I would like to thank the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) for their well thought out letter of appeal and advice on the possible way out of the present political and economic mess Zimbabwe finds itself in.
I wish to comment on a few issues the Bishops raised.
“On another note, we have also followed with surprise a concerted vilification of the Catholic Church in The Patriot following the publication of the post-elections report of the 30 July 2018 harmonised elections by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP). In our view, the CCJP report and critical analysis of the elections was objective and factual. Fairness demands that analysis of the report, positive or negative, be challenged based on facts to the contrary and not on an imagined patriotism,” said the letter.
It was not just CCJP but all other election observers with any democratic credentials of note including the Commonwealth and EU have all condemned the July 2018 elections.
“The electoral commission lacked full independence and appeared to not always act in an impartial manner,” state the EU mission in its final report. “The final results as announced by the Electoral Commission contained numerous errors and lacked adequate traceability, transparency and verifiability. … As such, many aspects of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe failed to meet international standards.”
It is tragic that many professionals in state institutions like Police, Army, judiciary, ZEC, etc., in civic society like the church and NGO and private sector and individuals have turned a blind eye to abuse of power including the blatant denying of individual freedoms and rights. ZEC and Con-Court’s role in last year’s rigged elections is shameful. CCJP is under fire for being objective and factual. Thank you everyone!
“Government's failure to arrest the deteriorating economic situation that has seen many companies close, many breadwinners losing their jobs, the cost of living soaring beyond the reach of the majority of people; these have been the cause of industrial unrest in the country's key service sectors, particularly Health and Education,” you said.
You have hit the nail on the head, right there! “Mabaya gudo mukanwa!” as one would say in Shona.
Worse still, Zanu PF has refused to accept its failure and has imposed itself on the nation by rigging elections to extend its corrupt and tyrannical rule. After 38 years of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption that has cause total economic meltdown forcing unemployment to soar to 90% and 3/4 of the people living on US$1.00 or less a day; it is now imperative that Zanu PF’s de facto one party dictatorship must end.
“A new Zimbabwean politics needs to be more collaborative, inclusive and based not on one or two leaders, however effective and charismatic, but rather on strong democratic institutions that embody and secure the values of our democracy, regulate our politics, build trust and administer peace, truth and justice to all,” you suggested.
The 2008 Global Political Agreement signed by Zanu PF and the two MDC factions and SA’s President Thambo Mbeki on behalf of SADC as the guarantor spelt out a raft of democratic reforms Zimbabwe needed to implement to have the new politics you described above. Sadly the parties in the GNU, Zanu PF and the two MDC factions, failed to get even one reform implemented in five years. Not one!
“We call upon Government and the Opposition to put their differences aside and work together to free Zimbabwe from economic shackles and international ostracisation. …. We hasten to say a precedent for working together between Government and Opposition was set when the Government of National Unity (GNU) was formed under similarly difficult circumstances in 2009 and Zimbabwe's economy and prospects were positively revived and only began to regress yet again from the time the GNU expired in 2013,” Bishops recommended.
Yes, Zimbabwe’s economy did revive following the 2008 GNU but regressed at the expiring of it precisely because the GNU had failed to implement even one democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu PF assuming its carte blanche dictatorial powers to rig elections, etc.
“We believe in a God of second chances, who is always offering us new opportunities,” you argued.
Just how many chances did Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends have to implement the democratic reforms during the five years of the GNU alone? Yet they failed to get even one reform implemented. Clearly it was not for want of a chance to implement the reforms. They failed to implement even one reform because Mugabe bribed them with the trappings of high office; ministerial limos, generous salaries, a $4 million mansion for Tsvangirai, etc., etc. In return, MDC leaders kicked reforms into the prickly pear thicket.
Mugabe and Zanu PF did not want any reform implemented because they did not want to lose the dictatorial powers that kept them in power.
When it comes to implementing the democratic reforms we need to end the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship, MDC leaders have already proven that they cannot be entrusted to do this because they are corrupt, incompetent and sell-outs. They have wasted many golden opportunities already to implement the reforms it is insane to reappoint them again.
Worse still, to have MDC team up with Zanu PF in the new GNU! Zanu PF will be playing for time just as happened in the 2008 GNU!
Yes we need a new GNU but both Zanu PF and MDC must step aside to allow the appointment of technocrats who will be tasked to implement the raft of democratic reforms agreed in 2008.
“We wish to state our firm belief that Zimbabwe would easily become one of the best countries to live in on earth if only all of us, it's people, committed to living and working with each other in harmony, tolerance and peace, putting the interests of the country before selfish and political party interests. "Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity" (Ps133),” concluded the Bishops.
It must be stated here and now, that Mnangagwa and his junta rigged last July’s elections. The regime has no democratic mandate to govern and must step down. Zanu PF’s continued stay in power must be seen for what it is - Zanu PF is holding the nation to ransom. No nation on earth can tolerate that!
Zimbabwe is in this economic and political mess because of 38 years of corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF rule. We would not need to implement any reforms if Zanu PF had not spent the last 38 years corrupting our democratic institutions to create the de facto one-party dictatorship.
The people of Zimbabwe risked life and limb to elect MDC leaders into power on the ticket they would bring about democratic change. After 19 years on the political stage MDC has failed to bring about even one democratic change.
It is therefore disingenuous, to say the least, to be giving Zanu PF and MDC a “second chance” GNU to implement the democratic reforms. How many golden opportunities did they waste in the five years of the 2008 to 2013 GNU alone?
There is a real danger of undermining the people’s right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country by allowing Zanu PF to rig elections and stay in power under the pretext one cannot count beyond two! If Bishops cannot count, they can be certain that God can. God will be more concerned about ending the tragic human suffering and deaths Zimbabweans are facing a.s.a.p. than the continued appeasement of Zanu PF thugs
The Bishops’ letter, entitled “Catholic Bishops urge Zanu PF and MDC to unite” is available in Bulawayo 24.