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MDC must read between the lines and push for elections
Courage Shumba, Zimbabwe Telegraph
January 26, 2010
In light of
the fact that there is agreement between the coalition partners
that there are a number of issues that still wait to be resolved
in the implementation of the global
political agreement it is unavoidable that we scrutinise the
nature and character of the sticking points and examine the extent
to which they interfere and impede the task for which the unity
arrangement is in existence.
These outstanding matters
must be itemised, examined and valued to prove the extent to which
each and every one of the issues is truly of national importance.
It must be borne in mind, reader, that whilst these negotiations
are about the future of democracy in Zimbabwe they are also about
the future of power in our country. It is that element of power-mongering
which has affected the resolution of the real business of the GPA
which, if carefully understood, is to create credible electoral
processes capable of delivering a peaceful, free and fair election.
The Global Political
Agreement has been needlessly overshadowed by politicking about
sharing government office. The main business between the parties
must be to redraw the relationship between politicians and the electorate
after so many years in which Zanu PF destroyed the integrity and
fabric of our national politics. The second task is to create an
institution capable of running a credible election. The third challenge
is to engage the security services and wean them off their direct
and partisan interest in a civilian-s right to choose who
governs them. The fourth task is to organise an election. The fifth
is to manage peaceful transition from the loser to the winner. Who
ever wins will have the right to form the government and appoint
whomsoever they see fit.
There has to be an awareness
that all the offices created by the government of national unity
will only last as long as it will take for the global political
agreement to come up with implementable changes to the politics
of our country. Therefore the showdown about political appointments
is misplaced. It is a fiction and a non event because this temporary
arrangement of running the country together is only there whilst
the rival parties make changes to the law and environment in which
elections will be held.
This is a transitional
arrangement with no permanence such that to raise the issue of appointments
of ministers, deputy ministers and public servants to the level
of an outstanding matter ignores the reality that the only purpose
for this arrangement is not to run the country together but to work
jointly to ensure there are no electoral stalemates in future (except
only by an even, indecisive and equal vote of the electorate for
which a legal and peaceful solution must exist).
To prove the point we
have to remind ourselves that the MDC and Zanu PF have irreconcilable
differences on almost every policy being that the later has no authentic
vision for Zimbabwe by means of policy beyond bludgeoning the electorate
and corruption. A Zimbabwe without all the corruption, injustice
and lawlessness is a direct threat to the usual thuggery of the
bigwigs who have repeatedly gained access to wealth and protection
through political influence and connections.
Zanu PF is not interested
in the implementation of reforms and it will use any excuse to stall
the process.It has to be pointed out that the appointment of Bennett
and sacking of Tomana and Gono as insisted by Tsvangirai, however
exaggerated will never qualify, be quantified as or even be mistaken
The dismissal of these
two imbeciles justified as it may be will never score for policy
or reform. What Zimbabwe needs are reforms of institutions not replacements
of people who run them. Tomana and Gono are mere desperate individuals
being deployed to create a reason for a stalemate. They are of no
consequence if the MDC wants to go for the kill by withdrawing from
making them a prominent issue into an irresolvable one and calling
for elections knowing the two will never serve in its government.
What must be changed is the purposes, work pattern, mentality and
beliefs of our institutions and the causes they serve.
If we fight human targets
instead of the cultures, philosophies and illness represented by
Tomana and Gono Zimbabwe will always be at war with itself. The
real job about changing mindsets will never be accomplished by an
illegitimate and tainted mix as represented by the G.N.U with Zanu
PF conduits and shallow characters inside it. The job can only be
executed by a legitimate sitting government geared to creating a
new national identity and cultural assets. The point here is that
the MDC must not be lured and trapped into the debate about the
distribution of high office positions in the coalition government
because the nature of reconstruction that-s there to be done
can never be done with Zanu PF in the mix hence President Zuma-s
calls for fresh elections.
Supposing that there
in nothing to discuss the GNU is a liability because it is a compromise
illegitimate government incapable of framing and delivering real
policy changes because of the frictions inherent in its composition
and background. It must be clear to the MDC that an election now
or whenever will be closely monitored throughout the world and any
violence or treachery will have far reaching implications for the
perpetrator. Therefore instead of insisting on Tomana and Gono being
sacked and /or Bennett confirmed, the MDC must actively explore
what it will mean if they masterminded an early resolution by downplaying
what are rather monumental stalemates and victories and go on to
pre-empt their rival by pushing him into an early election which
will be watched by everyone on the globe and one which he is sure
to lose. The result will be a phenomenal success for democracy.
Zanu PF cannot afford
a free and fair election. It cannot afford to live with the consequences
of a stolen and bloody victory another round either. Zanu Pf has
sought to frustrate the MDC by way of talks to ensure the election
is pushed out of question by complicating the negotiation process
yet there is nothing really that needs to be negotiated between
these groups. The winner if an election is held will form a government
of its choice based on the policies it wants to pursue. That point
takes away the essence of all this hype about talks and outstanding
issues. If a party wins it will not be required to consult other
parties over who it appoints to whatever positions. That means effectively
the only thing to talk about is how to have a fair election whilst
of course the country is under some skeletal management in the form
of that G.N.U caucus.
Tsvangirai must be able
to see that things have changed significantly and the only hiding
place for Zanu PF is in the talks. It was expressed by this writer
in an opinion published here and elsewhere that the time had come
for a methodical and surgical approach to dealing with the last
days of Zanu PF. It was argued in that paper that there was need
for tactical pressure. The question today is why has Zanu PF not
joined the chorus in calling for the election after Zuma made clear
his preference? The fact is if it does call for the election it
will be expected to play the game like a gentlemen and it has never
done that and it cant do that. It will be unprecedented in the history
of the country-s elections and very risky for Mugabe and his
disciples. Zuma is showing Mugabe the exit door without having to
push him out.
On the contrary if any
election was held and it was characterised by the violence and terror
of the previous elections the option of negotiation would be revalued
with the possibility that a different aggressive course of action
may become justified and suitable. It is unlikely that anyone who
has been facilitating these talks will want to talk of talks if
there is no commitment by the parties to the agreements that they
are bound with what they agree. One fundamental agreement is to
hold peaceful, free and fair elections and it goes without saying.
The perpetrator of violence is likely to be left exposed and weakened.
This vulnerability will send Zanu PF into a tailspin and lead to
It must be emphasized
that the bickering about ministerial office is misdirected if it
is allowed to be raised to the level of an outstanding issue when
none of these appointments are truly substantive in letter and spirit.
If there are no issues to discuss then an election must be organised
so that the winner can form a legitimate government.
On a word of caution:
MDC must not try to make every disagreement it has with Zanu PF
a GPA outstanding issue. The purpose of the GPA is not to create
consensus on every matter or to resolve each and every issue. The
MDC must be eager to get as much as assurances and commitments that
Zanu PF is now committed to fair and free elections and call for
one. All other issues will be addressed to the satisfaction of the
MDC and the good of our people when it (MDC) is in government. By
calling for an election MDC will expose Zanu PF to scrutiny and
to a test of its commitment to change through dialogue. If the army
should want to take over we want to see how they will do it and
with whose support and for how long they will sustain that regime.
We will be eager and curious to know what will happen to perpetrators
after the few days of that military government.
There is no need to waste
time discussing detailed government policy instead of concentrating
all the effort on making sure the relevant changes are made so a
credible election is held as soon as possible after a new constitution
is put in place. It has to be made clear that whichever way you
look at it progress or no progress on the GPA talks the next election
is expected to meet the standard of a credible election. The stakes
are very high and the sooner we get to the next election the better
Regards the matter to
do with sanctions the MDC must be seen to be doing its best to have
the sanctions against state business and lines of credit removed.
Defence industries must remain under sanctions.
The individual people
must of course remain under sanctions until it is reviewed what
public good it is for the sanctions to be removed or lifted. The
case against these people is real and the sanctions against them
are justified. Regards so called pirate stations it must be emphasized
to Zanu PF that it is at the core of MDC political, economic and
social policy to enhance freedom of speech and creativity through
deregulation of monopolies such as ZBC and ZTV which in turn creates
jobs and generates revenue for the state through taxes. MDC must
be unequivocal about the need to licence and encourage more independent
investors in the media industry. There are thousands of jobs locked
up in the media industry because of Zanu PF-s political patronage.
In conclusion, if Zanu
PF insists that it has met all its obligations and there is nothing
to discuss then let the country prepare for an election. Let there
be eloquence on this matter. The people of Zimbabwe will be waiting
to vote and the world waiting to judge. You can be certain about
one thing though that a repeat of the last election will hurt those
who have the most to lose. The stakes have never been higher.
Shumba is a human rights advocate. He writes from the United Kingdom
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