You Cannot Negotiate With ‘Mad’ People

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

By Denford Madenyika

DenfordZimbabweans experienced another sad day on July 21 2008 as the major political parties expressed commitment to dialogue through the signing of the "Memorandum of Understanding in Harare".

While it is hard to stand up and oppose a "negotiated settlement", Morgan Tsvangirayi, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader should not be a facilitator or enabler of the torture, beatings, gruesome deaths endured by the opposition supporters in the hands of Mugabe’s regime.

It is common knowledge that you do not reason with "mad" people. Mugabe is a malicious murderer who is clearly clinging onto power despite being defeated in the March 2008 general elections. The whole world knows this "negotiated settlement" gambit is a FARCE. So why enable it? By signing the MOU, the opposition fell straight into Mugabe’s trap; this is what he wanted all along and now he will find a perfect way and time to snooker Morgan Tsvangirai. The settlement will be dictated to Morgan for him to sign and sooner after, he will find himself in the dustbins of political history. Mugabe, not MDC has full control over the option of a "negotiated settlement."

MDC must insist on an option ZANU (PF) cannot control and that option is the Sovereign National Conference (SNC). At that conference, besides MDC and ZANU (PF), there will be church leaders; there will be Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA); there will be representatives of the Teachers Union, Student Union, Civil Service Union, and other professional bodies, as well as civic group leaders — in short, civil society. Their voices too need to be heard because the collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy affects them too. The Sovereign National Conference broadens the scope of participation. It is no longer between MDC and ZANU (PF). ZANU (PF) has been primed or tuned to "deal with" MDC. Now, it has to deal with a much LARGER grouping. Moreover, the SNC takes the burden of resolution off the shoulders of Morgan or Mugabe. If I were Morgan, this is the strategy I would pursue.

Denford Madenyika is a columnist of and is the director of Dzidzai Foundation, a Zimbabwean think-tank.