“The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go often askew / And leaves us nothing but grief and pain / For promised joy!” —Robert Burns

These lines have never applied more accurately than to the current situation in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s influential generals are still refusing to salute Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai six months after he joined President Robert Mugabe in a unity government.

Almost two months before the first anniversary of the historic 15th September power sharing agreement, which gave Zimbabweans hope that Mugabe was being eased out of power, an unpalatable reality is beginning to sink in.

Zimbabwe has been out of the news recently and most people think the situation there has greatly improved, however evidence exists that shows this is not the case. It is becoming more and more evident that the coalition government was just a ploy by ZANU-PF to get international sanctions lifted from their top officials.

The only people now being arrested and brought to court, apart from the occasional housebreaker and bank robber, are Movement for Democratic Change members and, of course, white farmers. So far, five MDC MPs have been sentenced to more than six months in prison, the minimum sentence that allows them to be thrown out of parliament. This has been seen as one of ZANU-PF’s strategies to regain the parliamentary majority they lost in the March 2008 elections.

Resistance campaigner and Hereford resident, Simbarashe Muzembe, said: “Whilst it is very clear that MDC have very little power and influence in policy making and ZANP-PF continue to rule with an iron fist, the people of Zimbabwe have to stand aside and watch in a state of limbo. I still maintain that the only way forward for Zimbabwe is to have an opposition party with it’s own militia.”

Meanwhile, independent monitors of the performances of Tsvangirai’s MDC and Mugabe’s ZANU-PF (such as Sokwanele in Zimbabwe and Idasa in Pretoria) agree that even as the MDC has stuck both in deed and spirit to the Global Political Agreement, ZANU-PF violates it daily.

“If Zimbabwe is to truly move towards peace, justice and democracy, ZANU-PF has to be removed. After a 30-year rule Zimbabwe has suffered some of the worst economic crisis in recent history. Human rights are abused on a daily basis and there is no rule of law.

“How this can be achieved is one of the biggest problems of today, but without the help of the international community it will be impossible,” said Muzembe.