The transition has been hijacked: Biti

via The transition has been hijacked: Biti — Nehanda Radio by Tendai Biti

The day that was came and passed. Zimbabwe now has a new President – officially sworn. Except he in fact is not new, and even the great Kofi Olomide could not escape the gloom and fear arresting the motherland.

As expected, the circus was in town in full glory. Men and women from all walks of life came to witness a coronation. They were there for all different reasons but they were there all the same.

I wonder what was going on in each of their minds as the dear leader read a speech that they all had heard before, and will hear it again in yet another platform.

I saw former South African President Thabo Mbeki there, in a very pensive mood. Almost like he was not there and I really wonder what was going on his head. That this indeed is a cursed country, if not worse, perhaps? That indeed we have gone a full circle but at the end of it, the country is back where it came from – namely square zero?

The Global Political Agreement [GPA] which Mbeki negotiated was intended to carry the country forward to another level. It was meant to be a bridging transition to democracy. In that sense, it was a delicate compromise between stability and democracy but with one certainty: the country was in genuine motion.

Yet nearly five years after it was executed, the government of national unity has not achieved its purpose. The transition is a stolen one. The transition has been hijacked.

So, four and half years has been a wasteland, where hopes have been wrecked and a lot people and institutions have come up with ruined reputations, and tattered credibility.

One institution that must critically examine itself is SADC and those that control it. Only on June 15, 2013, a summit was held in Maputo wherein the strong clear and unambiguous resolutions were made, that there had to be reforms in Zimbabwe before the election and that the court determined date of July 31 had to be moved.

Six weeks later a different song is being sung. An unrecognisable litany of discord that is a mixture of some endorsement and some abandonment.

What explains this Jerkil and Hyde conundrum? Whilst the reasons are many and varied, three stick out. The first is obvious fatigue. The Zimbabwean crisis has too long been on the agenda of SADC meetings. It has detained these leaders for endless hours deep into the early throes of a morning.

Second is the self evident fact that in a few of these SADC countries, critical elections will be held next year.

Third may have been the lack of desire to pursue a process of confrontation, so appeasement becomes the softer option.

Whatever the reasons, and they are many, the consequences are clear as a pike staff. That is, the Zimbabwe crisis is undermining the credibility of Africans to resolve their own problems. One of the reasons why Mbeki’s GPA was applauded had less to do with its content, but the fact that some African solution had been found to a malignant African problem.

Not only that, the crisis is undermining public international law. Public International is a body of international law based on international morality and restraint. In the case if SADC, it has developed as part of its corpus a set of rules known as the SADC Guidelines on Elections that were adopted in Mauritius in August 2006.

These rules have been flagrantly breached in the context of the Zimbabwean election, and yet the body itself has been unable to protect its rules.

Thirdly, if Zimbabwe could get away with it, then potentially every rigged election will fly in the region.

More importantly SADC has not acquitted itself sufficiently as to remove the tag that it is but a bad boys’ club. It must be noted that all that has been pronounced has been done without the final observer reports being tabled.

SADC, therefore, has a small window of redeeming itself when it considers the full reports from the observer missions. As submitted in earlier posts, this is a crisis that is far from over.

The original SADC resolution of March 2007 in Dar es Salaam was clear: let’s restore legitimacy and credibility to Zimbabwe. To the extent that this has not been accomplished, with great respect it would be wrong for SADC or anyone else to claim that the SADC mandate terminated on July 31. This is a country mired in crisis and its challenges will not go away.

But of course SADC is also right in implying, very obviously, that Zimbabweans must resolve their problems amongst themselves. How do they do this? That is the million dollar question.

In the present mood of artificial triumphalism, a solution does not appear likely. All avenues of democratic redress including the courts are being shut. This is most unfortunate in that history teaches us that illegality always breeds illegality.

It follows that the stolen transition will in effect be a delayed transition. But history is very funny. It is like a game of cricket. Betting collapses occur so dramatically and unexpectedly. We saw this in the Fourth Ashes test. The Aussies grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory.

In this critical juncture in our history, one thing is clear: illegality is unsustainable. Illegality will put a premium on the people.

Any return to the past is not on. Five years of chaos are unimaginable and therefore a return to legality is critical. That I suspect is what was so obvious to any who was part of the coronation on Thursday. That I suspect is what poor old Enos Nkala may be carrying to his grave. May his soul rest in peace!

Tendai Biti is the MP for Harare East and MDC-T secretary general.



  • comment-avatar
    Zvichanaka rimwe gore 9 years ago


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    emman 9 years ago

    The problem with you honourable biti is that you can’t stomach the thorough hiding you got from Zanu Pf and in your mind you wish everything in Zimbabwe to turn upside down so that your vile prophesies will come to pass.Let me tell you the power and authority you got whilst you were in government has precipitated your delusion.
    What hurts you the most is those foreign trips flying first class and fighting for presidential suites with your premier.
    You mentioned about the ashes test and the fall of wickets of which what you mentioned the opposite was true that’s what happened in your party.
    When you saw the multitudes thronging RG’s rallies u said we were forced and unfortunately we weren’t we went on our free will to go and listen to our hero speaking not to listen to cowboys who participated in the drafting of sanctions against our country so that the masses would capitulate and turn against their government and vote you into power.You are not the only one learned enough to understand the hypocrisy of politics and am not afraid to tell you my head held high that your party MDC is more evil than the incumbent.
    To you biti some of us are prepared to suffer under Zanu Pf than under your puppetry movement and go well,we won’t give a rat’s ass about you and we won’t miss you.Aluta Continua Abasha Neo Colonialism!

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      Yaah Owen!! Nt surprised, so was it in e days of Moses. At e Red Sea wished it beta 2 die under e tyrany of Pharoh thn 2 die at e Sea. Usajaire nhamoba iwe. Whn u see thngs seemingly closing in 4rm all sides, dawn is abt 2 break. Lion.

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    Biti writes: “Only on June 15, 2013, a summit was held in Maputo wherein the strong clear and unambiguous resolutions were made, that there had to be reforms in Zimbabwe before the election and that the court determined date of July 31 had to be moved.”
    Why then did MDC go into the elections under these conditions? They had received the green light from SADC to refuse to participate in elections until reforms were in place. There was a united pact amongst all the opposition parties that they would not go into elections until reforms had taken place, yet 2 weeks later, they agreed to go into elections.
    Why? This was snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
    So lets not blame SADC. It was the lack of strategic thinking by the opposition that has set back the transition to democracy by possibly an entire decade.

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      adam jones 9 years ago

      zanu had conteplated the likelihood that the MDC might boycot the elections and they had that stupid independent candidate register for the presidential elections. if the MDC had boycotted, zanu would have gone ahead with mugabe and that other fool as the two presidential candidates. that would have given zanu ‘legitimacy’ in their eyes. as it stands, zanu has been exposed for what it has aleays been.

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    eztechplc 9 years ago

    Hon Biti, you are such a good story writer, one thing that stands out is that power is sweet. You went into an election knowing fully well that the field was not level, or needed to be levelled, without a voters roll, more like going fishing without your fishing line. You knew about the Nikuv people better than anyone… know the composition of ConCourt and its biased nature way before, such that yu could tell that any case of rigging that would be brought be4 them will be dissmissed…..Hons Biti, did you not know thay the airwaves were not open, the security what what was still not going to salute you. You disappointed me and Zimbabwe……you are responsible for taking us to square 0. The best move is for you and President Morgan to join the technical team while some new faces pilots MDC

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    Biti is just a cry baby the went into the election very confident of winning misjudging people’s minds they should have seen this on the attendance of people at President’s rallies,they saw it and their poor advisers told them lies that people were forced to those rallies a thing now they are saying were forced to vote if i may ask where were your election agents when all this forced voting was happening?

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    simon 9 years ago

    for the record to some numbskulls…..MDC is not perfect at all but Thanks to Bitis hard work he helped replace toilet rolls on the supermarket shelf with much needed food which your Mugabe cause lack of. Now that Zanu -PF has stolen yet again another election…deliver the goods….. we are waiting. PS even your god Mugabe praised Bitis budget report and allocation to get the coggs going again for a much damaged ruined economy caused by chaotic policies from Bob.

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    Nduru 9 years ago

    Well, you guys who love Gushungo. I hope you enjoy the next five years. You deserve all you wish for.

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    Chiwaridzo 9 years ago

    I agree with Owen, why on earth did the opposition parties agree to participate in this election. SADC gave them the opportunity to back off and wait for reforms to be instituted. To this day the MDC have yet to adequately address this question.

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    Phunyukabemphethe 9 years ago

    vote for the GREEN TEAM for consistency, principled leadership and a sense of direction!!

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    musasa 9 years ago

    Mr Biti,according to media reports the blame is squarely on you because South African spokes person of the facilitation team said you did not raised any issue of tangible reforms.She went further and say you were quite most of the times.If you were beaten on the negotiating table what else do you want people to do.I think just accept defeat and join or embrace the new governments policy and work for the betterment of the Country and everybody and try next time.Dont push people for revolt because of your failures sir!!It might be annoying but I think that is the best way to enble movement both the Economy and the beloved Country called Zimbabwe.

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    Nykgp 9 years ago

    I think you took your eyes off the ball during the inclusive gvt, surely you could have tried to push for reforms right from the onset especially state media where there has never been any positive covarage on the premier regardless of his senior position in the government. You also should have not taken part in the election seeing that key reforms were not implemented by your gnu partners.

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    Honourable ex-minister, please reconsider your writings and reality before presantation. Whilst there is no doubt you and your partners contributed immensely to the transition,there is also no doubt proved your daftness. I will be wasting my time to go deep into this as the above and previous comments spell it out. Alternatively your response to the issue that you were advised to pull out of the elections is greatly awaited as no one from your side has dared comment on it unless if I missed it.

    In my view your writings should now focus on what is best for Zimbabwe. Secondly you should restructure your party maybe by paving way for new leaders and their ideas irrespective of age thus showing ZANU and the rest world what democracy is about. You do not have to worry much because hakuna chisingapere. Even if the young Turks of ZANU proceed with what your daftness handed the winning ticket to them, one day it will end. Who thought of what would happen to Hitler, Stalin,Idi, Mobutu,Kabila, Kamuzu, Gadaffi and Mubarak to name a few.

    You got in a race and lost. Maradona’s goal in that World Cup counted so was the English goal disallowed in that tournament years later. What did they do?Apart from mourning they improved their teams.

    To ZANU, this is the time to make good of your mistakes in this transition. Yes there is need for indigenisation. But does that stop people from having ,to sum it up , a lifestyle enjoyed between 1980 to 1995????????. A response to this question is also awaited. Further embrace the opposition for a “check mate” and transparency. Also give clarity to the diamonds saga. One issue that baffles me is that saying that “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again”. Surely how do one interpret the use restricted US dollar as the backbone of the economy????

    The transition seems to have given both parties a chance to redeem themselves. Only time will tell.

    Summing up, Mr Biti stop wasting people’s time.Your writings should now focus on what is good for Zimbabweans for the next five years. You had the chance and I am sure you now know you blew it.