By Vince Musewe
I did my best to talk opposition parties out of the recent by-elections because I told them that it is a waste of time and resources to participate in a game where one party sets the rules and can manipulate processes and people to its advantage.
I repeated the famous adage that insanity is expecting different results by doing the same thing. They didn’t listen and gave me some quite silly reasons why they should participate. Well here we are – they all lost!
One fundamental problem that will continue to delay political transformation in Zimbabwe is the issue of personal interest. Everyone is in it for what they can get out of it and not what they can give. Truly one does not need to be in a political party in order to make a difference and I dare say that political parties can actually stop you from being an effective change agent.
The recent MDC-T renewal fiasco is proof of this fact – people will do anything to get political positions and the sad reality is that they are not necessarily prepared to lead, nor are they the best amongst us for the job at hand.
Waste of time
Let me repeat my assertion here: as long as Zanu (PF) have control of the state machinery and resources, they will never lose an election. That is the reality that we must all accept now and not waste each other’s time.
Zanu (PF) in 1979 refused to participate in any election with Ian Smith’s army, police, CIO and judges because they figured they would never win such an election. They were right! The same applies to us now and yet we seem to be blind to our history. We must reject any election presided over by Zanu (PF) cronies and whose funding is decided by a Zanu (PF) minister.
In my opinion, you don’t need a degree to understand this – yet I came across many graduates dressed up in suits campaigning to get elected in the recent by elections. That’s downright stupidity.
In my opinion ALL opposition parties (MPs and Councillors included) should disengage from participating in this government and advocate for a free and fair election administered by a truly independent body-anything else short of that is foolish compromise. Sadly individuals involved will resist this because they want that car or that stand-that is the tragedy. It is about them and not about democracy.
History continues to show us that Zanu (PF) is scared of a free and fair election because for many reasons they would lose. Zimbabweans want a better functioning economy and free enterprise where they do not have to bootlick the chefs to do deals.
We want our economic freedom unhindered by politics. Unfortunately that will never happen under a predatory leadership that is propped up by patronage and corruption. Why is it so difficult for our opposition parties to realise this?
I note with interest that Alex Magisa has leapt into the breach once more and given us the theoretical treatise on why Zanu (PF) won. Honestly we don’t care about that because we expected it. It was really a no-contest election anyway.
This has happened before in the 2008 Presidential run off and the problem is that we accept it or try to justify it “theoretically”. We must realise that Zanu (PF) has no scruples and will do anything to “win” because they fear change – not because they mean well or are good at governing.
It is undeniable that our country needs a fresh start and it is our responsibility to do all we can to get there. I guess the saying by Niccolo Machiavelli that “There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. The innovator has the enmity of all who profit by the preservation of the old system and only lukewarm defenders by those who would gain by the new system”-is so true in our times.
In my opinion, democracy, accountability, transparent governance structures and human rights are still far away in Zimbabwe until we all defend them together. Too often each and every one of us has their own personal agendas and that is why Zimbabwe is failing.
Unity of purpose has its own unstoppable momentum and we must first work towards achieving that if we are to create the Zimbabwe we want.
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on [email protected]