A Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe…(By Babatunde Fagbayibo)

Posted: August 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


The Zimbabwean elections have come and gone. In a predictable, typical format: the incumbent swept the polls; the opposition party is crying foul; the AU and SADC both think that the election process was “free and fair”; and the international community adjudged the process as deeply flawed. While I really hoped for change in Zimbabwe, I was also aware of the reality of a system/structure that is blatantly skewed in favour of Mugabe. Mugabe’s continued rule is not so much about him as it is about the protection of the interests of ZANU-PF bigwigs and the securocrats. To think that these key players will allow a change, and usher in the possibility of them been sent to The Hague, is to engage in fantasy thoughts. The fact that regional bodies, and influential member states, are not necessarily prepared for a change of guard in Zimbabwe also emboldens Mugabe’s position.

Against this background, it is only pragmatic that we turn our attention away from the current charade and focus on a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. Beyond the projections on whether or not Mugabe (or ZANU-PF) will structure an effective succession plan, it is pertinent to consider some of the questions that will have to be answered after the man is gone. These questions are essential for carving a new path for Zimbabwe, and restoring its strategic role within the region. Ordinarily, one would expect South Africa to have some sort of draft blueprint on a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. This is essentially due to its strategic position as a regional hegemon, and also the country that will likely have to bear the consequences of a chaotic (and even a prosperous) post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. I will like to assume that a “classified” document exists, but until it is “de-classified”, I will highlight some of the key questions I consider pertinent. These include critical questions on

  • justice versus peace (the prosecution of Mugabe acolytes, especially key securocrats and how this will affect peace and security);
  • the role of South Africa (on whether it could have played a more effective role in “managing” Mugabe);
  • strategies adopted by the opposition MDC, including its role in the government of national unity, and whether it is the best alternative;
  • the kind of role South Africa should play in rebuilding a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe;
  • the true story of the commitment of the United Kingdom to the land redistribution programme;
  • Any lessons for South Africa (especially on the management of its land redistribution programme);
  • the effect of the sanctions on Mugabe (especially whether or not these sanctions did more harm than good);
  • A holistic and objective assessment of the man (the good, the bad and the ugly kind of assessment), also the measure of support he got from the west in the 1980s, in spite of glaring human rights atrocities;
  • Serious questions on the planning and execution of the Gukurahundi massacres.

Some of these questions will not necessarily be fully answered, but giving them serious consideration will go a long way in putting issues in proper perspective. There is no gainsaying the fact that Zimbabwe is going through a most traumatic experience, one that requires major rehabilitation steps. The actual rehabilitation process can only begin after Mugabe is out of the picture. Only then can these questions get the desired attention and answers. But until then, nothing should stop us from thinking and planning for a prosperous and democratic post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.

You can follow this writer on twitter @BabsFagbayibo


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