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An act of Stone Age politics
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
December 05, 2007

The so called one million men and women march stage managed by the ruling party as a mythical exhibition to the world that President Robert Mugabe is the ruling party's one and only candidate has come and gone. An average of 40 000 gullible supporters who were bused from the rural areas, marched from the city centre of Harare all the way to the high density suburb of Highfields chanting Mugabe's name the loudest.

The mob repeated 'Viva President Mugabe 2008' mantra in a well recited chorus as if to say reprisal would befall them if they stopped the robotic programming which was in motion. They were escorted by the army, police and the notorious state operatives in cooperative manner.

Whether the ruling party had acquired police clearance as is required for the opposition party, civil society and the rest of the progressive movements is unknown. One could only distinguish the police from the ruling party supporters with the uniforms. The levels of police cooperation or participation in the activities of the ruling party blares the demarcation between its engagements in the government or state affairs with those of the ruling party. The police force has become an arm of the ruling party by circumventing its oaths of serving the government impartially and objectively.

Instead, the police are devoting their energies in pursuing the ruling party's narrow political interests at the expense of protecting the nation's laws and interests. The police's bias is indisputable. On the 11th of March 2007, the police attacked civil society leaders under the Save Zimbabwe Campaign in Highfields who wanted to hold a prayer meeting for the nation. The leadership was arrested before they reached the venue and tortured whilst in police custody. Gift Tandare was shot in cold blood but to this end, the officer responsible for the murder has not been brought to book. Ironically, the same police force escorted the ruling party supporters all the way to the same venue without any arrests, shootings and beatings what so ever.

Ruling party officials and supporters have become holly cows, enjoying special treatment from the unformed forces. The police must equally allow the opposition, civil society leaders and the general public to enjoy the same protection accorded to the ruling establishment without fear or favor. The citizenry has a right to be protected by the police from criminal elements within the society, rather than the citizenry fearing the criminal elements within the uniformed forces.

Our country's police uniforms are now harboring criminal elements that have lost their mandate to safe guard the country by implementing instructions from the Zanu PF Headquarters. This is a cancer to national development and peace; the police force must be reformed.

The Coalition also deplores the wisdom found by the ruling party's callous strategy of evicting students from the halls of residence and opting to accommodate the Zanu PF supporters who are not stakeholders in the University of Zimbabwe.

Students are walking miles to their alternative accommodation for sanctuary after they were denied their constitutional right to reside on campus. Students' rights are under siege from a government which is supposed to protect the very same rights.

Due to the current housing crisis facing the country, which was exacerbated by state sponsored Operation Murambatsvina, accommodation is proving to be out of reach for the students. This has left them vulnerable to abuse especially the female students.

There is no merit thereof, for Zanu PF to celebrate the so called one million march especially when the students are still facing the crisis of forking out exorbitant rentals when their hall of residence are being abused by the ruling party rogue elements. The government must go on a soul searching mission.

As noted in our statement issued a day before the march, the event had nothing to do with improving the macro economic indicators of growth such as increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment levels, reduction in inflation among others but rather an event of settling the party's succession wrangle which has become an albatross on its neck, threatening the party's own existence. If the process was being funded from the party's coffers it would not have warranted our attention. However, the ruling party is misappropriating the tax payers' money into party events without any national significance. This is a crisis of governance and legitimacy, since the ruling party's hold on power is not a show of popularity, due to the contestations of the 2000, 2002 and 2005 election results.

The march came a day after the national budget was presented by the Minister of Finance, Samuel Mumbengegwi announcing an earth shuttering budget of quadrillions (15 zeros)[1]. As if to indicate the depth of the country's economic crisis, the Minister failed to pronounce the budget which he had crafted, misleading the nation that the budget 7.8 trillion as opposed to 7.84 quadrillions the highest budget allocation ever prepared under the sun.

Confronted with such a crisis, there is no merit in the ruling party straining the already wounded national fiscus to fund such insignificant party events. The funds could have been allocated to other developmental activities which are in dire need of cash injections such as health, education, agriculture and industry which have been crippled by the ruling party policies for the past 27years of its tenure.

Three days after the stage managed event of creating a picture of Mugabe as the one and only candidate in the 2008 election, the long queue of depositors waiting in vain for their cash in banks are intensifying while queues for transport and other basic commodities still punctuate our day-to-day activities.

These are the indications of a failed state which cannot produce for its citizenry. The economy's supply side has become barren and has been exacerbated by the state authored price blitz of June 2007. Demand of goods and services is increasing on a daily basis; these are elementary components of economics which signal economic collapse to any rational government. If the establishment has the concerns of the people at heart, it will have every reason to worry and start implementing economic policies to rescue the situation from the precipice of demise.

We therefore call upon the government to halt its militant style of running the country. 20th Century politics has shifted drastically from the period of World War I, the cold war era and the colonial establishments. This is an era of engaging in the advancement of democratic principles as a fundamental component of social, political and economic development. It's a time to act responsibly.

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