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The immediate aim of the Nov 2017 coup leaders, Mnangagwa & Chiwenga is to put on the garment of legitimacy.

20 Jul 2018 at 06:47hrs | Views
The coup junta led by interim President Mnangagwa and interim vice President Chiwenga seized power from dethroned former president Mugabe insisting that it was a necessary evil to deal with the criminals around him and a means to restore law and order. Instead of running with their promise of dealing with the so-called criminals around Mugabe, their target was in fact to overthrow Mugabe from power and they did. The public support that followed the coup was not an act of giving the coup leaders electoral legitimacy but rather an engagement that sought a restoration of democratic principles in the country. The variance in the interpretation and meaning of restoration of democracy between the coup masters and the public was that the public trusted that the army would immediately handover the transition to democracy to a civilian transitional government after restoring order that the army claimed was out to do. Soon after the coup the coup orchestrators gave themselves the unelected and illegitimate power, control of people's resources and other material interests based on the perception of entitlement that they needed to be rewarded for successfully orchestrating an illegal coup.

In order to lay a foundation for militarism to occupy the democratic space the modus operandi of interim President Mnangagwa, interim vice President Chiwenga and their coup conspirators is an attempt to conveniently legitimize an illegal and illegitimate act of aggression against the state, the people of Zimbabwe and the then incumbent president.  The coup leaders succeeded both on the diplomatic and local front mainly because former President Mugabe was so politically tainted and had become politically irrelevant that no one was willing defend him anymore.

The quest to seek legitimacy by the junta was to falsely convince the people of Zimbabwe and the international community that they were abandoning the rule of aggression and moving towards consensus, democracy, constitutionalism and collectivism. They denied their coup was a coup. They claimed that they were targeting criminals around Mugabe, consequently Mugabe became the biggest victim and he got kicked out of power. They conducted cosmetic arrests of sacrificial lambs of the so-called criminals around Mugabe in the name of Ignatiuos Chombo and Kudzai Chipanga. Several dozens of known criminals were given amnesty for externalizing money, corruption and abuse of public office instead of arresting them. Some of the criminals were given free a passage out of the country to go and live in luxury in exile from externalised money. Many other known criminals were rewarded with positions in the new junta dispensation interim government. We may as well accept that this country is being led by a network of criminals that are now seeking endorsement from the people of Zimbabwe to legitimize their criminal propensity and proclivity. Going into the harmonised national elections by the coup leaders is seeking electoral legitimacy to avoid characterisation as coup leaders but be characterised by legality as the people's representatives. They preach free, fair and credible elections but under the umbrella of a military coup that negates the principles freedom of media and access, openness, transparency, equality of access to electoral information, dignity of the electoral process and justice to the general electoral college. Interim president Mnangagwa is impervious to electoral reforms, a ploy to leverage advantage over the opposition political parties and to arm twist the electorate to vote for him and his military backed party. The military is now imbedded in the civilian space, in local communities, ZEC, foreign missions and other important and influential government positions designed to influence the outcome of the elections in favour of the military leaders.

Orchestrating a coup does not necessarily mean that the coup plotters automatically become the choice of the people. Mnangagwa and Chiwenga coercively imposed themselves as national leaders against the will of the people under the pretext of protecting the sovereignty of the country. They are an illegitimate outfit until unendorsed by the people within the framework of a legal and credible electoral process. The electoral win for these coup leaders is a matter of life and death because it's about them and not about the people. Mnangagwa and Chiwenga created an unethical concept that the coup was conducted to promote democracy but without acknowledging that it was conducted under undemocratic and prohibited means. Informed country men will not find it permissible to give legality to such a dangerous group of power grabbers intent on brainwashing the ignorant, bread crumbs seekers and vulnerable ordinary people while endorsing the production and promotion of thieves, liars and the corrupt to expand the ZANU PF corruption dominated political market.

The coup insurgents have made further advances and captured the unimpressive and submissive Zimbabwe Electoral Commission using justice Priscilla Chigumba as a decoy and a feminine face of evil. The coup leaders are running the elections pulling the strings in the background in every sense of the word while Chigumba does the damage control.  Her actions do not demonstrate institutional autonomy and independence in decision making nor the freedom of processes and impartiality. Her actions and presentation seem to be of a vulnerable learned judge responding to unseen delusional stimuli of the ZANU PF new dispensation scarf.
 Voter fraud, vote buying, and electoral breaches are rampant and unabated. Everything about the elections has become secretive. It seems almost impossible for civic society and opposition political parties to get information about ballot printing, ballot storage, ballot designs, voters' roll, quality of ballot paper and ballots transportation.  It's all clouded in secrecy, silence and opaqueness which is a foot print associated with the secretive nature of military administrations. ZEC is certainly ZANU PF.  ZANU PF is both ZEC and the army. ZANU PF and its coup leaders do not complain about ZEC. ZEC is the mirror image of ZANU PF working hard to make ZANU PF happy. Justice Chigumba has intentionally and voluntarily thrown her judicial robe into the dust bin and replaced it with the ZANU PF all weather Mnangagwa scarf.

The preparations and conduct of the electoral process portrays the hall mark of warfare and a garrison state. There is a sad sense that the run up to the elections military men are made battle ready, guns occupy the public space and are indiscriminately discharged by drug induced psychopaths; ZANU PF yobs run violent skirmishes on innocent and defenceless civilians; a grenade is deliberately thrown into a rally crowd by an invisible alien that is only known to the coup leaders; soldiers and policemen are seen everywhere rolling intimidating armoured trucks. The sight of the army provokes fear in the civil populace. It is part of the plan of the coup leaders to instil fear in the hearts of the voters and a ploy to coerce the public to vote for them.

Once the coup leaders win this 30 July elections using their grand rigging plan Zimbabwe civic democratic culture will be undoubtedly compromised and it will suffer an overspill and the consequences of a militarized culture entrenched in a democratic civil space. The Mnangagwa and Chiwenga coup is a precursor of a militarized culture, values, ethics and norms that are dominated by the rule of secrecy, orders, coercion, commands and combative governance. The democratic principles are clearly and slowly getting invaded and taken hostage by a militarized philosophy following the November 2017 coup. The ethos of military governance is not rooted in civic freedom, inclusion, equality, equity, welfare, negotiation and compromise. It is undeniable that the process of governing a civilian society, the Chiwengwa military values are being transmitted into the civil society to control and regulate civilian life into recipients of commands and expectation of obedience. The boundaries between the army barracks and the civil society is now porous with the military ethos largely occupying civilian life. The gun rules.

In order to lay militarism to rest in Zimbabwe politics voting on 30 July must take into account that the prosperity our country lies only in civic democracy and governance base on justice and practice of democratic principles not the gun.

Source - Themba Mthethwa
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