Questions for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, the land of political turmoil and macabre killings, seems to be finally seeing some signs of peace now. Power sharing talks between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC should be completed in two weeks. The talks are expected to revolve on issues such as a plausible power sharing agreement, ending political violence and reviving the economy.

This move has brought in mixed responses from all quarters. Zimbabwe’s people themselves seem to be confused by this recent development. While few hail this move as something which would constructively help in improving the situation, there are many who remain extremely skeptical, and pessimistic, of this agreement.

If Zanu-PF and MDC do consciously work towards the betterment of the people, then we could see a drastic fall in the instances of violence. Furthermore, there, then, can be expected a state of normalcy with schools reopening and the people having access to better medical treatment. Zimbabwe’s need of the hour is to curb its sky rocketing inflation and get its economy back on track.

However, the skeptics are extremely wary of this development. For one, there is the major anxiety of whether a power sharing deal would actually happen. And also, there is the possibility that nothing concrete would come out of the talks. In fact, the situations might worsen and the violence could begin again, and this time with greater intensity.

Some people feel that these talks, while they look good on paper, would actually be a disgrace in practical terms. This is because they would simply legitimise Mugabe’s shameful flouting of the democratic process. Here is what The Telegraph had to say, “He would remain president while Mr Tsvangirai would become a titular

prime minister, without any real power. The cabinet would be doubled in size

to accommodate MDC ministers, no doubt at vast expense to an already wrecked economy (official inflation is 2.2 million per cent and a newly issued $100 billion banknote is not quite enough to buy a loaf of bread).”

It just says it all.

Or does it? The more one reads about the situation, the more shock there is. The newspapers have run heart-rending stories of the attacks on people and the utter unrest that is in the state. And yet, I read a shocking story in Newsweek some time ago, about how “Mugabe’s thugs” had been extremely unmerciful with a small child whose father they were actually after. The mother had claimed that they had thrown him on the floor due to which his bones were broken. Today I referred back to the story and was more shocked to a correction in the beginning of the article. Apparently, the child had broken bones even before he was mistreated by the thugs. The mother confessed that she had exaggerated. Who do you trust in such times?

Even British condemnation, or pessimism, about this development of power sharing talks between Zanu-PF and MDC has been twisted into a debate of another kind. This debate which essentially should be revolving around human rights and its violation is turning into a debate of Black vs White. Are these talks facing flak because of the White Man’s perpetual rejection of the Blacks? Far-fetched, but these thoughts seem pretty popular. The talks are a breakthrough, but only time will tell what really comes out of it and whether it proves to be beneficial for the people of Zimbabwe or not.

Shravya Jain


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