Essentially, The ZHOCD GNU Proposal Is Not New – It Is A Messenger Who Lacks Political Gravitas
23 October 2019
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By Nomusa Garikai- Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) released a paper, “Call for National Sabbath For Trust and Confidence Building”, calling for the formation of a seven year Zanu PF and MDC Government of National Unity (GNU) during which the usual politicking and national elections would be suspended.

Take out some of the glaringly foolish ideas like GNU lasting seven years. The primary task of the new GNU, as was that of the 2008 GNU, will be to implement the democratic reforms to stop the curse of the rigged elections. Given the political will, the reforms can be implemented in the remains four years of the present electoral cycle. The 2008 GNU was chalked to implement the reforms in 18 months. 

The second glaring foolish to be thrown away was appointing both Zanu PF and MDC in the new GNU. The leaders of the two parties were the principle players in the 2008 to 2013 GNU that failed to get even one democratic reform implemented in five years. It is rich to expect the same players to do any better this second time round especially given Zanu PF’s position that last year’s elections were free, fair and credible. 

SADC, who were the guarantor of the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the GNU, were quick off the mark in condemning the 2008 elections as a farce. The regional body refuse to recognise the Mugabe led Zanu PF regime as the legitimate government; forcing the dictator to agree to the implementation of the raft of reforms agreed in the GPA. ZHOCD have neither the political credibility nor leverage that SADC had.

ZHOCD said that they had “prayerfully” come to the conclusion that in light of the “current political paralysis, deepening mistrust and the dehumanising economic decline, the nation will need to take a bold decision to address the root causes of our national challenges that have a very long history and will not be fully resolved by one entity.

“Such a polarised environment weakens respect for national institutions such as the courts, the police and the security sectors. Once such institutions are viewed as partisan and lacking in independence, it becomes impossible to elicit cooperation among the policy and political actors to drive a national reform process in the best interests of the nation.” 

What the clergy leaders were saying inter own long winded way was that last year’s elections were not free, fair and credible and hence the “current political paralysis” and a repeat of the 2008 paralysis. It is no surprise that President Mnangagwa was very quick off the mark in restating his electoral legitimacy! 

“Let me emphatically state, at the outset, that my office is a creature of the Constitution and laws of Zimbabwe, both which I am sworn to uphold, defend, obey and respect to their letter and spirit,” he declared.

“Our July 2018, harmonised elections were adjudged to be largely transparent, free, fair and credible (and an) expression of the (democratic) will of the people of Zimbabwe.” 

The EU, the Americans, the Commonwealth and all the other election observers with any democratic credentials worth talking about condemned the elections as a farce. Indeed, the Americans have pointedly refused to lift the sanctions imposed on a select number of Zanu PF leaders and entities because the elections were not free, fair and credible. Zimbabwe’s application to be readmitted into the Commonwealth has been kicked into the tall grass and forgotten for the same reason.

By blatantly rigging the elections Zanu PF confirmed that Zimbabwe was still a pariah state ruled by corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical thugs. No one wants to do business with a pariah state and hence the reason the country’s economic meltdown of the Mugabe years has continued. 

Zimbabwe needs this illegitimate Zanu PF regime replaced by an interim administration whose primary task will be to implement the democratic reforms and hold fresh elections. The illegitimate Zanu PF regime must step down to create the political space for the interim administration. ZHOCD lack the political insight and gravitas to force Zanu PF to accept they are illegitimate and to step down.