Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

The Consolidation of Democracy in Zimbabwe

30 Dec 2020 at 07:37hrs | Views
DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa,

Zimbabwe celebrated National Unity Day a few days ago, commemorating the historic unification of former liberation war movements-PF Zapu and Zanu into what we now know as Zanu-PF.

The historical importance of this event was two legged, firstly, that it ended the disturbances in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions between 1983-1987 and secondly, it bound the two former liberation movements into one united front for a joint thrust towards national development.

Before then,-PF Zapu had accused the now late Robert Mugabe and his party of embarking on a mission to decimate Zapu, which had been taken to represent and drive a tribal agenda favouring the non-Shona tribes in the Mid-South-Westerly regions of Zimbabwe.

Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo is aptly referred to as Father Zimbabwe, quite befitting because he was a nationalist par excellence.

From his days in the railways trade union to the formation of the ANC, it is widely accepted that he was the father of nationalism in Zimbabwe.

Zanu was a product of tribal fault-lines cracking within the then rank and file of Zapu, having been dissatisfied with the leadership of Nkomo.

By default or design, the fallout assumed tribal connotations and this was to define the nationalist project and politics until today.

Despite sharing the same nationalist aspirations against the Rhodesian regime, there were little or no attempts to unite the two liberation movements.

Zipa was one attempt were the military wings of these two movements made an effort to forge an alliance on the battlefield, but it was short-lived.

Another notable united front was seen during the Lancaster House negotiations.

There are records, which indicate that Nkomo would favour the involvement of Mugabe where it was necessary, at one point directing that "bring that bright young man Robert" to be included in a negotiating delegation.

Nkomo later agreed to unity to end disturbances of 1983-1987.

This was the legacy of the towering man, who passed away in 1999.

May his dear soul rest in peace, and may his legacy of unity, equality and freedom of the people live on.

May his legacy of shunning toxic and tribal politics, and politics of violence against minorities be never forgotten. May his legacy live on.

A good number of indications show that Mugabe had plotted the creation of a one party State since the early 80s and even before that.

It had its own benefits for the party and Mugabe, thought it easy to deal with internal opposition than having sleepless nights over an opposition outside or partly within government.

Reports suggest the Matabeleland disturbances were prepared for as early as 1981, so there are indeed gray areas in the conspiracy surrounding the arms cache found on Zapu controlled properties, but that is another story.

The might and force used by Mugabe's government against 50 or so dissidents, resulting in collateral damages of 20 000 unarmed Ndebele speaking civilians in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces was not proportional, unless one had set eyes towards total decimation of the party and the ethnic group behind it.

The Unity Accord of 1987 was subsequently signed which almost effectively resulted in the creation of a de facto one party State.

Edgar Tekere's protests against rampant government corruption led to his expulsion from the Zanu-PF party and he, under ZUM, challenged Mugabe in the 1990 elections.

To his credit, Tekere blocked Mugabe's creation of a one party State in Zimbabwe. Tekere said: "A one party State was never one of the founding principles of Zanu and experience in Africa has shown that it brought the evils of nepotism, corruption and inefficiency."

Tekere argued that the revolution was losing its way and moral compass, a reconfiguration within the echelons of power and government system was needed.

This is a government that had been riled by the 1988 Willowgate scandal.

So popular was Tekere's opposition to Mugabe at the time that he snatched an impressive 16% in the presidential election and 20% of the parliamentary vote count. ZUM had violence perpetrated against its members, some were murdered by political thugs. In June 2011, Tekere, the gallant son of the soil passed on.

His contribution to the liberation struggle and democracy in Zimbabwe will forever be cherished.

There was no opposition party that shook the Zanu-PF government to the core, even handing it its first poll defeat since majority rule, except the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirai. There was no opposition party in Zimbabwe that gave Zanu-PF sleepless nights for over two decades, awakening it from the slumber and comfort of incumbency, except MDC. The reason for this was simple because the MDC was then a people's struggle. The concerns raised by MDC then were real issues of the peoples in Zimbabwe. The leadership of the MDC has changed over the years, but the struggle continues.

Mr President, it is a democratic disservice to be on a wanton warpath — arresting opposition leaders — motivated by political scores. It is not true that Zanu-PF is involved in the corruption fight, and the few arrests we see are stage-managed where bail is granted without hassle.

The only real arrest of a Zanu cadre is where there have been a fallout, Marry Chiwenga for example. We never saw another Chris Kuruneri. Mr President, Thokozani Khupe's MDC-T was favoured with certain privileges which were denied MDC Alliance. Recently, we witnessed a large gathering at MDC-T's extraordinary congress at HICC despite COVID-19 regulations which were used to stop other opposition parties from holding their gatherings. State resources were at Khupe's disposal to give her faction an upper hand against the MDC Alliance.

Mr President, we saw the prompt dispatch of the police to aid the claiming of Harvest House.

The only reason the airwaves are being opened is because citizen journalism is now rampant over YouTube and other social media platforms. It would, therefore, be a losing battle to shut airwaves.

It is the use of social media which keep the people's revolution alive and well.

Mr President, history has it, that people's revolutions will prevail one day.

Source - newsday
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.