By Wilbert Mukori
The people of Zimbabwe have realised as far back as the late 1990s that Mugabe and his Zanu PF dictatorship were destroying the country and reached the consensus that the nation must implement democratic reforms designed to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship to stop the regime rigging elections. Morgan Tsvangirai and his friends tapped into this popular sentiment of democratic change and named their party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Alas, it was soon clear that neither Tsvangirai, his MDC friends nor the people themselves understood what the changes the wanted were and/or had the intellect to stay the course and get them implemented.
Zimbabwe has had many opportunities to implement the democratic reforms to stop Zanu PF rigging elections, the best chances being during the 2008 to 2013 GNU, but has wasted them all. Tsvangirai and his MDC friends took their eyes off the reforms after Mugabe bribed them with the trapping of high office, a former white-owned farm and a $4 million mansion for Welshman Ncube and Tsvangirai respectively, etc.
The people of Zimbabwe themselves could have forced MDC leaders to implement the reforms if they too had not been distracted. The scrapping of the Z$, the lifting of price controls and one or two other economic policy changes ended the country’s 500 billion per cent hyperinflation, etc. restored confidence in the economy. Empty shop shelves filled up again and the economy registered a 12% growth rate. However, if the people had been paying attention they would have noticed that the country’s commerce, industries, mines and, even more significantly, the agricultural sector – the engineer of Zimbabwe’s economy – were still under performing. A clear sign that not all was well; the GNU was not implementing the democratic reforms necessary for meaningful and sustainable economic recovery.
The golden opportunity to end the Zanu PF dictatorship during the GNU was created by SADC leaders forced Mugabe to sign the 2008 Global Political Agreement agreeing to the implementation of the raft of democratic reforms. The opportunity was wasted and the door was slammed shut when Zanu PF rigged the July 2013 elections and got back into power.
With unemployment at 90%, 72.3% of the population living on US$1.00 or less per day, etc. a head of steam has been building up for meaningful change in Zimbabwe. The dog-eat-dog infighting in Zanu PF itself has left the party weak and therefore vulnerable to pressure on it to accept change – opening the window to revisit the reforms! Sadly, the window has now been closed still with no reforms implemented because we have once again taken our eyes off the ball – getting the democratic reforms implemented.
Although most Zimbabweans had seen the dog-eat-dog fighting in Zanu PF as a positive development which will leave the party weakened the mode changed completely when Mugabe fired Mnangagwa clearing the way for his wife to succeed him. It was the prospect of Grace Mugabe as president that forced many Zimbabweans to welcome the coup that forced Mugabe to resign. In their hast to stop Grace Mugabe becoming president the people forgot that Mnangagwa, although he is miles ahead compared to Grace, is nonetheless just another variation of the Zanu PF dictatorship we have been fighting to remove from power all these years.
General Chiwenga, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the coup plotters plus a few other together with Robert Mugabe himself, are all members of the Joint Operation Command (JOC), the shadowy Junta, that has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist all these last 37 years. It is JOC that has corrupted the country’s state institutions like the Police, Army, Judiciary, Public media, ZEC, etc. turning them into Zanu PF departments in all but name. And they have all abandoned their public duties to up hold the rule of law and guarantee the individual freedoms and human rights in pursuit of Zanu PF’s selfish no-regime-change agenda.
A Mugabe led Zanu PF dictatorship has looted the nation blind, rigged elections and used wanton violence to stay in power. The dictatorship has removed its old figure head, Mugabe, and replaced him with Mnangagwa but has otherwise not change. The looting, vote rigging and all the other dirty activities by the dictatorship to retain power at all cost will continue as before.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised the nation three things in his inauguration speech yesterday;
1) to revive the economy and create “Jobs, jobs, jobs!”
2) End the scourge of corruption
3) Bring a new era of democracy and hold next year’s elections as planned.
After 37 years of Mugabe’s voodoo-economics there is no doubt the economy will pick up, the tyrant’s departure alone has been greeted with a huge sigh of relief. President Mnangagwa has already announced that he will restore normal relations with the rest of the world and, no doubt, he will be scrapping some of Mugabe’s stupid laws like the indigenisation law. There could be as much as 15% economic growth rate on the cards, comparable to what the GNU achieved. If Mnangagwa was able to deliver on the other two promises, the economic recovery could be even stronger! He not stop the corruption or deliver any meaningful democratic change.
Mnangagwa cannot stop the wholesale looting that is going on in Marange and Chiadzwa, for example, because General Chiwenga and the posse of generals staged the coup for no other reason than to protect their looting interests. Mnangagwa is himself considered one of the richest man in the country and his wealth was amassed from corruption. So how can he stop corruption when he is himself guilty of the same crime!
After 37 years of rigged elections if the people of Zimbabwe are finally offered a chance to vote Zanu PF out of office in a free, fair and credible election; my money is on people seizing that opportunity and voting the regime out. Zanu PF members will ever agree to implementing reforms and risk losing power in free and fair elections. They stand to lose their looter wealth and, worse still for many of them in leadership position, being called to account for the vote rigging and many other serious acts of treasonous acts including murder.
Mnangagwa is not going to lift a finger to ensure ZEC produce a verified voters’ roll. He is going to have a Minister of Information cum Minister of propaganda; proof he is not interested in freedom of expression and a free media, etc. President Mnangagwa is totally committed to Zanu PF’s continued rule. “Zanu PF ichatonga! Igotonga!” as he rightly said to his party supporters on his return from exile. If General Chiwenga and his posse of generals were even to suspect Mnangagwa was going to implement democratic reforms then they will be waking him up and demanding that he resigned