“It takes an active and informed people to keep a republic” – Zimbabweans were never given a chance.
By Wilbert Mukori| There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers, was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.”
“The brevity of that response should not cause us to under-value its essential meaning: democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health,” commented Professor Richard Beeman.
If Benjamin Franklin was alive today, he would be the first one to admit that his fellow Americans have done very well indeed in keeping the republic. And he would, no doubt, agree with Professor Beeman that the secrete of their success is in “the active and informed involvement of the people”.
Zimbabwe “is unitary, democratic and sovereign republic” according to our Constitution. If the truth be told we lost all that before we ever got it!
It is no secrete that the 1980 elections to elect the country’s post independence black majority rule government were not free, fair and credible. Robert Mugabe and his fellow Zanu PF leaders did not withdraw all his freedom fighters into assembly points as agreed. These cadres were deployed for one purpose and one purpose only – to remind the electorate that if Zanu PF did not win the elections the civil war would continue.
Such was the prevalent influence of the Zanu PF cadres, vast swathes of the country were no-go areas for Zanu PF’s political rivals. The people of Zimbabwe voted to end the civil war; the very antithesis of what a democratic election should be.
Some people have argued that the threat by Zanu PF cadres in 1980 was just a bluff with very little or no effect on the populous. Zanu PF launched the 1983 to 1987 Gukurahundi massacre; there was no doubt then of the party’s murderous intent.
The primary purpose of Gukurahundi was to crash PF Zapu, Zanu PF’s main political rival, and impose the one-party state. PF Zapu was forced to sign the unity accord and, Walla, Mugabe got the de facto one-party state he was after.
As soon as Zanu PF got into power in April 1980, the party has worked tireless to undermine the country’s democratic constitution, institutions and usurped the people’s freedoms and rights to establish and retain the de facto one party dictatorship.
When Emmerson Mnangagwa removed Zimbabwe’s last dictator, Robert Mugabe in the November 2017 military coup; he promised the nation “a new dispensation, a Second Republic, free, fair and credible elections, etc.” Mnangagwa was Mugabe’s right hand man and chief enforcer throughout the failed first Republic; no one expected him to keep any of his promises. He did not! The Second Republic was a still-birth.
Zimbabwe is a pariah state ruled by corrupt, incompetent and murderous thugs. Forty years of corrupt and tyrannical rule have reduced the country into one of the poorest nation with soaring unemployment rates and basic services such as health care all but collapsed.
Zimbabwe is not a peaceful and prosperous republic because the nation’s founding fathers never intended it to be anything other than a dictatorship masquerading as a republic.
If we are serious about ending the Zanu PF dictatorship then we must force the regime to step down so we can implement the democratic reforms necessary to ensure free, fair and credible elections. Nothing of any substance will ever be accomplished in Zimbabwe until we cure ourselves of the curse of rigged elections. –