Which is a shame. Sure, a sort of uneasy peace has been officially declared between Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, but that doesn’t mean that the thuggishness that has been part and parcel of the pro-Mugabe forces’ approach to things has entirely gone away:
Militants of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party on Monday disrupted the first national meeting of civic groups and other stakeholders for constitutional revision, forcing House Speaker Lovemore Moyo to halt his address and suspend proceedings.
Moyo’s remarks were drowned out by ZANU-PF protesters who sang revolutionary songs and chanted slogans, derailing an important step towards the elaboration of a new democratic constitution which has long been sought by civic and political activists.
“This country was won by the gun, not the constitution,” shouted members of the group that threw the proceedings into disarray. Tension had been rising even before the meeting as supporters of the three parties in the the unity government formed in February to end a post-election stalemate sang party songs while filing into the conference venue.
Given the degree to which ZANU-PF forces have engaged in violence and intimidation against Mugabe opponents–Tsvangirai was the victim of many such acts of violence in the past–displays of intimidation such as these are hardly reassuring to those who hope that the domestic political situation improves in Zimbabwe. Of course, Robert Mugabe could call a halt to ZANU-PF’s efforts to shut down legitimate democratic discourse, but that’s not happening anytime soon.
Those who think that things have permanently changed for the better in Zimbabwe have another think coming, it would appear. The international community shouldn’t keep its eye off of what is happening in the country, lest Mugabe and his ilk are allowed anew to wreak havoc with Zimbabwe’s political system to aggrandize their own power.