Yesterday’s (14 August 2020) Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation virtual meeting was an eye-opener, and had one major takeaway for the people of Zimbabwe – the apparent lone and isolated stance by their government that the country was under some so-called ‘asymmetric warfare’ attack by ‘dark forces’, both from foreign and local ‘perennial detractors’.
What was so encouraging about this ‘isolation’ was the hope of the possibility that the region had finally woken up to the realization that, this two-decade long cry by Zimbabwe authorities of a concerted attack by Western countries, primarily the United States of America (US), the United Kingdom (UK), and European Union (EU) – using local proxies – was nothing more than a thin veil to justify its relentless ruthless crackdown on any genuine dissent by millions of suffering Zimbabweans, and the opposition.
However, what we witnessed yesterday, based on the statements issued to the public, the only country to even mention the issue of some ‘asymmetric warfare’ , was Zimbabwe itself, represented by president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa – as others present, namely Botswana’s Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu, and Executive Secretary Stergomena Taxs, never touched on the matter, but only resorting the usual courtesy pleasantries on how the country had chaired the organ well.
As a grouping of southern African countries tasked with overseeing issues of politics, defence and security in the region, any attack on a fellow neighbour would have surely taken centre stage, and dominated the proceedings – as they sought to find solutions to this obvious threat to peace and security, in both the named country and the region.
The Zimbabwe regime, which has managed to mercilessly ride roughshod over its own people ever since coming into power at the country’s independence from Britain in 1980 – characterized by a savage genocide that massacres over 20,000 largely Ndebele speaking civilians, the massacre of hundreds of real and perceived opposition supporters, countless reports of abductions, torture, burning of houses, beating up, sexual abuse, and questionable arrests of ordinary citizens, investigative journalists, lawyers, as well as labour and human rights activists – may have finally been exposed for its shameful lies and sadistic subjugation, which a veteran of the liberation struggle once told me, “would make the Rhodesia Special Branch green with envy”.
Of course, it would be grossly naive, if not downright disingenuous, for me to dismiss or rubbish the interference of foreign powers in our internal affairs – as geopolitical history proves the undeniable fact that countries always meddle in others’ issues, in order to safeguard, or even impose, their own interests.
Even China and Russia interfered in the country’s internal affairs during the liberation struggle, not because they were genuinely interested in our welfare, but simply as a means to gain a foothold on our resources in an ‘independent Zimbabwe’ – which, they have clearly managed to do.
However, attributing Zimbabwean people’s legitimate outcry and outrage at the rampant corruption by the elitist opportunistic ruling clique – who have shamelessly looted billions of billions of US dollars of the country’s national resources, thereby bankrupting the entire economy, leaving millions of citizens wallowing in abject poverty and facing starvation – to ‘foreign entities’ is the most despicable excuse ever known to mankind.
Furthermore, attempting to justify the murderous suppression against those who have exposed this corruption, and those who have stood up for the rights of Zimbabweans for a dignified life – by labeling them ‘dark forces’, ‘terrorists’, and ‘sellouts’ – clearly no longer holds traction with fellow regional neighbours, as they are waking up the realities.
The question now is: “What will an organization notorious for being nothing but a leaders’ club, which has long reneged on its founding Frontline States principles of fighting on the side of the oppressed masses, and not the ruling elite, do?”
Based on SADC’s checkered history, the people of Zimbabwe would be foolish to hold their breath – as a leopard never changes its spots – but, at least, the isolated ranting by Zimbabwe yesterday showed that the truth has set in, even if the regional body will continue pretending as if they see nothing.
Whether this will prompt the organization to act, or not, is neither here nor there – but, should serve as encouragement to the millions of impoverished, oppressed, and starved Zimbabweans that they should never give up the struggle – as it is pure, it is good, and it is blessed by the Almighty God – for, indeed, #ZimbaweanLivesMatter.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263733399640 / +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org