Mediate now: Nera to Sadc

HARARE - Worried opposition parties, coalescing under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) grouping, have called on regional body Sadc to intervene immediately in Zimbabwe’s deepening political crisis, to stem the growing fears of looming anarchy and bloodshed in the country.

The plea for regional intervention in the country was made by Nera spokesperson Didymus Mutasa yesterday in the wake of shocking threats by President Robert Mugabe last week that he would not hesitate to jail and deal with severely all dissenting voices in the country.

Speaking to the Daily News, the former close Mugabe confidante and Cabinet minister in charge of the country’s dreaded spooks described the nonagenarian’s threats as “shocking, dangerous and unprecedented”.

“He (Mugabe) made a statement that I have never heard him say before, since he got into power in 1980. What has happened now is that he is seeing the opposition’s determination and is running scared. As parties under Nera, we are determined to see the heads of states in Sadc and to point out to them the dangers and ills we see.

“We want to bring all the issues to Sadc that have to be addressed before we go for the next election, as there is an unholy trinity in Zimbabwe involving Zanu PF, the security sector and Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission).

“And as Zimbabweans are seeing, Mugabe is now targeting people behind the ongoing demonstrations, which is wrong, as all we are doing is demand solutions to the country’s mounting problems,” the visibly concerned Mutasa said.

His comments followed similar sentiments by miffed opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai at the weekend, who also warned that with Mugabe and Zanu PF now running scared, panicking authorities were determined to use violence on citizens agitating for change to remain in power.

“Zimbabweans know that Mugabe will resort to violence when challenged peacefully and democratically. Let me warn him that he can continue to beat us, or even kill us and do all sorts of things, as is his natural tendency, but what is inevitable is that he is not immortal,” the usually unflappable Tsvangirai warned then.

He said this after Mugabe — the only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country gained its independence from Britain in April 1980 — promised to crush and jail all dissenters, including all the leaders of political parties coalescing under Nera.

The warning came in the wake of a High Court ruling which quashed a recent police ban on protests in the capital, with Mugabe ominously telling the Zanu PF central committee on Friday that the MDC and pro-democracy groups were playing “a dangerous game” by agitating for reforms in the troubled country.

“The MDC has apparently now adopted a policy of violence … we warn them that they are playing a dangerous game, a very dangerous game.

“They are bragging that they want to take their violent demonstrations to rural areas but again I say let them be warned that when we move against them they should not cry foul saying there is no more democracy in the country.

“Some of them (opposition leaders) have never been held in cells ,eating very little food in a filthy place before they are even tried in court. If they have ears to hear, let them hear.

“Let the opposition parties and all those angling for chaos and mayhem be warned that our patience has run out. Government will take very strong measures against any political party, organisation or individuals who perpetrate violent demonstrations,” Mugabe thundered.

The increasingly fail nonagenarian and Zanu PF are battling growing unrest among the country’s restive populace, which blames his government for presiding over the country’s dying economy and the deepening rot in the former regional breadbasket.

Since the economy began experiencing serious turbulence, including witnessing banks running out of cash, the government is under growing pressure as angry Zimbabweans have mounted seemingly unending demonstrations.

Two weeks ago, heavily-armed police ruthlessly crushed another Nera demo before they invoked a controversial ban which was later ruled unconstitutional by the High Court.

Mugabe has also recently made threats against the judiciary, in an ill-advised rant which was widely seen as trying to sway the Bench to his side in light of the growing protests against Zanu PF’s misrule of the past 36 years.

Under Nera, opposition political parties are pressing Zec to institute sweeping reforms in line with the country’s Constitution ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

“Zec only registers people when they think this will benefit Zanu PF. Our determination is that they should agree to all necessary electoral reforms.

“They are saying they cannot register new voters when that is supposed to be a continuous process. They say they can only have registration when there is a by-election. How absurd is that,” Mutasa quipped.

Analysts have warned that the on-going economic problems and growing disharmony in the country requires dialogue involving opposition parties and other interested stakeholders.

But Mugabe and Zanu PF have completely dismissed the idea of having that kind of dialogue, insisting that they were given the mandate to run the country until 2018 after they won the hotly-disputed July 31, 2013 elections.

However, Mugabe and Zanu PF are facing a fresh new crisis after the government, in a bid to cut its runaway wage bill, announced job cuts and the suspension of bonuses for its bloated civil service, in sweeping reforms that were announced last week by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa.

Civil servants immediately warned after this announcement that they would stage another crippling strike to protest the broke government’s measures.

In the meantime, many anxious Zimbabweans are dreading Thursday’s Monetary Policy Statement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya, who is expected to give an update on when the government will introduce its promised bond notes which have caused panic among ordinary citizens, who fear the return of the much-despised Zimbabwe dollar.

At the same time, Mugabe is also struggling to keep his warring Zanu PF party together as infighting has created unprecedented ructions which saw war veterans serving him with divorce papers in July.

War vets have been one of Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s strongest pillars of support over the past five decades, playing particularly significant roles to keep the nonagenarian in power in the hotly disputed 2000 and 2008 elections which were both marred by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of opposition supporters.

Comments (8)

Va Mutasa,when yu waged the armed struggle in the 70s did yu apply to courts 1st? Kurai baba imi.Yu want courts to give yu permission to fight for yo freedom?If yu are truly in this struggle ,pindai panyanga, and engage the enermy.simple.Bluffing yungsters n hiding behind regulations is a farce.Pinda panyanga mudhara.

viola gwena - 14 September 2016

@viola, you are so right. Just also wanted to say that most of the leaders in SADC are also tainted with corruption and election rigging and fit into the exact same mold as Mugabe, so even though they might pretend to get involved and display impartiality I very much doubt whether any of them are genuine or sincere because these sort of leaders tend to back one another regardless. Just think back to that time of our Government of national unity, were any of the SADC monitors fair? Did any of them ever challenge or try and put a stop to any of Mugabe's blatant breaches of the agreement? So what makes anyone think that they are going to change now?

Mbewa - 14 September 2016

Some SADC member States that includes Zim, Moz and S.A have secretly agreed NOT TO ALLOW ANY ONE OF THEM ("Liberation Parties") not to loose elections to opposition parties of their respective countries. These countries excludes botswana which was isolated from the agreement as they were not of the same Notion. These countries DEEPLY believe that if any one of them looses an election, the disease will spreed in the region and the others will follow suite. That is why you see almost all of them(.......) are reluctant when it comes to issues of countries like Zimbabwe which They DEEPLY know that they have since been loosing elections since the year 2000 and have almost done nothing about it.

whitehorse - 14 September 2016

Mutasa!!! there is nothing sadc leaders can do to solve Zimbabwe crisis. Sadc is formed with heartless people.Reporting to sadc is just talking to Mugabe.No one in sadc can challenge Mugabe because they are all one.What Mugabe is doing now is the fruits comes from there meetings.Sadc leaders always say they won't listen to opposition because opposition is the face of whites.All of them are greedy &selfish.Find another solution to deal with Mugabe.Mugabe knows exactly what he is doing.He is not even scared.He wants people to fight back them he will shade blood with the help from sadc,,not the other way round.

matsotsi - 14 September 2016

didmus stop internationalising our disputes,if yu have differences solve them locally,we formed sadc for your own information and even seconded simba makoni to lead it,the president should use all resources at his disposal to maintain peace,i just want to farm and move my produce unhindered

truth - 14 September 2016

Mutasa is just being politically correct. In the early and mid '80s as Mugabe was setting the ground for a one party state, creating the 5th Brigade and the subsequent Gukurahundi atrocities Mugabe was making those statements. In the run up and post 2008 elections Mutasa was among the architects of the violence perpetrated on MDC supporters. Mutasa led violent political campaigns in his Headlands constituency and other parts of the country. " As the then minister responsible for the CIO he often used his agents to commit these evil acts. In 2002 he unashamedly said he would not care if 6 million people died because of food shortages as Zimbabwe would be better off with Zanu PF members only! Has Mutasa forgotten Nyakuedzwa, Zindomba, Ziyengwa couple, Gumura couple, Kamuchira, the terror Mutasa and his zanu pf and CIO goons inflicted on the Maisiri family, Headlands, Rusape and the environs. Zimbabweans should not be deceived by these Zanu PF operatives now masquerading as the opposition. They are just being politically correct and preparing for life after Mugabe. Justice demands truth be told for proper healing to take place.

Daniel5 - 14 September 2016

SADC wont even intervene in Mozambiaque,where there is war now.Its not bcoz they side wth Frelimo bt SADC is just a talkshop established to counter racists SA during apartheid.It was formed in order to make noise for attention.It was then called FRONTLINE States.Full of discussions bt no action.To this day.

viola gwena - 14 September 2016

Progressive citizens of this country who support the restoration of the rule of law and a revival of the economy for the good of all Zimbabweans, should pray for the success of the noble NERA initiative for the mediation of SADC now. At this juncture, attacking each other will not solve our problems. In the interests of fairness, let the international community assist us negotiate peacefully. During the 2008 onwards crisis, SADC played a considerable role in the formation of the unity gvt that saw God rescuing us from a cruel demonic assault. Let us be optimistic and have a trusting faith in the deliverance of God.

Gabriel Nyoni - 14 September 2016

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