"We should have respect to our leadership. If there are contradictions, we sit down and iron out the differences," moaned President Mugabe. That is rich, coming from someone who has abused other people all his life!
Yes the nation is in a real serious political and economic mess and we desperately need to sit down and talk but this must not be talk for the sake of talking. If we are going to make any meaningful progress then everyone must have a meaningful say and the ultimate and universally accepted meaningful say is casting vote in a free, fair and credible process. How can people respect a leader who imposed himself on them?
Mugabe has never ever held free and fair elections at party level much less at national level. Yet, having rigged the elections, he has been quick claim the elections were free and fair and demand the respect accorded to a legitimately elected leaders. In the 2008 national elections, for example, he shameless declared that “what was achieved by the bullet cannot be undone by the ballot”, as he unleashed war vets and other thugs to carry out some of the worst political violence in modern times. He still claimed the elections were free and fair and he was the elected leader!
The war vets have always flattered themselves into thinking they wielded a lot of political influence, when all they have been doing was help Zanu PF deny the people vote. The first time the war vets tried flexing their political muscles but from the “wrong” factional divide as Jabulani Sibanda and Mutsvangwa did, they were promptly put in their place. The message was hammered home when the regime unleashed the Police with tear gas and water cannons to drive away war vets who still thought they were special.
The war vets are reportedly unhappy with President Mugabe and he has agreed to meet them next month. For the last 36 years President Mugabe has ridden rough shod over our freedoms, human rights and dreams; the war vets have pretended not to see this. One hope that the tear-gas has helped opened their eyes.
The proposed Indaba, meeting, between Mugabe and the war vets should have included representatives from the opposition, civic society and other interested key national players as it is not only the war vets who have something to say against Mugabe’s failed leadership and desire regime change; the whole nation is unhappy.
The proposed Indaba must not to be just another Zanu PF talk-show where Mugabe stuffs the attendees full of meat and beer, bribes them with ready cash and a promise of even more in the future (knowing he has no intention of honouring that promise) and baffle them with bull about future political reform. The Indaba will be just as useful and relevant if there are concrete resolutions acknowledging and resolving the following issues:
1) Acknowledgement that the present political chaos resulting from the dog-eat-dog fighting in Zanu PF and the serious economic meltdown are socially, political and economically unsustainable; they are a serious threat to human lives and to national stability.
2) Acknowledge that the present dictatorial system is the root cause of the nation’s political and economic problems.
3) Resolve to implement democratic reforms to restore the individual freedoms and rights of every Zimbabwean including the right to a meaningful say in the governance of this country and to restore the institutional democratic checks and balance necessary for a healthy and functional democracy.
4) Resolve to implement all the democratic reforms and held fresh elections to restore politically legitimacy as a matter of urgency. Only a democratically elected government will have the political mandate and legitimacy to implement the far reaching economic reforms needed to rescue the nation from the current economic crisis.
Zimbabwe has reached a political and economic impasse in which nothing of substance can ever be accomplished without reducing Mugabe’s excessive dictatorial powers. We must do something and restore the individual freedoms and liberties Mugabe has usurped over the years. The Indaba next month must be Zimbabwe’s answer to England’s 15 June 1215 Magna Carta Libertatum (Latin for "the Great Charter of the Liberties"). Indeed, we are not asking Mugabe and the war vets to reinvent the wheel only to use it!