“Zimbabwe is a country in crisis,” wrote Tony Reeler, “bereft of any capacity to reform – neither politically nor economically. This is common cause for all Zimbabweans, and a major reason for the citizens to protest increasingly loudly.”
As for the nation being in a crisis; given unemployment has soared to 90%, we have fallen from our perch of being the breadbasket of the region to become a nation dependent on imported food aid- we have become so impoverished we cannot even afford to pay for the imports.
We are starving in a country that is for all intend and purpose the Garden of Eden.
Zimbabwe’s economic collapse did not happen overnight it was been a steady slid to the bottom that started soon after independence. Unemployment has crept to 80% plus and has stayed there for the last 15 years. The economic meltdown has forced millions of our people to live in abject poverty and hopeless despair.
Of course the people have known that Zimbabwe’s economy was not doing as well as Mugabe wanted them to believe it was doing. Mugabe promised the nation “Gutsa ruzhinji!” (Mass prosperity!” again and again but the reality on ground told its own story of mass poverty. Poverty is like a hot chili-dish; it does not matter how many times someone tells you are doing well when you have no work, are hungry, basic services like education and health have all but collapsed, etc., etc. you know you are poor.
After 20 years of meaningless excuses, scapegoats and downright lies on why the economy was not doing well the majority of Zimbabweans finally came to the conclusion that Mugabe and his Zanu PF friends would never deliver economic prosperity. Since 2000 the Zimbabwean people made a concerted effort to remove Mugabe and Zanu PF from office using the only peaceful means obtainable - the vote. The people failed to accomplish and political change because Mugabe systematically rigged the elections.
Indeed Mugabe’s vote rigging dates back to the very first election in 1980; Mugabe did not send all his war veterans to assembly points as agree but instead kept many of them free to spread the word that if Zanu PF did not win the elections, the civil war was to continue. As the years went by Mugabe had step up his vote rigging to counter his sinking popularity.
When Mr. Reeler described Zimbabwe as a country “bereft of any capacity to reform” (politically), he was spot on for hence lies the heart of the nation’s political clueless inaptitude and helplessness which explains why the nation has been stuck with this Mugabe dictatorship for all these last 36 years allowing the country to sink to such unbelievable depths of hopelessness and despair!
The risk-all street protests are nothing new, we saw the same act of desperation by the people when they risked life and limp to vote for MDC in the 2008 elections. Some people would view this as the answer to the people’s clueless inaptitude in that the people did manage to elect enough MDC members to give the party the majority in parliament and in the GNU cabinet. The truth is the clueless inaptitude was still there hence the reason MDC failed to deliver any meaningful change at the end of the GNU regardless of the fact Tsvangirai had the majority in parliament and had the backing of SADC leaders.
MDC leaders did not have a clue what democratic reforms were needed to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship and so after five years of the GNU they failed to get even one reform implemented.
Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown has left the people so poor and desperate they are once again risking all elect someone like Joice Mujuru or Morgan Tsvangirai as long as Mugabe is removed shows the people are still not cured of their flawed thinking. After 36 years of this corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship one expected the people to be as keen as mustard to not just get rid of the tyrant Mugabe but uproot the whole dictatorship his spawned to make sure the country will never have another dictator ever again.
Joice Mujuru was kicked out of Zanu PF, kicking and screaming to stay. Only the politically naïve would believe her nonsense that she had never criticized Mugabe all the 34 years she was at the heart of the Zanu PF government because “a puppy does not open its eyes in one day!” Not even the Mount Darwin (where Mujuru comes from) mongrel puppies take 34 days to open their eyes let alone 34 years!
If elected back into office Mujuru will take up her corrupt activities where she left off in 2014, when she was booted out of Zanu PF. And she will revive the Zanu PF dictatorship to consolidate her own hold on power.
Tsvangirai had the golden opportunity to implement democratic reforms designed to end the Zanu PF dictatorship during the GNU. He failed to implement even one reform because he and his MDC friends are breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent. Zimbabwe is in a serious political and economic mess and thus the need for competent leaders must be blatantly obvious to EVERY Zimbabwean. So why would anyone vote for someone like Tsvangirai knowing fully well that he is corrupt and incompetent!
Now that the economic meltdown has the people sufficiently roused to risk-all in the fight for regime change many of the country’s opposition are now pushing for elections without bothering about implementing any reforms.
“We do not need to worry about whom we elect into power, as long as we get Mugabe out,” some have argued. “Once Mugabe is out we can then implement the reforms and elect competent leaders!”
Even the corrupt and incompetent Tsvangirai and Mujuru will be smart enough not to implement reforms that will result in them losing power!
“There is a critical need for transformative reforms that will pre-empt elections or any other elite processes or pacts, and/or succession arrangements, not underpinned by crucial reforms that prioritise the interests of the citizens,” argued Tony.
The most critical transformative change are those to transform the electorate from a naïve and gullible lot to informed and diligent voters who would not be so easily and readily conned to elect a corrupt and incompetent leader knowing he/she is corrupt and incompetent. As long as the electorate are naïve and bereft of common sense we will remain stuck in the hellhole Mugabe landed us in. Street protests are an act of desperation and not proof of the cure of clueless inaptitude.