The year 2011 is going to be a tough one for Zimbabwe and its citizens. The reasons why this is said are many but they remain primarily political and economic.
This is because with the end of 2010, we are all anxious about one thing or the other that relates to the state of our country’s political and economic framework as largely determined by an inclusive government that is dysfunctional and seemingly beyond redemption.
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have already indicated that there will be two major political processes next year, namely a referendum on whether to adopt a new constitution or retain the current one and a general election regardless of the former’s outcome.
According to the President’s timetable, all of these processes should be done by June, while PM Tsvangirai has indicated that he is awaiting a final roadmap for either processes from the Sadc facilitator, President Zuma.
In relation to the national economy, Finance minister Tendai Biti, has already outlined what the inclusive government envisages to be broad financial and economic policy for 2011.
In other words, the national economic framework of the government is mired in uncertainty due to the possibility of a newly “mandated” government and due to the fact that because of the electioneering that is set to start in earnest after the Zanu PF national conference.
In fact, little follow up on agreed to government policies will be undertaken save for those that will have a direct impact on potential electoral support.
As it is, there is limited reason to assume the certainty of the betterment of the lives of Zimbabweans in 2011.
These next twelve months shall be a literal struggle for survival by Zimbabwe’s majority poor and disenfranchised; a fact exacerbated by the fact that most of the political players will be the same and will be trying to persuade a reluctant electorate on the same issues as they did in 2008 as though the country’s history has stood still.
But because as Zimbabwean citizens we all have a right to think outside of the frameworks provided by our current political leaders, it is necessary that we brace ourselves for a number of eventualities in 2011.
We also have to think seriously about these likely eventualities in an attempt to either pre-empt the political parties and provide solutions that are not as politically partisan as all of the contesting parties would want.
The first key political event of 2011 shall be the constitutional reform process, with warts and all.
The people shall be initially asked to accept a deeply flawed and negotiated document by representatives of political parties via the now discredited Copac.
The political parties will try to make their party supporters persuade the rest of the public that the process was a progressive one and that everyone should vote yes to a pending draft constitution for reasons that will include protecting land and sovereignty (Zanu PF) and it’s better than nothing (MDC-T and M).
It is such propaganda that will be the first test for the Zimbabwean public.
This shall however be countered by the NCA, ZCTU and Zinasu who shall insist on the “NO” vote to the draft constitution based on the disaster that was Copac and commitment to the democratic principle of a people driven constitution.
The second challenge of 2011 shall be that of the national economy vis-a-vis education and social service delivery particularly towards the end of the first quarter of the year when elections and electoral processes will affect the manner in which business operates as well as how the relevant ministries of finance, health, industry, energy and education will operate.
Because of a pre-occupation with electoral processes of the aforementioned ministries, they (and the inclusive government in general) will be functioning on the basis of putting out fires and without any policy consistency.
Simply put, the inclusive government and its key ministries will be functioning in name only much to the detriment of social service delivery.
The third challenge to be faced by Zimbabweans in 2011 will be that of having to confront an indirectly violent election riddled with fear and intimidation particularly in Masvingo, Manicaland and Midlands.
The cause of this violence will most likely be Zanu PF with the MDC being helpless to deal with it due to an inundation of displaced supporters at Harvest House.
The primary effect of this will be to induce a serious sense of powerlessness in the populace and therefore afford Zanu PF a potential mathematical election victory due to an attendant political apathy.
Fourthly, there shall be the political and socio-economic problem of a country that will be at pains to ensure that its younger and abler citizens stay in it.
The migration levels both internal and external are likely to increase in the country. This will be primarily due to the levels of political intimidation and violence but there is a further key factor.
This being that the younger and abler citizens of the country no longer want to stay in the country of their birth.
And this is an attitude that they will pass on to even younger citizens and what we will be faced with is a country that has no confidence in itself and a country that potentially has a future where generations to come will despise those that are currently assumedly in charge.
And as a final point, 2011 will witness civil society organisations that will be clueless for the greater part of the first quarter of the year.
They will be scrambling over the discredited Copac process, and trying unnecessarily hard to gain favor with various donor interests or political parties of their choice.
Very few of them will remain committed to principle and democracy.
Unless the people of Zimbabwe challenge the political parties and players over the aforementioned, we might as well put on our seatbelts and brace for serious turbulence in 2011.