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'Ramaphosa must promote honest critique of Zanu PF's democratic deficits' - too compromised even for that

07 Sep 2020 at 11:30hrs | Views
"What can South Africa do to assist in resolving Zimbabwe‘s problems?" Piers Pigou of International Crisis Group was asked.

"The shift to a more public critique is an important stepping stone to promoting a more honest engagement around the issues in play," he answered.

"This discussion should be extended and shared with other Sadc and AU member States, in terms of government to government.

"South Africa's governing party should also promote a more open discussion around governance and democratic deficits amongst liberation movements as it relates to Zimbabwe."

What "democratic deficits" can President Cyril Ramaphosa raise now when he has already publicly endorse Zimbabwe's rigged July 2018 elections as democratic and Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF regime as legitimate?

The nearest SA, SADC and AU have ever come to forcing Zanu PF to address the party's yawning democratic deficit was when they forced Mugabe and the party to sign the 2008 Global Political Agreement. Zanu PF agreed to the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms taking away the party's carte blanche dictatorial powers including the power to rig elections.

Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends, Zanu PF's partners in the 2008 to 2013 GNU, were tasked to implement the reforms. They failed to get even one reform implemented in five years. To be fair, SADC leaders had nagged MDC leaders throughout the GNU to implement the reforms but were ignored.

SADC leaders made one last minute determined attempt to get the reforms implemented and asked the 2013 Zimbabwean elections to be postponed until the reforms were implemented.   

"In 2013 the Maputo Summit, in June 2013, before the elections, the Maputo Summit was all about having the elections postponed – the SADC summit. I went there," Dr Ibbo Mandaza told Journalist Violet Gonda.

"I was there at the Summit and Mugabe pretended to agree to a postponement of the elections. If you recall, the postponement was based on the need to reform at least electoral laws.

"And after that Summit, Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube, all of them were called to a separate meeting by the Heads of State of SADC in the absence of Mugabe, that same evening. And they were told; I was sitting there outside the room with Mac Maharaj; they were told ‘if you go into elections next month, you are going to lose; the elections are done'."

Once again, Tsvangirai et al ignored the SADC leaders' candid pleas and participated in the elections. And, as expected, Zanu PF blatantly rigged those elections.

SADC leaders had tried to get the reforms implemented and it was none other than Zimbabwe's opposition leaders, the victims of the rigged elections, who had frustrated their efforts! The regional leaders had accepted Zanu PF as Zimbabwe's legitimate government following the 2013 election, regardless of the blatant rigging, in disgust at the MDC leaders' breath taking incompetence and betrayal.

In 2014 the Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC-T made a party congress resolution not to participate in future elections until democratic reforms stopping Zanu PF rigging elections were implemented. "No reform! No Elections!"

The other MDC factions and a host of other opposition parties endorsed the MDC-T "No reform! No elections!" call. They were all paying lip-service to reforms because they all participated in the 2018 elections with not even one reform implemented for the same reason they had participated in 2013 - greed.

Whilst the rest of the SADC leaders had once again accepted Zanu PF as the legitimate government, regardless of the blatant voting irregularities and illegalities, because Zimbabwe's opposition had giving the process credibility by participating.

President Cyril Ramaphosa went one step further and publicly endorse the elections as having "gone well"!

If Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends had not sold-out and implemented the raft of democratic reforms during the 2008 to 2013 GNU, as agreed; Zimbabwe will not be in this mess today. The way forward is to revisit the 2008 GPA and implement the raft of reforms.

President Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF cronies cannot be trusted to implement the reforms and so there is no choice but to demand that the party steps down. The party rigged the 2018 elections, it really has no mandate to govern; never had.

Given President Ramaphosa, SA, SADC and AU have already endorsed Zanu PF as the legitimate government in Zimbabwe; it would be shrewd for President Ramaphosa to ask UN to tell Mnangagwa the bad news. That Zanu PF is illegitimate and, for the sake of ending the crisis in Zimbabwe and tragic human suffering it has brought, the party must step down.  

"If Zanu fails to solve the current crisis, what consequences will this have on the country?" Piers Pigou was asked.

"Zimbabwe will continue its path to impoverishment, in which a select connected few will do handsomely," he replied.

"The State will continue to lose its capacities and competencies and will remain riven by corruption and patronage, as institutions hollow out and the majority eke a liking out on the margins.

"This trajectory could continue for many years! It will inevitably generate growing hostility from the alienated mass, especially amongst younger people. This is a potentially explosive cocktail."

A trajectory that has lasted 40 years already and must be brought to an end a.s.a.p. Zanu PF must step down to allow the appointment of a body that will implement the reforms and finally end this curse of rigged elections and bad governance.

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