Opinion: African union, a complex gamut of regime types
By Benny Gudo
December 10th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – Unlike the European Union and the Commonwealth, democracy is not a prerequisite for membership in our African Union. This grouping comprises of dynasties, tyrants and monarchies who has been to power for more than two decades. Some of them are facing revolts back home over issues such as manipulation of term limits, despotism and corruption among a plethora of conspiracies.
What necessitate regimes to violate their own laws? It’s a matter of fact that regimes set precedents for themselves. How? They had tested the resolve and punctuality of the African Union a longtime ago and ascertained that it is just a body that does not stick to its principles – manipulators can still go on unpunished. History has it that African Union is good on shielding ruling regimes unlike the opposition.
By so doing, almost all sitting heads of states have a window for manipulation of their own laws. They can rig elections, unleash security apparatus on civilians during protests, abduct, maime or kill dissenters without any repercussions because they are heavily protected by the continental bloc. We saw it in Zimbabwe and we continue to see it here. Even in Namibia and Malawi, in Burundi and Uganda, in Rwanda and South Sudan. Everywhere, in all corners of the African continent ruling regimes are governing hell-bently. They’re villains with no mercy. In order to rule, they have to shed blood of their own people.
Virtually, the consequences are dire and distasteful because a nation without peace cannot achieve anything. Zimbabwe is almost ruinous for there is nothing to talk about. There is no fuel, no industries, no electricity, no cash, no peace and no joy. It’s like a lion’s den. But someone is saying ‘I won elections, so I won that I won for I won’. He has no solutions for the problems the people face.
Worse of it, authorities disallow its people to picket or stage any form of demonstrations. Those who did so faced the wrought of a well-armed military force which killed half a dozen in capital Harare on the 1st of August 2018. African Union never condemned such acts of barbarism instead they sympathized with the ruling regime. No matter what, they have been keeping safe the bonding with Zanupf for a very longtime.
Nevertheless, the opposition’s diplomatic offensive against human rights abusers have been ignored several times by African Union. Only Europe and USA shows keenness to the plight of Zimbabweans, African Union won’t give ears.
Even the regional grouping SADC follows suit. They don’t like opposition parties in the region because of their threat and influence on the electorate. In Mozambique we saw Frelimo running around SADC countries canvassing for unstinting support in their fight against longtime enemy RENAMO. Fraudulent votes were detected in neighboring Zimbabwe where vote buying took place at most polling stations, non-Mozambiqueans were permitted to vote for FRELIMO only.
Namibia copied the system from her Liberation stalwarts. SWAPO came victorious in the hotly contested elections mired by glaring irregularities which the opposition is disputing the results. With threats of riots and demonstrations coming from the opposition, the country’s military is wading in the interest of SWAPO. It’s a fact that a resurgence of events of 1st of August 2018 in Zimbabwe might happen in Namibia because SWAPO is aware of SADC and AU weaknesses, that rigging has taken place in Zimbabwe for so many years, the first instance being harmonised elections of 2008 in which the late opposition leader Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai of MDC party outsmarted Robert Gabriel Mugabe of Zanupf party in the first round of the vote which was then delayed by 30 days before results were announced. By delaying results the aim was to cook figures.
A runoff was then declared to give the ruling party lifeline as opposed to the country’s constitution that warranted a winner to be declared as soon as counting, verification and collation of the figures is completed. It then took more than 30 days of counting when the ruling party was defeated but then took less than 24 hours to declare the winner of the runoff in which the then incumbent Mugabe was pronounced winner.
Upon the whole fiasco of Zimbabwe elections, SADC and AU kept its wings tight and mum to allow the ruling party extent its rule. We only heard them castigating sanctions imposed by West and USA. None of it was raised over human rights abuses, corruption and lack of constitutionalism in governance issues. The main reason was to give Zanupf ample time to regroup and conquer its lost mojo in the coming elections.
Further to that, AU is acting as a toothless bull dog in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan where President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his former vice President Riek Machar Teny Dhargon’s factions are fighting one another since 2014. So far the military confrontation between the two has caused intense destruction to property as well as loss of life to over 100 000 civilians particularly women and children. Reading on the source of this conflict we are fully aware that Salva Kiir started the war by violating conventions which were signed between the late former president and SPLA commander, Dr John Garang and Riek Machar in 2002.
The two forged an alliance in their quest to fight the North during the Sudan war. With the love of peace and prosperity for the Southerners Dr Garang made love with Dr Riek Machar for the good of their people and progression of South Sudan which the two signed. The gains of which the two made is of no significance now that Salva Kiir’s invidious character inflicted war in 2014 and again sprouted it after an agreement of 2015.
He nearly killed Riek Machar in Juba after a fierce battle between his soldiers and Machar’s bodyguards exchanged heavy gunfire in the capital Juba where the two had a meeting at State House. Over 300 were killed before his soldiers went on the rampage breaking UN protected camps raping women, executing opposition supporters and Agency officials on duty. AU again buried its head in the sand. Both looters, rapists, killers and their leaders are scort free up to this day, their mission in Juba has not ended as they have another al-Bashir led concession which they are plotting to collapse. Indeed the situation on the ground shows that Kiir and the notorious Jieng Council of Elders can abrogate the latter peace accord for the third time.
They have the discretion to do so with the blessing of a silent AU and IGAD. With longtime comrades in support such as big Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and ICC listed war lords Uhuru Kenyatta and vice William Ruto of Kenya, the lifespan of the said peace accord is in a state of jeopard. At any moment sounds of live gunfire can be heard in Juba, Bor, Wau and etc. Ultimately the decision of boycotting the implementation of this agreement before a neutral force is send to Juba is the only way out for Machar because he knows very well the kind of person he is dealing with.
Even to the north in the Arab states, Libya is burning on the eyes and ears of AU. Commander Hafta and his forces are fighting the legitimate GNU in their backyard of Tripoli. So far, Hafta faced stiff resistance from a well-trained and resolute GNU force. Decimating the GNU remains a pie in the sky because Tripoli is still under their command and control despite alleged significant backing of Hafta from Russia and France. Hafta’s game plan is now in quandary. Not so long, the former military commander may be caught dead or alive so that he may give answers to the crimes he is committing in Libya.
But in the meantime we challenge AU over those atrocities the antagonists are committing in Libya. Why is that the continental bloc can’t neutralise the fighting groups in order to save lives? Don’t she have the guts to stop war in its member states?
Back then to our neighbouring Mozambique, all is not well in the provinces of Manica, Sofala and others. Simmering tension between government troops and RENAMO insurgents is on the cards. This time the worse shall come to the worst because of the mushrooming IS insurgents committing various crimes against humanity in Mozambique.
Though not detected, chances are that the claimed IS insurgents might end up coalescing with the splinter RENAMO groups to fight the government especially at the aftermath of Alfonso Dhlakama, the man who fomented an integrated RENAMO which is now at faults under new leader Ossufo Momade. FRELIMO’s electoral shenanigans in the just ended national elections escalated the tension for deadly ambushes are spotted intermittently on the country’s main roads killing dozens each time.
Will Government Troops Neutralize Insurgency?
Mozambique’s stability is now on the rocks as the military finds it hard to stop RENAMO existence since its inception. Failure to disarm the group during the ceasefire agreement of 1999 was former president Joachim Chissano’s blunder. RENAMO kept its Gorongosa base intact and untouchable despite government efforts to forcibly obliterate it on numerous occasions.
His aggressive plans though inherited by current President Fillipe Nyusi tumbled in broad daydaylight. RENAMO got strenuous support from the poverty electorate of rural Mozambique hence the decision to steal 2019 elections. Intelligence sources of FRELIMO insinuated the idea of rigging to blocade RENAMO victory as other sources claimed that Zanupf was part of the rigging machinery as voters were bused to some polling stations in Masvingo where non Mozambiquean nationals got the nod to vote for FRELIMO. Those who did so got hefty payments in hard currency.
Given the hard industrial tussles between our own government and its workers, it’s very ridiculous, perilous and demonic to have a government that pumps out large sums of money for vote buying in support to a friendly foreign government while its workforce can’t get a living wage. Our doctors are on strike. The world must know that all the striking doctors are not asking for millions but a mere US$100 per month to espouse the current pay which they are getting in domestic currency.
But alas, the President of the Republic bemoaned that those demands are not sacrosanct to what the national coffers have. Instead he came out guns blazing accusing foreign diplomats of what he views as enemy governments that foment regime change in the country through the local non-governmental organizations NGOs and the opposition party MDC. But this is a blatant lie. Workers have a genuine concern which must be addressed. The behavior of our presidency however attest that they are highly cruel and intolerant. They can’t feel the pain workers endure from the belligerent hyperinflation period. Everywhere, now and then President ED felt, feels and shall feel regime change like his former boss Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
SADC also share the same view. Recently they waged what was termed as anti-sanctions day meant to force the West embargoes out. Even in the face of our boycott they continue pointing sanctions as a tool that forced soldiers in Zimbabwe to shoot unarmed protesters in the CBD of the capital Harare on 1st of August 2018. For the second time killing dozens on the 17th of January this year during fuel price riots, they raped civilians, torturing human rights lawyers trying to represent other victims. SADC and AU in all this madness saw regime change. They can’t condemn what is wrong when sensing that a sitting government is the perpetrator.
What is within their cognition is that the people of Zimbabwe no longer love the Zanupf led government. True, we are fed up and tired of their history. By the way we don’t eat archives. We don’t buy any food from it. In fact we want a government that delivers from its promises not history. Smith set his own, so is Abel Muzorewa and Robert Gabriel Mugabe. We judge them with an equal dipstick no matter their difference in color or crede they were our leaders. Who performed much better? Smith and Mugabe as well as Mnangagwa.
We are told Smith left our country in a gòod state despite sanctions. He left functional hospitals and clinics. He built carpet roads though narrow as we see them now but they were no potholes and gullies. Driving through Smith’s roads was much better than our Mnangagwa’s Beitbridge-Chirundu highway full of bumps and potholes as well as sharp cliffs in their edges that are making the road narrower than it was. In the wake of numerous toll gates collecting millions per day, his government can’t repair Smith’s roads.
Only to think of constructing a Moselium for Mugabe ‘s corpse that worthies more than 5 million United States dollars. An amount enough to reopen Gaths mine in the asbestos town of Mashaba. He can’t do that anymore save to make a joke at CSC in the industrial hub of Masvingo, where he opened the abattoir without even a 6-month calf. He did so in front of an extolling crowd of hungry rural populace bussed from as far as Renco Mine, Chasiyatende, Bvukururu, Chemazizi and Rupike very far away from the ancient city. He had no face in the midst of the hungry and famished elders.
In Sudan, the military junta is in charge so many months after they deposited strongman and longtime ally Omar Al-Bashir. At first it turned out to be pro-people when the army later sided with the protesters’ demands for Al-Bashir to go. Nonetheless it was hijacked by the military guys. They imposed their own leadership to run government business, a move inimical to the wishes of the majorities.
Of concern to readers is that Sudanese came out for demonstrations in their numbers to register displeasure of the junta government. For so many days blockading the Army Headquarters in Khartoum before the junta leaders unleashed lethal force to break the sit-ins killing hundreds of protesters. Unarmed protesters for that matter. They were killed in the eyes of AU. Again AU kept its head under the sand. Its secretariat only issued a mere statement encouraging the warring sides to show restraint yet the junta was busy spraying bullets on thousands of protesters.
Furthering its mocking on the people of Sudan, AU hinted for a home-grown solution the same rhetoric we heard of here in Zimbabwe. How can a home-grown solution be found between a gun wielding government and a bloody faced opponent? Can the killer addresses the concerns of her victim? Don’t they need an external intermediator in that scenario? Yes they do. AU must be the guarantor and facilitator of conflict resolutions on her member states if it is to stick to her mandate.
Zambia is following the same trajectory. Hachiende Hachilema is on the knife, he is treated like a terrorist by the government of Edger Lungu. The reason being that he is a stiff challenger, strong presidential condenter with a mass following alongside him. Lungu feared him a lot such that a devised plot to obfuscate his chances to the helm of state house is on the cards.
‘Treason ‘ a tool to suppress opponents is on the use across Africa. In Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Burundi, Gabon and Zimbabwe it is treason against opposition leaders. First to be charged of treason was Kizza Besigye of Uganda, our Morgan Tsvangirai was nabbed on the same charge so is the late Eteinne Tshisekedi of DRC and Raila Odinga of Kenya. Dr Riek Machar spent 2 years in detention at a house in Pretoria. Worse over crimes he purportedly committed in his country. He was jailed in foreign land, why?
Their hypocrisy is naked. Once ICC intended to nab one of their own they cried foul loudly. Why ICC on Africa while neglecting the West? Yes they fumed because they demanded equality and fair justice on rule of law. We share the same school of thought, Africa has her own courts and so is South Sudan. Why placing Machar in detention in a foreign country? Did he has a case to answer in South Africa?
Machar is a victim of war. He lost his son during J1 fights. Countless friends and relatives of him lost their lives in these senseless wars. Should Machar fold his hands in the midst of this genocide? Are we saying the arms in Nuer control are a breach to Dinka-SPLA founding principles which is against minority tribes?
Do the opposition parties in SADC be regarded as regime change agents simply because the revolutionary parties want to continue governing? Do they have to quit politics and allow the revolutionary parties govern until the donkeys speak? Don’t the citizenry have the locus standi of choosing leaders of their choice? The truth is African Union is to blame in all this facade. How come that they abandoned the founding principles of revolutionilism where one-party state was abolished? Are those fighting against its pacification neither criminals nor terrorists per se? Constitutionality requires them to do so.
After every term, the seat for presidency is open for contest. Those with the requisite requirements must cast their names through the nomination courts for vetting before they are declared aspirants. Something every one of the above mentioned went through before the electorate made their choice in the polling booth. Therefore it makes no sense for those challenged to label other contestants as terrorists. From own definition a terrorist is someone who intentionally uses violence, intimidation and all dirty tricks in order to score a political aim.
Computer-generated leader Uhuru Kenyatta stole elections in Kenya in watchful eye of the international community which is why the country’s apex court under Chief-Justice David Maraga annulled the results. Justice Maraga, the most courageous man Africa ever have, flexed his muscles to protect millions of voters. However his efforts went up in smoke because the international community allowed Kenyatta to bulldoze, lampooned Maraga and his team. In the end Kenyatta stole again the people’s victory.
Not a single word came out from our own African Union against Kenyatta thuggery. It is only now Kenyatta working around the clock mending his relationship with the people for his days are numbered at state house – he is not eligible to stand for another term come 2021 elections. He saved the required 2 terms. The country’s constitution prohibits an extension of 2 terms hence he is gone. What does the future holds for Kenyatta? The Kenyan leader knows it well that his opposition challenger Raila Odinga is the country’s favorite in the current scenario.
So what Kenyatta is trying to do is to reconcile himself with the people and their leader for him to get a safe exit. We view it as a good move from a statesmanship point of view but however questions that lingers are a). Is it enough to reconcile the fragile societies of Kenya? b). Does he meant it for the entire nation or for himself? We understand that some of his comrades in the Jubilee are not happen about this decision of reuniting with the opposition chief among them is the deputy President William Ruto who perceive it as a threat to his ambition of scooping the ticket for state house come 2021 national elections. Virtually, the DP is not happen at all even though he can’t castigate his principal openly but his demeanor entails.
However democracy allows everyone to participate on governance matters as long as one meets the legal requirements. By that virtue we are not enemies or terrorists. We still remain Africans. We won elections together we lost elections together. Let’s celebrate and mourn together as Africa. Such is the game of democratization.
Before I put my pen to rest, it’s of paramount importance to mention a few African countries whose precedents on democratization are plausible. We have Ghana, Liberia, Comoros and our next door Botswana. They are very good examples, a marvel to watch and emulate.
President Masisi won elections fair and square. Amid claims of grand opposition plus massive financial backing from former president Ian Seretse Khama, President Masisi and his PDP outclassed them all systems out. It’s worth noting that the security apparatus were locked in their barracks unlike our Zimbabwe and Kenya where security agents came out in their numbers during elections as if we are war. In a series of events we saw armored vehicles patrolling the suburbs each time the nation has plebiscite.
Democracy disallow all this nonsense. Elections should be treated like any contest we might think of. Be it in a football pitch, boxing court or golf course. It is not permissible for players and match officials to bring firearms. All required is to bring robust ideas, manifesto, blueprints and pledges to the electorate then we wait for them to judge on the ballot box. If they decide otherwise that should not be a crime. The operation code named “whom you voted” of 2008 in Zimbabwe was not only ultra vires of our constitution but was contrary to AU set standards on elections. A clear breach of electoral rules set by AU because men in army uniforms drove the streets of our suburbs shooting unarmed civilians because they voted for the opposition. But does that warrants loss of life? What is the aim of killing protesters when we have jails all over Zimbabwe?
To conclude, AU is a complex gamut of regime types that serves the interests of an elite class of those already in power. The longer we take to solve the functionality of AU the longer we take on developmental issues.
Together we stand divided we fall
The writer is a preacher and political analyst writing on his personal capacity he can be reached: email@example.com
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