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It is still a Zanu-PF Government

23 Nov 2017 at 20:59hrs | Views
Has the fall of Robert Mugabe suddenly opened an opportunity for rebuilding Zimbabwe and its society with greater political democracy, personal liberties, and social justice?

There is a great risk that Zimbabwe, in the face of this seemingly rapid fundamental change, will move in the opposite direction and experience a new form of dictatorship. The former Vice-President - Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa - is set to become Zimbabwe's second President on - Friday 24 November 2017. This is a man who was the enforcer for Zanu-Pf for many years. It is difficult to imagine a reformed Mnagangwa.

On his arrival from South Africa, Mnagangwa spoke his usual Zanu-Pf mantra in the same sentence with democracy. He talked a lot about Zanu-Pf and very little about the suffering Zimbabwean people. What surprised many was his slogan which ended with "Pasi nemhanduuuu!!" prompting questions as to who he sees as enemies.

It appears Mnagangwa is not an acceptable answer to Mugabe. Only when the enemies of democracy genuinely mouth its rhetoric and ape its rituals, that you know it has won the war. Although this is a democratic age for about 64% of the world, Zimbabwe has never been further from realising it.

We are in a situation where the army has decided for us who should lead us. We cannot allow the army Generals to take away our constitutional right to vote!

Open, free and fair elections which are the essence of democracy are yet to be seen. Leaders and Governments should be produced by elections. This way we maybe able get rid of inefficient, corrupt, shortsighted, irresponsible government, that is dominated by special interests, and incapable of adopting policies demanded by the public good. These qualities have made the Zanu-Pf government undesirable but, unfortunately, it has not made it undemocratically elected. This is besides the fact that Zimbabwe has not been able to hold competitive multi-party elections, that can be called democratic. We have not even been able to push through reforms necessary for levelling the playing field. Only when public participation in a country's politics is increased - for example through the enfranchisement of the young and old, rural and urban, man and woman - Zimbabwe can be seen as having become more democratic.

Of course elections must be open, free, and fair and this requires some protections for the freedom of speech and assembly. But to go beyond this minimal requirement and label a country democratic only if it guarantees a particular catalogue of social, and political rights - which will vary with every situation - makes the word democracy meaningless.

A precedent may have been set where the army may repeatedly seek to impose their will. We now have to take care and hope that Coup d'etats will not become a common occurrence in Zimbabwe. And that basic human and political rights can be restored.

The Military coup d'etart - well, one that was not a coup - against Robert Mugabe appears to have been the easiest way of removing the G40 elements of the repugnant Zanu-Pf regime. We have participated in giving the soldiers a green-light for mendling in politics when asked to do so by a disgruntled politician. We are yet to witness the potential serious problems associated with such a technique.

Most importantly the coup d'etat has left in place the existing maldistribution of power between poor ordinary Zimbabweans and the elite Zanu-Pf Lacoste Group and its Military generals who are now in control of government. Thus, the removal of Mugabe and the G40 faction has merely created an opening for the Lacoste faction and its soldiers.

Democracy is considered in terms of a government created by free and fair elections in which every adult citizen would vote. The hope within most people now can only be that this Zanu-Pf faction - Lacoste - might become milder in its behaviour and be open - although in a limited way - to democratic reforms. However, the opposite is likely going to be the case.

After consolidating his position, Emmerson Mnagangwa and his new clique may turn out to be more ruthless and more ambitious than the 93 year old Robert Mugabe. Consequently this new clique - in which we have placed our hopes - will be able to do whatever they want without regard for democracy and human rights.

Given this past week events, the coming 2018 elections are just a formality for Zanu-Pf. They seem to have already bagged a landslide. Therefore, we must live with the fact that the elections will not be an instrument for political and democratic change anytime soon, but will be merely a rigidly controlled plebiscite to get the population endorsement of Zanu-Pf. Zanu-Pf will then appear to be democratically elected.

There has indeed been a trend towards greater demonstrations against Zanu-Pf in and outside Zimbabwe demanding freedom, democracy and restoration of human rights during the past decade. The gains maybe at risk.

Zanu-Pf is known not to be in the business of allowing elections to remove it from power. General Constantino Chiwenga once said that he would not salute anyone without the liberation struggle credentials. By allowing the march on - Saturday 18 November 2017 - the army was able to make Zimbabweans believe that the oppressed can liberate themselves. This is a sudden paradigm shift where those in exile went to exile believing that only international help can be strong enough to bring down Zanu-Pf.

The idea that oppressed people can be called to bring down a dictator such as Mugabe is ludicrous and may have grave consequences. This is because such confidence is totally misplaced. It is obvious that the march would have been ruthlessly quashed had it not been Zanu-Pf infighting.

When will Zimbabwe be Free? A one party dictatorship is not the Will of the people - Zanu-Pf want the continuation of the "gravy train". This will kill off the notion of Free and Fair Elections or any semblance of a democracy

Western preference for formalising political and economic democracy has prompted failed states to pantomime liberal democracy without success. Lest we forget, during an election period, the otherwise absent Zanu-Pf politicians have appeared in their rural constituencies promising new roads, rural electrification, school developments and clinics. The election day arrives, and in almost all the cases ended with violence and coercion. After illegitimately getting the vote, international election observers go home, their election banners melt from the wall then progress on election promises is deferred until the next elections.

A few realities concerning reliance on foreign intervention needs to be discussed
-foreign states like China can positively assist dictatorship in order to advance its own political and economic interests.
- other countries may be willing to sell out the oppressed people for their political and economic objectives or indeed any other objective.

This view must strengthen activists to create stronger self-reliant groups to continue the struggle. We must only rely upon our own determination, standing together, strengthening the weak and making a resolve that we want to win and not rest until that settlement - democracy- is realised.

Source - Kingstone Jambawo
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