IT’S been a rather tiring year. Lots of activity and speculation on the political front and yet we finish the year no better off than we were at the beginning of the year. In fact, we have regressed in all sense of the word. It’s really been much ado about nothing and the sad reality is that, despite his clear incompetence, President Robert Mugabe is still at the top. In my opinion, if anyone has wasted our precious time it is Mugabe and his coterie who really have nothing new to tell us.
Guest Column,Vince Musewe
The sanctions song will not work anymore, we are tired of the excuses. The delusion that China will save our economy soon continues only at State House. Zimbabwe needs a rebirth.
In 2016, I hope that opposition political parties do not wait for 2018 because there are no guarantees that we will get free and fair elections then. Even if we did, I suspect that the Zanu PF rigging machine is already in place.
There is absolutely no way they can win a free and fair election and they know it, especially with a 96-year-old at the helm or First Lady Grace Mugabe. It is unbelievable actually that we have got to where we are and the audacity of Zanu PF to think that they remain the best solution for Zimbabwe. That is rubbish, its time for them to go and the sooner the better.
I have always said that the best solution for Zimbabwe is a sincere coalition of democratic forces, that challenges the status quo as a united front against tyranny. We tend to spend too much time critiqueing the past and in that process we lose the fact that we are in a de facto dictatorship that continues to preside over a failed State.
In my opinion, let’s assume that everyone has value to add for the moment towards democracy and let us then come together with that view. We need to get out of a burning house and it is no time to worry about who drives the fire brigade. What we need to do is to put the fire out and then look at how best we can proceed.
I think the best case scenario for Zimbabwe is for the MDC-T to come together with People First. Assuming that the latter will finally establish a political party early next year. I would also add that an election pact must be put in place where, in the event that the coalition wins the elections Morgan Tsvangirai can become President, but only for one term. Then followed by Joice Mujuru for another term and that will take us to 2028. If we are agreed on that, we would all stop wasting our time and focus on developing the country in the next 10 years. We have too many political brands, too many critics whose only role is to shout from the side-lines without adding any value whatsoever.Other opposition parties can then join the coalition either under Mujuru or under Tsvangirai, depending on their preference.
A number of people have argued vociferously about both individuals, that Tsvangirai has failed and that Mujuru has a soiled past. That may be true, but that doesn’t get us out of the Zanu PF problem.
For the next election we will need solid plans and numbers. In my opinion, Tsvangirai brings those numbers whether we like it or not, while Mujuru gives us access to the army and intelligence constituency, something that the MDC-T has failed to capture over the years.
The problem with us is that we debate too much and do nothing to make change happen. There are a lot of views out there particularly in the diaspora, but in my view, they remain just that — opinions that will not lead to change on the ground. We will have to use what we have for now and its best to gather our energies and resources around an MDC-T and People First partnership.
In my opinion, we can all add tremendous value to such a coalition as long as those within the MDC-T realise that they are not entitled to power. Over the last year, I have sensed this entitlement mentality where some within the MDC-T believe that it is only them who can become the next government and that everyone else must fall in line with their motives. That is rubbish because I do not believe that our best brains are necessarily within MDC-T.
I like Tendai Biti’s idea of a technical transition body that takes over the economy. I would advise both Tsvangirai and Mujuru to look for additional talent outside their political boundaries. Historically, our best brains have stayed out of politics, but we now need to apply all our talent to reviving the economy. We must appoint people to important positions because of talent and competence and nothing else. Whether this is possible at all in politics, I don’t know.
As for Zanu PF, our best case scenario is that Grace becomes its President because she is clearly incompetent. That would make the choice for voters very easy — for continued decline they can vote Zanu PF, but for progress they must vote Zanu PF out of power — the choice is clear.
I have no doubt that 2016 is going to be another year of continued speculation and political intrigue. However, if we do not find a unifying solution going forward, it will continue to be a political rat race where the best rat wins.
Zimbabweans are resilient as Mugabe declared recently, but it is not out of choice especially when he has repeatedly imposed himself upon us. We need a new vision for Zimbabwe and we need fresh brains and new energy at State House that’s the truth.
I pray that 2016 becomes a year of critical junctures, where things change significantly so we can really begin to re-build the Zimbabwe we want.
- Vince Musewe is an independent economist based in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org