In the same light, this brings into focus our own Zimbabwe – where the ever-suffering population is becoming increasingly desperate, despondent and restless.
What could be the end result in a country where the citizenry cannot take their continued poverty and oppression anymore – with seemingly no hope on the horizon?
Is this relentless onslaught by the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa administration on people’s freedoms, and rights to a decent livelihood, not a provocation that may one day end in conflict?
As much as no one ever wants to see the horrendous frightening scenes playing out in Sudan occurring in Zimbabwe – but, we should never take lightly the consequences of repressive policies on a people.
Let us remember that the genesis of the present-day military conflict in Sudan – which reignited on 15th April 2023 – was the brutal oppressive policies of indicted war criminal President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, who was subsequently ousted on 11th April 2019.
This was after months of protests by tens of thousands of citizens – which were instigated by the ever-rising cost of living, and subsequent calls for his stepping down – leading to the military hijacking the people’s mass action, after which staging a coup d’état.
Sudan never really experienced genuine peace from the moment it was established as an independent sovereign state on 1st January 1956 upon the termination of the condominium of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
The most known conflict was the 22-year-long war launched by the Christian south – who demanded self-rule from the predominantly Muslim north – resulting in the formation of the Republic of South Sudan on 9th July 2011.
Nonetheless, that country, too, has never tasted any real peace – due to its own dictatorial President Silva Kiir Mayardit’s unending struggles with his power-greedy rival Riek Machar – whom he fired as his deputy in December 2013, after accusing him of attempting to stage a coup d’état.
I will not bore readers with all the nitty-gritties of the perennial problems in the Sudans – however, my point is quite clear!
The greatest threats to national peace and security are usually tyrannical rulers – who leave their populations in such despair that they become easy fodder for those who preach the war message.
This is something we should never take lightly – even here in Zimbabwe.
There is no country that is immune to such brutal bloody conflicts – which is a message our leaders in this country need to always take into cognizance as they continually trample upon the people’s basic human rights.
Indeed, there may not be an immediate threat to Zimbabwe’s security – none that we are aware of, anyway – but, the danger is always present as long as there is a citizenry that has had enough of their poverty and suffering, yet seeing no light at the end of the tunnel.
That makes for ready hay that simply needs a tiny spark to set off.
We should, at least for now, count ourselves fortunate to have a God-fearing opposition leader, as CCC president Nelson Chamisa, who clearly has no interest whatsoever in any form of violence and conflict.
Nevertheless, only a fool would rest on their laurels – taking this peace for granted, whilst perceiving Zimbabweans as too passive and docile to resort to violence in the fight for their liberation.
I am sure that is the same miscalculation made by the colonial establishment – who misjudged the ordinary Zimbabwean’s potential to take up arms in fighting for independence.
Desperate people are capable of doing anything!
What they simply need is the trigger (pan intended) that pushes them over the edge, and incites them to such action.
Therefore, the situation becomes volatile and quite unstable – since, any rabble-rouser who comes by, with sufficient resources for military conflict, can easily pull that trigger.
Let us also not forget that, there are already people out there who are calling out Chamisa for being ‘too weak’ in his seemingly passive dealings with the repressive ZANU PF regime.
This is definitely not to say all of these people are opting for military or any kind of violent conflict – but instead, desire some form of peaceful non-confrontational mass action – in order to make our demands known and heeded by those in power.
I, for one, do not, and never will, condone any violent confrontation – as the history of wars (as we witness, in horror, in countries as Sudan) has never been good for anyone – only leading to horrifying death and destruction.
Nonetheless – as I have already alluded to – desperate people can do anything, even if they are to regret it later.
As long as Zimbabweans remain trapped in this hellhole of unimaginable poverty and suffering, there is always an ever-present danger.
As long as the ordinary citizenry is relentlessly prevented, by the regime, from freely expressing their grievances and choices – through peaceful mass action, political gatherings and activities, as well as free, fair and credible elections – they will only become increasingly desperate for ‘other measures’.
As the situation prevails today, the Mnangagwa government’s stubborn resistance to free expression, a heinous crackdown on opposition activities, and refusal to implement any meaningful reforms that ensure credible undisputed elections – present a serious threat to national security.
We already know that the forthcoming harmonized elections in Zimbabwe will not yield any change – due to their gravely flawed, fraudulent and uneven nature.
This is further worsened by regional and continental bodies’ apparent reluctance to take any significant strides in pushing the Zimbabwe regime into changing its ways.
No one can deny that, both SADC and AU are always slow or unwilling to act on clearly volatile situations in their constituencies – until it’s too late.
Even the problems in South Sudan, for instance, were there for all to see way before they actually blew up into a fully-fledged civil war in 2013 – but, the AU never lifted a finger, until the sides were already butchering each other.
We have witnessed the same in our own southern African region – as the political situations in countries such as Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, and even the DRC threatened to boil over at any time – but, SADC lamely stood akimbo, only to run around when people were dying.
Zimbabwe is definitely no exception – as both SADC and AU merely look on – whilst we cry out for help in solving the myriad of challenges brought about at the hands of a cold-hearted brutal kleptomaniac ruling elite.
Do they ever think what could have been the end result had the November 2017 military coup d’état gone terribly awry – had some sections of our armed forces decided to come to the defence of the tyrant Robert Gabriel Mugabe?
Yet, SADC has chosen to see no crisis in Zimbabwe for over two decades.
Actually, then South Africa president, Thabo Mbeki, unashamedly declared the same in April 2008 – in spite of Mugabe unleashing an atrocious reign of terror on opposition supporters – after losing to then MDC-T leader Morgan Richard Tsvangirai in March.
Are SADC and AU waiting to send ‘emissaries and missions’ to Zimbabwe, when our country is already burning down and people dying?
We now need proactive regional and continental bodies – that act preemptively and foresee potential danger spots.
Tragically, we lack such!
At the moment, only a fool can claim not to see the frightening direction Zimbabwe is being taken by this unrepentant criminal oppressive Mnangagwa regime.
We are headed for disaster!
The Zimbabwe government, at present, is the greatest threat to both the country and regional peace and security.
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and political commenter. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: [email protected]
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