Michael Trapido
Michael Trapido

Is Mugabe preparing for war?

Pursuant to a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe the Democratic Alliance gave a media briefing at Parliament confirming that they were of the view that there is no doubt about it but that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is preparing for war.

In the briefing they set out the facts upon which they rely for coming to this conclusion. None of it, to my mind, is compelling or suggests that there is any merit in making this dangerous assumption right now.

If they are wrong, and the efforts being made currently to remove sanctions are severely retarded hereby, then this will not be the Democratic Alliance’s finest hour.

If you read through the article which I took from the Sentinel (because the M&G’s wasn’t up when I typed this) you will note that there is nothing more than a reference to purchasing of arms — which any military does from time to time — as well as the views of certain individuals and entities. They may be right or way off the mark. The point is that the purchase of military hardware can be attributed to anything if you really want to.

What is fact is the following:

President Zuma met with Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai a few days ago where it was agreed that the president would intercede with Mugabe regarding certain problems affecting the government of national unity (GNU). The problems were said to be few but serious.

Accordingly I would first wait to hear whether ambitions to regain power by war were even raised. The fact that Tsvangirai and Zuma got together on short notice suggests the opposite of what this report-back suggests.

A week or so ago Tsvangirai had a meeting with the generals of the Zimbabwean army and by all accounts it was extremely cordial.

The activists, the subject matter of much debate prior to the GNU, are now released and even threatening to sue.

Newspapers that were banned are getting licences and the BBC and CNN are now welcome back after an absence of eight years.

The charges against the two MDC MPs have now fallen away.

Of course I accept that Finance Minister Tendai Biti got a bullet through the post and Roy Bennett is receiving death threats but these may well be the work of the kind of fanatics you find anywhere. Ask us about the morons who murdered Chris Hani when all was done and dusted.

While I have the utmost respect for Helen Zille and the DA this report-back does not lend itself to the conclusion drawn or the events happening in Zimbabwe right now. Of course Mugabe has been a capitalist dictator for years now but that does not equate to tooling up for a war before the next election.

I would highly suggest that the press and foreign press pay careful attention to the views of Zuma, Tsvangirai and former president Mbeki before going off half-cocked.

Zimbabweans deserve that at the very least.