We have heard enough irrational noises about the supposed failure of the GNU and the irresponsible suggestion of elections without reforms. We need to conjure a pathology of same and re-look at the reasons why we ended up with these conditions.
We need to inquire as to whether or not the GNU is a functional option, and whether it has worked, and if not, why and where it has failed.
To capture and encapsulate the common cause context, it is necessary to raise the following analogy, thus:
It was not Evander Holyfield who stopped the fight between himself and Mike Tyson . . . it was Tyson who did that, when he turned Holyfield into a meal and started biting his ears off!
Even in boxing there are rules and regulations — you use your gloves to fight your opponent, not your teeth. When Tyson realised he was facing certain defeat, he opted to foul in order to have the fight stopped.
Similarly, when Robert Mugabe was drubbed by Morgan Tsvangirai in the initial, peaceful March 2008 elections, he and Zanu PF went back to the drawing board, pulled all the stops, and changed the game plan in readiness for the June 2008 run-off.
The world saw for itself the violence that ensued.
Mugabe said he had lost to Tsvangirai because, “. . . we did not campaign”.
Of course, Zanu PF campaigned, and heavily so, towards the March elections, so, what did Mugabe mean by, “We did not campaign . . .”? Is what followed towards the June run-off what he contended to be “campaigning”?
I think we should all take a step back at some point and say: Is Zimbabwe really about political parties and their convoluted ideas, or is it about our broader Zimbabwean humanism?
The de-recognition of the results of the violent June 2008, one-horse-race run-off election by Sadc, the AU and the world at large was not caused by Tsvangirai and his MDC.
It was a natural consequence of what had happened, with all the torture camps, arson, abductions, maiming and murders. This ceased to be an election, but all-out war and butchery.
It was logical for Tsvangirai, whether one supports him and his party or not, to stand aside and let the madness play out.
That move saved many lives. It is said that sometimes we move forward by going backwards first.
The result of that so-called run-off election was rejected by the world and, more particularly, by the AU, and Sadc was mandated and deployed to bring back normalcy, which ultimately culminated in the GPA and the formation of the GNU.
The question is, is the GNU functional . . .? The answer is, as a construct, an unequivocal “Yes”, it is perfectly functional! The problem we have is one of mindsets, in that there are those partners in the GNU who hold themselves to be the active ingredient and who think they are doing others a favour by including them.
This is the notion that needs to be uprooted, outright. It is said that good and bad governments are defined more by the ethical qualities of the holders of power and not so much by the forms of agreements they operate under.
Agreements are mere guidelines and not substitutes for common sense. Of course, those accustomed to barbarous rites and licentious vanities will disagree.
The GNU is a temporary makeshift arrangement engineered by Sadc to give a modicum of a quasi-legitimate governmental arrangement. All players therein hold their positions by virtue of that creation and not by virtue of electoral process or mandate from the electorate. They have an obligation to consummate that agreement, to the letter, and all the discretionary hanky-panky we have seen is simply clearly illegitimate grandstanding and self-aggrandising political masturbation, designed to frustrate a perfectly functional political agreement and maintain an untenable status quo, in the interest of narrow parochial interests.
There will be no elections without reforms, in spite of the din of irrational noises to the contrary from the usual suspects. I am convinced that if any party pushes for that mad agenda, the people will, once and for all, teach them a lesson that will forever remain etched in our historical narrative, that Zimbabwe is more about its people rather than any political party, whatever and whoever that party may hold itself to be. Never again should Zimbabweans accept to be held to ransom by a mere political party — a mere group of individuals, hungry for power. Zimbabweans must take ownership of their governance and decide how and by whom, they want to be governed.