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'RELOAD will break vicious cycle of disputed elections' said MDC - rubbish, it is time for plan B

11 Feb 2020 at 07:15hrs | Views
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," said George Santayana, born Jorge Augustín Nicolás Ruiz De Santayana, a Spanish-American philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. An old cliche well worth repeating a thousand times especially in our case, Zimbabwe, where the price of failing to learn from the past has soared to doom's day scenario.

In the 1990s the people of Zimbabwe came to the conclusion that Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party were not delivering the mass prosperity, "Gutsa ruzhinji!" as Mugabe never tired of saying, but delivering mass poverty instead. The people realised they needed to remove Zanu-PF from office but for that to happen the country needed to implement democratic changes designed to stop Zanu-PF rigging the elections.

In Mugabe's de facto one-party, Zanu-PF, dictatorship supporting another political party was and still is a "political crime". Still the people risked life and limb to elect the now late Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends into power on the promise they would implement the democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu-PF rigging the elections.

Sadly, after 20 years on the political stage, MDC has failed to implement even one democratic reform. The nation is still grappling with the challenge of rigged elections.

President Mnangagwa and his Zanu-PF cronies blatantly rigged the July 2018 elections, just as the party has blatantly rigged elections ever since the country's independence in 1980. MDC's reaction to the rigged elections is to call for political dialogue with Zanu-PF and leading to reforms.

"As we state in our "Roadmap to Economic Recovery, Legitimacy, Openness and Democracy" (RELOAD) document, the dialogue must ensure that the country breaks away from the vicious cycle of disputed elections through an agreed national transitional mechanism whose mandate will be to implement a raft of comprehensive reforms that must culminate in a free, fair and credible election as the only way to return the country to legitimacy," explained MDC spokesperson Daniel Molokele.

Deja vu!

Back in 2014, following the Zanu-PF rigged 2013 elections, MDC came up with the "No reform, no election!" party congress resolution. This time the have come up with RELOAD which was endorsed by the party at its May 2019 party congress.

The party hoped to pressure the Zanu-PF controlled parliament to implement the reforms to ensure the 2018 elections are free, fair and credible. MDC even managed to get other opposition party to join its National Election Reform Agenda (NERA) pressure group. Zanu-PF leaders called MDC's bluff and refused to implement even one token reform. Not one!

MDC leaders ditched the "No reform, no elections!" resolutions and all the multiplicity of redline demands the party issued to participate in the 2018 elections with no reforms in place.

What we are witnessing now is just a repeat of the same MDC posturing nonsense. The party is still totally dependent on a Zanu-PF controlled parliament to implement reforms.

Besides, Zanu-PF knows MDC leaders will participate in the 2023 elections even if not even one reforms is implemented for exactly the same reason MDC participated in the 2018 elections - greed. Ever since the 2008 GNU, Zanu-PF has learnt that as long as the party allowed the opposition to win a few gravy train seats, they will participate in the elections regardless how flawed and illegal the process happened to be.

Indeed, the 2008 to 2013 GNU was the best chance ever the country had to implement the reforms and end the Zanu-PF dictatorship. MDC leaders failed to get even one reform implemented in five years because they were too busy enjoying the trappings of high office they completely forgot about the reforms.

"Mazivanhu eMDC adzidza kudya anyerere!" (MDC leaders have learnt to enjoy the trappings of high office, they will not rock the boat!) boasted Zanu-PF cronies. Their explanation for why MDC leaders were not implementing the promised reforms.

So, if Zanu-PF is not going to implement the democratic reforms and MDC is too inept to force Zanu-PF to implement the reforms we must activate Plan B.

Plan B is to appoint an independent body, free of Zanu-PF influence, to implement the democratic reforms. The independent body will require three years to implement the reforms and to give the nation to adopt to the democratic changes and for new democratic parties to emerge.

It is important that enough time is allowed for the democratic changes to take root and for new political players to emerge. If the only main contestants in the next elections are Zanu-PF and MDC affiliates then they will work to undo the reforms. The danger of Zimbabwe becoming another Zambia after Kenneth Kaunda or Malawi after Kamuzu Banda is real.

Zanu-PF must step down to create the political space for the independent body. The EU, Americans, the Commonwealth and many other July 2018 election observers condemn the elections as a farce. Many of them accepted to work with the Zanu-PF regime provided it implemented the reforms. The party has had one year and half and has nothing to show for it. Nothing!

Zanu-PF is just as illegitimate now was it was in 2008 when the party was forced into the 2008 to 2013 GNU. The subtle difference is that this time, the party will step aside and play no role.

If Zanu-PF is allowed to stay in office until 2023 then we can be 100% certain that no meaningful reforms will see the light of day, that MDC will participate in the flawed and illegal elections and that Zanu-PF will blatantly rig the elections.

Only by implementing plan B above can we finally break this vicious cycle of rigged elections, five years of crippling misrule and meaningless posturing by the opposition ending with yet another rigged elections! Vicious cycles are for those who refuse to learn from the past!

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