Dear Anglistone Sibanda
Thank you very much for your insightful article “A Case for reforms ahead of the 2018 watershed elections” in The Zimbabwean. Whilst most people have made the mistake of treating the ordinary Zimbabweans as anyone else in any other country, you have drawing attention to their helplessness compared to the all-powerful ruling elite.
“Democracy in Zimbabwe has not helped in alleviating human suffering and facilitating people-centred development and giving the masses a voice but has served to create a systematic manipulation of the too poor, too weak, too desperate, too fearful and vulnerable majority that is ready to sell their soul and abdicate their rights to the too powerful black minority that captured the state post 1980,” you wrote.
Zimbabwe’s political contestation is therefore not one pitting one citizen standing for public office trying to win the support and votes of his/her fellow citizens but rather one of the overbearing lord and master whipping his subjects to do as there are told!
The ordinary Zimbabweans have lost their freedoms and the basic human rights and dignity a long time ago. They are not citizens with a vote and thus meaningful say in the governance of the country; they are serfs to be frog marched to attend rallies and to vote as there are instructed.
If we are serious about restoring democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe, God knows how much the people have suffered and how many have died under this corrupt and tyrannical dictatorship; then we could do no better than demand the full restoration of all individual freedoms and rights. We want all Zimbabweans to be treated as citizens and not serfs.
Zimbabwe’s economic recovery is dependent on end the decades of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption which will never happen as long as those in positions of power and authority are a law unto themselves and cannot be held to democratic account by the governed.
“Unless Civil Society interventions begin to be pragmatic and address the fundamental issues of rural human vulnerability and coordinate to demand electoral reforms first before any election, there will be no progress in the democratization endeavour and ZANU PF will continue to be a beneficiary of the poverty and vulnerability that sustains its patronage system,” you concluded.
The pragmatic first step, I would suggest, is for Shalom Project (of whom you are the Chairperson) and all the other civil societies, NGOs, Church Groups, etc. to come out in the open and publicly endorse the demand for democratic reforms before elections. Both Zanu PF and the opposition parties, who have given the flawed process credibility by their continued participation, must be left in no doubt the strong objection to holding elections with no reform.
The second step would be to demand free and fair elections and the third would be, never tire until the day the country finally holds its first democratic elections!
The present political system has left the too poor and too weak impoverish majority with no vote and thus no democratic voice. Until the democratic reforms are implemented complete with the solid rock guarantees that the elections will be free, fair and credible, there is very little point in holding flawed elections. What is the point of asking the people to vote if their vote will count for nothing; to speak if their voice will never be heard!
Zimbabwe Social Democrats