Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Povo must be clear what they want out of street protests - draining of political sewage swamp

21 Jan 2019 at 09:34hrs | Views
"This is a foolish idea!" I wrote on 17 November 2017, to discourage the ordinary Zimbabweans planning to march in support of the military coup the following day.

"The ZDF coup is about the factional war that has been going on in Zanu PF for the last four years. When President Mugabe fired VP Mnangagwa last week it was a huge victory for the G40 faction. The Lacoste faction knew they had to come up with their counter move or they were toast! They did, they staged the coup," I explained.

"There are many Zimbabweans out there who, desperate for change, want to see the coup as a fight for democratic change. It is not. Those in the Lacoste faction will only be too glad to see the ordinary Zimbabweans join in the planned march to drive their factional victory home.

"The Army and the war veterans have their own agenda - to remove Mugabe and replace him with Mnangagwa, period."

The planned march did take place, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans came out in support of the coup. Some went so far as calling 18 November Zimbabwe's "real independence day" and the soldiers were treated as heroes  and heroines.

The Mnangagwa factions wrestled power from Mugabe and the corruption, mismanagement, vote rigging, etc. have continued much the same as during Mugabe's days. The economic meltdown has got progressive worse and when the people have complained they have met with the same brutal repression as before. Today, a year two months latter, the army is tear gassing and shooting with live ammunition the same euphoric public of yesteryear!

"We are being butchered in the townships by soldiers," complained MDC Alliance MP Chalton Hwende. "Internet has been shutdown to prevent the world from helping us. This is an appeal for help to the international community."

Mnangagwa and his Lacoste faction got what their wanted out of the November coup, the ordinary people did not; this is why it was a "foolish idea" for povo to support coup.

The ordinary people had supported the November coup without a full appreciation of what they wanted out of the coup beyond the vague notion of democratic change. Indeed, democratic change was so vaguely defined that Mnangagwa had no problem selling the removal of Mugabe as the totality of the democratic change they wanted.

We have all seen the violent street protests coming, the people were not going to remain silent forever in the face of the worsening economic situation. Unemployment has soared to 90%, 3/4 of the people now live on US$1.00 or less a day, etc. The real surprise is that they have not protested sooner!

The country is going through yet another spell of very painful birth process, millions of dollars of property have been destroyed, millions of people have been tear gassed, hundreds arrested and hundreds of thousands have suffered serious injuries. Some reports put the death tally of those shot by the security services at 25 and the death tally will go up a hundred fold if count those who died because they could not get medical help because the communication services were shut down or some such indirect cause.  

So what must happen to make sure the ordinary people are NOT once again short changed after the sacrifice the nation is making in these on going street protests? One thing! Whatever happens next, it must delivery the democratic changes leading to the restoration of all the individual freedoms and rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections.

In other words the ongoing street protest must lead to the appointment of body; being it a GNU, an interim administration call it what you wish; that will implement all the democratic reforms designed to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship and replace it with a healthy and functional democratic system of government.

Zanu PF created the dictatorship and the system has worked well in helping the party keep its iron grip on power, the party will fight hard to preserve as much dictatorial powers as it can. Beside the party rigged last July's elections, just as it has rigged past elections too; the party is illegitimate. So the only logical explanation for including Zanu PF in the GNU is to appease the party leaders.

Zimbabwe is in this economic and political mess because for the last 38 years the nation has been stuck with the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF. No one had the guts to tell the party thugs they lost the elections and they must step down. With the nation now standing right on the edge of precipice, it will be unforgivable to push the nation over the edge for the sake of appeasement, especially now with all the benefit of hindsight of just how disastrous this policy has been.

Nelson Chamisa and his MDC Alliance will fight hard to be involved in the post-protest political matrix. MDC has been on the political stage for the last 19 years and they have failed to bring about even one democratic change. The party had its golden opportunity to implement the reforms during the 2008 to 2013 GNU, the party leaders sold-out and failed to get even one reform implemented. Not one!

Zimbabwe would have escaped out of this mess years ago if MDC leaders had not proven beyond all doubt that they are corrupt, incompetent and sell-outs. Including MDC in the administration tasked to implement the reforms will be risking the country emerging with many of the reforms badly implemented, if at all.

Many have argued that Zanu PF and MDC leaders must the entrusted with the implementing the reforms because there are no other candidates to do it. This is true but it is important to understand why. There are no alternative candidates because the country's political system is so corrupt and oppressive that quality leaders have shied away from all public life. Zimbabwe's political pond is a sewage pond in which only slugs, frogs and crocodiles can survive and thrive.  

The more reason the interim administration must be staffed exclusively by outsiders with clean hand, clean past and clean and democratic minds.

The ordinary Zimbabweans must be clear what they want at the end of the violent street protests which have brought so much suffering and deaths already - implement the democratic reforms and drain the sewage swamp born out of 38 years of Zanu PF de facto one party state. Nothing short of that will do!

All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.