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Whither Zimbabwe after 2013 elections?

This contribution is motivated by my profound and unquestioned love for my country and the equally deep fears Zimbabweans now harbour regarding its future.

Elias Mudzuri

The Zimbabwe 2013 harmonised elections have come and gone, but not their consequences. As a policy maker, I am indebted to Warren Park constituency and Zimbabweans in general for having faith in my person and the MDC as a political party. I retained the Warren Park seat convincingly.

Thank you Warren Park for the faith and confidence graciously bestowed upon me.

It’s now been three months since the new government took over power in the dubiously won 2013 elections. As I sit in the august house of parliament and socialise with many Zimbabweans, the question that comes to my mind is whether this is the government that the people of Zimbabwe really want?

The reason why I am questioning the credibility of this “new” old team is because most Zimbabweans already have more questions than answers on the situation obtaining on the ground, especially on the direction this country is taking.

It is crystal clear that theories have been thrown about on the outcome of the past elections. Many Zimbabweans are not clear of what really transpired during the voting process and the ultimate result of that same election.

In the MDC, we strongly believe that the elections were stolen and others feel that as a party, we did not do well. As Zimbabweans, we must know that when anyone takes power by whatever means, that government must deliver the social, political and economic goods to the people.

In their 2013 election manifesto, Zanu PF promised on delivering 2,2 million jobs to the people of Zimbabwe, substantially increasing the salaries of civil servants, even without checking what the Treasury holds for the country and also increasing the energy capacity of the country, just to mention a few of the grandiose promises.

Zanu PF dubiously took power and they should have put in place a 100-day programme of action that would make people believe that they deserved to be in government after 34 years of doing the same thing. The signs are not just there even of simply jump starting this economy. According to Karl Marx, one can rig the election by any means necessary but one cannot rig the economy.

In trying to profer a solution to a new Zimbabwe, fellow Zimbabweans must start debating now on the trajectory which we want our country to take. Industry and commerce must sit and debate. Zimbabwe is a rich country and if well-managed, we can pay the unemployed youths and women an unemployment benefit allowance. So industry and commerce should debate on whether this is the government that we want for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.

Chiefs, as the custodians of our culture and heritage, still have a big role to play in shaping a nation that we want. They should debate on whether this is the government that they want. They should ensure that citizens of this country are not victimised on political grounds. There is no Zimbabwean who is more superior to another.
Chiefs should be a bastion of good leadership and democracy. They should rule their people fairly and advise state leaders on fairness, transparency and accountability. Ruling on partisan and patronage lines should be a thing of the past especially in their areas of jurisdiction.

Most Zimbabweans are asking what the role of the church is in this sad political drama. Since time immemorial, the church has been a couldron of goodwill and splendid court. Its role has been to fight injustices and letting righteousness flow in the land.

The church must debate on the government that we are looking up to. People should not be led by thieves, murderers and con men. The church should play a realistic role of ensuring that a government which holistically serves Zimbabweans is in place.

Although I might sound a bit idealistic, with the nature of our “new” old government, I think it is necessary to do so because the “new old guard” is ruthless. I have not forgotten the youth and the women in this set up. The youth and women should play a pivotal role in this political snake and ladder game.

Where do the youth and women stand? What is their role in this government? Where is their future with this government? Then, the youth and women need to debate on whether they feel that this is the government that they want.
The youth should ponder on whether they have a future in this country.

Minerals are being looted and corruption is rampant in the “new” old government. The cases of Godwills Masimirembwa, Oliver Chibage and others are a case in point. Where is the stake of the youth in all this? The youth should have a questioning attitude, for they are the leaders of today and tomorrow.

Leadership decisions should be shaped by the grassroots people and not a predatory elite. A decision that comes from the top normally finds no takers on the ground. The government that we want should have this in mind. In this; let me hastily invite political parties to be part and parcel of the reflections on the government that we want.

The fate of Zimbabwe should not be a one-size-fits-all affair. Zimbabwe needs a multi-stakeholder approach if it is to go back to the bread basket status. Leadership must work for the people and not for selfish interests.

During my time as the Executive Mayor of Harare, the team in the council was now working like Zimbabweans no matter the results we achieved in less than six months of my taking office.

While pondering on the government that Zimbabweans want, Civil Society must be firm and state the government that it wants. Civil Society must start walking the talk that ought to be corroborated by their huge budgets. They should have their structures cascading to the ground, if we are going to democratise Zimbabwe.

In this, I am referring to Civil Society engaging itself holistically, to the democratisation process of Zimbabwe.

Possible scenarios for the MDC-T
There have been some calls for leadership renewal in the MDC after the July 31 elections.

It is a truism that the party did not expect such a dismal result, especially after the party’s impressive showing in 2008. It is true that debate should be encouraged if we are to build strong institutions that will shape our governance systems.

Personally, I feel there are several scenarios that should be looked at in that regard. I profer five scenarios and I believe one from the five can shape the destiny of the party or its demise:

Scenario one:
The status-quo remains and MDC go for the 2016 Congress with the current leadership.

Scenario two:
There is an urgent Extraordinary Congress before 2016.

Scenario three:
Morgan Tsvangirai and the whole team are contested at the 2016 Congress and a new leadership emerges in the MDC.

Scenario four:
Morgan Tsvangirai is the godfather of the party. He steps down ceremoniously and a new leader is elected. He becomes a “Mandela” of the party. Structures are re-engineered including the party constitution which will limit the future party president to two terms only.

Scenario five:
Morgan Tsvangirai does not step down. He keeps the support base and those not happy can form their own party or join the various sprouting political outfits in the country.

With the above scenarios, I think debate can be initiated with the hope of finishing the democratisation process of Zimbabwe. There should be a national debate on these and other issues. The MDC is still alive but without introspection and debate, Zanu PF will rule this country until the cows come home.

People need mature, serious and an integrated approach to change.

Elias Mudzuri, is a former Executive Mayor of Harare, Minister of Energy and Power Development. He is writing in his personal capacity.

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