By Wilbert Mukori
ORDINARY people were out en masse in response to the MDC’s “final push” call last week, but so too were the police and militia sent by the ruling party to ruthlessly crush all public protes
ts. In the end the large demonstrations never took place and I blame the MDC for that.
The MDC has failed miserably to capture the vision and imagination of the people of Zimbabwe and thus uproot the fear and siege mentality planted by Zanu PF.
If there were a free and fair election in Zimbabwe today the MDC would certainly win hands down. If you asked the electorate why they voted for the MDC the overwhelming response would be because they want change.
They would never say “because Morgan Tsvangirai and his fellow MDC colleagues are great leaders”!
In other words the people support the MDC because they want to get rid of Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF ruling party.
On the face of it, it is nonsensical that the police and the militia are fighting to keep Zanu PF in power even at this eleventh hour. Once upon a time Zanu PF had an army of Women’s League and Youth League to do the party’s bidding; the police and the militia were not needed then. The two leagues disappeared after they realised the economic prosperity the ruling party promised would never materialise.
The police and the militia, after a day’s campaign of terror and intimidation against ordinary Zimbabweans, go home to face the same shortages of fuel, food, etc. The very things everyone else is fighting to end.
The great majority of the police and militia, whose lives are as wretched as the rest of ours, have allowed themselves to become an instrument of their own oppression, perhaps because they see their actions as nothing more than carrying out orders. It is up to society at large, but more so those who aspire to be leaders, to educate these individuals that in a free and democratic society peaceful gatherings are acceptable and a healthy sign of a functional and free society.
When victims of violent repression are rounded up and driven out of hospitals, as happened at the Avenues Clinic during the recent demonstrations, those responsible are going beyond the call of duty. They are committing a very serious crime and they would be advised to ensure they keep a signed copy of their orders to do so. The MDC should be helping the victims file cases against those responsible for these and many other barbaric acts of the recent past.
Only a handful of high-ranking individuals and those hoping against hope that someday they too will be the top dog believe they are better off now and therefore benefit from maintaining the status quo. They ordered doctors at Parirenyatwa Hospital not to treat victims of police brutality, and the police and militia to drive victims out of the Avenues Clinic. What better way for the MDC to show that once elected they too will not become as brutal and self-serving as the current crop of Zanu PF than by actively seeking to have these Zanu PF wrong-doers punished.
Zimbabwe’s greatest fear today is that the same repressive laws and practices the nation has fought long and hard to end will still be there long after Zanu PF is gone. Indeed, many of them, like the Public Order and Security Act and government-controlled media are vestiges from the colonial days. Those responsible for the repression and the propaganda in the white regime’s police force and the print media were not punished by the Zanu PF regime but promoted instead.
“Same boot, same law!” one would say.
So far the MDC, like Zanu PF, has shown they have no vision. Why is Tsvangirai now talking about an election 90 days after Mugabe’s departure from office when he should be helping to fashion a democratic transition first? How can we have elections when Posa and Aippa are still in place and Tobaiwa Mudede running the show?
The final push did not happen mainly because the MDC failed to inspire.
Wilbert Mukori is a Zimbabwean writer based in London.