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Zimbabwe at crossroads - The new Zimbabwe we crave for

12 Aug 2020 at 16:41hrs | Views
An attempt to build one nationalist liberation movement failed in the 1960s when most of the nationalists of Shona extraction split from Zapu to form a pro-Shona Zanu which  was largely mobilised on tribal divide. Acrimonious relations and sharp  differences emerged between the two nationalist movements to the extent that different international and regional liberation alliances and political bases were established in different friendly countries. Unfortunately, another attempt to unite the liberation movements under the Patriotic Front banner collapsed as distrust and suspicions grew wider, further alienating  the two movements which made it impossible to confront the white colonial Regime as one force. The differences between the two liberation movements escalated into tribal conflict which resulted in a  state sponsored massacre of thousands  of PF-Zapu  Ndebele speaking supporters in the early 1980's.

What went wrong at independence?

At independence in 1980,  the victorious Zanu PF failed to be magnanimous in their victory, instead, they became vindictive and pursued tribal and  divisive politics. The Zanu PF leadership  missed an opportunity at independence to build a nation and unite the people of Zimbabwe. On the contrary, Zanu PF sought to establish a One-Party State and a tribalist State which wanted to extinguish opposition parties and suppress democratic voices in the country. What's so sad is that, since independence, the Zanu PF leadership have consistently worked hard  to divide and destabilise the country in all spheres of life.

Instead of promoting unity, social cohesion and economic prosperity, Zanu PF chose to promote war and tribal hatred against PF-Zapu which ultimately led to the  Gukurahundi atrocities committed by the  North Korean trained 5th Brigade against the  Ndebeles in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions. Consequently,  the Gukurahundi atrocities accounted for over 20 000 deaths of innocent civilians and a  trail of destruction of properties, disappearances, torture, arrests and displacement. Despite the signing of the so-called Unity Accord in 1987,  the marginalisation and underdevelopment agenda continued unabated in the  Matabeleland region. What the Unity Accord succeeded in doing was to bring about peace and stability without  addressing the pre-existing inequalities and injustices. Unfortunately, the Unity  Accord fell short and did not live up to the expectations of the victims as it failed to address the thorny issues of the Gukurahundi atrocities  and deliberate underdevelopment of Matabeleland.

The burden we carry as a country is that forty years down the line, the nationalists have failed to transform themselves and their liberation war structures into civilian like most modern and independent states have done. Despite winning  the war of liberation forty yrs ago, Zanu PF have not psychologically demobilised its troops and when under pressure from the masses to deliver services they quickly revert back to the guerrilla warfare tactics and start attacking the masses, government critics and democratic institutions perceived to be anti-government. Naturally, most nationalists are the admirers of their former colonial masters and like their organisational structures hence the dire need to reconstruct the state in order  to extricate it from this self destructive state of affairs.

Of great concern in this instance, is the continued  tribal inequality and injustice perpetuated by the state against the so-called  ethnic minorities. Ultimately, the  aggrieved communities which constitute a substantial part of our  population, feel grossly marginalised, dominated, underdeveloped, and tribally segregated by the state and its institutions. Inevitably, this has resulted in the formation of regionally based political pressure groups and subsequently led to the radicalisation of the same. The continued institutionalised marginalisation of the so-called minority has  prompted some political activists in Matabeleland to call for a two-state solution. Consequently,  this has necessitated the formation of the numerous pro-separationist, restorationist and cessationist movements who are now advocating for an independent Matabeleland or Mthwakazi State.  Also, at the centre of  Zimbabwe's problems is the crisis of governance, legitimacy and leadership. The successive Zanu PF governments have dismally failed to address the stated challenges simply because they're complicit. However,  this has resulted in multiple problems emerging, like economic collapse, endemic  corruption, incompetence, nepotism, patronage, human rights violations  and looting cartels.

The Zimbabwe we have:

The Zimbabwe we have currently is politically and economically  dysfunctional, exceedingly exclusive, divided, tribalistic, racist, corrupt  and is captured  by the ruling class, the  military  and their associates. Unfortunately, the  Zimbabwe we have had a   false start at independence, and was founded on wrong principles and values.
The tragedy we have as a country is that we are being ruled by maniacs who operate business cartels that have turned Zimbabwe into a Mafia state. They have taken control of all key sectors like  mining, manufacturing, agriculture  and the energy industry. The ruling elite usually use the  military, police and intelligence structures to intimidate, brutalise  and instill fear amongst ordinary citizens in order to stay in power. For the past forty years, Zimbabweans have  been brutalised by the state and lived under  an automatic regime with limited democratic rights. Elections management bodies are captured by the ruling elite and their independence is highly compromised. In essence, the ruling elite  together with the  partisan so-called independent electoral Commission with  the help of the law enforcement agencies will connive to rig the elections in favour of the ruling party.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon the people of Zimbabwe to reclaim the captured state and its institutions and make it work for the majority of the population. In essence, a new progressive  Zimbabwe must be  established, based on Devolution of power principles and values which are non tribal, non racial and inclusive.

Going forward, the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis  must be premised on the above historical facts and current state of affairs. Accordingly, the proposed solutions must endeavour to address permanently the past and  current national grievances. As a matter of urgency, there is a dire need to have the right leadership in place in order to unlock the country's development potential so as to  attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and local investors.  It is logical and abundantly clear that the Zanu PF Regime has failed to govern the  country for the good and benefit of all Zimbabweans. We must admit that the absence  of capable leadership, bad  governance and endemic corruption has immensely contributed  to the collapse of a once vibrant economy, and that must come to a stop. Accordingly, electing the right leadership to govern the country, and the revival of the economy, job creation, infrastructure development and social services delivery is of paramount importance for our people to live a better and affordable life.

The current centralised governance model has promoted marginalisation, tribalism,  nepotism, patronage, corruption and allowed  the looting of state and local resources in the provinces. Accordingly, the centralised system must be dismantled and be replaced by a decentralised, participatory and inclusive governance model.  Therefore, the  implementation of Chapter 14 of the constitution which provides for Devolution of Power must be expedited in order to allow the  provinces to function in terms of the constitution.

Reconstruction of the State:

It must be noted that at  independence, the newly elected Zanu PF  government merely  substituted the white minority government with a  black one without substantially changing the governance model and repressive laws. Significantly, most of the existing industries,  government  institutions and systems were established by the white minority government designed to suit their requirements. It is against this background that the United Movement for Devolution(UMD) seeks to reconstruct the government and its  institutions. There is an absolute need to adopt a much more  decentralised  governance model  and  structures that will promote autonomous provincial and local governments. The  UMD's approach to national politics and  development is premised  on provincial and community  based  development and economic growth  for the benefit of the local  communities first, before benefiting the nation as a whole.

Accordingly, Zimbabwe must fully adopt a nationally devolved governance model  which shall be entrenched in the constitution of the country. Secondly, constitutionally independent state institutions that are apolitical and serve the nation not individuals and their political parties must be established. Thirdly, the government must respect  the doctrine  of separation of powers by creating a truly independent judiciary and parliament divorced from political manipulations and control as this state of affairs weakens the system of checks and balances. Fourthly, the  constitutional, independent commissions that exercise  oversight over the government and its institutions must be strengthened in order to protect the rights and interests  of the people. Fifthly, what need to be done to address the government's inadequacies is to  decentralise political and economic power to the provinces and local communities.

In this regard, certain competences must be assigned and entrenched in the constitution such as devolving political, development, economic, legislative and  administrative  authority to the provinces,  local authorities and communities. This arrangement will no doubt  incredibly promote development, accountability and reduce corruption and looting of local resources by cartels linked to the national government. Also, this will allow effective management and control of local resources for the benefit of the local communities and the entire nation. Accordingly,  a three tier co-operative governance model must be established in order to enhance delivery and  accountability , namely National, Provincial and Local governments.

Creation of autonomous  Regions or  Provinces:

New centres of political and economic power must  be established in the form of provinces, local authorities and communities. This will profoundly bring  development and economic growth closer to communities which will inevitably improve governance and accountability. The envisaged  provincial and local governments must have  legislative and executive authority for them to effectively manage the affairs their provinces and local authorities. In this regard, provincial governments must be headed by an elected Governor accountable to the people of that particular province not a political appointee. For the  effective administration of local authorities and efficient delivery of services to the ratepayers and residents, the  Mayors must have executive authority in decision making.

The UMD argues that the  current provincial structures cannot promote development and economic prosperity but merely serves a political purpose as an extension of Harare with no obligations to champion local development. However,  this is in sharp contrast to the UMD's political and developmental model which is anchored on Devolution and the right to self-determination and governance of our provinces across the country. Therefore, we propose the creation of autonomous regions or Provinces with an expanded political and economic base in order to adequately meet their developmental requirements. Our view is that Devolution of power can be useful and effective under reconfigured and reduced provinces from the current 8 to 5. At the same time, the renaming of the proposed five provinces must be done in a non discriminatory, non-racial  and culturally appropriate manner. Further, our view is that the continued retention of colonial names with tribal connotations and labels is retrogressive and has lost its relevance in an independent Zimbabwe. For instance, renaming Matabeleland as  Mthwakazi is worth considering.


Hon Lovemore Moyo
UMD President & Former Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe

Source - Hon Lovemore Moyo
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