ALMOST a year after the July 31 general elections that were won by President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, economists say life has become tougher for most Zimbabweans more than ever before. The Zanu PF government doesn’t seem to have any clue as to how to pull the country out of the mud.
The success of the party’s economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), depends on the injection of big money into the economy, which is not readily available. The unity government in place from 2009 up to last year between Mugabe, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube (MDC) had brought economic stability to the country.
But a year after Mugabe’s electoral victory, Zimbabweans have been awakened to the crude reality of a falling economy and a paralysing cash squeeze.
NewsDay Chief Reporter Everson Mushava (ND) hooked up with Jealousy Mawarire (JM), a Zimbabwean citizen based in Harare who dragged Mugabe to court and forced an election without reforms as prescribed by the Sadc-brokered power-sharing pact to establish if he does not have any regret over the way things have turned to be after his Constitutional Court (ConCourt) victory against Mugabe.
Below are excerpts of the interview.
ND: When you took President Mugabe to court, you went down in history as that Zimbabwean who was bold enough to approach the courts and end the coalition government then in existence, but almost a year after the polls, with the current economic hardships under Zanu PF’s single-face government, don’t you feel like you will go down in history as someone who facilitated unprecedented suffering of the same Zimbabweans you purported to represent when you went to court?
JM: When I approached the ConCourt with my application on May 2 2013, my drive and overarching conviction was not to make history, but to correct it. We were surely, and for some time, between June 29 and July 31, living in an unfortunate historical epoch where President Mugabe, former Prime Minister Tsvangirai and the Cabinet were governing without a parliament and this country was mutating into a dictatorship that I felt would have resulted in a leadership accountable to itself and if this did not frighten you, then certainly nothing about bad governance will.
It is this situation that the application sought to correct and just as I was on May 31 when the ConCourt ruled in my favour, I am still convinced I made the right decision.
I know the economic situation is not good, but I also know that the people making a lot of noise are those that lost in the elections and subsequently lost the privileges that came with being in government.
I am aware most of those who lost have fallen on hard times. If this class represents all Zimbabweans in your own definition, then surely you should think again about your characterisation of a Zimbabwean.
What I did was to afford the people of Zimbabwe their democratic right to choose their leaders and what this government does is nothing of my business. I managed to set a precedent that elections should be held when they are due and whether this government they chose will deliver, it is outside the import of my court application.
ND: Some people still think you were used by Zanu PF which had put in place its logistics for the elections and was desperate to end the coalition government. Now that Zanu PF won, don’t you think these people have a case?
JM: I don’t know if the Zanu PF that you are talking of is the one that left it so late to come up with candidates for an election you say it had planned well in advance including also being part of my ConCourt application.
I think those who still think Zanu PF thinks for me and make decisions on my behalf are just denialists who do not want to acknowledge the gift in other people.
I have done several things in life on my own to warrant some modicum of respect especially from fellow journalists who know me professionally. So people are allowed to keep on speculating for as long as their speculations falsely satisfy and sanitise their delusions, that is their business and I don’t seem to worry about that.
ND: Now, almost a year after you won your case in the ConCourt, are you at liberty to give us a hint about who financed your application?
JM: I have told you guys time and again my application was sponsored by donors, donors who have been funding my organisation’s activities since inception in February 2011. If you have checked our website, you can get a clue on the organisations that have been partnering with us.
ND: When the ConCourt ruled in your favour, President Mugabe was ordered to pay your costs, has he done that?
JM: He hasn’t as yet, but we have been in touch with his lawyers and the process to have the payments made has been initiated and we are hopeful the payments would be done soon since the President indicated he was abiding by the ruling and was not keen on being in contempt of court.
ND: Zimbabwe now has a government; do you think the government is living to the people’s expectations?
JM: Honestly I think it is still too early to judge this government. Even those who are obsessed with American democracy and therefore think the US governance system is the best on the planet give themselves at least 100 days to make initial assessments on the effectiveness of their policies.
Be that as it may, I am thoroughly convinced we are moving in the right direction.
I have seen a lot of enthusiasm among ministers that was not there during the tenure of the government of national unity, the President has set the tone on fighting corruption and the investigations of high-profile police officers is definitely a positive.
As a trained media person, I am naturally inclined to pay much of my attention to that sector and I have been impressed with the talk around digitalisation in electronic broadcasting and the imminent end of the ZBC-TV monopoly as a result.
I have also seen, and am impressed with what the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and his deputy have been doing, availing themselves to every media organisation to understand, in loco, their challenges and the expectations these media houses have on the new government.
This goes a long way in sweetening the poisoned media waters that had contributed immensely to the demonisation of this country and its leadership with devastating effects on business and the economy.
I have also heard the Minister of Mines promising to account for every diamond and this is very welcome. The public has already benefited from debt cancellations by parastatals, which I think was long overdue.
ND: Now that you have touched the issue of the economy, do you think the elections brought in a government capable of turning around the economy?
JM: Turning around the economy will not solely depend on the capabilities within the new government. What we need is the grace of God that would ensure all those that we have put in leadership positions understand that they have been mandated to serve people, not to help themselves on national resources.
We can have an anti-corruption drive that can net in as many corrupt officials as we can, which I think should still be done, but we need the grace of God to turn these corrupt minds and hearts to reason even without the fear of jail, but through the fear of the Lord.
I am confident if we address the issue of corruption in public offices, it will be a job half done as far as turning this economy around is concerned.
But as I said earlier, it is too early to judge, but all indications are that the systems are in place, we no longer have the albatross of a coalition and I don’t see any reason why this government cannot deliver on its promises and meet the expectations of the electorate.