MDC Members of Parliament jeered Mugabe as he delivered a speech marking the opening of parliament in Zimbabwe today (The Times, London).  The MDC MPs ignored intimidation provided by a flypast of air force jets, and the 21-gun salute that accompanied Mugabe’s arrival in full presidential regalia. 

This brave and courageous demonstration follows a surprise move yesterday, when the two factions of the MDC (which holds a majority in Zimbabwe’s lower house), unexpectedly combined to elect a MDC speaker.  Mugabe had expected the smaller breakaway faction of the MDC to elect a “pro Mugabe” candidate with the support of Mugabe’s (now) minority party, Zanu-PF.  This was described in London’s Telegraph as a “stunning upset” for Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party. 

Shortly before today’s “opening” ceremony by Mugabe in the country’s capital, Harare, Mr Speaker Lovemore Moyo (also a high ranking official of Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC majority faction) said “Our position is that this country doesn’t have a state president”.  This was in line with presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai’s refusal to recognise Mugabe’s so called “victory” in a disputed electoral rerun bedevilled by Zanu-PF violence against MDC supporters.  Tsvangirai won a majority vote in the March presidential elections but had withdrawn from the rerun because of Zanu-PF violence against his activists and supporters. 

Efforts by South African president Mbeki to force a “government of national unity” on Tsvangirai have so far failed.  Mbeki and Mugabe offered Tsvangirai the post of “Prime Minister”.   But it is the President who holds all executive power in Zimbabwe, so that the prime minister effectively carries responsibility without power (see my post Zimbabwe; Why there’s no deal). 

This new, open defiance of Mugabe and Zanu-PF by courageous MDC members of parliament may be the beginning of the end for Mugabe.  For the sake of the people of Zimbabwe I hope so.  But it will go against all previous happenings in Africa where the barrels of guns usually take precedence over the will of the people.

END

Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.  http://www.peterdaviesbooks.com

Readers who would like to make a contribution to help innocent pensioners, who are unable to buy food and other basic necessities in Zimbabwe, should please contact Patricia Williams by email patashnix@btinternet.com.

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