Democracy is government by the people that is only possible when the people have a meaningful say on who governs. The meaningful say is universally acknowledged as the people expressing their democratic wish through free, fair and credible elections which includes the right to remove one regime and replace it with another.
No one can seriously dispute that Zimbabwe is de facto one-party dictatorship. Mugabe and his cabal have publically advocated their no-regime-change ethos and corrupted state institutions like the Police, ZEC, CIO, etc. to abandon their democratic duties of keeping law and order and defending all Zimbabweans’ freedom and human rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections and even the right to life. So instead of stamping out Zanu PF’s culture of politically motivated violence, for example, the Police have often turned a blind-eye to Zanu PF thuggery and even played an active part in the thuggery.
So if we are serious about ending this corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship we must politically empower the people. It is not enough for the people to know the current political system has failed; the people must understand how we got where we are.
In 1980 and for the next two decades most people believed Mugabe would deliver mass prosperity. Although Mugabe had already showing his tyrannical streak as seen by the murderous Gukurahundi campaign and his knack for rigging elections; still many people would have given up their political freedoms and rights in return for economic prosperity.
By the late 1990s it was clear Mugabe’s mass prosperity was in fact mass poverty. But having lost their political muscle to remove Mugabe and Zanu PF from power through free, fair and credible elections it is not surprising that the nation’s attention has been focused on implementing democratic reforms necessary for free, fair and credible elections.
The best chance ever to end the Mugabe dictatorship was after the tyrant was forced to accept the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms in the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA). It was left to Tsvangirai and his MDC friends to implement the reforms. After five years in the Government of National Unity (GNU), MDC failed to get even one reform implemented.
History has a habit of repeating itself! In the first two decades after independence the people allowed Mugabe to impose a de facto one-party dictatorship because the people were naïve enough to without political power they could still have a competent and prosperous government. Throughout the GNU the people were once again naïve to believe Tsvangirai would delivery free, fair and credible elections.
Mugabe is in serious trouble on the economic and political fronts. Three and half decades of mismanagement, corruption and lawlessness have taken a heavy toll on the national economic. When Mugabe rigged the 2013 elections he thought he would rig economic recovery too with his $27 billion ZimAsset plan. He has since failed to get anyone to bankroll the plan resulting is a runaway economic meltdown.
The worsening economic situation has not spared even the Zanu PF chefs. The dog-eat-dog infighting in Zanu PF has its origins on the economic meltdown because anyone eased out of power know they will become destitute!
Mugabe has given up hope of reviving the economy but like all tyrant, he is not ready to give up political power. He would want to hang on to the undemocratic institutions so he can, once again rig the next elections. As long as Zanu PF remains in power, the economic meltdown will get worse, not better.
Of course the worsening economic situation and Zanu PF imploding presents a wonderful opportunity to pressure Mugabe to accept the implementation of the GPA reforms followed by the holding of free, fair and credible elections. The opportunity will be wasted as happened in 1980 - 2000 and during the GNU if the electorate do not understand what the reforms are for them to demand their implementation.
The national economy is in such a mess unemployment has soared to 90% plus; 96% of our people are living on less than $1 per day; there is no clean running water in most cities and towns; etc. Where there is poverty and hunger, disease and death are there also. Of course this is economically, socially and politically unsustainable but it is the people themselves on the coal face of these economic hardships who have to demand change.
Last week Mugabe threw a lavish Christmas party for his ruling elite to sweeten them up in the face of the economic hardship. He did not want to make yet another empty promise of creating 2.2 million new jobs. He complimented the masses for their “resilience”!
Zimbabwe is not a poor country that cannot afford to give her people a decent standard of living. On the contrary, the country is endowed with some of the best farm lands in the world and used to grow enough food to feed all her people with plenty left over for export. But ever since Mugabe seized the farms to give to his wasteful cronies the millions of our people have relied on imported food aid or else starve.
In the day and age when other nations have made the deserts bloom, we are starving in the Garden of Eden; a sad testimony of the corruption and incompetence of our leaders!
What our people have yet to understand is the good, competent and democratic governments come from the people exercising their democratic right to a meaningful vote. When this right has been denied it is for the people to demand that it be restored. There is clearly more room to the nation to sink economically so next year Mugabe can once again boast of Zimbabweans’ resilience!
We say we want democracy; free and fair elections; an end to corruption and misrule; etc. but as long as we have an electorate that is so naïve and gullible they believe role in this world is to suffer and die in silence to prove their resilience we will never have any meaningful change.
The lack of quality in our national the leaders is a reflection of the lack of quality in the electorate. If you have quality milk you will get cream rising to the top but if you have a jar of sewage then scum will rise to the top!
People get the government they deserve; we certainly deserve this corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical Mugabe dictatorship complete with its coterie of corrupt and incompetent opposition parties! If we want a democratic government then we, the people, must understand the GPA reforms and then demand their implementation with urgency the matter demands.