Source: Legacy, whose legacy? New dawn, which dawn? – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 14, 2017
I HAD entitled this week’s contribution, New dawn, which dawn?, until a garrulous friend of mine, of course sympathetic to the military who staged the “coup” against then President Robert Mugabe, invoked the mantra of “restoring legacy”.
By Mutsa Murenje
I had pointed out that the Harare coup regime lacked legitimacy and that only free, fair and credible elections could give us the government we deserve. As we all know, we never had elections and we are still looking forward to them.
But one would be forced to ask: Does the authority in Zimbabwe have the legitimacy to preside over free, fair and credible elections? The answer is an emphatic No! I then asked which legacy and whose legacy my friend was referring to.
I didn’t expect an answer from him, but it gave me the opportunity to then interrogate this cardinal excuse as given by the military coup plotters.
In this monograph, I am merely presenting to my readers, what I will call in French, my cri de coeur, or in English, my anguished cry of distress.
I cry in the anguish of my spirit and in the bitterness of my soul, I complain. Without doubt, “the situation in our country has reached another level” and it calls for a response that is distinct from any of the responses we have had against the Mugabe regime.
We now have Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander General Constantino Chiwenga and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s illegitimate regime.
This needs to be confronted in a manner that will raise the cost of military rule in Zimbabwe.
I don’t buy the cretinous excuse given by the ZDF that the military takeover was meant to restore any legacy, let alone that of ousted leader Mugabe.
It is a public secret that Mugabe hasn’t left behind any legacy that is worth preserving, either for present or future generations.
As a ruthless dictator to have emerged from Zimbabwe, Mugabe presided over the autarchic destruction of our once beautiful country.
The world over, it is only Zimbabwe that has had a mass exodus of its citizens, a phenomenon that has become synonymous with countries at war.
Poverty and unemployment are at an all-time high and only a legitimate government can reverse current conditions and trends.
Chiwenga and his surrogate president, Mnangagwa, do not have the constitutional mandate to rule Zimbabwe and address the challenges that we are facing as a people.
Zimbabwe’s greatest need, therefore, is a return to constitutional rule and government legitimacy. There is no provision, in the whole Constitution, that provides for the restoration of dictatorial legacies in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe left behind a country with a checkered human rights record and whose citizens are the poorest for any country not at war.
Government corruption and the absence of the rule of law are matters that require our immediate attention.
Ever since their unconstitutional takeover, soldiers have been on the rampage assaulting innocent citizens.
If this is what Chiwenga and Mnangagwa meant by restoring legacy, then we ain’t seen anything yet.
We are bound for more surprises, especially in view of the do-or-die elections we have in 2018.
Civil society voices should be heard more than ever before and it is quite significant that opposition parties unite and fight what remains of the oppressive and destructive Zanu PF.
Having experienced two splits, Zanu PF is a minor party now and only internationally monitored elections, held after all comprehensive media, electoral and political reforms have been instituted, are capable of restoring order and returning our country to legitimate rule.
It is quite sad that the regional and international community seems to have endorsed the illegal takeover of government by the Lacoste faction.
The struggle for independence was never about factional or partisan agendas.
Zimbabwe is also our country and with or without participation in the struggle that brought colonial rule to an end in 1980, we still have a legitimate say in the manner in which our country is governed.
I am gratified that leading figures in the opposition movement are emphasising the need for all citizens to partake in next year’s elections and a return to legitimacy.
The junta might have wanted to fool us with its “Operation Restore Legacy”, but we are also unequivocally saying that we are in dire need of “Operation Restore Legitimacy” more than anything else.
All else is secondary!
Noting the gross failures by the African Union to respond appropriately to the Zimbabwean coup, Philip Roessler observed that: A sounder approach would have been for the AU’s Peace and Security Council to condemn the de facto coup — as it would a de jure coup — and threaten to suspend Zimbabwe from the AU until the military released Mugabe from house arrest, handed over power to a transitional post-Mugabe government, and returned to the barracks.
Such a policy response would have delivered a similar outcome as what transpired — ridding Zimbabwe and the AU of the Mugabe problem — while strengthening, rather than weakening, the region’s anti-coup norm.
Instead, the AU endorsed a factional coup by the Zimbabwe military and its former vice-president, Mnangagwa, that now sees the coup perpetrators in key positions in the post-Mugabe government in direct contravention of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
In view of the foregoing, I would like to submit that legitimate representatives of the people of Zimbabwe can work with the regional and international community to bring about the necessary changes that are needed in Zimbabwe.
Only then can we talk about a new dawn because what we have at present is a military establishment meant to continue the destructive path that Mugabe set in Zimbabwe.
As I see it, legitimacy calls for commitment to protect all Zimbabweans against human rights abuses by the military while law and order agencies ought to respond to our needs as a people. We want justice and general welfare to prevail.
This opportunistic military takeover should be seen for what it is and be condemned: It is a shield by those who have committed serious crimes against humanity and we need to stop them.
May God help Zimbabwe!
The struggle continues unabated!
Mutsa Murenje is a social and political writer based in South Africa