Wednesday, 29 March 2017

What is the National Transition Authority (NTA) and why we need it. Wilbert Mukori

What is the National Transition Authority (NTA)? And why does Zimbabwe need it?
The short answer is; The root cause of Zimbabwe’s economic mess and political paralysis is the country’s failure to hold free, fair and credible elections. The country’s present political set up will never deliver free, fair and credible elections.
Zanu PF has spent all its political capital setting up the present dysfunctional political system, it has helped to keep the regime in power all these last 37 years and it is naïve to think the party will ever reforms the system and engineer its own political demise.
Even if the dog-eat-dog infighting in Zanu PF should cripple the party, so much so that its vote rigging juggernaut is rendered totally useless and the party loses next year’s elections. This is possible given the hardening of positions by such groups as Mutsvangwa led war veterans, for example.
A Mujuru or/and Tsvangirai led government will implement a few token democratic reforms, at best; not enough to ensure future elections are free and fair elections. The two leaders are corrupt and incompetent but smart enough to know that they will never win a free and fair election and so it is in their interest to retain as much of the present dysfunction system as they can, now that it will be working for them!
 So, we need free, fair and credible elections to end the economic mess and political paralysis. Since neither Zanu PF nor the opposition that is elected using the present dysfunctional system can be trusted to implement the democratic reforms required to transform the present autocratic dictatorship into a health democracy we will therefore have to appoint a neutral body – the details of composition and legal mandate are to be worked out later once the idea is agreed – which will be entrusted to implement all the democratic reforms necessary to ensure future elections are free, fair and credible. The neutral body is called NTA; the name can be change, of course.
To anyone who have been following the country’s turbulent and chaotic politics; they will immediately notice that the NTA is being tasked to implement the democratic reforms that the 2008 to 2013 GNU should have implemented but failed to get even one reform implemented. It is therefore not surprising that some of the people who are vehemently resisting NTA are from both sides of the political divide for different reasons.
“The new constitution is one of the best in Africa!” MDC politicians have often said in defence of their GNU master piece. “And 95% of the Zimbabweans approved it in the referendum.” With the usual “I rest my case!” finality!
I am not a lawyer and I am not interested with merit of country A’s constitution compared to that of Zimbabwe; this is not some legal beauty contest. What I know is the new 2013 constitution, for whatever reasons, failed to deliver free, fair and credible elections.
I know that 95% of the ordinary Zimbabweans out there approved the new constitution on the understanding that it would deliver free and fair elections. Given the country’s worsening economic situation and that it can only be meaningfully resolve by implementing the reforms 100% of the povo would want this political problem put right and not waste time defending misplaced egos.
If Zanu PF or the opposition win the next elections, they will resist the setting up of the NTA claiming they have the people’s mandate to govern.
Prominent Zimbabwean lawyer, Tendai Toto dismisses calls by the opposition for the UN to supervise ZEC in next year’s elections. 

"The provisions of section 239 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe are clear and unambiguous on the role and functions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. There is no provision for some form of supervision by anybody for that matter," said prominent Zimbabwean lawyer Tendai Toto. 

"The suggestion and or the coded resolutions by opposition political parties that the international community must supervise the electoral processes of Zimbabwe is mischief.”

Tendai Toto was dismissing the opposition’s call for SADC or UN to supervise ZEC. The same arguments will no doubt be advanced against NTA.
There is no doubt that getting the government of the day to give up its political power to some unelected body will constitute the greatest challenge to the setting up of NTA. Getting the opposition to boycott the elections at the end of an electoral cycle offers the best and safest option. The second option is that the elections goes ahead but for one reason or other the result is rejected as happened in the 2008 elections.

No one in all honesty can deny that the present set up has denied the ordinary people of Zimbabwe their freedoms and human rights including the right to a meaningful and free vote and even the right to life itself. Like it or not this is no long politically and economically sustainable. The political system must change and will, NTA offers the way to manage that change in a orderly evolutionary way. To reject the NTA is to accept a violent revolutionary path with all the suffering, destruction and even death that revolutions often bring.

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