ZANU PF is really never going to fundamentally change in character and form.
GUEST COLUMNIST VINCE MUSEWE
I am not amazed at the amount of political intrigue and backstabbing that is now happening. It’s obvious that everything is on hold as we witness political drama and unprecedented treachery as the Zanu PF congress approaches. This is the result of 34 years of dictatorships that is fast crumbling at the centre.
It has been a summer of long knives.
The tragedy is that all this noise we hear is much ado about nothing really. I doubt very much whether President Robert Mugabe will ever stand down and I know that in essence, Zanu PF is really never going to fundamentally change in character and form. Our hopes for substantive change in direction and leadership must therefore not be too high;things will not change unless we make them change. In my opinion, political party congresses do not change the game unless a dear leader is booted out as happened with Thabo Mbeki in Polokwane.
What we are going to get in December is a mere shifting of chairs on the deck of the Titanic and the prospects for an economic turnaround are therefore slim.
The recent comments by the CEO of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority that he fears the First Family are a microcosm of our problem. Over the years Zanu PF has entrenched itself through a patronage system that is pervasive and permeates throughout all economic sectors. No wonder they are able to raise $1 million at a corporate dinner for their congress while companies claim that they cannot pay wages on time.
In other countries, the corporate sector is the gatekeeper of democracy and funds other democratic movements in order to keep political balance. In Zimbabwe, our corporate sector has been and remains the funders of a dictatorship and a patronage system. It will be difficult for us to destroy it.
To add insult to injury, the European Union has decided to re-engage with Zanu PF and I hear that there is even a possibility for them resuming direct budgetary support some time in 2015. I just cannot get the logic here and I am still battling to understand why.
Fundamentally the political environment in Zimbabwe has not gotten any better. This government, ie, Zanu PF, has not only failed to revive the economy as they threatened, but have deliberately dithered on aligning our laws with the Constitution.
Added to this, is the fact that our economic resources continue to be abused by Zanu PF at the expense of the country. If you then add to that the negative impact of the succession battles that we are seeing and the increasing likelihood of a Mugabe dynasty, surely this is a cocktail for disaster that cannot be supported by anyone.
I therefore remain not only curious, but highly suspicious of the motives of the West because if it is democracy they wish to see, they are clearly not acting in its interest nor are they acting in the interest of us Zimbabweans who want to create a better Zimbabwe.
On the issue of opposition political parties, we must now wait and see if the MDC-T is going to act any differently now that their congress is over.
In my view, we again have here a shifting of personalities without an obvious fundamental change in ideology or structure.
More important will be a change in strategy, they cannot hope for different results by doing the same things that got us where we are.
I wish them success.
The ousting of Nelson Chamisa is a curious development which must still play out.
I am of the opinion that the basis upon which we elect our political leadership remains questionable and rather opaque.
In my opinion, political parties tend to kill ambition, purge dissenters, stifle robust debate, promote loyalty and this commonly results in the mediocre prevailing.I hope to be pleasantly surprised.
Having said all the above, I remain convinced that Zimbabwe can only progress through a political settlement. Our political environment remains too polarised and the fact that a potential change agent such as the EU has decided to side with a dictator at our expense will make it difficult for outright regime change.
On the other hand, our opposition political parties remain disempowered while Zanu PF remains entrenched. Since the likelihood of a revolution seems slim, the only way out would be a political settlement.
But remember, political settlements only happen when either party has something to gain by settling or something to lose by not settling.
Unfortunately, I do not get the feeling that Zanu PF think that they have anything to lose and will do all they can to perpetuate a system that is working for them, but is clearly not working for the rest of us.
Transforming Zimbabwe from predatory rule into a political order that is more equitable and developmental which can address issues of growth, stability and poverty reduction will remain a complex and challenging political process that will not happen soon.
We have a serious dilemma.