The Elders came. They saw. They went back to wherever they had come from.
But before the Elders left, they gave us a statement. A sign.
The Elders are a grouping of eminent former world leaders committed to promoting peace and human rights.
Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan led a delegation of Elders to Zimbabwe last week.
The Elders met all significant role players in the country – a Zimbabwe facing crucial elections five days from now – in an important development for Zimbabwe.
The country was previously closed to such missions under former president Mugabe, with The Elders being shut out embarrassingly on a couple of occasions.
But things have changed.
The Elders’ tour lasted only three days, but opened a world of insights into Zimbabwe. The Elders found a peaceful country where there was rule of law, order and calm.
Except there was an opposition that threatened that very peace and stability.
Except that there was an opposition that was intolerant, misogynistic and dangerous.
Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights called out the opposition’s appalling sexism directed in particular against women working for the independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The Elders noted how the opposition was making “unreasonable” demands ahead of the election – which conclusion they must have arrived at after looking at the whole gamut of conditions in Zimbabwe and also from a comparative perspective.
Conditions in Zimbabwe could have been worse. Election periods have not been as calm previously, and that is why everyone is relieved this time around.
Equally, it is why everyone is worried by threats of violence by the opposition.
The opposition MDC-Alliance, led by Nelson Chamisa, is threatening violence if results of July 30 do not go their way, regardless of the conditions on the ground.
In the strange logic of the opposition, elections can only be free and fair and acceptable if they win. This, of course, is dangerous. It is also very unreasonable.
The opposition in Zimbabwe will take a loss at these forthcoming elections as an excuse for lawlessness.
The opposition appears to bank on the assumed ability to rally urban supporters to mount mass demonstrations in cities and render the country ungovernable.
That should get the world worried.
Zimbabwe will just be another African country in the thralls of violence that feeds the world with a whole pornography of post-election chaos.
The opposition either seeks to leverage this kind of fear or, for once, wants to taste war for which, we assume, it already has sponsors, after all it already has what it calls the Vanguard, a sort of vigilante group which the Government has so far treated with kid gloves yet it has the potential to ruin the future of us all.
But even The Elders, like many wise people, know that this path of violence is folly. There could be many things unforeseen by the opposition and its leader and presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa.
He has also shown us that, contrary to the make-believe view, he is not the brightest of pebbles – something that becomes evident each time he opens his mouth, which has turned foul with the dawning reality that he will lose.
And he has been opening his mouth quite often since February when he stole the leadership of the MDC-T and in subsequent rallies on the campaign trail.
These are key lessons anyone can quickly take from the post-Tsvangirai opposition.
Chamisa has soiled the MDC name faster than any Zanu-PF propaganda could have done. The Elders, and many others, have by now realised that the opposition and its supporters in Zimbabwe are not a group of innocent souls, victims of a ruthless ruling party.
They are, in fact, violent and abusive – and they are in their element this election season. Ask the European Union Ambassador here, Philippe Van Dame, who, no less, has decried the vile nature of the engagement of opposition in Zimbabwe.
Those who follow him on Twitter may have seen how he has been hounded by the opposition’s social media corps; the MDC-Alliance supporters being the most abusive, reckless and vulgar on social media.
The Elders were abused following their tour of Zimbabwe.
The EU Ambassador has had a terrible time for calling out MDC-Alliance’s sexism and violence. Opposition supporters like to burn bridges, and burn them fast.
It is strange that, for the first time in two decades, the opposition in Zimbabwe appears paranoid.
They are nasty.
We didn’t know that the EU Ambassador knew a bit of statistics.
However, his best and patient efforts at explaining figures have been met with bigotry and online abuse by opposition supporters.
In other words, and the world has only begun to see, the opposition in Zimbabwe was not the victim nor an innocent bystander in previous violent flare-ups.
It has been party to the violence and disturbances that took place, blame for which was previously laid squarely on Zanu-PF.
It is a good thing that authorities in Zimbabwe allowed foreign observers for this election – including the Elders.
They have seen for themselves.
In previous times, the outside world would be fed wrong information about presumed opposition doves being eaten whole and torn apart by ruling party hawks. Now the world has seen for itself who the hawks are.
The MDC-Alliance and its supporters are adamant that it has to be them or no one else. It is such a weird idea of democracy.
As Zimbabwe approaches its crucial election, it is good that the world is fully aware of the truth.
Given the severity of the threats to peace made by the opposition in Gweru at the weekend, it should also be incumbent on the authorities to be fully geared to protect innocent and peaceful citizens and property.
The world would also do well to support Zimbabwe in its quest for peace after the elections to complete this historic transition from Mugabe, whom, we dare say, the opposition under Chamisa would have fully deserved.