The real reason is not that African leaders are in awe of Mugabe's dubious liberation war credentials as most of us are led to believe. Edgar Tekere one of the founders of Zanu PF exposed Mugabe's lies of having actually fought the liberation war, he asserts that Mugabe never fired a single gun in his book A Lifetime of Struggle. At the heart of the reason why African leaders wont support MDC lies political immaturity, corruption and power hungry individuals who led liberation struggles across Africa. Thats why its hard for African leaders to embrace post liberation political parties such as the MDC.
Zambia is the most bewildering as to its attitude towards MDC, given that the current leader and his ruling party Movement of Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) bore similar if not identical roots in their formation. Like MDC, MMD of Zambia has its roots in labour unionism, Chiluba the predecessor to Levy Mwanasa is a former Chairman the Zambian Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). MMD was formed in the 90s by prominent Zambian leaders that had defected from United National Independence Party (UNIP) the former ruling party of Zambia, by labour leaders and academics alike. It was a party formed to fight the political monopoly that Kenneth Kaunda and his UNIP party enjoyed under Zambia's one party state that banned opposition political parties in Zambia since 1972. Mwanasa is rumored to be principled in the basis of his resignation from Chiluba's government following disagreements with a fellow cabinet member, he earned a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Zambia in 1973, ironically, one of the many cases he took up which few other defence lawyers would touch, was a treason trial in 1989 against Lt.General Christon Tembo who was charged along with others with plotting to overthrow then President Kenneth Kaunda. Tembo retired from the army and went on the join MMD, became its vice-president, the same job as Mwanawasa had held. Just after the brutally beating of more than 60 opposition and civic leaders in March by the despotic regime of Robert Mugabe, Mwanasa broke ranks with other SADC leaders on their policy of see no evil hear no evil and called
Zimbabwe a sinking titanicTherefore it was surprising that when the SADC leaders met for the second time in Zambia to review progress made by Thabo Mbeki in brokering negotiations between MDC and Zanu PF, the Zambian government deported more than 60 human rights activists that wanted to protest at the venue of the SADC meeting in Lusaka. After the SADC meeting Mwanasa fired his Foreign Minister Mundia Sikatana following pressure from Harare after clashing as to how Zimbabwean issue should be handled. Why Mwanasa is keen to suck up to Mugabe is baffling. The idea that he might be doing it because of Mugabe's war credentials does not hold because if he opposed Kaunda the equivalent of Mugabe in Zambia then surely its not that he is in awe of Mugabe. Like all African leaders Mwanasa fears that supporting opposition parties in neighbouring countries might foster growth of opposition politics in his country which in turn might be his unmaking. His MMD like all the ruling parties of Africa like to maintain that they are right despite visible public protests.
For South Africa the reasons are obvious, any support of MDC would encourage South African trade unionists such as Zwelinzima Vavi to entertain political ambitions and that is Thabo Mbeki and ANC's worst nightmare because the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is Africa's largest umbrella trade union in terms of member representation. Beside Mbeki like all African leaders he is a closet dictator, his true colours are slowly emerging, no longer is he an enigma in South African politics but his autocratic style of governance and unwillingness to be criticised shows his dictatorial streak. He thinks its god given that the Xhosa tribe in ANC should rule South Africa forever just like the Zezuru clan in Zanu PF dominates politics in Zimbabwe, he shares the same views as Mugabe that holds people ransom to their erstwhile liberators. If not do you think its coincidental that when South Africa is poised for its first Zulu President Thabo Mbeki's deputy Jacob Zuma a Zulu suddenly finds himself with accusations of rape and corruption? Mbeki is a great believer in propaganda just like his friend Bob thats why he churns out lies on his online column ANC Today by saying that Zimbabwe is being hurt by western sanctions when he knows that there are no economic sanctions on Zimbabwe except for travel bans that prevent Mugabe and his cohorts spending looted foreign currency in Europe or America. In 1985 he provided an emergency South African 1 billion rand loan to rescue the illegal government from being booted from IMF, the money in turn was used to finance Operation Murambatsvina which displaced over 2 million people from their homes and livelihoods in a guise of urban clean-up. With many South Africans living in the same type of shelters that Mugabe destroyed because of their membership and support of MDC all over South Africa, I shudder to think what would happen to residents of Alexandra Park in Johannesburg or Harare in Cape Town if they dared support those opposed to ANC? Thabo Mbeki and Mugabe are cut from the same political cloth, if there are any African leaders that are in awe of Mugabe then its Mbeki, Zanu PF housed him when he was in exile during apartheid.
For other leaders that adopt a see no evil hear no evil when it comes to Zimbabwe is because when most African countries gained independence from their colonisers from Angola to Zimbabwe, they inherited and never dismantled the economies of these countries which was built on bedrock of exploitation of black workers be it in mines, factories or farms and households of their white masters. The system of exploitation clearly benefited the colonisers, they paid little or no wages but earned full profit on their productions had no respects for workers rights, most worked in slave conditions. So Africa's first governments gained power and continued where their white masters had left off benefiting on the exploitation of one man by another hard to stomach now when its black on black. This was called false decolonisation by Franz Fanon he said
The national bourgeoisie steps into the shoes of the former European settlement: doctors, barristers, traders, commercial travellers, general agents and transport agents. It considers that the dignity of the country and its own welfare require that it should occupy all these posts. From now on, it will insist that all the big foreign companies should pass through its hands, whether these companies wish to keep on their connexions with the country, or to open it up. The national middle class discovers its historic mission: that of the intermediary.If liberation parties of Africa gained from the same skewed economics where the development of keloptocrats out-paces that ordinary citizens they usually do not want to relinguish power, they become power drunk reveling in pornographic opulence while the masses suffer, so any uprising against them is sometimes brutally crushed which is catalytic to Africa's endemic wars. According to African Sun:
there are currently fifteen African countries involved in war, or are experiencing post-war conflict and tension. In West Africa, the countries include Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo. In East Africa, the countries include Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda. In Central Africa, the countries include Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda. In North Africa, the country is Algeria and in South Africa, the countries include Angola and Zimbabwe. What are the basis of these conflicts or political tensions? At the base of these wars is the rich natural resources each of these poor countries hold of timber, oil or diamonds, compounded in many cases by the foreign extractive industries presence, their opaque, unreported payments to the governments and the governments' opaque, unreported use of the money to create and fund wars. The wars serve the purpose of creating a distraction, as the countries and their fleeing, displaced citizens are robbed of their countries' natural resources, easily converted to cash, for the personal use and fortunes of ruling parties. Tribal conflict is deliberately antagonized, so it can be blamed for the conflict.
Most other African countries are run by despotic governments to expect them to endorse MDC is a fantasy. Dont expect Omar Bongo of Gabon to be seen or heard supporting MDC, he rigged elections six times. Neither should you expect support from Faure Gnassingbé of Togo hand-picked to succeed his father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who ruled the West African nation of Togo from 1967 until his death in 2005. Same for Lasana Conte of Guinea, Conte came to power in 1984, after staging a coup d'etat when Guinea's then-president, Ahmed Sekou Toure, died on a US operating table while undergoing heart surgery, Conte has ruled Guinea ever since. It would a surprising an unlikely support from Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, he has ruled Burkina Faso since 1987 after a bloody coup and the assasination of then-president, Thomas Sankara, Compaore has been implicated in numerous human rights abuses. Do you think Joseph Kabila of Congo-Kinshasa would support Tsvangirai when he was backed by Mugabe with soldiers to fight off rebels that were threatening his father Laurent Kabila. What about Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea he has imprisoned 13 journalists, deferred elections? Do you think Omar al-Bashir of Sudan would support MDC, since February 2003, Bashir’s campaign of ethnic and religious persecution has killed at least 500 00 civilians in Darfur in western Sudan and driven 2 million people from their homes. Dont expect any support from Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, around 90% of all opposition politicians live in exile, 1000 anti-Obiang activists have been jailed unfairly, and several killed since 1979, Obiang was re-elected in 1996 and 2002, but the conduct of both elections was not acceptable to international observers. You can now understand why Africa finds it hard to support MDC!