By Brian Mulenga
Zimbabwe is not Iraq or Libya.One needs to look hard at the country, its institutions, its history and the actors and players on its political scene. Not only is Zimbabwe very different from Iraq and Libya. Only someone who has not done these things can be tempted to extrapolate Zimbabwe into Iraq or Libya.
As much as Zimbabwe has been led by one man and he had a tight grip on power, Zimbabwe has far stronger institutions than either Iraq or Libya.
Secondly, Zimbabwe does not have a religious fanatical movement in the background hellbent on sweeping away the government.
Third, the Zimbabwean National Army is intact and disciplined is not a tribal militia.
Fourth for all of Mugabe’s undoubted authoritarian streak and pervasive intelligence apparatus, the CIO and ZRP were not as savage as their equivalents in Iraq and Libya.
Fifth, Zimbabwe has excellent institutions which function and were not dependent on their existence and continued to stay in office of Robert Mugabe. The Army, the Police, the COurts, the Parliament are real functional institutions and not rubber stamps.
Sixth, in as much Grace Mugabe was poised to take over the reins and the FIrst Family were not exactly beacons of good behaviour, the hatred against them in Zimbabwe is nowhere near the visceral and murderous hatred that Iraqis had for Saddam and his murderous thugs called his sons or of Gaddafi and his sons. The First Family actually were not running the country as personal property unlike the case in Libya and Iraq !!!
Seventh, in Zimbabwe the Institutions rose up and swept away Mugabe. In Iraq and Libya, they were real popular uprisings and many uncoordinated tribal uprisings and these were very violent armed uprisings.
Eighth, the ruling party, ZANU-PF is a genuine revolutionary party and has a real ideology and has proved it is not Mugabe’s personal property. In Libya there was no party and instead, all power resided in Gaddafi hands. In iraq the Baath party was a simplte rubber stamp for Saddam Husseein
Ninth, there has never been tribal warfare in Zimbabwe. The closest to a civil war happened in the early 1980s and has never occurred since. Zimbabwe is a peacful country. Both Libya and Iraq had very violent armed opposition who had waged civil war against both Gaddafi and Saddam.
Tenth, both Saddam and Gaddafi were tribalists who depended on a small group of relatives and tribesmen to run the country. Zimbabwe has a functional government that is national in character. The Army Commander is Ndebele and so is the second Vice President. Even the opposition parties like the MDC-T are national in character. Both Libya and Iraq had fractured oppositions of a tribal nature.
Eleventh, Zimbabwe does not have national service nor is it awash in arms. Both Libya and Iraq had huge stockpiles of weapons sitting around in warehouses. They also had thousands of men trained to use them because they had conscription.
In short Zimbabwe is a real country. Iraq and Libya have been described by a Middle East analysts as tribes with flags.
Zimbabwe will not descend into chaos. The Army i intact, there are no tribal militias running around. There are no crazy religious fanatics determined to wipe out the state. Zimbabwe has proper viable institutions. Zimbabwe is not a creation of Mugabe’s and is not held together by Mugabe’s savagery and will. Zimbabwe has always been stable. Zimbabwe is not a tribe with flags. The same cannot be said of Iraq or Libya.
By Brian Mulenga
Zambian Eye (Zambia)