As Zuma appealed for calm and restraince, he clearly looked like a person who had just woken up from a bad dream and appeared to be someone lost to his own thoughts and his words sounded like village drums beats fading away, in the distant dark pitched dusk of the African night.
Zuma has similar traits to Mugabe and significantly contributed to the circumstances currently obtaining in the Nation of Zimbabwe.
The signs of Zimbabwe’s implosion were simmering for a long time but Zuma took the familiar African medieval position of “not interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign Nation”, opting for a nocturnal policy of ‘quite diplomacy’ which has never worked anywhere. If anything, this policy emboldens dictators and would be dictators.
The ECOWAS of West African States has abandoned this policy of ‘doing something’ by doing nothing and as a result runaway despotic regimes have been kept in check in the region.
Other than being a next door neighbour, South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner and therefore wields tremendous clout on the Country that literally relies on it for air, but even when Mugabe was becoming, recklessly brutal and murderous to his own people and truant to International law, Zuma refused to pull off the oxgen mask opting to look the other side.
Zuma has his own succession challenges and accusations of corruption and high handedness in the way he manages the affairs of the state presidency and that of his party in his own Country. Like Mugabe, he harbours dark desires of passing on the baton of leadership to a family dynasty through Nkosizana Dhlamini Zuma, his first wife with whom they share many children. Like Mugabe Zuma has been accused by his own citizens of facilitating the state capture by business cartels with whom he has huge business interests.
Further north, there’s another full blown regional dictatorship in Zambia which is clearly under the Mugabe mentorship, which President Jacob Zuma and SADC have been lavishly nursing and spoiling on their lap.
Edgar Lungu has played the same dirty rules of Mugabe but in a much quicker way, and right under the running nose of the regional political and economic power block and under its seal of approval, of ‘not intefering in the internal affairs of a sovereign state’.
Over these wilderness years of lack of resolved leadership in the SADC, Bostwana under the leadership of Gen Khama Ian Seretse Khama has emerged as a moral barometer and beacon of hope on how to deal with truant and unrepentant regional dictators. Khama is the only leader in the region that publicly told Mugabe to his face, that it was time he handed over power to a new generation of Zimbabewans and that it was also time to graciously bow out with a dignified exit.
Robert Mugabe hasn’t been the only ‘victim’ of President Khama’s prods. When South Africa attempted to withdraw its membership from the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, Khama openly challenged Pretoria, on the wisdom of such a move, considering the leadership position the Country held on the continent, in the area of human rights and governance.
During a recent state visit to Zambia, President Khama chose a banquet to announce to his host how wonderful it feels that in the next few months, he would be retiring from the presidency and that he won’t temper with his country’s constitution to run for a third term. His announcement was met with a hushed akward silence in the banquet hall. Edgar Lungu is in the process of doing just that.
Ian Khama has the right credentials to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe than Zuma, a man who ran with, cuddled and nursed Mugabe until matters got out of control.