Déja vu

26 12 2010

Any Zimbabwean following the Côte d’Ivoire crisis must be doing so with a sense of déja vu. The incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, has lost the election to Alassane Ouattara and is refusing to go. Gbagbo has control/backing of the army too. People are fleeing the crisis into neighbouring Liberia. Substitute Mugabe for Gbagbo, Zimbabwe for Côte d’Ivoire, their election for our last election, Morgan Tsvangirai for Alassane Ouattara and South Africa for Liberia. It’s just so familiar! About the only difference is that ECOWAS is threatening military action if Gbagbo doesn’t go. I very much doubt that our regional organisation, SADCC, would be so cohesive or decisive. With the exception of Botswana most seem to be giving Bob their tacit support in a “what goes around comes around” attitude. Though chatting to Austin at yesterday’s gathering of the clans and various others, he seemed to think that South Africa was upping the pressure a substantial amount by threatening to expel Zimbabweans who are there illegally.

Estimates of Zimbabweans illegally in South Africa vary from 3.2 to 4 million. Apparently in the last election where the results were delayed for some 4 weeks (it may have been more than that), the ruling party took the opportunity to go through the voters’ roll and see who hadn’t voted and check their names off with a vote to ZANU-PF. Most of these would have been illegal residents in South Africa. If South Africa does go ahead with its threat to expel these illegal residents by the end of this year, and now that the World Cup is over their skills are superfluous, it would create a major headache for Bob’s regime as they would be extremely unlikely to vote for him having fled his regime in the first place.



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