By Gershom Ndhlovu
Who voted in last month’s elections in Zimbabwe? Is it Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown or American president George Bush? Is it not the abused and oppressed people of Zimbabwe who cast their precious vote in the hope that they would get rid of the despotic, demented and megalomanic octogenarian in the name of Robert Mugabe?
Incidentally, Mugabe’s regime is throwing barbs at the wrong people for the shameful but expected loss it suffered in the elections whose presidential results have not even been released to date.
Mwanawasa’s crime, for him to be labelled as working in league with the British government is to call for an extra-ordinary summit of SADC leaders for which he is chairman, to review the problems in Zimbabwe.
If that is not the SADC chairman’s mandate, then, as I have suggested on this forum before, is that countries like Zambia should concentrate their membership on COMESA which is more economically orientated than the toothless SADC.
Just look at South African President, Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki’s failure to resolve the Zimbabwean issue to an extent where he does not even see a crisis in that country when people are being butchered by Mugabe’s thugs for voting for change.
Mwanawasa may have his faults, but the kudos he and other progressive delegations earned for his conduct at the Lusaka summit explains why MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai wanted him to take over the role of mediator in Zimbabwe from Mbeki.
Zambians may not know what exactly transpired, but below is an extract from an SW Radio Africa report:
But it begs the question as to why they called an emergency summit in the first place and what happened behind the scenes to dampen Mwanawasa's earlier promise to speak up rather than stay quiet. "He and many others did speak out," a delegate of the Mauritian team told Independent Newspapers, "but the problem is that the voices of the new blood are lost in the blanket of old conservatism."
Present on Saturday were eight heads of state, among them presidents from Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Angola, Malawi and Botswana, whose recently elected Ian Khama is a newcomer to the group. The remaining SADC countries of Tanzania, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Mauritius were represented by ministers or ambassadors. No man was alone - they each brought with them an army of advisers and officials. It is understood that Botswana, Malawi and Mauritius had repeatedly pushed for a more hardened stance in dealing with the 84-year-old Mugabe. Khama has rarely been reticent in recent weeks in speaking out about his support for Tsvangirai and his belief that the time has come for change. On the other hand, Malawi is widely seen as a friend of Simba Makoni, and if not a clear backer of Tsvangirai, Dr Bingu Wa Mutharika shares Khama's view that Mugabe's term in office ended a long time ago.
The moderate voice of Mwanawasa often reflected their thinking throughout the day and it was assumed that Tanzania would have followed suit. Unfortunately in the absence of President Jakaya Kikwete, "the Tanzanians said very little", one South African delegate said. They met with heavy resistance from Mozambique's Armando Guebuza, Joseph Kabila of the DRC and Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia throughout the day, and to the surprise of many, Lesao Lehohla, the deputy prime minister of Lesotho, who stayed firmly on the side of the Zimbabwean delegation.
That aside, but what are the credentials of Patrick Chinamasa, the Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister who even lost his seat in the last election anyway? He should definitely be the last person to accuse Mwanawasa of being used by the British.
A casual search of Chinamasa’s name on Google brings out enough muck on him to understand why Zimbabwe is in such political and economic state.
Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopaedia, says about him: “A leading member of the ruling ZANU-PF party, Chinamasa became first deputy Agriculture Minister, and then Attorney General of Zimbabwe; he also holds the role of Leader of the Zimbabwean Parliament.
Since his appointment, many Zimbabwean judges have resigned, complaining of political pressure. On February 9, 2001 after Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay took early retirement at his suggestion, Chinamasa held meetings with senior Justices Ahmed, Ebrahim, Nicholas (the last white justice on the Zimbabwean Court), and told them for their own safety to leave.
In 2002, following what Chinamasa considered lenient conviction of three United States citizens caught and convicted of smuggling arms in an aircraft, Zimbabwean High Court judge Fergus Blackie brought successful charges against Chinamasa for a conviction of “scandalising the court.” Chinamasa had Blackie immediately arrested on charges of "corruption," on the grounds of having decided the case of a white woman improperly (on the basis of an alleged adulterous relationship and racist bias), and without the support of the other judge that was sitting with him on the matter. After the case closed, Chinamasa declared various NGO's illegal, including leading Human Rights organisation the Amani Trust which provides support to victims of torture; and was reportedly accused of working with the British government to unseat President Robert Mugabe and destabilize the nation.
On December 17, 2004, Chinamasa, who had been the Secretary for Legal Affairs of ZANU-PF, was removed from the party's Politburo. In 2005, Chinamasa was ejected from his post as Justice Minister; however, six months later he was returned to the post.
In September 2006, Chinamasa was cleared by a judge of trying to pervert the course of justice. Chinamasa was accused of trying to stop a prosecution witness, James Kaunye, from testifying in a case against the Minister of State for National Security, Didymus Mutasa, who had been accused of inciting public violence."
I think that Zambians and all right thinking people all over the world should not take some of Mugabe’s minions like Chinamasa seriously in their mud-throwing game because they themselves have a lot of ducking to do to avoid the mud.
In fact, it is just right that Tsvangirai should be talking about prosecuting some of the rogues like Chinamasa for human rights violations during their stint in government.
Is it any wonder that Mugabe and his henchmen do not want to vacate the State House in Harare?