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Zimbabwe Briefing Issue 57
in Zimbabwe Coalition
(SA Regional Office)
January 17, 2012
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Zimbabwe's Year of 'Politicized Deception?'
events in Zimbabwe's general cultural practice is usually
the preserve of spirit mediums, prophets and scientists. Political
predictions are more difficult even for 'specialists'
in that line of work. In Zimbabwe's case it is necessary to
attempt at outlining potential key political developments for the
year 2012, bearing in mind that in some quarters there is talk of
a harmonized election while in others there is fear, foreboding
as well as calls for electoral reform before any elections can be
held. Further to this, there is also excitement in elite economic
circles about the Community Share Ownership Trusts, Youth Funds
and diamond sales, all of which indicate that these are issues that
will take center stage as 2012 unfolds.
Chinese have their own animal titled lunar calendar years (for example,
the year of the 'boar' or even the year of the 'rat'),
I think that the next twelve months in Zimbabwe should be referred
to as the year of 'the people's politicised deception'.
This is because the leaders of the inclusive
government will once again individually try and hoodwink the
people of Zimbabwe that they are serving their best interests while
they slug it out in Cabinet and Parliament over elections, SADC
mediation, diamonds and allowances. In order for this to be acceptable
to their supporters, they will mix the personal with the political
and the political with the economic.
will be in relation to issues to do with the social and private
lives of various leaders that will be made public by an eager media,
while the economic will be through the partisan distribution of
resources either via the Youth Fund or the community trusts that
are being established via the indigenization programme. In both,
there will be the cajoling of party supporters to tow the official
party line on all issues as well to try and make sure that party
supporters get a piece of the economic pie. In short, it will be
a political party fest that will seek to undertake, on behalf of
itself, the continuation of a partisan but non-people centered political
narrative in Zimbabwe.
It is for this
reason that 2012 will be characterized by a number of specific events
that are easy to predict. The first such event is that there will
be another big political dispute next year over the issue of elections
which will once again involve SADC. As in March 2011, the parties
will try and influence SADC on the matter of the election roadmap,
security sector reform and sanctions. In doing so, the end result
will be similar to the Livingstone SADC Troika Summit whose resolutions
ended up being disputed as well as unimplemented. At best however
SADC will probably seek a compromise that will lead to the holding
elections at end of the five year term of Parliament,
which is 2013.
In the midst
of the SADC lobbying, the political parties are going to continue
arguing about the contents of the Parliamentary Select Committee
(COPAC) draft constitution. Whoever wins on the contentious issues
of the same draft will also take comfort in the knowledge that all
of the member parties to COPAC will still campaign for a 'yes'
vote to the draft in order to save face and to continue with the
contested argument that the whole process was 'people-driven'.
There shall be a well funded 'yes' vote campaign that
will be used to test the electoral waters by the three antagonists
in the inclusive government. Whatever the result of the referendum,
it will be used more for partisan political interests than for broad
national legitimizing of the supreme law of the land.
also be serious political competition as to issues of 'economic
development' or community economic beneficiation by the three
political parties particularly due to the establishment of the various
support funds to the youth, small-scale business, 'rural women'.
A number of projects will be competed over and the youth ministry
will be at the forefront of the greater majority of them in what
will be a concerted effort to lure young peoples' votes.
economy will continue to be characterized by the dictum, 'availability
of goods (foreign) and services without accessibility' for
the majority of our country's citizens. While social services
will become more expensive due to the lack of a central government
plan to avail these consistently and to all. The safety and security
of citizens will continue to be under threat from repressive laws
and security forces habits that inhibit the enjoyment of particularly
freedoms of assembly, association and expression.
So as it is,
2012 is a year in which our political leaders will appear as though
they are very busy trying to resolve national problems when in fact
they are resolving their own. It is up to the people of Zimbabwe
to seek to bring them to account on concrete matters that cover
the broad spectrum of challenges the country is facing. In doing
so, we must be wary of being co-opted into false realities that
appear urgent when instead they are the stuff of momentary political
flashes in the pan.
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