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Africa Vera
Brian MacGarry
Gesuita dello Zimbabwe
Setting a fox to guard the chickens
The last time there was a military coup in Lesotho, the South African army acted quickly. Since Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa, I don't even remember whether they crossed the border. Closing it might have been enough.

they stopped the nonsense in an hour or two.

This time
, things are different. The regional Southern African Development Conference (SADC) is mulling the matter over. SADC is chaired this year by Zimbabwe's geriatric dictator, Robert Mugabe, and, as chairman, he has sent a couple of his military security people to observe what is happening in Lesotho and report back.

But what
can we expect from a man who boasts that he “holds degrees in violence”? Remember he owes his position since last July to the Israeli company NIKUV who swallowed up the voters' roll (nobody can get a copy yet) and played a number of other tricks that made the electoral playing field resemble a range of active volcanoes, whose shape changes constantly more than a billiard table.

Last year
, the 90-year old reluctantly signed a new constitution, on condition that the provisions for succession in the event of the President's incapacity or death be suspended; for the next time only (he said), the President's party must be left to choose a successor.

This was because
his party, ZANU-PF, had been unable to agree on a procedure and did not dare to mention the subject until he is taken to his reward. Now they are less shy. Faction fighting is growing serious in the run-up to the party's congress in December. Their own internal elections have been lively, to put it mildly, but each side had their share of NIKUV skills, so the dirty tricks probably balance out. A vast majority of the party favour the Vice-President, Joice Mujuru, over her main rival, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is regarded with suspicion by many. He is certainly more ruthless and less excitable than Mugabe – a dangerous combination.

But the the electorate
, who would prefer a donkey to either of these two as long as it isn't a ZANU-PF donkey, have been NIKUVed out of the picture. Now the military high command are bypassing ZANU-PF's internal electoral processes by declaring that they will accept no leader but Ngwena (the Crocodile), i.e Mnangagwa, when the Old Man passes on. We will shortly see them shed ZANU-PF as easily as a snake sheds its skin, so that ZANU-PF supporters could be rarer in Zimbabwe in a few months than Nazis were in Germany in August 1945. Already a party has emerged to promote Mnangagwa's candidacy for President. All this is a cosmetic move to give a pretext to those in the USA and EU who want to get their hands on Zimbabwe's diamonds (production is already dropping), platinum and gold before the Chinese take everything, to “reopen relations with Zimbabwe”, meaning opening direct relations with the military junta.

And it is this junta
that is expected to deliver a verdict for SADC on a military coup in Lesotho! Make any concessions to Zimbabwe's military and you will see more Lesothos.

Our best hope
faced with this scenario is that Zimbabwe's military could get themselves on the US list of promoters of terrorism. Already over 30,000 rounds of small arms ammunition have disappeared from a Zimbabwe military store. That sort of material could easily end in the hands of Boko Haram, or other Al-Qaeda offshoots. That won't win them any friends in Washington, Brussels, London or even Beijing.