A new crisis which leads to a similar game plan. In 2008-2009 there was a South African delegation lead by current time President Thabo Mbeki. Who had a diplomatic mission to mediate in Zimbabwe to solve the political crisis and stabilize the economy.
This week, the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the Chair President of the African Union have now appointed two Special Envoy to Zimbabwe after the recent human rights violations and crackdown on the civil society.
Last time, Mbeki did what he could to create a Unity Government between the ZANU-PF and MDC. This was to solve the stand-off after a rigged election. Mbeki in a way gave legitimacy and helped to give Mugabe a longer life in power. As the Unity Government for a while bought him time to reign longer without any consequences.
This time around, Ramaphosa might try to do the same. His sending other envoys in to fix the issues. However, his still implicated in it and we can wonder what is his game. ZANU-PF have already dismissed Mbeki in the presidency of Emmerson Mnangagwa. MDC-Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa haven’t accepted his negotiations either. So, there is no Unity Government on the agenda now.
I doubt that the opposition are willing to do the same. As the activists, journalists and civil society leaders are arbitrary arrested, abducted and politically prosecuted. Therefore, the will to bend to the regime might not be as strong this time around.
Secondly, Mnangagwa is using all his means to oppress the dissidents, the ones exposing him and the ones who dares to question his reign. This President ensures that people get arrested and charged for phony crimes, for example one citizen was arrested over annoying the President on WhatsApp.
Mbeki used his tricks and mediation skills, but ZANU-PF never lost their way. The regime persist with its violence against its own. Mnangagwa use armed forces against the citizens. That is apparently what he does and hopes to get away with.
I doubt Ramaphosa will have the powers or finesse to change the authorities in Zimbabwe. They are not willing to listen and they rather rebuke all forrms of criticism. They want to deny the violence and breaches of human rights. To stop the citizens from demonstrating and take away their civil liberties. That has all gone to the wind.
That Ramaphosa is sending Special Envoys to make a difference. Their mission either a sort of buying time for “peace”. If not maybe it will be in the same lane as the Inter-Burundian dialogue with late Benjamin Mpaka, who served the authorities and did dismiss its opposition. The final straw and ending of all is this. That this might be the sort of diplomatic charade buying the regime time. Mnangagwa would enjoy the perks of international community giving space and wiggle room, while Ramaphosa fetches the accredited diplomatic mission, which in the end will amount to nothing.
I really don’t know, but I doubt that these Special Envoys are the trick. The Military Government of ZANU-PF isn’t there to play, but to misbehave. They are there to silence and to secure power. These people will be nice for photo-ops, but will not drop any sort significant change. I am sure that SADC and AU is not willing carry this either. They only does this to stop the critics and to show some action. Even if it is a non-action with a loose mandate. A mandate can amount to nothing, other then having two more people on the payroll for a hot minute. Peace.