By Gershom Ndhlovu
Threats, insinuations, innuendoes and denials of an imminent attack on Zimbabwe, whatever the case is, it points to the fact that there is instability in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as a result of the political situation in Zimbabwe.
Incidentally, not only has the SADC failed in resolving the problematic political situation in Zimbabwe, the African Union is also being dragged into the melee seeing that African countries outside of SADC, notably Kenya, are also calling for the removal of President Mugabe.
What worsens matters is the recent call by
Not that it would be unprecedented for any African country to raid another if only to get rid of a tyrannical leader. In 1979
In the West African sub-region, Economic Commission of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) forces intervened in a number of trouble spots, notably
In 1998, a SADC military force rolled into
“The role, functions and legitimacy of the electoral management system were severely tested. Hence, from this perspective, the 1998 political crisis over the administration and outcome of the election was the most violent manifestation of a multifaceted political crisis with deep socio-economic roots in a stressed socio-political environment,” according to a monograph of the Franco-South African Dialogue compiled by Diane Philander.
Although Zimbabwe is teetering on the brink of collapse as a nation state because the current government is functioning on an ad hoc basis as a result of failure by President Mugabe to appoint a Cabinet in the wake of stalemate with the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, the situation in that country cannot technically be classified as a civil war but it is definitely akin to the Lesotho situation of 1998.
What needs to be done is to make Mugabe see sense on the need for him to honour the letter and spirit of the power-sharing agreement which was recently signed between himself and opposition leaders Tsvangirai and Mutambara.
Mugabe’s folly, however, is his desire to emasculate the other groups by denying them access to powerful ministries such as Home Affairs which holds the key to peace in that country.
The police together with other forces have not only harassed opposition leaders, they have also brutalised opposition supporters before the elections in March and the subsequent re-run in June, and after. Several hundreds of MDC supporters have been killed at the hands of the police and ZANU-PF supported militia.
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki who is the SADC appointed mediator in the Zimbabwean crisis does not equally help matters because of his naked biasness against Tsvangirai who won the first round of elections last March but was forced to withdraw from the election re-run because of violence perpetrated by ZANU-PF cadres against MDC supporters.
Zambians living abroad have learnt with a sense of shock and dismay that the government is in the process of changing passports and that holders of the old documents should change them by April next year.
Much as there is need for the change of old passports to new ones with enhanced security features, the suddenness with which the process is being conducted is illogical, to say the least. The changes with the concomitant costs should apply to new applicants and those whose passports are expiring rather than a blanket call for everyone to change the documents.
The Zambian authorities should understand the cost involved in changing passports for individuals and families and also the cost of obtaining visas in foreign countries and the general inconvenience of the process. This is not to mention the fact that some passport holders hold documents that were issued as recently as three months ago from the old batch.
This change of passports being foisted on the citizens could cost Zambians living in the
Even then, the process of applying a passport both at home in
One hopes that the new Home Affairs Minister, Dr Kalombo Mwansa will look into the concerns and change the modus operandi of the passport renewal exercise.