It is important to always keep our core objectives in perspective, constantly realigning our way to ensure we remain on the path toward that which we pursue (or that which we purposed to pursue).

Without this it is possible to chase, at times great zeal and vigour, endless distractions whilst drawing none the nearer to that which is desired .

This (the chasing of distractions) is the precarious place in which the Zimbabwean opposition and intelligentsia find themselves.

The Tomana’s and Gono’s, the governors and the outstanding outstanding issues , the constitutional outreach programmes and the swearing in ceremonies that never were and probably never will be.

I readily accept that the heading chosen is wholly presumptuous. It seems absurd that one man, amongst a gallery of so many seemingly competent observers, would have such unbridled self-regard as to suggest that he, and he alone, is graced with an exclusive understanding of the inner workings of mad bob’s (Mugabe) mind.

Far from being inspired by vainglorious images of self, the statement is born of a sincere conviction that this holds true and that the entire debate surrounding Zimbabwe is off track, way off. This by Mugabe’s design.

I fear for the Zimbabwean opposition and for our democracy because it seems an entire herd of national commentators has been so easily taken in by the Mugabe’s sleight of hand.

A brief lesson in recent history

In 2008 Robert Mugabe lost the election. He went on to hold onto the results for 30 days. He was testing the waters. Specifically, he wanted to see how far the West would go and how far Tsvangirai could be pushed.

After 30 days Mugabe had learnt two important things.

1.) The West would only go as far as talking; even if he rigged the election. They would not act

2.)Tsvangirai was not bold enough to stand up to him.

After 30 days of being kept in the dark about the elections Tsvangirai had done nothing. No demonstrations, no violence. It was clear that even if Mugabe had held onto the results for 60 days, or even a 100, that none of this would have changed.

Neither the world nor Tsvangirai was determined to act decisively. This, to Mugabe, was a striking and most important revelation.

Following this, Mugabe used great violence to intimidate the electorate. A runoff followed. Mugabe stood alone and won. Again the world talked, the MDC complained and the Zimbabwean people carried on with their daily affairs.

Quietly, SADC made clear to Mugabe that he would have to share power with Tsvangirai.

We know what happened next. Tsvangirai, a man who had won the election, walked away from the table with an agreement that was glaringly unfair.

Mugabe would retain control of all the key ministries, the military, the police, the intelligence services and the judiciary.

Tsvangirai was given finance and Ecnomic Development and other loud-sounding but ineffectual portfolio’s , charged with sourcing funding and repairing an economy that Zanu PF has savaged through years of corruption and mismanagement.

Even after having taken so much Mugabe was not done.

Roy Bennett was dragged before the courts. MDC MP’s were arrested on trumped up charges ranging from petty accusations of stealing mobile phones to weighter crimes such as rape.

In brazen display of power, Mugabe went on to unilaterally appoint Tomana and Gono to their respective offices. The MDC objected.

They are still objecting and I imagine that if the truths I seek to share do not become clear to them they will continue to do so without recourse. Mugabe also took the liberty of appointing governors in contravention of the agreement he had put his hand to.

The Herald and ZBC remained, and to this day remain, in the hands of Zanu PF and were used as a mouthpiece of the same. The MDC has no influence, they have no power.

Immediately following the formation of the GNU there was escalation is farm invasions. Arthur Mutambara travelled to one such farm with a full entourage, media and all.

A distressed white farmer was assured that no harm would come to him or his property. Mutambara talked tough. He was the deputy prime minister.

17 hours after Mutambara left, the farms was overtaken by pro-Mugabe hoodlums. One thing was clear, Mutambara, despite his assertions otherwise, had no power in Zimbabwe to give the assurances that he gave.

He could not assure anyone of anything. Many other white farmers suffered the same fate.

Tsvangirai could do, and can do, nothing.

Another example of Mugabe’s open contempt for Tsvangirai. To this day Tsvangirai still lives in civilian accommodation. Mugabe refuses to give him access to the Prime Ministers residence.

I could go on and on and give you example after example that Mugabe has no intention of sharing power. He has no intention of upholding the rule of law.

It is puzzling why we allow ourselves to be carried on in this circus of power sharing when Mugabe, at every twist and turn, works hard to show us that he is not the slightest sincere. Mugabe’s conduct is best understood by taking a closer look at the creature that is Zanu PF.

By definition, Zanu PF is incongruent with democracy; its survival mutually exclusive with the rule of law and democracy.

The people who form Zanu PF have committed a multitude of crimes over the years. Many of these crimes would attract the death sentence or life imprisonment if the rule of law prevailed in Zimbabwe.

The people that are Zanu PF have also gained vast wealth through unrighteous means.

If democracy and the rule of law prevailed they would stand to lose all their ill-gotten treasures.

Given this truth, Zanu PF, in its current state, can rightly be defined as an organisation whose survival is wholly reliant on

1.) the absence of The Rule of Law which would lead to

2.) Democracy. This is not the stuff of .omdaiscience. It’s a rather plain matter of self-preservation. The equation is simple enough. Democracy and the rule of law equals the prosecution of law breakers, the righting of past wrongs.

The sole perpetrator of the wrongs in question is Zanu PF. It is they who face the wrath of justice in the event that the rule of law prevails.

Are we so gullible as to entertain the idea that Mugabe is sincerely considering sharing power or energetically working toward a democracy in which the majority (one he knows desperately opposes him) interest prevails?

Why would a sane turkey vote for Christmas? Engaging Mugabe in a dialogue aimed at seeing a democratic end is no less absurd than trying to convince a turkey to vote for christmas when it knows full well that the celebration of the event invariably translates to the end of its own life.

Mugabe is shrewd enough to know that he must be seen to be interested in negotiation but people must not mistake this for sincerity and wrongly believe that Mugabe will be so foolish as to negotiate himself out of power.

Mugabe is not interested in democracy. He is not interested in the rule of law. Self-preservation prohibits him such ambition. If the police began to do their work without fear or favour would Mugabe not immediately find himself and his comrades facing prosecution?

If the MDC was allowed to campaign freely is it not certain Zanu PF would face a resounding defeat.

If the media was freed would the grassroots not be all the more emboldened against the regime?

Why would Zanu PF move an inch toward such undesirables? The greater fools are those who entertain the idea that dialogue toward this end will bear fruit . It will not.

Zanu PF’s choice of two

By killing their own countrymen, Mugabe and his henchmen have already done the worst . For this they face the stiffest penalty – the death sentence. Their crimes are now established fact and are beyond debate.

They are faced with two choices.

1.) Allow the powers of democracy to prevail and face the sure humiliation that follows them or

2.) Fight to the death to prevent democracy.

Their choice is obvious and they have already made it.

Mugabe is not a foolish man and does not want to force the MDC into radical action, popular uprising. He’s a skilled politician.

Mugabe must be seen to be giving something. He must be seen to be losing ground to keep the MDC engaged in what he privately knows is a futile attempt at democracy by negotiation.

So Mugabe feigns distress at the “unruly” security chiefs who he leads us to believe he cannot control. Why would he want to control them when this would translate to his own end? Lawlessness serves him well.

With this in mind, Mugabe starts ineffectual debates on the swearing-in of Roy Bennett, something he gains nothing by opposing. The MDC fights hard for these crumbs. In 3 years Mugabe will swear Bennett into office.

An MDC victory, a step toward democracy. Not quite. Mugabe always intended to swear Bennett into office, it’s impractical not to. Refusing to do so is a well calculated distraction.

The MDC chases this with energy and at the end he gives it to them. Mission accomplished, Mugabe is seen to be losing ground, the MDC gaining. He is not, they are not.

The fundamental issues remain untouched, namely Democracy and The Rule of Law.

Mugabe plays his game well. We hear of a constitutional outreach programme.

The MDC and national commentators have again been distracted by Mugabe and have taken their eyes off the high prize that we seek. Our conversation is now directed toward the constitutional process and the trivia that follows it.

How is it that nobody points out that the Constitution is not the problem that Zimbabwe faces . We can change our constitution a thousand times and our situation would not change.

The real problem is a disregard for the law. The law already provides for the freedom of speech. The law already provides for the prosecution of criminals.

We do not need new laws, simply enforcement of those already enacted.

Again Mugabe plays the clever game, stalling and buying time by directing national conversation.

I pray the eyes of the simple are opened.

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

These are the haunting words of Frederick Douglass. With all humility I want to add to his now famous words and say: “Power concedes nothing without a demand, a demand from a hand greater and more formidable.”

This is why violence and only violence can dislodge Zanu PF. That is their trump card. When Zanu PF is cornered, it turns to violence . It’s the ultimate display of power. With it the dislodged Ian Smith, not through negotiation.

At this stage Zanu PF has all to lose. They are willing to fight till the death. They have already killed and are unafraid to do so if again if need be.

They will not accept and end that sees them imprisoned. They will never accept and end that sees them waiting in line to be hanged at Chikurubi. They are ready to fight to avoid such an end.

This point is of crucial importance. THEY are ready to fight. The MDC is not. The West in not.

This is why Zanu PF will remain in power for the forseable future . Unless the MDC is ready to embark on mass uprisings and perhaps even armed struggle, Zanu PF will not go.

The hand demanding power concede must, by definition, be stronger than the hand it asks of.

Zanu PF will not collapse when Mugabe dies

Some analysts have urged the MDC to patiently wait for Mugabe to die. Zanu PF will immediately be crippled by bitter infighting. This view is poorly considered.

The idea wrongly assumes that the petty leadership ambitions of the various Zanu PF factions are greater than their consiousness of the need for self preservation.

This is no less misguided than the thief who foolishly believes that a husband will let his wife be robbed in his presence on the grounds that they had a fiery argument the night before.

What brings them together is much greater than what places them apart. Unity will prevail, not out of the nobility of the concerned parties but the evident need for solid leadership to prevent the vice that is democracy.

Keeping our eyes on the ball.

Let us not be distracted by Mugabe’s clever management of the Zimbabwean news cycle. We must not forget that the swearing in of Roy Bennet, the resolution of the issue of governers, the supposed constitutional outreach programme, the licensing of News Day and all, are mere trinkets.

Trinkets is what they are. Ineffectual things Mugabe never cared for but slowly gives ‘concedes’ to a credulous opposition to give the false impression that he has given something.

A simple study of the princinples of negotiation lay bare Mugabe’s tactics. Place great value on what you care least for; after you opponent cries without end, give it to them.