Source: Important things happening in Zimbabwe (Part 2) – The Standard November 26, 2017
If Google Earth’s estimates are anything to go by, November 18 saw approximately 1,5 million people march in Harare, some having been bused from several parts of the country. The mood was contagious, decisive, jubilant and unifying for we were all focused on one goal: to remove a big menace in our midst.
Everyone had an opinion, that they voiced out loudly, for the first time and while many applauded the path — finding efforts of the armed forces, the war veterans association and Mnangagwa, several isolated opinions were sceptical about the forces behind the transfer of power. My justification for the nation’s optimism based on simplistic logic and practical sensibilities. There is a window of opportunity, a solitary one. We are all in the delivery room, waiting impatiently to give birth to a new baby, our baby, the first one in 37 years after many stillborns and miscarriages. This is a new dawn we are about to witness. How dare anyone choose this moment, to be the time to complain that the midwife has smelly underarms?
It does not matter who the midwife is. The special baby is here now. It is the time we have all been waiting for, the time to find ourselves spaces to serve this country, rebuild it and surpass its former glory.
Last week I discussed Part 1 of the five important things happening in Zimbabwe today. The first point which was on politics was sketchy, patchy and if I have to say so, scrappy. No one knew for sure where we were headed and if anyone among ordinary folk knew anything, they were either lying or speculating. The road map seems clearer now and this week the political front remains relevant and important as it informs all narratives, social or economic, so here we go.
l On the political front (again) — there are elephants in the room and we ignore them at our own peril
Power is sweet with a sourly taste. There has to be symbiosis between the extremes of sweet and sour to achieve an even balance. Once removed from the pulse of the nation, power can also be all consuming. While it can be, it does not have to be exclusive. Good power is inclusive. Great power forgives, accommodates but most importantly, where it has erred in the past, it acknowledges errors, apologises and leaves no stone unturned as it seeks to redress past transgressions, in order to heal the aggrieved. The best power has a humane and empathetic face. Best power is rare and like civility, is often mistaken for a sign of weakness.
Project “Restore Legacy”, the name given by the armed forces to describe their intervention, was multi-layered. At one level, it looked like a national project. At another, it looked like there was Zanu PF written all over it. It was like a zebra, an all white animal (the nation) with stripes of black (Zanu PF). In the ideal world, the armed forces and the war veterans are supposed to be national institutions. In the real world, it seems like they are embedded into and have become part and parcel of the Zanu PF machinery.
That was the legacy we have had for the larger part of 37 years. This is not uncommon or surprising, particularly in situations where national institutions are deliberately and systematically weakened. The former president was a boffin at this and hence weak national institutions characterised his legacy the last 25 years or so. He succeeded in weakening the political terrain, politicians, the state apparatus and those who serve in them. Had MDC been allowed to take power in 2008, inherited these weaknesses and allowed them to manifest and fester, we would have probably witnessed the same shift taking place. So, the question that begs an answer is, what legacy have we restored and who stands to benefit from it?
We are at the watershed moment. Zimbabwe stands a chance right now, map a way forward that can turn this country into an economic powerhouse for we possess the foundational preparedness to do that. As that unfolds, it is foolhardy not to tackle the unresolved baggage from the past, issues that continue to fester like puss on an untreated wound.
Our optimism and euphoria is going to be misplaced if the key players in the new dawn do not confront the dearth of political liberalisation and democracy in Zimbabwe. At the time of going to press, there is scanty evidence on the ground of any willingness to accommodate outsiders. Time will tell whether or not there is sincerity and goodwill.
The jockeying for power by those who were part and parcel of the previous tyranny the nation endured is there for all to see. They are at the forefront like those before them, firmly holding microphones to spew messages that make us see their lack of willingness to shift towards meaningful change and freedom for Zimbabwe. Having said that, it is early days and the new president must be given a chance to fall or flourish.
The new order, a fruition from the old order, ought to make inconvenient and uncomfortable choices by reflecting, confronting, chewing on and then finding lasting solutions to a whole host of elephants in the room, which include, but are not restricted to the following:
The consideration of setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission where amnesty will be granted for full disclosure. For example, Gukurahundi, a dark patch in our history, has refused to be swept under the rug. It is unacceptable to have a section of our citizens moving around wounded without any open avenue for them to get justice.
Political decisions were made, orders were given and executed in the course of normal governance.
That is conceivable. But many innocent civilians were casualties and in the true spirit of justice, the perpetrators ought to come clean, seek and be granted forgiveness and amnesty while the victims are accounted for, for the sake of the surviving families that need closure.
Itai Dzamara’s whereabouts and that of many others, the mine shafts incidents in Mutoko, etcetera, if not tackled, will forever compromise democratic narratives in our country. As for the intimidation and harassment of Jestina Mukoko and Dr Beatrice Mtetwa during years gone by, it would bring cold comfort to know who gave the order.
Unless we bow in shame, all of us, while acknowledging our culpability and capacity to met out evil to each other, forgive and ask for forgiveness and document the proceedings for posterity, we run the risk of a repetition. We do not want that burden for future generations.
l Setting up of a clear timeline for levelling the playing field for free and fair elections to take place after reconstituting the Electoral Commission with apolitical mindsets
Retraining and revitalising of the police force to serve citizens and maintain law and order and not be conduits for looting from the nation on a grand scale.
Transformation of the judicial system to be rule of law responsive.
Acknowledgement of the role that women played during the war of liberation and make appointments of strategic positions within government that reflect that.
Desisting from and resisting the temptation of having multiple information dissemination sources as we have seen during the course of last week where Zanu PF hotheads were making all kinds of wild pronouncements about the inclusion or lack thereof, of other political parties in this new dispensation.
We must remain mindful of the truth, which is — this new dawn was delivered by the people of Zimbabwe Inc. with courage, dedication, razor sharp focus and peaceful leadership triggered by national institutions who are the armed forces and the war veterans. The nation was so focused in achieving this delivery to the extent that, in the absence of visible policing on our roads, there was no hooliganism and/or criminal activity I am aware of, that was reported.
l Funds looted from the fiscus ought to be located wherever they are in the world and returned.
Zimbabwe Inc. will need these resources during the reconstruction process
Throughout the years, Zimbabweans have shown unparalleled love, tenacity, resilience, resourcefulness and commitment to Zimbabwe Inc.
No one individual, political party, organisation or institution has a monopoly on great ideas to transform Zimbabwe Inc. When ideas from different political persuasions, organised civil society including thought processes of the unorganised and apolitical, non-aligned sections of our society are tapped into, there is no doubt that together, we will be able to chart a roadmap that will not only be viable and sustainable, but will be equally committed to delivering a prosperous and democratic state while meeting the aspirations of all Zimbabweans.
That time is now. Let us not allow our overly inflated egos to squander this opportunity for us.
Gloria Ndoro-Mkombachoto is an entrepreneur and a regional enterprise development consultant. Her experience spans a period of over 25 years. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org