There is one thing to be said about Zimbabwe's economic meltdown; which has resulted in unemployment soaring to 90%, forced 76% of the population into a life of abject poverty, left government without cash to pay civil servants, etc.; it is socially and politically unsustainable. Being unsustainable means things cannot continue as they are and yet as long as Zanu PF remains in office things have got even worse and thus increasing the pressure for meaningful change to revive the economy.
Zimbabwe is a de facto one-party cum one-man dictatorship which has been ruthlessly imposed and retained. Sadly the dictatorship has turned out to be incompetent, corrupt and lawless; the three cancers that are killing the economy. There will be no meaningful economic recovery in Zimbabwe until we cure ourselves of these three economic cancers and the only viable way to do that is by ending the political system – the dictatorship - that has spawned these problems and allowed them grow and spread for all these last 36 years.
So the cure to Zimbabwe’s socially and politically unsustainable economic meltdown is meaningful political change designed to dismantle the failed de facto dictatorship as exemplified by the holding of free, fair and credible elections.
Change is nature. Mugabe and his cronies may be tempted to think they cheated nature by resisting change these last 36 years. They are fooling themselves!
Change comes in small incremental, peaceful and orderly evolutionary changes. In being small people can adjust and adopt. By stifling public debate, abolishing multi-party democracy, banishing peaceful demonstrations, rigging elections, etc.; Mugabe blocked all the natural avenues for small evolutionary change. He has successful retain power for the last 36 years but at the cost of destroying Zimbabwe politically and economically.
It was the lack of meaningful democratic accountability that has allowed Mugabe and Zanu PF to remain in power for the last 36 years but it was the lack of democratic accountability too that has allowed the regime to be so breathtakingly corrupt, incompetent, arrogance and tyrannical. It is Zanu PF’s unchecked criminal waste of the nation’s human and material resources that is behind the unsustainable economic meltdown we are facing today.
By rigging elections Mugabe was resisting peaceful evolutionary regime change and per se opted for violent revolutionary change. The last few months Zimbabwe has been shaken to the core by violent street protests and, until there are meaningful political changes leading to meaningful economic recovery, there will be more street protests.
We have seen the Police try to silence people demanding change by tear-gassing and brutally bashing them. The people have responded by shouting even louder for change, by burning and looting. Until there is meaningful change there will be more tear-gas, burning and looting.
Many people have warned of the need for free and fair elections and other peaceful changes in Zimbabwe just to avoid the dangers of social unrest or worse violent revolutionary change would bring. The violent revolutionary change we feared is now upon us. Pray it does not going to last long. Pray it is not going to cause a lot of destruction of property and human injury and lives.
The tragedy here is that social upheaval and economic misery we are facing in Zimbabwe today are man-made and therefore could have been avoided. We would not be in this hell-hole if Mugabe had not imposed this corrupt and tyrannical dictatorship on the nation. We would have dismantled the dictatorship during the GNU if Tsvangirai and his MDC friends had not sold-out and failed to get even one reform implemented in five years!
How quickly the nation emerges from this violent revolution and in what form will depend on whether the ordinary people themselves have learnt anything from the past. In the end, people always get the government they deserve; like it or not we deserve this Zanu PF dictatorship complete with its coterie of corrupt and incompetent opposition parties.
History has the habit to repeat itself, especially amongst those who fail to learn from the past. Mugabe and Zanu PF are a product of the war of independence; as war veterans they felt they knew best, they are “stockholders of Zanu PF and Zimbabwe” whilst everyone else was merely “stakeholder who can come and go”. The hawkish zeal and the gratuitous looting by some of the street protesters is a worrying sign a new generation of know-it-all war veterans.
Indeed MDC-T’s, “the government in waiting” the party claims, VP Nelson Chamisa has been wooing the rogue war veterans who have impose Mugabe on the nation all these years; a clear sign that MDC-T, at least, has learnt nothing from the past.
If all Zimbabwe achieve at the end of the current violent revolution is remove one tyrant but only to replace him with another because we failed to dismantle the dictatorship then this revolution would be a failure just like the revolution leading to the 1980 independence was a failure!