The politics of politics

By Jessica Edgson

Anytime a new issue arises in Africa, my cell phone is due to go off with text messages from a strange relative of mine. After I had suddenly realised that my phone hadn’t received a single message since EQ last had a party, I began to worry. Satisfied that there had been no recent deaths in my family, I started to think the impossible. Had the whole of our continent found peace and harmony at once? Had all genocide, crime and political unrest stopped at the same time leaving Africa without anything worthy of rant? Of course not! Africa is riddled with anything and everything that can go wrong but nothing new. Africa is stuck, ladies and gentlemen, running in the same circles and not getting any answer at all.                                                                 

 Africa, lately, seems to me to be like an injury that cannot heal. Mind you, it’s not the inability to heal that is the main problem but the inability to get to any conclusion at all. The killing of Internationally Displaced Persons (IDP) continues in Sudan. Those tiresome talks between the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and ruling party Zanu-PF are, according to the latest report, getting absolutely nowhere. Here at home in South Africa our possible future president further delays his day in court. Will the xenophobia ever end? Will Zimbabwe ever have a government with the ability to pull it out of economic disaster? Will dear Mr Zuma ever actually be proven guilty or innocent?                                                                                                 Something that has not been done before needs to be introduced into the equation for these situations to change drastically enough to come to an end. Obviously the talks between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai aren’t going to be resolved at all if they carry on in this way. Their lack of success can be explained by this simple equation: Bob wants to be president + Morgan wants to be president = they don’t agree and are possibly never going to fully agree on anything. That is where the foreign idea of compromise comes in. Unfortunately, sanity is a requirement of rationality and rationality is a requirement of understanding and compromise. Old Bob is just never going to give it up, is he? There are no time constraints on the talks and that is why they can afford to argue over who gets to wear the pants. For arguments sake, if there was a threat involved and, for example, their talks didn’t come to a conclusion by the end of the year and Makoni gets to play president, then I highly doubt they’d be bickering for long.                                                                            ANC president Jacob Zuma needs to be told that he either goes on trial at the time set or cannot represent the ANC in the 2009 elections. I can guarantee you that he’d be on that stand in no time at all. A little bit of threatening encouragement could save South Africa a lot of suspense.

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