Now that we, as Zimbabweans, are on the brink of failing to agree on peaceful ways forward, it is equally critical that leaders in Sadc assist through strategic interference. We should remember that Ecowas (Economic Community of West African States) failed to interfere in disagreements in Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone resulting in huge costs to human lives. We should also remember that when Ecowas began to interfere through Ecomog (Ecowas Monitoring Group), there began a relative level of peace in West Africa.
The Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security should play its part in Zimbabwe to prevent unnecessary misunderstandings that might give birth to instabilities. Of course Sadc should not be used as a tool to promote un-African political and economic motives.
The only way Zimbabwe can avoid Sadc interference is to be peaceful and stable. Peace and stability can be achieved through free and fair elections, general economic empowerment, entrenchment of real justice and the total or complete respect of the rights of each and every Zimbabwean citizen to freedom, liberty, health, education and the right to life.
It is heartening that some of our political leaders are discouraging people from using violence as a means of settling differences. It can be equally alarming if some of our leaders compare Zimbabwe to Somalia, Ivory Coast, Liberia or Sierra Leone. Sadc must step into the fray in order to make sure that Zimbabwe comes nowhere near the likes of countries torn by civil unrests. The same way the Frontline States helped each other should be the same way Sadc members should operate. Frontline States did not perpetuate re-colonisation of fellow African nations. Similarly, Sadc citizens do not expect it to perpetuate neo-colonialism of fellow African nations like Zimbabwe.
After Zimbabwe, South Africa is the next “hot sport”, or rather “hot spot”. If Sadc succeeds in forcing the Zimbabwean politicians to solve their political differences peacefully and for the benefit of indigenous Zimbabweans, then it will ensure the future survival of Sadc.
Indigenous South Africans want land and economic empowerment and as such the next winds of land reform will definitely be in South Africa. The winds have started blowing already.
Now Sadc is depending on South Africa to tackle Zimbabwe. If Zimbabwe succeeds and becomes stable, it will then be the duty of Zimbabwe to lead the process of solving the potential instabilities awaiting South Africa in the near future. This is another point on why it is urgent that Sadc ensures permanent stability in Zimbabwe. The permanent stability should unreservedly protect indigenous people’s gains made since 1980 while creating room for more gains.
Zimbabwe is a country of great strategic, economic, political and social significance. The fact that Zimbabwe makes such deafening international noises on a global scale is a small part of the proof of its vitality. It can also be that Zimbabweans are so important and so resourceful to the international community to the extent that they cannot be ignored as has happened to other nations.
The nation should therefore welcome Sadc efforts to assist in the stabilisation efforts. It is also very fortunate that Zimbabwe has consistently remained on the international political radar. This is vital in safeguarding the right to life and in rebranding the country for the better.
BY OCEAN MARAMBANYIKA CHARI