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Samora Machel’s warning to Zimbabwe on Mugabe: not yet Uhuru

By Blessing Vava The month of October casts a dark cloud over of our Mother continent Africa, as it swallowed great revolutionaries ...

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

THE NCA CONGRESS..DEFINING THE FUTURE


By Blessing Vava

On the 28th of September the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) will be convening its historic congress at its headquarters, Bumbiro House in Harare. The congress meets after the last General Assembly then in 2006, and presented an opportune moment for the movement to reflect on its failures and successes since its formation in 1997. Our fight over the years has been the fight for a people driven constitution. Mindful of the founding vision of the NCA of ‘a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and united country founded on human dignity and social justice’ and mission ‘for Zimbabwe to have a new, democratic and people driven constitution,’ the NCA have never lost sight of what it’s seek to achieve despite the obstacles that it has encountered over the years. In 2000 it successfully blocked Mugabe’s sponsored constitution, mobilising Zimbabweans from the length and breadth of our country to vote NO in the referendum held in February the same year.

The rejection was as a result of the historical processes, the National Working People’s Convention (1999), which clearly espoused that the writing of a new constitution should not be led by individual or political parties. The same resolution was also articulated by the Zimbabwe Peoples Charter (2008), giving NCA solid reasons and justification to reject Article Six of the Global Political Agreement, (GPA). In all these events the NCA agreed that the writing of a new constitution be open, owned and driven by the people of Zimbabwe. The NCA had seen the shortcomings of entrusting those in political offices to write a constitution for the whole nation, thus rejecting Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement.

To NCA, Article 6 fell short of what we in the organisation believe in; it relegated the people of Zimbabwe to be mere spectators in the writing of their own constitution. How retrogressive were our former friends, the 2 MDCs, whose founding nucleus was the National Working People’s Convention, have also reneged from that principle. They threw away the NWPC agreement the moment they joined Mugabe’s bandwagon. Selling principle on the altar of political convenience: revolutionary movements do not renege from principle. It is these historical documents and events, the NWPC resolutions and the Zimbabwe Peoples Charter that NCA will continue using as tools of analysis for complicated day to day social, economic and political matters.

Against this background, the NCA remained principled despite the foolish, childish and rather false claims that the NCA existed to siphon donor resources for survival. It is no secret that when COPAC was established the NCA refused to be part of that charade and some donors tried to manipulate the NCA to be part of that bandwagon. A notion we totally rejected.

It is during that time that some donors from the western world dumped the NCA for its refusal to support the inclusive government constitution making process. Over the years we have learnt a big lesson that for any struggle to succeed it has to be a principled struggle and that the issues of money must never compromise on the goals and objectives to be achieved. Proudly, our movement has grown from strength and the dedication by the membership must be saluted. They have stood the test, contributing the little from their hard earned cash to fund the organisation. Such dedication and commitment is motivated by the desire for a prosperous and democratic country. For that reason, prophets of doom who wished the collapse of the NCA were totally shamed.  Therefore, as we define a new path on the 28th of September, It is that steadfastness, commitment and principle that will enable any movement to live long. 

The politics of the land today have dramatically changed and as such we have to re-organise ourselves in this new terrain. Our struggle for a people driven constitution will forever be at the forefront until victory is achieved. Thus this congress is about setting the foundation for the future for our beloved country.

This congress will set an agenda and program for the democratic revolution. It is a stepping stone towards a society, a political culture that accommodates debate, disagreements and differing opinions without labelling of comrades as sell-out, lost, traitors or counter-revolutionary.

As a revolutionary movement, the NCA have learnt especially at a time when donors dumped it that a movement can be sustained by its membership. This could not have been achieved if it did not have committed cadre within its ranks. This is why the membership coming to this historic congress has taken it upon itself to fund for own transport and accommodation.  Such levels of sacrifice are indeed a reason to celebrate.  As we continue recruiting, our membership must be disciplined and commit voluntarily for the good of the movement.  Those obsessed with material or personal gains have no place in our ranks. 

Hence, this National Congress affords us the opportunity to account for our stewardship over the past period and at the same time devise strategies and map out plans for a bolder and better future.

Thus, the demand for visionary leadership has never been so compelling. On the same vein and as an organisation, we revile in strongest terms the continued disparaging slander by some self-imposed political commentators and analysts on casting aspersions on the integrity of the NCA and its leadership.

Our colossal challenge going forward is to ensure that we remain true in our course in building unity and cohesion in our movement. If we look back at the road we have traversed in the last years, so can we be confident that as the revolutionary organisation we have stood the test of time and emerged unscathed by the challenges that came before us in our persistent struggle for a democratic constitution that will also seek to improve material conditions of the people and making our people to live their own lives for the better.

Our resolve for unity and cohesion remains unshaken; our mission to champion a new democratic dispensation remains untiring. We therefore wish our delegates fruitful deliberations on the day of congress.

Blessing Vava is the Director of Information for the National Constitutional Assembly. He can be contacted on blessingvava@gmail.com

Thursday, 8 August 2013

14 Years of Catastrophic Leadership




By Blessing Vava

Robert Mugabe... legacy restored
Zimbabwe finally conducted its 7th general election on the 31st of July 2013, however with an outcome that left both the winners and losers in shock. As we approached the polling day, there were notions thrown all over on the lack of preparedness, lack of funding and some citing the inadequacy of key reforms  for the conduct of a credible poll. Many will recall that as early as 2010 ZANU PF was already calling for elections despite the fact the fulfillment of the Global Political Agreement was yet to be realised. ZANU PF was determined to have elections at whatever cost. Even their 2010 conference resolutions at Marymount Teachers held on from the 15-19th of December, the party insisted. ‘’The party resolves that at the expiry of the term of the Global Political Agreement with the two MDC formations on the 15th of September 2008, and the inclusive government born from there from on 13 February 2009, the country must hold harmonised elections..’ read their conference resolutions. Every conference held December yearly would come with the same resolutions that elections must be held in March of the following year. The Bulawayo 2011 conference carried the same message the Gweru conference re-affirmed in 2012. And it was the completion of the constitution making process that gave ZANU PF the salvo to insist on an early poll, also mindful of the reality that the parliament was expiring on the 29th of June.

And all these years this party (ZANU PF) was putting its machinery in-order in preparation for the elections, they never rested. However, as for the MDC-T the massive defeat shocked them because they never expected such a drabbing. It came to them like a veld fire, and as usual they were caught napping with no clue, no strategy or plan and one wonders why they hadn’t learnt from the experiences of the previous elections since 2000. One would have thought and expected that the 2008 poll experience was sufficient a learning curve for the MDC-T

Of Empty Promises

Despite childish and kindergarten threats by the party’s youth leadership, who, during their rallies, got excited and  declared that they were ready to defend the vote in the event of an unfavourable outcome they seemed to have prophesied. With the shocking unfavourable outcome, the MDC youth assembly top-brass have now resorted again to making empty threats on Facebook, venting their anger and plastic bravery to defend what they term a ‘stolen’ vote. Funny, how a spineless lot make such noise. My brother in-arms Job Sikhala dismissed them as cowards who cannot even mobilise a fly. Many will recall the noise they made when some of their party activists were arrested in Glen View, two years ago and there was the youth assembly threatening to floods the streets demanding the release of the jailed activists.   The MDC youth leadership need to come to terms with reality and admit that they are a spineless lot who are good at making empty threats when excited by a crowd during campaigns. What this lot fails to realise is that their supporters had trust in them that they would protect their vote. The same can be said of its mainstream leadership especially the party’s president Tsvangirai who at Chibuku Stadium declared “Let me tell you now, no-one will stand in the way to block your aspirations. This vote will count. Just get out in your numbers and cast your vote. With your help, I will defend the vote,” What is important here is to note the absence and backtracking on these promises at a time MDC-T supporters are over and about yearning for a sterner leadership and direction.
MDCT's Last Maengahama..no single protest demanding his release

 Like in all the elections they participated (MDC), routinely, it has become a habit to dispute the results, rush to the courts to challenge the outcome but experience should have taught them by now that it’s merely a waste of time.  Zimbabwe’s electoral environment has still not changed, and the MDC was very much aware of the state of the media, the absence of the voters roll to mention a few, but foolishly they still participated expecting to win. People recall that in 2008 MDC-T had cited irregularities with the voters roll yet they spent 5years in government paying little if any attention to its redress with the exception of course of lip-service at rallies. What is striking is their audacity to enter an election without a voters roll and come out crying. Hope is an integral part for human survival and movement building but when hope is based on fictitious imaginations it becomes foolishness. Clearly the party is lacking a critical and robust leadership, they based their strategy on disillusioned prophecy, that, Mugabe is too old and will die and they will take over. What nonsense!! The dictates of realpolitik clearly state that the essence of a political party is to assume power based on a grand strategy and not these prophetic hallucinations of a promised land on a silver platter.  They never thought Mugabe would spearhead his campaign. He seemed even more organised than Tsvangirai, whose campaign was void of clear policies rather than insults even to the people he was seeking votes from. The dramatisation of Mugabe’s age in this election was equally striking it became the MDC-T anthem yet the electoral process had a more important aspect which was the electoral playing field.

The reality of the matter was that this election was beyond the scope of the voter. All that mattered was the mechanisms that had been put in place ahead of the election; this is where the MDC failed Zimbabweans. The constitution that they helped author backfired barely six months after its adoption. As they celebrated the ‘YES’ vote in a referendum that had a lot of irregularities, they rubber-stamped a ZANU PF victory in the elections. Indeed, it was the cosmetic approach to the so-called reforms that characterised their stay in the inclusive government.

Equally important to note that the MDC was aware of this reality but they put their faith in morality, in essence they failed to safeguard what could have been their edge.  The grand question is how one attaches morality when dealing with a perceived immoral megalomaniac. In all their campaigns they gave false sense of security to the voters only to show their cluelessness at a press conference. Even when Wananchi (Biti) released the money for elections a few days before the polls were held was a clear show of confidence of victory.

Now that the results are out they have so far indicated some of their strategies. They have indicated that they are approaching the courts; however their court appeal is definitely not going to see the light of the day, basing on the nature of our judiciary system, with all the judges being appointees of the President. Also reminding them how the MDCt leadership has been thrashing the courts left right and centre. They surely must not expect a favourable ruling. The same with the SADC/AU appeals, all these bodies had observers on the ground and declared that the elections were free credible, the MDC must expect the same response from them.  The jurisprudential precedence of challenging electoral outcomes on incumbents will surely manifest itself. This is another clear defeat and misplaced case of hope.

 Apart from that, as a strategy also, I’m told that the party had considered absconding parliament in protest of the election results, a move which was likely to be defied by most elected officials. Of course to most of them it was more of the individual interests rather than political. This I say because the MDC is not a vanguard party, but a movement of disgruntled fellows in which anyone can call the shots, unlike ZANU PF.

ZEC Iron Ladies..Rita Makarau and Joyce Kazembe
Morgan Tsvangirai has failed to offer decisive leadership, his cluelessness and pampering of the masses with a prophecy that Mugabe will die in 2months will simply demobilise what could be an agitated electorate. Politics requires an astute leadership that seizes opportunities and redirects them with concise aptitude. Above all he owes Zimbabweans an apology for conniving with ZANU PF in rail-roading them to adopt a constitution that gave too much power to the President (typical of the Zvogbo 1987 creation of the executive presidency). The MDC lied to the masses that the new constitution was a yardstick to a credible election and would ensure ‘democratic consolidation.’ No-one will forget in March this year before the referendum when Tsvangirai and Mutambara were paraded by Mugabe to announce and defend the appointment of Rita Makarau as the ZEC chairperson. To many of us we remained sceptical, but however the former Prime Minister repeatedly assured us that Rita Makarau’s appointment was ‘unanimous’ and ‘progressive.’ And also that he (Tsvangirai) was confident that ZEC will efficiently run the referendum and the elections. Such are the pitfalls of misplaced faith!  We wonder why he is now attacking an institution he set-up?

The Future: Progress vs. Regression

Morgan Tsvangirai..time to handover baton
Reality must also quickly don in his mind that he has failed and its time to give others a chance. It’s good to leave with the little remaining dignity rather than to be embarrassed again in the 2018 elections. You have played your part Morgan, history will record that there was once a courageous  man who led a once vibrant movement, but failed to be the president of the country. The more he will hang on the more disintegrated the MDC will become. Surely it is evident that the centre can no longer hold anymore. Staying longer will just produce the same ZANU PF culture that the people are fighting. Leaders must come and go, pave way for fresh blood with new ideas and strategies

For ZANU PF this election result was a good farewell to Mugabe, his legacy has been restored and indeed the succession headaches in ZANU PF will no-longer trouble him. He will deal with it in his own time and pace, whatever will happen to him between now and 2018, no longer matters, whether he resigns or dies in office during this period a ZANU PF president will take over. WOO, the new constitution scrapped the bi-election for president, Zimbabweans will be governed by a ghost they did not elect. This is why the party was pushing so hard for elections to be held early no matter what circumstances.
 nb: views expressed in this article are personal.

Blessing ‘Vuvuzela’ Vava is a blogger who writes from Chipinge. He can be contacted on blessingvava@gmail.cm, twitter @blevava


Thursday, 25 July 2013

31 July…AN END OF AN ERA?



Tsvangirai Should have learnt from Odinga

By Blessing Vava
It’s now a few days to 31 July 2013, a day set for Zimbabwe’s make or break harmonized elections. The day is finally upon us despite doubts on the credibility of the elections, but it is here. The elections give an end to the Global Political Agreement and the Government of National Unity, transitional mechanisms initiated by SADC for Zimbabwe’s political players to work together to create conditions for the holding of a credible election.

Surely, we had the inclusive government since February 2009 and despite the cat and mouse relationship between the parties, there were moments of closeness and coziness characterizing the period these parties worked together for us to finally reach this day. Credit, we give them for attempting to stabilise the economy by stopping the economic nosedive (hyper-inflation) that had reached alarming levels due to ZANU PF’s mis-governance.

 Commendably political violence was reduced and indeed this election is one of the most peaceful ones the country has ever witnessed in recent years. Political party leaders should be applauded for their continuous calls for peace. The inclusive government also managed to draft a new  constitution, which however gave too much power to whoever will become the president of the country: some of which powers Mugabe has already started exercising include constituting the constitutional court, proclaiming dates of polls and the temporary powers etc.

Above all, there is really nothing much on the inclusive government for the people of Zimbabwe to celebrate for it was an unpopular government that they were not voted by the people. Rather, it failed to respect workers, students and ordinary Zimbabweans at large. The expenditure on trips and luxuries was exorbitant and often came at the expense of service delivery, investments in agriculture, industry and key tertiary services which obviously had an adverse effect such as local authorities recording the highest and worst cases of corruption since independence.
Outwitting his opponents-President Mugabe

During this period some became too comfortable and reluctant to go for elections hiding under the cover of reforms, reforms they failed to undertake for the past four years as the inclusive government was basically incepted to deal with those issues.

However, many hope that this time a government of their choice is going to come out. Nevertheless, looking back at the inclusive government one can notice that it was a fertile ground for ZANU PF to dupe their opponents and dump them once achieving what the party wants. The four years did more harm than good to the MDC. They somehow lost focus, forgetting they were dealing with deceitful partners who took the four years to plot their downfall. In most cases the MDC was found defending government positions they would have normally attacked in previous years. They found themselves mud slung into embarrassing situations – many still recall the Chinotimba-Mahlangu scandal over a cellphone, the Prime Minister’s love triangles (or hexagons) , demonstrations by civil servants over salary increments, war veterans demanding compensation  and farmers’ castigating the Minister of Finance for failing to avail farming inputs among other issues.

ZANU PF since signing the GPA has always been in an election mood, their focus was on retaining power after the collapse of the GNU. The party has always been mobilizing its supporters since 2010 while the MDC was basically demobilized. The MDC came out tainted with the love for opulence and corruption scandals which also involve their leader Morgan Tsvangirai. In short they were exposed as minors in government who failed to realize that the GPA setup was not a permanent creature, but a temporary measure to create a conducive environment for elections.

Certainly this was is it and they have no one to blame when the election result comes out not in their favour. It was this comfort zone that alienated the MDC from the reality of the hardships faces the masses who had voted for them overwhelmingly on 29 March. Despite increasing alarm by the media, civics and generality of the people over voter registration irregularities the MDC either turned a blind eye or chose to be deaf. It seems they failed to learn from the Odinga catastrophe.

It is however, a public secret that ZANU PF is a sunset party, which has not won a free and fair election in recent years. But it is the party’s craftiness that will see them winners after a rigged poll, which is now likely to be endorsed by the regional bodies. ZANU PF has scored success in rallying the region to endorse an electoral outcome that is in its favor. The recent SADC Communiqué and President Zuma’s reigning in on Lindiwe Zulu is a clear example of the region’s succumbing to ZANU PF pressure. The MDC and its allies have chosen to be economic about the truth by falsely celebrating SADC Summits outcomes that otherwise undermine its capacity to govern through a free and fair election. Hiring supposed political scientists to interpret a clear message of rebuttal and developing theoretical frameworks in dissecting political temperatures in the region is not sufficient and will not garner the gusto to avoid a rigged election.

From the look of things, this election is likely to go in Mugabe’s favour basing on a number of reasons. In my view it is clear that the two MDCs aided ZANU PF to rig/win the forthcoming polls. It will be naïve to think that a miracle will happen on the 31st of July and see Mugabe disposed from power. They won’t be any miracle votes, NO, the ground has already been prepared for Mugabe to win, and he is now preparing to give his speech at the UNWTO and officiating on Heroes Day as Head of State.

Zanu PF knew that the inclusive government was not permanent and desperately wanted it to end, once discovering they had done their homework. It was only after they successfully manipulated the electoral system that they wanted elections soonest. The impetus is their President’s age and health so the sooner the polls are held and they secure a victory for him by hook or crook the better! Good for them because the constitution says if the president dies his party forwards a replacement.
 
Silenced by Mugabe-Lindiwe Zulu
For a party that had enjoyed monopoly of governance for 28 years, party echelons saw how boring and difficult it is to share power. This is why when they joined this government their focus was on re-strategizing, finding tactful and technical ways of manipulating the electoral system to their advantage.

The last election was disputed because of violence and hence Mugabe’s purported victory was heavily de-legitimised, something which they addressed basing on the lack of a peaceful environment which almost all the observing bodies seemed to agree to. Minus violence it will be difficult for anyone to dispute rigged polls by Mugabe. The nation recalls the 2million signatures against sanctions, we all laughed when this ‘exercise’ took place, the 1million march, the demarcation of constituencies, the convenient statements by the army. Has anyone wondered the silence among the generals over this election? Have they yielded to ‘reforms’? Do we still remember the outcome of the referendum and the voting patterns? The election will not be rigged on the 31st of July as some might think; rigging is something ZANU PF has worked on for all these years and the results were sealed on 16 March 2013 when Zimbabwe went for a referendum.

Voter Registration

In Kenya Raila Odinga’s fate was sealed during voter registration and similarly the way the voter registration exercise was conducted in Zimbabwe clearly shows how serious ZANU PF rigging machinery wanted to manipulate or rather safeguard the 16 March outcome during the coming elections. The figures released by ZEC indicate that the rural areas especially in Mashonaland (ZANU PF’s strongholds) recorded highest numbers of first time voters ahead of the towns. The process in towns was tedious, frustrating and had bottlenecks that disenfranchised thousands of first time voters to register as voters.  In some areas there are claims that ZANU PF was conducting its own voter registration probably in connivance with ZEC.

The Voters Roll - A tale of a neglected stepchild 

The voters roll is still not yet in the public domain despite that it’s barely a week before
Mugabe loyalist-ZEC Deputy Chair Joyce Kazembe
we go for polls. The Research and Advocacy Unit release alarming irregularities on the voter’s roll with at least 1million invalid voters appearing while the legible are disenfranchised. This election must be remember in history as the first election in post-independence Zimbabwe in which voters were not accorded time to inspect their names. The way the special voting was conducting raises suspicion. Many a times the MDCs have always complained about the voters’ roll yet it is this critical document that they gave little if any attention during their tenure in office except for the pronouncements at rallies.

Memories and Tremor-The June 2008 Horror

The fear-factor, with memories of the 2008 elections still lingering in the minds of most Zimbabweans, most societies are still in fear and will not vote freely, I also think the MDCs did not do much in terms of penetrating those areas to demystify the threats by ZANU PF

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, despite the parties agreeing to reconstitute the commission, the commission is full of ZANU PF apologists especially at the secretariat level and provincial, most of the ex-military personnel and personalities who once served in ZANU PF, (I do not see them announcing a defeat of Robert Mugabe) even the chairperson’s credentials are questionable especially in light of her recent utterances over the ‘special’ vote.

Apart from these factors, the opposition parties’ failure to come up with one coalition gives an advantage to ZANU PF. The mainstream MDC failed to realise that Mugabe was playing chess with them by supporting the alienation of Ncube from the Monday meetings. ZANU PF knew well that disunity at that level will mean an impossible attempt at a ‘Grand’ Coalition. And as the process unfolds we are likely going to see high figures for ZANU PF especially in the rural areas as witnessed during the referendum, this they will justify by the turnout in their primary polls and the turnout at Mugabe’s rallies.
 
Assigned to 'deal' with the voters roll-Tobaiwa Mudede
In conclusion, the MDCs stay in government was ephemeral!!! I do not foresee a defeat of Mugabe this time around, for this election is about his legacy, this is probably why his speeches are historical narrations of the liberation struggle. They will do all they can to ensure a victory for him. Change is certainly not coming soon as some might want us to believe, they surrendered this election to Mugabe long back. The 31 July poll, will just be a mock-election to rubber-stamp Mugabe’s stolen victory. Of course the other contestants as usual will complain of vote rigging but it will be difficult to prove though. They will rush to the constitutional court (Justice Chiweshe of the 2008 election results drama) which will prove futile as the script is written already. They missed it in 2008, failed to put the mechanisms to avoid rigging whilst still enjoying state power. On July 31st ZANU PF will simply unveil the MDCs tombstone which they murdered and buried on 16th March!!!

Blessing 'Vuvuzela' Vava is a blogger from Chipinge. He can be contacted on blessingvava@gmail.cim, twitter@blevava

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Zimbabwe's harmonised elections a 'delayed' match

Mugabe-The biggest winner in Maputo
By Blessing Vava
On the 15th of September 2008 Zimbabwe’s three political parties, ZANU PF, and the two MDCs signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA), a settlement aimed at resolving Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis. In signing this agreement ‘ALL’ the parties fully committed themselves and agreed to work together, to ‘create a genuine, viable, permanent, sustainable and nationally acceptable solution to Zimbabwe’s situation, reads Article 11 of that agreement. What this meant was that it was the responsibility of all the political parties in the unity government to ensure that Zimbabwe’s political and economic situation returns to normalcy.

Needless to say, the GPA encompassed reforms to create an even environment to lead us to a free and fair poll. The GPA was thus a temporary arrangement, all the parties were aware. The GPA had to address some of these issues, to mention but a few, economic recovery (Article III), Sanctions (Article IV), a new constitution (Article VI), Media Article (XIX). It also provided for implementation mechanisms, (that we will discuss later). But the question of the day that every democracy loving Zimbabwean is asking today is when the elections are going to be held since the country now has a new constitution, and also cognisant of the fact that parliament expires on the 29th of June this year.

Already we have had three significant events that happened in the past few weeks. The first one being the Jealousy Mawarire case in whose ruling, the constitutional court compelled the president to proclaim an election date by the 31st of July. The second event was the gazetting of the electoral amendment act and the invoking of the temporary powers by the President in gazetting the dates of an election. Third, was the Extraordinary SADC summit on Zimbabwe  held in Maputo over the weekend which then acknowledged and respected the ruling by the courts but at the same time ‘urging’ the government through Minister Chinamasa to approach the constitutional court for an extension of the election date as requested by the other parties in government. Already Chinamasa has done so. The simple message from SADC through their communique and previous summits held was its acknowledgement that Zimbabwe will resolve its own problems. In this case it is now Chidyausiku who is has technically substituted Zuma as facilitator; the decision now entirely rests in him not the ‘false victories’ we read about in the local media. The resolution on Zimbabwe was a victory on Mugabe; the communique was quite strong on Madagascar that SADC will not recognise any outcome on any election results with candidates who violated that country’s constitution and the Electoral Laws of that country. 

But was the SADC communique really about reforms?  Some local newspapers, political parties and civil society groups rang bells of joy, they rang loud that the summit had punished Mugabe. However, the sound is now low, and becoming faint by day as reality is now dawning that it was Mugabe’s victory not the other way. After the constitutional court ruling on the appeal by Chinamasa it will now be difficult especially to those whose bells have been ringing recklessly. We know theirs is not really about reforms. Maybe it’s a case of lack of preparedness, or the realisation that ZANU PF has already ‘technically’  rigged the election before it has been conducted but it is now difficult to prove or rather  discredit because the referendum and the coming of a new constitution left them with no moral ground to discredit the polls. A referendum held under such an environment was supposed to be a cause of concern to all these parties. Not even to mention the alarming figures of the YES vote especially in the ZANU PF strongholds despite the low turnout.

Hence the chorus of security sector reform and media reforms before we go for polls is a lost battle. One wonders then how they are going to achieve what they failed to push for during their disastrous though luxurious stint in the infamous government of national unity?

It would be grossly unfair if we fail to remind the MDC that during the referendum, they campaigned for the adoption of a new charter for the country giving us assurances that the new constitution would create a conducive environment for the holding of elections.

Whereas groups like the NCA vigorously campaigned for the rejection of the new document mainly citing Chapter 5 of the constitution which provided for the post of an executive president. A president with the sole responsibility of appointing judges, the judicial services commission and so on. The nine judges constituting the newly established constitutional court are all Mugabe appointees.

 We did raise our voices that the political environment was not level to ensure not just a credible referendum but an election as well. Only fools thought that the referendum was of a lesser importance probably that’s why they called us ‘nhinhi.’ Little did they know that nothing was as strong as the need to demand reforms to allow a free and fair referendum? In short, the referendum proved to be a dress rehearsal for ZANU PF to rig the coming elections. The contents of the draft and the environment in which it was passed under are fundamentally skewed. It was only the three parties that got favourable airplay in the media whereas those campaigning NO were shut out only to be invited on ZTV two days before the referendum.

But, the GPA’s mandate was to look into the issues of reforms, media to be more specific. It was provided for in article X1X of the GPA, but the parties chose to forward, lists of their people to compose bodies like the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission etc, it became political appointees rather than professional. And parties like ZANU PF will be saying, we now have your people in ZMC, ZHRC, JOMIC so we did reforms. Haaa!!    The reforms were supposed to start right at the inception of this GPA. This whole period till the 29th of June 2013 is indeed an election period.

Some parochial minds think they will achieve reforms in two weeks whilst they failed to push for the reforms in four years? It defies simple logic. Not even on a single day did they threaten to pull out of government because of reforms, not even about the Glen View 29 who are still languishing at Chikurubi Maximum Prison for dubious allegations,  but well, they did threaten to pull out after Mugabe refused to swear in Roy Bennet as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Turning back to the implementation mechanisms, provided for in Article XX11 of the GPA, which meant to address the following: 22.3
The committee shall have the following functions;
(a)  To ensure the implementation in letter and spirit of this Agreement;
(b) To assess the implementation of this Agreement from time to time and consider steps  which might need to be taken to ensure the speedy and full implementation of this agreement in its entirety
(c)  To receive reports and complaints in respect of any issue related to the implementation, enforcement of this Agreement
Just to remind that these were some of the responsibilities of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), but, alas, the fact that all the parties forwarded their personnel we hoped that this body was supposed to deal with the issue of reforms, the same withe Zimbabwe Media Commission and Human Rights Commission. Rather, JOMIC turned out to be a cash cow; instead, their implementation mechanism was in the form of amassing resources, sleeping in hotels and driving top of the range vehicles, which indeed became their pre-occupation.

As for the MDC-T, it became a cry-baby, always trying to get sympathy from the people of Zimbabwe now that the election is now around the corner. It has now turned to attacking any opposing viewpoint to it tending to label them either ZANU PF or sell-outs.

This I am referring to their attacks on the NCA and other individuals whom the party thought they were sympathetic to their cause. We have worked together fighting the ZANU PF hegemony in the past decade but they chose be part of a sinking ship, probably in the hope of reforming it. Rather it proved that they just joined ZANU PF’s gravy train of corruption and violence. So sad that the MDCt now want to criminalise those appearing in the state media labelling them traitors and yet they have been enjoying these spaces during the last four years in government. Ours is not a fight against the MDC as some narrow minded individuals are now viewing it, rather, it is a principled position in defence of the National Working Peoples Convention resolutions and the Peoples Charter.  As the NCA, we were against a government of national unity, rather we advocated for an independent body to be in charge of the transitional period. Hence to those in doubt, I do wish to set the record straight that the NCA will neither be MDC nor ZANU PF because the two parties have failed the people of this country, we are our own people and will remain guided by the Peoples Charter, which all these parties have failed to embrace as a guiding document towards a truly democratic Zimbabwe.

As we go forward we must know that reforms are not a two week event but a process that requires time, honesty and the political will. Not to talk of reforms on the eve of an election, it doesn’t work. Reforms were supposed to be the main agenda of the inclusive government, not Discovery 4 vehicles, not trips to Legends of the Seas, not the abuse of Constituency Development Funds, not even expensive and allocation of residential and commercial stands in local authorities that characterised their stay in government. The GNU did not benefit the people of Zimbabwe and hence it must not be extended, Zimbabwe does not belong to three political parties they have had their share and now they must allow Zimbabweans to exercise their democratic right.

Blessing Vava is a blogger from Chipinge. He can be contacted on blessingvava@gmail.com