Monday, 29 August 2016

It is for Zimbabweans to play the leading role in the fight for free elections and not SADC. By Patrick Guramatunhu

"In the end, the solution shall not come from Sadc or the UN but by Zimbabweans themselves," said Farai Maguwu.

Farai is right that SADC, UN and the world at large are looking at Zimbabweans themselves taking the lead in defining why they want to go, especially in the light of the failed 2008 to 2013 GNU. SADC got involved then and Zimbabweans let them down by failing to implement even one reform in five years. MDC leaders including Morgan Tsvangirai even had the chutzpah to blame SADC for their own incompetence.

Zimbabweans have yet to come up with a workable way out that SADC and the UN can support. The two solutions Zimbabweans are supporting in numbers right now are both unworkable. No outsiders will support ever support the call by a number of Zimbabwe's opposition parties for electoral reforms. None of those parties have ever produced any convincing argument to show that these reforms would change anything because these reforms will change nothing.

Indeed, the call for electoral reforms is nothing but MDC leaders hiding behind their fingers, a carry on from their pathetic performance during the GNU.

Some Zimbabweans have taken to the street protest with zeal. This is an effective way forward when the protesters have a clear view of what is wrong and what should be done to put things to right. The people's call for 2.2 million jobs Zanu PF promised before the 2013 elections, for example, is too general. After 36 years of corrupt and tyrannical rule the world expects the people’s call for free and fair elections to be as clear as the bell in the morning air.

SADC and the UN would be tempted to support the proposed National Transitional Authority (NTA) but not in the format proposed by Ibbo Mandaza and his friends. The NTA will not deliver any meaningful democratic changes whilst it subject to the authority of parliament and other Zanu PF control institutions, which is what Mandaza is proposing.

Zimbabwe is in this economic mess in which unemployment has soared to the world record levels of 90% and 76% of the population are so poor they cannot afford one decent meal a day. Zimbabwe’s economic mess is at odds with one would have expected given the nation’s rich wealth of national resources of agricultural lands, minerals and a hardworking people. This national tragedy has come to pass because we have had the great misfortune of being stuck with a corrupt and incompetent regime for 36 years, unable to remove it from office regardless of all the evidence of the regime’s disastrous failures.

When the nation attained its independence in 1980 we should not have paid attention only to removing the white colonial regime but also to what kind of government we wanted to replace it. We are in this mess because we did not take the necessary steps to ensure post-independent Zimbabwe was ruling by competent leaders democratically accountable to the people.

After 36 years of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption that has dragged the nation into the depths of economic despair, we have still not learnt the critical importance of good governance, free and fair elections to demand it for ourselves. The truth is we are not getting out of this economic mess until we take the task of ensuring we have an accountable government with the seriousness and urgency the matter demands. Zimbabweans have to make a conscious decision to democratic change; SADC and the UN will, at best, play a supporting role but never the lead role.

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