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A Plan To Overthrow Mugabe
- Jan Lamprecht
(Thurday, September 29, 2005)
Currently, Zimbabwe’s leading opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has hit a brick wall. President Robert Mugabe fobs them off and is not interested in negotiating with them. For a long time now, Mugabe has had the upper hand. The MDC has no bargaining chips with which to negotiate. Mugabe probably thinks the MDC is not finished and, in any event, have no teeth.
A BASIC OVERVIEW OF THE PLAN
The situation that Mugabe has created in Zimbabwe is probably unique in history. But certain aspects of it could possibly be turned into the MDC's favor in a big way - especially given the huge portion of the populace is already living outside the country and is not longer in his jurisdiction. So here is what must be done:
1. The MDC's senior leadership should leave Zimbabwe and go into a self-imposed exile. When they go into exile, they must set up a Government in Exile.
2. Once they are in exile, they must set up a proper Government structure. e.g. A Minister of Trade, a Minister of Defense and so on.
3. They must then set up a proper Tax structure. There are, for example, at least 600,000 Black Zimbabwean professionals in London alone. There are millions of Zimbabweans outside Zimbabwe. The MDC must set up structures to collect "Voluntary Taxes" and "Donations" - an informal "Taxation system" in countries outside Zimbabwe. In this way, the Government in Exile actually has a proper income. In a sense, they not only create a Government in Exile, but they almost create a "Virtual Country", via the Internet and other means. They could even have referendums and consultations on "with the people" on various courses of action.
4. In addition to normal taxation which goes directly to the Government in Exile, all the anti-Mugabe groups on the planet could get together to create a World Wide "Free Zimbabwe Fund". The Free Zimbabwe Fund should be administered and audited properly and have a board of trustees. Among the trustees will be representatives of the Government in Exile. These funds will be used in addition to the other sources to create the necessary organizations and structures that can actually rid Zimbabwe of its current dictator.
5. Once the Government in Exile is in place, it issues an official statement and ultimatum. It informs everyone that it is the duly elected government of Zimbabwe, and that Morgan Tsvangirai is the duly elected President of Zimbabwe. As the President of Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai orders Robert Mugabe to step down and start the process of handover within 30 days. If Mugabe refuses (which he will), then the Government in Exile will start the process to remove Mugabe and Zanu(PF) from their positions which they occupy illegally. Soldiers, police and government bureaucrats that comply with the MDC order will be exempt from future prosecution. The MDC could also state that the few Zanu(PF) MP's who were elected without voting irregularities will be allowed to retain their positions. The MDC must make it clear that it is only operating against those "non-elected" officials who are holding office illegally - among them Mugabe.
6. If Mugabe refuses (which he will), the MDC then kicks off the worldwide, Free Zimbabwe Fund along with the many organizations, websites and supporters which exist around the world. That fund is to be used by the MDC to take any action it sees fit to end the illegall rule of Zimbabwe. This can take the form of diplomacy, propaganda and even the creation of Military Forces that will enter Zimbabwe.
That is the basic overview of the idea.
Now let me give a more detailed breakdown of the logic behind each point.
1. The Senior Leadership must go into exile.
Currently, the MDC Leadership cannot function properly inside Zimbabwe. The leaders, including Tsvangirai can't engage in true free speech. They are under the threat of arrest all the time. Even Tsvangirai had to go through trial based on trumped up charges by Mugabe's agent in Canada. Recently the Zimbabwean government threatened to prevent certain people from leaving the country because they talk to foreigners and are calling for sanctions. The many instances of intimidation, murder and infiltration by Mugabe spies are all well documented. Clearly the MDC cannot function properly inside Zimbabwe where Mugabe probably reads their emails, taps their telephones, opens their mail and sends in agents to spy on them.
I am quite sure that most of the MDC's people could easily supply proof that they are harassed in their political activities and they should be able to qualify for political asylum elsewhere in the world.
So it is crucial that the senior MDC leadership leave Zimbabwe due to all this intimidation. Even the act of leaving, alone, will make a very powerful political statement.
Where should they go? Definitely not anywhere in Africa. They must go to a First World nation, preferably the United States because it has the most free press on the planet, not to mention the tremendous worldwide reach of the American media. From there, the MDC has easy access to Europe and can market with ease and at little cost via the myriad of American news and web organizations.
But it might be better for the MDC to be close to its First World Exiles. In that case, London would be the next best choice. Even Australia or Canada might not be bad choices.
Since the ANC-dominated government of South Africa are dishonest brokers, the MDC would do well not to there because they will not be allowed to operate as freely as they might in another country.
2. Setting up a proper Government in Exile.
The MDC should cease to function just as just another political party. The MDC has already been elected into power in Zimbabwe more than once. A skeleton, but formal government needs to be set up to issue orders and carry out functions to save Zimbabwe.
3. Setting up a proper Tax structure.
To function properly, MDC needs to start gathering taxes. With millions of Zimbabweans out of the country, or only living in Zimbabwe for short periods of time (while working in neighboring states), the MDC should start registering them, controlling them, and asking them for some kind of donations/voluntary taxes. Virtually all the Zimbabweans outside Zimbabwe are by default MDC supporters so this should not be difficult. Also, the taxes will not be going to just fund a political party, but to fund "the New Government". I am sure it will enjoy a lot of support. Perhaps Zimbabwean Importers and Exporters could also be convinced to make donations to them. With the Internet, and modern forms of money transfer, it will not be difficult for the MDC to gather taxes from people in different countries. Most of these people want to return to Zimbabwe in the long run anyway, and they will be happy help change the political situation.
4. The worldwide, Free Zimbabwe Fund is the way to really give the MDC a serious boost. The Free Zimbabwe Fund should be audited and watched over by trustees from a First World Nation, along with representatives from the MDC. The Free Zimbabwe Fund would be a way to get support from all across the world. What would give the fund real significance is if it was linked to a proper Government in Exile.
There are many people in the First World who completely abhor Mugabe. They don't need convincing that he is evil, and that he and Zanu(PF) hold power illegally. I am sure, that using something like PayPal, if all the anti-Mugabe websites in the world were to link together, they could channel significant amounts of money to a central fund. They might do it for free, or for a tiny handling fee. I am sure that even I could convince one or two major American websites to have a permanent link to such a fund if it were created. It would give people around the world, who feel strongly about what is happening in Zimbabwe a way to help. The money from such a fund could go towards anything that will help to actually remove the yoke of Mugabe’s tyranny. It could be the funding of SW Radio, which broadcasts into Zimbabwe, or even for the creation of a military force.
5. The MDC is operating from a position of inferiority while inside Zimbabwe. But the truth is - and there are American and EU witnesses who have documented this - that the MDC is the democratically elected government of Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai is the democratically elected President of Zimbabwe. As the duly elected Government of Zimbabwe, which is supported by the vast majority of the people, the MDC does not have to ask or beg Mugabe for anything. Nor do they have to negotiate with Zanu(PF). There is nothing to negotiate except the manner in which Robert Mugabe will step down from the office he holds illegally. They should instead issue orders to Zimbabweans, including the leaders of Zanu(PF) and Robert Mugabe himself.
However, while in Zimbabwe, they are not in a position to do so because Mugabe will merely arrest them. So they must get away from where he wields power illegally, and they must then, in the safety of a First World nation, set up proper structures - even if they are skeleton structures. But they must start setting them up, so that they can carry out the necessary tasks to get the Illegal Government out of Zimbabwe. They will need to collect monies, engage in diplomacy, send ambassadors around the world, meet with businessmen, etc. They will need to disseminate information about the situation in Zimbabwe and the atrocities there. They need to do a lot of work getting support, in all its forms, from Zimbabweans and foreigners.
Saving Zimbabwe from tyranny and dictatorship is in reality the MDC's task since it is probable that more than 70% of Zimbabweans have already given them their vote. As the duly elected government, they must take whatever action is necessary to save their people and their country, even if it means using military force (not terrorism) against the illegal Harare Regime.
NB: Terrorism is completely out of the question. If any force is to be used, it must be used directly against the illegal Government forces inside Zimbabwe.
6. Do you remember the worldwide Anti-Apartheid Movement? What we need is unity of all the all the organizations, websites and other anti-Mugabe forces around the world. They, and the legitimately elected Government of Zimbabwe - the MDC - can work together towards the same end: to free Zimbabwe from tyranny.
This is a bold idea, but I think Zimbabweans need to start getting bolder and thinking laterally. In the modern world, many things are possible or much easier to do than in the past.
I have said many times that talk alone won't work against Zanu(PF) and Mugabe. But what Zanu(PF) really does fear and understand is force. They also fear a true revolution. A Government in Exile could be a big morale booster. It is not about running away, but about getting into a position from which action (as opposed to talk) can take place. The purpose of the exercise should be to grow teeth, especially at this time when the economy is imploding.
The MDC needs to be bold, and must start seizing the initiative from Mugabe. It should put Mugabe on the defensive instead of always living in fear of intimidation and arrest. Infiltrating back into Zimbabwe will be easy because such mechanisms already exist. The MDC needs time outside the country to organize and to get ready to kick him out, using force if need be. They are in a position where they are morally obliged to do whatever is needed to solve the problem. But will they ever be so bold? I very much doubt it. But I do believe it is possible, if they decided to just bite the bullet and do whatever it takes to throw the tyrant out.
MDC Leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai Biography
Tsvangirai vows to mobilise people
How Far Will Mugabe Go?
Colin Powell on Mugabe
Robert Mugabe escapes arrest in Paris
Zimbabwe Set for Female VP, President
Mugabe tightens media laws
Dictators: From coup to stuffed ballot box
African Dictators: Pillage & Plunder
Blair targets African dictators
Poverty In Africa & The Commission For Africa Report
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