Mugabe’s Dangerous Path to Impeachment

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rejoice Ngwenya, Harare, Zimbabwe

Robert MugabeExactly twenty-nine years into our ‘independence’ many Zimbabweans are worried about the resurgence of property rights violations. The renewed plunder is ostensibly spearheaded by President Robert Mugabe.

Exactly twenty-nine years into our ‘independence’ many Zimbabweans are
worried about the resurgence of property rights violations. The renewed
plunder is ostensibly spearheaded by President Robert Mugabe in disregard
for the Global Political Agreement (GPA), and is more poignantly an
affront to the ‘person’ of the Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee

While Minister of Industry and Commerce Professor Welshman Ncube, also
co-chairperson of JOMIC argues that the entity still has an ‘effective
monitoring mandate’, public posturing of Mugabe and Didymus Mutasa, a
‘state security minister’, sound a high decibel in ultimate contradiction.

Mutasa, the author of Zimbabwe’s obnoxious ‘offer letters’ that ZANU-PF
activists use to occupy farms, tells the world that Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirayi’s protest
against the latest land invasions are from a man ‘who does not live in
Zimbabwe’. One might also question why ZANU-PF Foreign Affairs Minister,
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, vigorously denies that there
are political prisoners in Zimbabwe! Meanwhile Mugabe, for the second time
in three months, has publicly insisted that land invasions disguised as
‘reforms’ will continue. When this high level diatribe is interpreted at
grassroots level, it becomes a license for organised decimation of what is
left of property rights in Zimbabwe’s commercial farming sector.

What this does is to cast doubt on credibility of Tsvangirayi and his
team, who, for good reason, appear mere junior partners in an increasingly
hollow political union.

Mutasa is a ‘minister’ of sorts, so technically is subordinate to
Tsvangirayi and in terms of rules of natural justice, he should be
censured for insulting his immediate superior. But the reality on the
ground is that of a parallel reporting system that places Mugabe at the
helm of political ministries which act in an orbit external to the GPA.
The question therefore is: if Mugabe’s utterances are against the
letter and spirit of the SADC-brokered GPA, why is it that the ‘new’
Parliament does not impeach him?

The biggest challenge facing MDC, as I have always insisted, is their
ideological misalignment on the subject of land reform. The GPA puts a
clearer perspective on this dichotomy: “RECOGNISING and accepting that the
Land Question has been at the core of the contestation in Zimbabwe and
acknowledging the centrality of issues relating to the rule of law,
respect for human rights, democracy and governance. The Parties hereby
agree to: (a) conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land
audit, during the tenure of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe, for the
purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm
ownerships; (b) ensure that all Zimbabweans who are eligible to be
allocated land and who apply for it shall be considered for allocation of
land irrespective of race, gender, religion, ethnicity or political
affiliation; (c) ensure security of tenure to all land holders; (d) call
upon the United Kingdom government to accept the primary responsibility to
pay compensation for land acquired from former land owners for
resettlement; and (e) work together to secure international support and
finance for the land reform programme in terms of compensation for the
former land owners and support for new farmers.”

On any clear day, it is therefore impossible to comprehend why MDC,
realising the incapacity of JOMIC to guarantee the democratic rights of
citizens, is not evoking the clause that binds the implementation
of this agreement to be guaranteed and underwritten by the Facilitator,
SADC and the AU. Moreover, the bravado of JOMIC is now permeating to
MDC’s ‘economic ministers’ Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube
and Priscilla Misihairabwi who are on a war path of aggression to persuade
Americans, British and the rest of the world that time is ripe to ‘lift
sanctions’ against Zimbabwe. My submission is that Deputy Prime Minister
Professor Arthur Mutambara and his anti-sanctions
MDC team have landed their strategic capsule way outside the waters of
good political judgement. If, as Mugabe always says, ‘sanctions’ were
imposed on Zimbabwe because of ‘successful land reform’, given that,
according to him again, the reform continues, what makes MDC troopers
believe that the ‘sanctions’ can be lifted?

To argue, as the GPA alleges, that land is at the core of Zimbabwe’s
struggle for independence is to diminish the significance of human
liberty. Land ownership comes under a bevy of many political, economic and
civil rights. The ZANU-PF formula for political relevance as implemented
by former Lands and Land Resettlement minister Mutasa, heading an active
group known as the Land Inspectorate Commission jointly with ex-rugby
coach and ZANU (PF) apologist Temba Mliswa can
hardly pass the test of global credibility. The 1979 Lancaster House
agreement placed a ten-year moratorium on land distribution, but after
then, nepotism, corruption and patronage relegated the process to the
backstreets of political programmes. Up until now, there are millions of
acres lying fallow due to incompetence, laziness and sheer lack of

Therefore, if, as Mugabe and Professor Mutambara claim, Zimbabwe is under
land-reform instigated sanctions, surely they can only be lifted if once
again the country acknowledges the supremacy of human rights.

According to electronic news source ZimOnline, in its annual report on
human rights, the U.S. State Department concluded that during 2008, along
with the injured and more than 30,000 people displaced, Mugabe’s
government "or its agents" killed more than 193 citizens in political
violence and engaged in "the pervasive and systematic abuse of human
rights." If we add on the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres, unconstitutional
military foray into the DRC in the late 1990s, Operation Murambatsvina,
and displacement of millions of Zimbabweans during elections and finally,
Zimbabwe’s slide into politically-instigated abject poverty, President
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is a genuine case for impeachment.

Rejoice Ngwenya is director of Coalition for Liberal Market Solutions in Harare and an affiliate of