The first and by far the most important reality in Zimbabwe today is that the country is in a real economic mess; unemployment has soared to 95%, millions now live in abject poverty – they type that kills because the individual cannot afford the food, medicine, etc.
Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown is causing so much human misery we must do something to revive the economy as a matter of urgency. The present economic situation is socially, morally and politically unsustainable.
The second reality is that not only was it this Zanu PF regime that dragged us into this economic mess but worse still, as long as the regime remains in power, we have no hope of ever getting out of the hell-hole. The regime is in power already and it is not going to implement ANY democratic reform that will threaten its own hold on power.
To those not too familiar with Zimbabwean politics, may ask why. The answer is simple; Zimbabwe started with a multiple democratic Lancaster House constitution, not perfect but nonetheless a functional one. From the word go Mugabe wanted a one-party state and so when he formed the new post-independence government he did not waste time in undermining the democratic institutions in the Lancaster House constitution to create his de facto one-party cum one-man dictatorship we have today.
The people of Zimbabwe had shown a willingness to allow Mugabe to erode their basic freedoms and rights as long as he delivered on his promise of massive economic prosperity, “Gutsa ruzhinji!” It turned out that Mugabe did not love absolute power only, he also was/is incompetent and corrupt.
Although he inherited a strong and vibrant economy from Ian Smith, “the Jewel of Africa”, as Tanzania’s President, in 1980; the economic decline started soon after, under his inapt leadership. As one would expect Mugabe’s popularity with the electorate took a nose dive as it dawned on the nation his mass prosperity was turning into mass poverty.
The Zimbabwe economy has halved since 2000 alone. Unemployment is a nauseating 95%, basic services like health and supply of clean running have all but collapsed, 25% of the population now live in abject poverty, etc.
Mugabe has managed to stay in power these last 37 years because he rigs elections. He has corrupted the country’s democratic institutions so he can use all manner of dirty tricks included corrupting the voters and use of wanton violence to deny the people a meaningful free vote.
So, Mugabe deliberately corrupted the multi-party democratic system of government to create a de facto one-man dictatorship for the sole purpose of staying in power. It will be naïve to expect him now, to freely the implement the democratic reforms designed to stop all his vote rigging shenanigans knowing he will never win the free, fair and credible elections that will follow.
Zanu PF will never ever win a free, fair and credible elections; not after what the regime has done to destroy the Zimbabwe economy, the decades of brutal oppression, the cold-blooded murder of over 30 000, etc. But having tasted absolute power for all these years the regime’s hunger for power is as keen as ever, it will never ever do anything to lose power; at least not unless it is forced.
Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies (included Mai Mujuru and the others who were booted out of the party in the past) will never bring about any meaningful economic recovery.
Mugabe himself cannot do so because he is breathtakingly incompetent and corrupt. We are in this economic mess precisely because he is corrupt and incompetent; all the excuses like economic sanction, drought, for our economic down fall are just that – feeble excuses.
Last year he admitted that $15 billions of diamond money was “swindled”, after a life time of denying corruption was a problem. There is evidence to show Mai Mujuru and her late husband alone tried to sell diamonds worth $15 874 366.0 through Firststar, a European company; see Spotlight-zimbabwe. The story proved that corruption is rampant in Zimbabwe, the Mujurus are certainly not the only one who have been looting.
Since the admission no one has ever been arrested and not a single dollar recovered. The conclusion is corruption is still going one and Mugabe is helpless to do anything to stop it.
Like it or not, there is no way Zimbabwe, with $10 billions GDP, can ever prosper when $15 billions plus are swindled and wasted every few years. It is ironic that it was the sanctions, Mugabe has been blaming for the economic declined, that stop the Mujurus selling their looted diamonds in Europe!
If Mugabe was forced to retire one way or the other, it is possible that his Zanu PF successor will abandon some of his crazier economic policies such as the indigenisation law. However, it is hard to see he/she dealing decisively to end the rampant corruption, for example. Only someone with a squeaky-clean track record on corruption, political murders, etc. can ever act decisively on any of these big issues. Even if one squeaky-clean individual was ever found, they will never take that decisive step because any Zanu PF support they had will evaporate like mist in the African morning.
Only a completely reformed Zanu PF party prepared to shed off all its corrupt and incompetent leaders, their dependents and all those would wish to carry forward the discredited corrupt and tyrannical dictatorial culture will have any realistic chance of biting the bullet and deal with corruption, mismanagement, etc. to bring about meaningful economic recovery. Zanu PF will never carryout the necessary reform freely for the reason given above.
The third political reality we must accept is the Morgan Tsvangirai and his friends in the opposition camp will never delivery any meaningful democratic changes necessary to stop Zanu PF rigging elections.
MDC had the golden opportunity to implement the democratic reforms during the GNU, the failed to get even one reform implemented. The nation went into the July 2013 elections with no reforms and Mugabe, as widely expected, blatantly rig the vote to stay in power. After the rigged 2013 elections, Tsvangirai and his MDC friends vowed they will not contest in any future elections until reforms are implemented.
Although not even one reform has been implemented since July 2013 and there is no hope of any meaningful reforms being implemented before the next elections, set for July 2018; it is now clear that Tsvangirai, Mujuru and many others in the opposition are going to contest the elections regardless.
The one lesson Mugabe and Zanu PF learned after the 2008 elections leading to the GNU was to let the opposition win a few seats; Zanu PF can then blatantly rig the election to ensure it retains the presidency plus the two thirds majority there will always be enough opposition candidates to give the process some modicum of democratic credibility guaranteed. Senator David Coltart acknowledge this important political fact in his recent book.
“The worst aspect for me about the failure to agree a coalition was that both MDCs couldn’t now do the obvious – withdraw from the elections,” admitted Senator Coltart, just a few months before the 2013 elections when it was clear Zanu PF would rig the vote.
“The electoral process was so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step was to withdraw, which would compel SADC to hold Zanu PF to account. But such was the distrust between the MDC-T and MDC-N that neither could withdraw for fear that the other would remain in the elections, winning seats and giving the process credibility.”
So, matter how flawed the elections happen to be there will always be opposition candidates, attracted with the prospect of winning the few bait seats on offer, who will undermine all our boycott elections and force through our demands for free, fair and credible elections.
There are two courses of action open to us:
a) Contest the next elections with no reform in place
This is the course of action that will suit Zanu PF to a T because the regime knows it will be able to blatantly rig the elections, just as it did in 2013. Grace Mugabe is so confident of a Zanu PF victory that she even boasted that even “the corpse” candidate Mugabe will win the vote.
Having failed to get any meaningful democratic reforms implemented the opposition candidates know Zanu PF will rig the vote, they will talk of forming the next government but that is just empty talk. The opposition candidates know Zanu PF will be giving away a few seats as bait, it is these they will be fight over.
Zanu PF will rig the 2018 elections but will find it cannot rig economic recovery, just as happen in the 2013 elections. So, the economic situation will get even worse that it is today; of that we can be certain. For how much longer can this go on and at what cost in terms lost treasure through corruption, human suffering and lost human lives? Who is to say!
Still whatever happens and how long it takes for the nation to get to its senses, in the end we will be forced to implement the reforms and then holding free and fair elections, as detailed in b), below.
b) Force the opposition to boycott elections and in turn force Zanu PF to accept meaningful reforms.
SADC leaders literally begged MDC leaders not to take part in the 2013 elections without implemented the democratic reforms first but of course Tsvangirai and company paid no heed. A few MDC leaders like Senator Coltart accepted boycotting elections was the “obvious” choice but greed for the few bait gravy train seats got the better of them all.
The three MDC factions came up with the “No reform, no elections!” party congress resolutions after the rigged 2013 elections. We, the people, must now demand that they honour their pledge.
All the opposition candidates determined to contest the elections with no reforms will argue that is they boycott the elections someone else will contest. This is a nonsense argument because the only contest we, the ordinary Zimbabweans, want is one that will deliver meaningful political change. We are not interested in who wins the bait gravy train seats because the end result is vicious cycle described in a) above. We want to break the cycle and not repeat it again!
“Insanity,” said Albert Einstein, “is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
All opposition candidates who contest next year’s elections with no reforms in place are accepting per se that the elections will be free, fair and credible because, this time, they will be held to account for their insanity!
When Zimbabwe attained her independence in 1980 it was incumbent on all Zimbabweans young and old, Ndebele and Shona, everyone to make sure we had good leaders who will deliver the free, just and prosperous Zimbabwe we had all fought and thousands had died for. The Zimbabwe in which millions have desperately poor, denied of all hope and human dignity whilst a few lives of such unparalleled luxuries and criminal waste is not the Zimbabwe we wanted and yet it is the Zimbabwe we rightly deserve!
The challenge before us in 1980 was for us, as the citizen, we enjoy our new-found freedoms and human rights but also take our responsibility of defend these freedoms and rights and elect quality leaders to ensure we have a healthy and functional democracy and hold the leaders to account at all-times. We elected corrupt, incompetent and murderous tyrants, who are devoid of common sense and no respect for even the sanctity of human life.
For the last 37 years we have allowed these tyrants run riot destroying the economic and murdering so many of our people to further their selfish political ends and to gratify their insatiable greed for wealth. How much longer are we going to allow this madness to go on before we finally come to our senses; demand the implementation of meaningful democratic reforms; finally, hold free and fair elections and then, finally, finally start the task of rebuilding the shattered economy and shatter human lives!