"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:21

It is one of the most difficult decisions for any nation to make and for any transitional justice court to decide, but I firmly believe the time has come to offer Mr. Mugabe immunity for his documented war crimes in exchange for his departure from the political stage in Zimbabwe. This article does not come easy but comes in view of Mugabe’s ability to crush and humiliate the opposition at every turn. A disjointed, ineffectual and unimaginative opposition at best.

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At every turn Mugabe has outsmarted the opposition. The reason why Mugabe is fights to the bitter end is because he believes, and rightly so, that he will be tried in any post-Mugabe country - an intelligent deduction. However, I strongly feel that he must be offered immunity. I cannot address the wounds and pain of those who have suffered first hand at the hands of Mugabe, but I can certainly articulate this position from a removed third party, as an American constitutional attorney. It is the UN’s number one principle on peacekeeping that peacekeepers should not come from the region, so as to be emotionally detached thus enabling real solutions to problems.


All the solutions I have seen and heard on Mugabe and Zimbabwe express the personal pain and anger towards that regime, this is justified, but this is not a solution building approach. I strongly believe Zimbabwe needs assistance from outside Zimbabwe for its democratic growth. It is inherently racist and tribalist to say: this black nation “got what it deserves,” by voting out Ian Smith so we  should  watch as it burns because this is punishment for black majority rule, after all they voted for the Shona Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's democracy is not a black or white issue; a Shona or Ndebele issue; it is about the maturity and growth of a Nation State. All States go through levels of growth: revolution, and civil wars - before they can hold credible periodic elections which support its democracy.


Zimbabwe should be encouraged to consider all constitutional options in painting the sanctity of life, peace and security in Zimbabwe. It did not come easy writing this article as I pondered whether Mugabe deserves immunity or not, but I finally decided that perhaps his judgment, like for all of us, will be given by the Creator in due course. But now its for the sake of Zimbabweans. I am talking about the three million in the streets of South Africa, as highlight by former South African reserve bank governor Tito Mboweni. The Zimbabwean women who are prostitues in South Africa, Kuwait and Southern Italy. The Zimbabweans in prisons in Southern Africa, as President Ian Khama noted - these are the people who inform my analysis.



Zimbabwe and Italy Comparison


To understand Zimbabwean politics is to understand the politics of Italy post-Mussolini. Zimbabwe has a majority rural population that sees Mugabe as a liberator, who provides land and food. For an urban Pastor or party to mount a credible movement against Mugabe would have to mean that they become liberators and providers of land and food in their own right; some thing that’s undoable in Zimbabwe under the current domestic laws.

Mawarire seems not to understand that his countrymen are protesting essentially for regime change not mere economic policy changes. He argues he wants Mugabe to remain and for certain economic issues to be addressed. This seems dishonest to everyone familiar with Zimbabwe protest and opposition politics. Essentially, this flag sought to remove Mugabe by popular protest and riot. This failed. It would take a politician ( or pastor) of great depth to admit this truth and recalibrate his politics in light of such failure. The first step of any growth is honesty. This flag has always been about removing Mugabe, not about school bills and bond notes. The whole world knows this, and ironically Mugabe knows this as well, but Mawarire does not this so?

An unimaginative intellect said Mugabe was the cause of Zimbabwe’s economic problems, thus suggesting advocating for some Nigerian millionaires to boycott investing in Zimbabwe as that would prolong Mugabe rule. This same unimaginative intellect does not understand that sanctions hurt ordinary Zimbabweans more than they hurt Mugabe and his rule. It is of vital importance that money flows into Zimbabwe to feed the hungry and cure the sick, this is the first common interest shared between ZANU-PfFand the opposition parts - human rights is another common area.


As noted in other articles, while we suggest solutions to Zimbabwe’s crisis, we should not do it in a power hungry manner, in which we front ourselves as the solution - in this regard some have self-nominated themselves to a transitional authority, and yet ironically they accuse Mugabe of not being democratically elected -  which regional body voted them as transactional actors and what are their qualifications to govern? A power hungry stomach  is a power hungry stomach, it does not matter where the person sits at the table. In this sense, the change markers in Zimbabwe need to go back to politics 101, and that is win votes, get a mandate to govern. Lets encourage the next wave of democratization in Souther Africa the right way, burning Zimbabwe is not the right way.

African democrats, practitioners, humanitarians and constitutional attorneys should encourage the economic growth of Zimbabwe as a stabilizing pillar to future democracy and lobby the United Kingdom to honor its Lancaster House Accords with Zimbabwe, and to reimburse land redistribution so as to avoid the government of 2018 inheriting a debt;  as well as SADC judgments from the previous ZANU-PF government.


I think at this point, it is now common sense to expect the 2018 Zimbabwean elections to afford solutions to democratization in Zimbabwe.

The opposition parties in Zimbabwe, who seem to have been outsmarted and out thought by Mugabe should reboot in their planning from ground zero, learn from Zanu PF. For starters, the opposition should hold a popular congress to chose one leader and to unify the parties, among other things.

Secondly, the opposition should call to an end of all protests and focus on this impending congress where a popular leader should be chosen and not anointed. It is not Tsvangirayi’s right to lead MDC-T. If Mugabe is to be held to a democratic standard, so too must the opposition party leaders. When are  Zimbabwe's opposition parties having their national congresses?


It is the delegates from all of Zimbabwe's political parties who should chose the final leader and not the amalgamating party bosses. Failure to take head of this advise will return Mugabe to conclude his centurion years as head of state. And if Mugabe wins that election, every one who doubted his popular support should assist in re-building the economy and wait their turn, - this is what mature democracy means: waiting patiently.

Immunity for Robert Mugabe

Mugabe, whose political dexterity is unquestionable. I renew my encouragement to Mr. Mugabe to step down, and write his multi-volume autobiography, hopefully divided into Chimurenga I,II,III and IV. Mandela left us with - Long Walk to Freedom, Conversation with Myself, No Easy Walk to Freedom but Mugabe is yet to write anything. In this regard opposition parties should agree in principle to grant Mugabe blanket immunity so that he can step down and document his contribution to African progress. A big reason why Mugabe is not stepping down is that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been promised against him, the time has now come to remove such a prospective prosecution of Mr. Mugabe in the greater interest of change and progress in Zimbabwe.

The immunity decision must be billed and enacted as law in Zimbabwe - Mugabe Immunity Act, so that Mugabe can finally step down and rest. It is not uncommon for prosecutors to grant someone allegedly culpable - guilty as sin -  immunity, so that they can access vital information or on a national security basis. Mugabe qualifies under both: his memoirs and as former head of state. The opposition should grant Mugabe immunity in an unequivocally clear and enthusiastic manner similar to Tutu’s Truth and Recoinciliation Conference in South Africa.

Every country must pick and chose its battles so as to remain peaceful. Perhaps, under the freedom of immunity, Mugabe can finally apologize for what he wants to apologize for. The trial of Mugabe in a human rights court is just too divisive a subject for Zimbabwe, potentially it leads to civil war.


Ken Sibanda, is an American constitutional attorney born in Transkei South Africa. He is known affectionally as Tecumseh for his writings, including the book " International Law: Peace Accords."



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