via The key to ending Zanu PF dictatorship Nehanda Radio Jun 04, 2014 by Wilbert Mukori
By the late 1990s “democracy” and “democratic change” were the buzz words everybody was talking about in Zimbabwe. After nearly two decades of a corrupt and oppressive de facto one-party dictatorship, the nation had finally realised that the only way to end the chronic cancers of gross mismanagement and corruption was by replacing the tyrannical autocracy with a healthy democratic rule.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai was launched in 1999 on the crest of the democratic change wave. Even in the face of the usual beating, rape and even murders by Mugabe and his thugs, the people voted for Tsvangirai and MDC in their droves on the back of the promise that he would deliver democratic change.
To be perfectly honest, ever since Tsvangirai took centre stage in our politics, his blundering incompetence was impossible to miss. But it was the failure to get even one democratic reform implemented throughout the five years in the GNU that has come to define just how breathtakingly incompetent he and his MDC co-leaders really are.
They did not have a clue what the raft of democratic reforms agreed in the GPA were about, how they were supposed to be implemented and, much less, the consequences of going ahead with the 2013 elections with no reforms implemented.
And only did Tsvangirai and company have no clue about the reforms – neither did the electorate. The people had risked life and limb for democratic change without knowing what changes they wanted.
It is not as if the concepts of democratic change are complex – they are in fact common sense. Take the need to reform the police, for example. Even the rural people were aware of how Zanu (PF) thugs had beaten, raped and murdered innocent people – yet none of the culprits was ever arrested or punished. Even my Aunt in the rural backwaters, who does not understand the niceties of democracy, understands that a non-partisan Police Force is important for a just society.
One would have expected that political leaders like Tsvangirai, Biti and Mangoma, especially the last two since they are lawyers and were MDC’s negotiators in the GPA, would understand that to have a non-partisan Police Force it was necessary to end the President’s powers to appoint and dismiss the Police Commissioner without reference to Parliament.
Parliament or a parliamentary committee should have the powers to call the Police Commissioner and hold him/her to account and replaced if founding wanting.
SADC got Mugabe to sign the GPA and accept that a whole raft of democratic reforms, including police reform, would be implemented if the next elections were to be free and fair. It is not rocket science to see why without such reforms it would be impossible to stop Zanu (PF) rigging the elections.
MDC failed to get even one democratic reform implemented, although the party had the majority in the GNU parliament, the majority in the cabinet, the full backing of SADC had five years to do it.
There are two reasons why Tsvangirai and his MDC failed to get even one reform implemented; one, they were all side-tracked by the trappings of power. Mugabe welcomed them on the gravy train and denied them nothing; Tsvangirai got his $3 million mansion, was glob-trotting, etc. SADC leaders disappointed that none of the reforms had been implemented accused MDC leaders of “enjoying themselves and forgetting why they were in the GNU”.
The second reason is they are breathtakingly incompetent and naïve. With not even one reform implemented Mugabe was able to use the police, ZEC, the Judiciary, etc. to blatantly rig the elections.
The consequences of the rigged elections is that the Zanu (PF) dictatorship got back into power and the cancers of mismanagement and corruption that had crippled the economy took off after the GNU pause with a vengeance.
What has been really disheartening is that the electorate still at a loss as to what went wrong. Even with the benefit of hindsight and all the evidence of Tsvangirai and MDC blunders, they still fail to see why the failure to implement the democratic reforms was central to this nightmare. All that talk of democracy and democratic change was just empty slogans repeated without ever understanding what they meant.
While the nation still recognises the need to end the dictatorship as a necessary step in bring about change in Zimbabwe, few people realise that nothing can ever be accomplished with implementing democratic reforms.
None of these reforms will ever be implemented properly until both the politicians and the people, especially the people, really take the trouble to understand what they are. How can the people hold the leaders to account when their understanding of the subject matter is superficial, at best!