Zimbabwe’s situation with its economy in total meltdown and political paralysis as the ruling party implode and there is total confusion in the opposition camp is “worrisome”, as my brother Tendai Ruben Mbofana rightly said in his article “South Africa's naïvety towards Zimbabwean crisis worrisome”. What makes our situation so desperate is that we are stuck. Indeed we would have never sunk this deep in this hell-hole if we were free to change course. We have been forced down this ruinous route because Zimbabwe is a de facto one-party cum one-man dictatorship ruled by a corrupt, incompetent and murderous tyranny we have tried in vain to remove from office.
We have new elections coming up in 2018 and all signs are that Zanu PF will rig those elections as before and, without outside help, there is nothing Zimbabweans themselves can do to stop Zanu PF. We definitely need help.
However, if we are going to get help from SADC we must stop blaming those from whom we asking for help for Zimbabwe’s problems.
“Recent comments by South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to the effect that her government would not intervene in the Zimbabwean crisis, as the people of that country could sort out their own problems through the 2018 elections, exhibits the most worrisome height of naivety and disingenuity, not to be expected of a regional power, as it is a very serious abrogation of its responsibility,” wrote Mbofana.
“So the question to both Zuma and Nkoana-Mashabane is: as this crisis has happened before in Zimbabwe, and SA responded in the same passive manner that you are responding today, have you not learnt anything from the previous blunders made by Mbeki?”
This line of question can only be adopted by one who has himself/herself learnt nothing from history. The simple most important lesson many Zimbabweans have failed to learn from the GNU of 2008 to 2013 is that it provided a golden opportunity for the country to implement the far reaching democratic reforms the country needed to finally end the Zanu PF no-regime-change mantra. It was MDC leaders’ fault, in the first instance, that not even one reform was implemented in five years.
We, the people, are not walking Scott-free because if we should have never elected corrupt and incompetent people like Tsvangirai and then failed to properly supervise them. We failed on both counts because we have never taken the trouble to understand what our role is in a healthy, functional democracy. We say we want democratic change but have never bothered to find out what must change starting with us changing from being naïve and gullible electorate to an informed and diligent one.
There are many things Zimbabweans can complain about the role SADC leaders played during the GNU but we cannot, in all honest, blame them for that fact that no meaningful reforms were implemented because they did their best to remind Tsvangirai and company to implement the reforms but were ignore. Soon after the results of the Zanu PF rigged July 2013 elections were out SADC leaders issued a statement criticizing MDC leaders for “enjoying themselves and forgetting why they were in the GNU” is sheer exasperation.
The second point is if we, Zimbabweans, are going to ask others to help us get out of this mess then it is imperative that we know exactly what we want them to do. Given that this is the second time we are calling for help soon over the same issue, one would expect us to have a clear view of what we want!
“The suffering people of Zimbabwe are merely requesting SA to use its leverage on the Zimbabwe government to respect and uphold its own Constitution,” started Mbofana.
“On Friday, 26th August 2016, a coalition of opposition parties will be holding a mega peaceful protest against the current flawed electoral and political landscape, which should tell the SA government something - that if the current situation prevails till the 2018 General Elections, the results will be disputed, leading to a repeat of 2008.”
SADC leaders must heave a sigh of hopelessness and despair to read this! They heaved the same sigh of despair when the GNU partners released Zimbabwe’s the draft new constitution in 2012 because anyone with half a brain could see immediately that this was not a democratic constitution that will deliver free and fair elections. MP Paul Mangwana, the Zanu PF co-chairperson on the committee tasked to write the new constitution, boosted that Mugabe “dictated” the new constitution and it showed.
Tsvangirai claimed the new constitution was an “MDC child” and promised that it would deliver free, fair and credible elections. If failed to do so as Mugabe went on to blatantly rig the July 2013 elections.
Since the rigged July 2013 elections, Tsvangirai and his MDC friends have been demanding “the alignment of existing laws to the new constitution”. They insist the alignment will stop vote rigging although many experts in the field have said otherwise.
“Out of the 299 Statutes in our books, we have so far aligned 159 statutes. We have identified about 200 Statutes requiring alignment and out of that number, 159 have been completed and processed through this House, through the General Laws Amendment Bill (GLAB) and other independent Statutes," VP Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and parliamentary Affairs, told the Senate in June this year.
Tsvangirai and his opposition friends have not produced any comments on the GLAB or details of any additional re-alignment they want to see. MDC have been advised that the country needs to implement all the democratic reforms agreed in the 2008 GPA as the only way forward but, reminiscent, of the GNU days has ignore the advice.
One can understand why SA or any other outsider will be worried about the chaos ensuing in Zimbabwe and how it could easily spill over and affect the whole SADC region and yet be loathed to be involved. It is bad enough to be involved in other nation’s affairs but it to do so knowing from the word go nothing will be accomplished is downright stupid.If Zimbabweans are demanding the realignment of the existing laws to the new constitution as the solution to ending vote rigging then they can expect no outsiders to joining in because this is a wild-goose chase – outsiders have better things to do than wasting time hunting something they know does not exist! It was our fault that the 2008 to 2013 GNU failed to deliver free, fair and credible elections, the least we should do is admit it and stop pointing the blaming finger at the innocent and expect them to help us again.