If Julian Assange were a Zimbabwean, he would have been labelled a Mugabe apologist. The cables his Wikileaks has released so far all appear to be favouring President Robert Mugabe. They prove what he has been saying all along, that the West is fighting for regime change. Of course there have been some cables castigating him as being a “crazy old man” and accusing his wife and sister of looting diamonds from Marange.
But though the Movement for Democratic Change and the private media have played down the impact of the cables on the party and its leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the cables were more damning on the presidential hopeful.
Former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell delivered the most devastating blow when he described Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as flawed. His cable clearly showed that his government was supporting him because there was no alternative.
A political observer said that no matter what the MDC said, or did not say, this was a damning statement especially coming from someone who was supposed to be one of the major sponsors of the party.
“You don’t commit that kind of thing on paper about a friend unless you have no respect for that person at all,” the observer said.
For years Mugabe’s repeated pronouncements about regime change were laughed off as Blair and Bush bashing. To most people it sounded like an old broken record because that was anyone expected Mugabe to talk about given a public platform. But more importantly it was not bringing food to the tables of ordinary Zimbabweans.
The media reaction to the Wikileaks cables is also exposing one of the major flaws that has bedevilled Zimbabwe. ZANU-PF’s 30-year rule and its dislike for any dissenting voice have spread like a cancer to the entire population. People claim to be democratic, free thinkers, independent, but deep down they cannot tolerate any dissenting voices.
There is a very narrow view of the Zimbabwean political landscape. As far as most people are concerned there are only two groups of people in Zimbabwe: those for Mugabe and those against. There is no third choice, even though the country has more than 20 registered political parties.
ZANU-PF labels anyone opposed to its views as a Western puppet. Those opposed to ZANU-PF accuse anyone who does not share their views as a Mugabe apologist. Yet poll after poll has indicated that more than 60 percent of the Zimbabwean population do not support either Mugabe or Tsvangirai.
This polarisation of Zimbabwean society is dangerous as the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said a few years ago.