By Martin Stobart
To be frank, the late former president Robert Mugabe made so many errors of commission and omission during his 37-year rule.
However, in my singular opinion he also omitted to groom a successor.
What this country is going through is a direct consequence of omission by the former head of state. He was not only preoccupied, but overly obsessed with the preservation of Zanu PF and his leadership of it.
Soon after ascending to the highest office in the land, President Emmerson Mnangagwa set about dismantling the structures of democracy as they existed then and made nonsense of the constitution of Zimbabwe as if the constitution was not a product of the collective effort and consensus of the people of Zimbabwe.
This wanton subversion of the collective will of Zimbabweans, who for four solid years painstakingly and conscientiously gave the Constitution Parliamentary Committee (Copac) their views and opinions as to the sort of constitution which was a fitting and ideal replacement of the British sponsored “compromise” Lancaster House constitution, demonstrated to everyone the peddled myth that his incumbency at State House was instigated by his desire to remove Mugabe’s “cabal” from government.
Under Mnangagwa’s leadership, Zimbabwe is doomed politically and economically. He has been at State House for close to three years and yet it feels longer.
The country is overcast with a pall of doom and gloom; the future is uncertain. The economy has collapsed; the politics is rotten and toxic; the churches, the opposition parties, the workers, the medical fraternity and the legal passion, all these have been effectively balkanised.
It’s not as if I inadvertently omitted to mention the judiciary, for I haven’t. The institution has been severely compromised. It’s looking ordinary and is generally viewed with odium, disesteem and mistrust by the public.
Mnangagwa has expended millions of US dollars to effectuate and consummate this feat. And is not sweating at all! The opposition is in a disarray. Nelson Chamisa is the “boy” that he has always been, too verbose and in spite of his few years in politics, he is finding it difficult to shed the tag.
He mixes politics and religion. The latter is sedative. The former is practiced on hard ground, more often than not with bare knuckles. Serious politicians don’t go to hospitals and prisons to pray for the sick and the incarcerated. I am just being bluntly candid with the young opposition leader.
Unlike Mnangagwa whose speech delivery is severely handicapped, Chamisa’s lacks punch and potency and is interlarded with Biblical allegories, parables, similes and metaphors.
Mugabe was a devout Christian who would charter a plane to fly to the Vatican to see and hear the Pope speaking from the balcony while he (Mugabe) sat in the Basilica Square. He struck a balance between politics and religion very successfully.
It could be said that both Chamisa and Mnangagwa direly need coaching in public speaking. Both of them are national leaders, that much we grant them. Given his experience, Chamisa must now mature into politics otherwise Zanu PF will continue to ridicule him.
The late Morgan Tsvangirai made the same cardinal error that Mugabe made. He did not bother to groom a successor, only to do so when he was terminally prostrated on his death bed, and by the strangest of strange means, he intimated his preference of successor to one of the MDC Alliance leaders in the person of Professor Welshman Ncube, if the media reports must be believed.This is now water under the bridge, though.
Meanwhile, the opposition MDC-A and other organisations such as the church representative bodies and certain NGOs are misleading Zimbabweans by supporting targeted sanctions imposed by EU and US. The sanctions, if indeed they are and not so-called, have propped up Zanu PF since they were imposed.
The ruling party has been and is using them to cover up their mismanagement of the economy; their human rights violations, their abductions and murderer of innocent Zimbabweans; their wanton subversion of the will of Zimbabweans by unilaterally amending the constitution even before it has been fully harmonised.
This is a tantamount to a coup, a second coup, albeit a soft one. I am 80 years old this year and I have seen both the good and the bad: The past injustices of the erstwhile colonial governments, the iniquitous rule and corruption of Zanu PF under Mugabe and now the most brutal post-independence government led by Mnangagwa.
By franchising private passenger transport, Zanu PF is campaigning for the 2023 general elections. More is coming. Zanu PF under Mnangagwa is executing its strategies in such a way that come 2023, there will be no functional and effective opposition in the country.
The MDC-A leaders are being bullied and humiliated as if they are tots in a creche. Come 2023, the country will effectively have an undeclared one-party state system.
By advocating for the continuation of sanctions, the opposition are holding the wrong end of the stick. Instead, sanctions must go yesterday so as to expose to the world at large the suppressive rule of Zanu PF.
The manner in which Zanu PF is abusing parliament should be cause of concern to the British, the US and the EU and indeed the UN.
The constitution of Zimbabwe, in section 88 chapter 5, states that executive authority derives from the people of Zimbabwe and is vested in the president who must exercise it through the cabinet, subject to the constitution. I have already alluded elsewhere in this article to the fact that Zanu PF has mutilated the constitution to smithereens.
Everything happens in the politburo and the central committee, the cabinet only rubber-stamps.
What we see and have seen is government without a constitutional mandate to govern; a rogue government; and a government whose modus operandi is for all intents and purposes little short of brigandage.
Mind you, we are all endeavouring to construct a new world order going forward into a post-modernity world. The missing nexus here is democracy. There is an imperative need for universal democracy without which no other form of world order and unity will work.