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Opinion / Columnist

Time to change the game

21 Oct 2016 at 08:55hrs | Views
"Those who caused yesterday's pains do not have power over tomorrow's potentials" Mike Murdoch.

I am rather disappointed at the amount of despondency out there. It appears to me many Zimbabweans out there have resigned themselves to a continuation of the status quo. I have asked many for solutions on how we can extricate ourselves out of this nightmare and all they can say is that we should wait for elections in 2018 and hopefully vote ZANU (PF) out of power.  That is not going to happen.

Zimbabwe has had 12 elections since 1980 and these elections have failed to change the status quo, what then will be different in 2018? The recent violence assisted by the police in Norton clearly shows that our police is there to protect ZANU (PF) interests. We need a new formula for 2018.

The momentum towards coalitions has been somewhat disturbed by the poaching of members from coalition partners. How can parties talk coalition while they are effectively sabotaging each other in the pretext of negotiations? Of course Zimbabweans are free to join any political party they wish to join, there is no doubt over that. However, where parties are in negotiations one expects a modicum of respect and ethical behaviour but it is clear that this does not exist in our political arena. It's a dog eat dog approach. Can such people lead Zimbabwe and create the Zimbabwe we want? I sincerely doubt that.

We need to take a fresh approach to politics where we have ethical leaders who respect each other and unless this happens coalitions will not happen and once again, we will see a split vote in 2018 thus inadvertently strengthening ZANU (PF). Self-interest leads to disaster and I am not convinced that those political leaders who grew up and ZANU (PF) value system are about to change their behaviours.

In my opinion we need a clean break from the past. We need an environment free from fear and intimidation. For this to happen citizens need to be economically empowered so that their wellbeing is not dependent on ZANU (PF) largesse. As long as that is the case their vote will not be influenced by who can best lead Zimbabwe but will be based in the fear of loss and violence.

We need also to address the economic meltdown now and not wait for 2018. There is nothing that ZANU (PF) can offer in 2018 that they cannot offer now. In other words nothing will change post 2018 if ZANU (PF) remains in power. Things will get worse.
As I write this there is no safe drinking water in many urban areas, no street lights at nights which now look so dark, cash has run out at the banks and unemployment is increasing with most skilled Zimbabweans having to do whatever they can to make ends meet. The night streets in Harare have been reduced to rag tag night market with mothers sitting on dirty pavements selling vegetables, touts shouting to get people into their kombis, graduates selling anything from air time to imported Chinese trinkets. It is the worst of times for most ordinary Zimbabweans who deserve better.

We now have corrupt Ministers justifying the abuse of funds by saying everyone else does worse things and even quoiting the constitution to protect their abuse of public office. It is not revelation that public funds are diverted to meet ZANU (PF) political party programmes as the tax authority do their best to squeeze every last cent out of tax payers and the police have established an extortion machinery to generate cash that is not even accounted for.

Our hospitals are a disaster and have run out of medicine and our infrastructure dilapidates each day into Zimbabwe ruins. In all this we have President who travels the world as if all is well. We have State enterprises who are now the looting machine for a predatory cabal that is not even involved in any productive activity. The looting of our resources is increasing by the day as everyone seeks to make as much as they can today not tomorrow.

All this is not about to change unless we break the pattern and in my opinion we need a National Transitional Authority (NTA) to take over and correct things before we can even think of free and fair elections. The scepticism arising over the NTA idea is not that is the wrong solution, but many doubt on how we can make it happen given the intransigence of ZANU (PF) to implement any reforms.

The solution is very simple. We as citizens must have consensus of the nature and form of the NTA, once we have done that, we must then do whatever is necessary to make it happen. For me this is our only chance to change the game and we should all use our creative brains on how we can force ZANU (PF) to concede first that they have failed and second that it cannot be politics as usual.

It will not be easy because we know their nature but it is better we fight for substantive change that to wait for elections and hope that our numbers will win the day.
We also need to be very clear on who needs to be convinced with regard to the NTA. In my view we must convince regional and international partners first. We them must work together with social movements, organised civic bodies, labour, churches to agree on the nature of the NTA. That is all. We do not need to convince every individual on the NTA but work with those that have leverage in making it happen. The rest will follow.

If there is any time to significantly change the game and have any hope in creating the Zimbabwe we want it is now. Everyone is invited!

Another Zimbabwe is possible!

Vince Musewe is an economist and author. He is also Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs of PDP. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com


Source - Vince Musewe
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