile then confrontationaldiplomacy would hasten a country’s slide from fragility into failed status.Thus, there is need to give humanitarian relief and, at the same time, notpostponing development.
Humanitarian assistance serves as its primary purposeto save lives and alleviate suffering of a crisis-affected population.Humanitarian assistance must be provided in accordance with the basichumanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, and neutrality.
Whilst relief is a vital human need, this isundividable from the wider concerns of social services, social networking,economic security and political answerability. Humanitarian responses atminimum should not move attention away from the much deeper solutions demandedfor meeting the decline across all of these areas.
Further, there is a bottom line to be addressed inmeeting the basic rights to individual, household and community security thatmust be primary to any form of intervention.
For in as much as Zimbabweans have a need for relief,they have a right to adequate food, water, sanitation, emergency health care,shelter and security and to public policies and services that provide these inan accountable manner.
Relief, as a response to need must relate to thepublic policies and institutions through which recovery addresses these basicrights.
South Africa and SADC
There is need to shift from the ‘silent diplomacy’strategy which has so far been used by South Africa and SADC, to address theZimbabwe crisis, and has proven to be a failure, to more realistic ‘constructive diplomacy.’
Given the regional threat, the crisis poses, and alsogiven that the regional neighbours share the same history and interests and arebound to understand the situation more, then they have a more pronouncedleverage to initiate a long lasting solution which is more acceptable to thestate and to the victims of the crisis.
Instead of international initiatives focused onhigh-level negotiations and rhetoric greater attention needs to be turned tonurturing low profile local initiatives, for conflict management by fosteringlegitimate, non-violent processes that can act as alternative politicalprocesses.
By unraveling the Zimbabwe crisis we realise thatthere are political deformities and injustices which led to the crisis, thusexcluding ZANU PF from the broader solution will not only increase resistanceby the ruling party and its militarised systems, at the expense of sufferingpoor citizens.
We need to be careful; because by acknowledging thatthe crisis has been marred by calculated processes of violence does not implythat ending the crisis should consist of providing incentives for non-violentbehaviour.
The scope of analysis must be broadened beyond theconsiderations of the benefits of violence, to include an assessment of thecapacity of resistance of those not employing violence.
Experiences in post-colonial third-world, mainly Africa,have shown that conflicts emanating from the issue of land redistribution areinevitable and the settlement can not come out of reconciliation efforts andthus the need for alternative strategies.
Alternative strategies must be employed whichmobilises NGOs to prevent further alienation, and lobby the UN for moreinitiatives under a political framework to support them.
For Zimbabwe, the strategy should have the leading role of South Africa and SADC, not only because of their political musclebut also because they share the burden of Zimbabwe downfall and also because of their proximitygeographically, historically and in cultural relation.
In this manner the focus is placed on those who havebeen disenfranchised and victimised by the dynamics of the conflict.
I could see my Perseverance dying when I was in Policecustody but today I still believe a New Zimbabwe is on the Horizon.
If you are so much interested in what then happened tous email me but I am glad you have read what a Born free thinks should