By Patrick Guramatunhu| Last week President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the Political Actors Dialogue. It was a big, no-expense-spared affair complete with the usual funfair and glitzy. It was so, for a good reason; it is an act of bold and arrogant defiance.
Ever since last July’s rigged national elections Zimbabwe has latched from one economic crisis to the next proving right those of us who have said as long as the country remains a pariah state ruled by corrupt and vote rigging thugs there will be no meaningful economic recovery. The only way out is for the Zanu PF regime to step down, we have argued. The political dialogue is a forum including most of the political actors in last year’s elections which, Mnangagwa hopes, will come up with solutions to the country’s economic and political problems without the need for Zanu PF to step down. So, yes the dialogue is Mnangagwa’s middle finger salute to those calling for a new GNU or, worse still, for Zanu PF to step down.
Unfortunately for Mnangagwa some of the political actors who have so far played along with his proposed dialogue are already developing cold feet.
“The parties to the national dialogue should clearly and honestly admit to a crisis or conflict in the system of governance of the State thus unanimously agreeing to go for the national dialogue as a crisis or conflict resolution move,” said Blessing Kasiyamhuru. He was Zimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity party’s presidential candidate in last July’s elections and had so far subscribed to participate in the proposed dialogue.
“The dialogue should bring on board all conflict-fuelling issues and respective remedies, reforms or solutions that are unanimously agreed upon to address the crisis/conflict.”
Zimbabweans should stop burying our heads in the sand and talk about the elephant in the room – Zanu PF and how the party is the root source of the country’s failure to hold free, fair and credible elections with the disastrous economic and political consequences we can all see.
Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF regime blatantly rigged last year’s elections. He denied 3 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora the vote. Zimbabwe’s own government appointed Human Rights Commission has admitted that Zanu PF party’s operatives and the traditional leaders have reduced the rural voters to mere serfs beholden to vote for Zanu PF or be damned. ZEC failed to produce something as basic as a verified voters’ roll.
The whole election process lacked “transparency, traceability and verifiability and the results contained numerous errors”, as the EU Zimbabwe Election Mission state in their final report.
We can debate other matters but not whether or not Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF cronies rigged last year’s elections: there is a mountain irrefutable to prove that they rigged the elections. Even in a country renowned for calling a military coup “a military assisted transition”; rigging elections is high treason, period.
The issue here is: What are we going to do with this illegitimate and treasonous Zanu PF regime?
It should be noted that this is the second time Zimbabwe has had to deal with the same thorny problem of what to do with an illegitimate regime. In 2008 the whole world, including SADC and the AU known for endorsing Zanu PF’s dodgy elections in the past, refused to recognise Mugabe and his party as the winners of that year’s elections.
“What was won by the bullet cannot be undone by the ballot!” thundered Mugabe as he unleashed his party thugs, Police, Army and CIO to destroy property, harass, beat, rape and over 500 murdered in three months. The cheating and the wanton violence were so blatant, barbaric and widespread not even the see-nothing, hear-nothing SADC and AU election observers could not pretend they saw and heard nothing wrong.
Zanu PF should have been forced to step down from office immediately as punishment for rigging the elections, at the very least. Instead, SADC leaders invited Mugabe to team up with the two MDC factions to form the 2008 to 2013 Government of National Unity (GNU). The GNU was then tasked to implement a raft of democratic reforms to end the curse of rigged elections and ensure future elections are free, fair and credible.
Sadly, not even one reform was implemented in five years of the GNU. Not one!
As we know, Zanu PF rigged 2013 and last year’s elections or be with less wanton violence compared to 2008, at least during the campaign period. The regime floored the wanton violence paddle with vengeance on 1st August 2018 and again in January 2019 with its shoot to kill order to the Army.
The shoot-to-kill order was to nip the spirit of protest, against rigged elections in August and soaring fuel prices in January, in the bud. But, more significantly, to demonstrate Zanu PF’s unwavering resolve use brute force to crash all who dare challenge the party’s undemocratic rule and regardless of the heart-break economic hardship the nation is facing.
Instead of proposing another GNU as happened in 2008 Mnangagwa is proposing the Political Actors Dialogue. The dialogue will have no raft of democratic reforms to implement, Mnangagwa has ruled out all discussion on political reforms as he insists the July 2018 elections were free, fair and credible and his regime is legitimate. Whilst the 2008 GNU at least acknowledge that year’s elections were rigged and offered a glimmer of hope of something being down about it; the dialogue forum offers nothing! The dialogue will just be a talk-shop.
Even if the national dialogue was scrap and replace with another GNU complete with the raft of reform to implement, which is what Kasiyamhuru is now calling for, a GNU in which Zanu PF plays an part is totally unacceptable. It is barmy to trust Zanu PF to implement the reforms.
We need to implement the reforms because Zanu PF corrupted our state institutions. During the last GNU, the party, together with MDC, had countless golden opportunities to implement the reforms; it failed to get even one reform implemented. If Mnangagwa is the reformer he claims to be what stopped him implementing even one token reform, it is now one year and a half since seizing power in the November 2017 military coup.
Zanu PF rigged last July’s elections; the regime is illegitimate and must now step down. The only dialogue to be had with Zanu PF is the handover of power, as for what will happen afterwards it is for others to deal with Zanu PF, the elephant, out of the room!-SOURCE: zimbabwelight.blogspot.com