“For years, South Africa trusted in behind-the-scenes contacts to alleviate Zimbabwe’s political and economic problems. But those troubles have continued to mount. By stepping up pressure, and by working with Washington on reform guidelines, Pretoria can help Harare find a way out of its crisis,” argued International Crisis Group in the article How South Africa Can Nudge Zimbabwe toward Stability.
Whilst Pretoria and the rest of the world can do a lot to help end Zimbabwe’s economic and political crisis it must be said that all their efforts will come to nothing if we, the Zimbabwean people, are seen to be doing nothing to help ourselves, at best. Or, at worst, keep shooting ourselves in the foot!
The 2008 to 2013 GNU was a golden opportunity to end the Zanu PF dictatorship and we wasted that opportunity. And, as if that was not bad enough, many Zimbabwe have failed to appreciate what the GNU was about even to this day. Indeed, some even have the chutzpah to blade SADC leaders for our own failures.
The West, especially the Americans, went the extra mile in trying to get Mnangagwa to honour his promise to hold free, fair and credible elections following the November 2017 military coup. The Americans gave him a checklist of the reforms needed to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
As we know Zanu PF ignored the reforms and went on to blatantly rig the July 2018 elections.
What is more, it was not only Zanu PF that ignored the reforms! The MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa and the rest of the opposition camp ignored the call for reforms too. ZEC failed to produce something as basic as a verified voters’ roll, a legal as well as a common sense requirement, and still the opposition participated in the elections regardless.
By participating in the flawed and illegal elections, the MDC A et al gave the process credibility and, by extension, the result legitimacy. The opposition knew this and still they proceeded out of greed, as David Coltart readily admitted.
“The worst aspect for me about the failure to agree a coalition was that both MDCs couldn’t now do the obvious – withdraw from the elections,” wrote Senator Coltart in his Book, The Struggle Continues 50 years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe.
“The electoral process was so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step was to withdraw, which would compel SADC to hold Zanu PF to account. But such was the distrust between the MDC-T and MDC-N that neither could withdraw for fear that the other would remain in the elections, winning seats and giving the process credibility.”
As a way forward the International Crisis Group is call for a Zanu PF and MDC A coalition government.
“Given the entrenched corruption at the top of the ZANU-PF government that risks sinking the country, it is clear that only a broader-based ruling coalition can create the kind of foundation for good governance that the country needs. South Africa and the ANC should thus maintain pressure on the government to enter talks with the opposition and civil society to review possible economic reforms that keep front and centre the interests of Zimbabwe’s people and not just its ruling party.”
Only someone who have failed to grasp or does not want to grasp the political reality in Zimbabwe would suggest a Zanu PF and MDC A coalition as a way forward. We have been here before, the 2008 to 2013 GNU was even better than a coalition in that the GNU partners were obliged by the 2008 Global Political Agreement to implement the raft of democratic reforms to ensure free, fair and credible elections. As we know, the 2008 GNU failed to implement even one reform in five years. It is naive to suggest a coalition would do any better.
After 40 years of rigging elections and getting away with it, Zanu PF must be told in no uncertain terms that the people’s right to free, fair and credible elections is not a privilege. And therefore the democratic reforms to ensure free and fair elections must be implemented in full; it is not an à la carte menu but table d’hôte.
If Zanu PF goes ahead and hold the 2023 elections with no reforms in place, as the party has done repeatedly in the past, then Mnangagwa and company must know that this time the election will be declared null and void. Zanu PF will not be allowed to get away with another rigged elections.
The MDC leaders sold-out big time by failing to implement the democratic reforms during the 2008 to 2013 GNU. By participating in these flawed and illegal elections the opposition is giving legitimacy to a vote rigging regime. This is totally unacceptable and must stop forthwith.
No stone will be left unturned to make sure all those opposition politicians who participated in these flawed and illegal elections are exposed for what they are – sell-outs! A discredited opposition will not give legitimacy to a vote rigging Zanu PF government.
Zimbabwe’s economic and political crisis has dragged on for 40 years and counting because we, the people of Zimbabwe, have shied away from dealing with the curse of rigged elections, the elephant in the room. Today the country is standing on the very edge of the abyss; millions of our people are living in abject poverty and basic services like education and health care have all but collapsed; this is a do or die situation.
We must implemented the democratic reforms, restore the right of all Zimbabweans to a meaningful say in the governance of the country and thus finally end the curse of rigged elections and bad governance. 2023 elections must be free, fair and credible or will be declared null and void!
“How South Africa can nudge Zimbabwe toward stability!” SA, SADC and the West have done their best to nudge Zimbabwe in the right directions without much success because we, the ordinary Zimbabweans, out of ignorance, etc., were not ready to move. Pray, we are finally ready to deal with the vote rigging gadflies and their sell-out acolytes!