TWO or so days ago Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general; Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Graca Machel, the former wife of Nelson Mandela (and a couple of other men) released a statement concerning Zimbabwe.
Acting under the aegis of what they call the “Elders” the trio, which has maintained an interest in Zimbabwe in the last decade or so, wrote a letter to the regional body, Sadc, ahead of the forthcoming 36th Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government, calling “heads of state to support a successful and inclusive transition in Zimbabwe”.
In a press statement on the so-called Elders website, “The Elders (…) called on the heads of state of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to consider how they can support a successful and inclusive transition in Zimbabwe that will return stability and growth to the country.
“Writing to Sadc member states ahead of the regional group’s summit in Swaziland later this month, The Elders noted that Zimbabwe is ‘on the verge of an important transition’ which, if handled well, could lead to a peaceful and democratic change of leadership and a renewed focus on social and economic development.”
In the said letter the trio is cited as saying: “We firmly believe that a successful transition is vital not only for Zimbabwe but also for the region […] we are also convinced that, if the transition process is to succeed, it must be inclusive, transparent and framed in the national interest.”
Those who are familiar with recent politics of Zimbabwe will know that this is not the first time that the so-called Elders have tried to wade into the domestic fray.
In 2008 they made a spirited attempt to influence matters as Zimbabwe emerged from the hung elections of that year.
They also included Jimmy Carter, former US president.
They sought to broker a power-sharing agreement between Zanu-PF and the MDC formations, a task that was in the hands of Sadc, of which South Africa had started mediation role as early as 2006-7.
Somehow, in the heads of these Elders, they were more qualified to direct processes here.
And, at one point, in November, the group tried to enter Zimbabwe and were denied entry.
They had reportedly sought to come on “a humanitarian mission” and “to assess the country’s humanitarian needs”.
They were later to meet opposition leaders and opposition-linked organisations in South Africa where Carter complained that: “We are very disappointed that the Government of Zimbabwe would not permit us to come in, would not cooperate.”
Of course, there was little reason for Zanu-PF to cooperate with these busybodies who were seeking to shore the interests of the Western-sponsored opposition deceptively using their profiles as statesmen.
In fact, as it turned out, Sadc did just as well as neighbours enjoying locus standi and legitimacy that Carter, Annan and Machel could never muster for all their high sounding pasts.
Now, in August 2016, a good eight years of water under the bridge, these so-called Elders have suddenly appeared on the radar.
They are talking about an “inclusive transition” in Zimbabwe.
The call immediately smells of something not nice.
First of all, what is this transition they are imagining; seeing?
Are they not aware that Zimbabwe conducted elections in 2013 which gave a legitimate five-year mandate to Zanu-PF and that the same mandate has close to two years of subsisting?
Why would Annan and Co think that their wisdom – or lack of it – is needed now when it was not welcome eight short years ago?
And, most importantly, why would Annan and Co seek to subvert a constitutional order and suggest that Zimbabwe adopts an illegal “inclusive transitional” arrangement?
It is a trite point to make that Sadc will ignore these puerile Elders and their desperate quest for relevance.
It is, however, instructive to note that there is a method to the madness of these Elders.
They obviously have caught wind of the idea of a “transitional authority”.
It is an idea that the opposition has entertained for the most part following their loss to Zanu-PF in 2013.
In their minds, the will of the people in that election must be set aside and the opposition that was rejected by the same people must be dusted and thrust back into power via the back door.
It does not take a lot to see in whose interests Annan and company are trying to thrust their strange and illegal idea.
In the meantime the likes of Tendai Biti are calling for it.
Ibbotson Day Joseph Mandaza, that overrated political underachiever, has been calling for it along with other people of his drinking club famed for useless talk shows principally hosted by Mandaza himself.
The idea has an elitist outlook that very quickly sells away the failed academic-political characters behind it, that seeks season in including the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai but ultimately passing for a futile egotistical project.
It is bound to fail – and we may not see its likeness during our lifetime.
Not so much for its illegality, people of Zimbabwe are clearer in their minds and are not bound to follow sophistic boardroom projects that look suspiciously as being held by puppet strings.
That is the grief that Mandaza and his cohorts, including Tendai Biti, are likely to meet.
In the deluded minds like those making the Elders, this does not seem to register.
They are used to seeing and imagining things as a some chessboard where pieces are moved for obvious outcomes.
But they should have been able to learn a couple of things over the past eight years.
If they haven’t, then it is just too bad for them.
We are not sure if they are some of the people that believe that Zimbabwe is “ready for a power grab”, as the Wall Street Journal in a most bizarre prediction told us this week.
Often, the West and its puppets overestimate their worth and they often pay dearly for it.
The puppet team of Annan and Co should therefore stand guided accordingly.
Age is apparently coming alone to this gang.