Next year’s election not a priority

PAIN and duty continue to require that I return home to Zimbabwe, a troubled country for which a population I care for continues to battle with some of the most complex and difficult situations our generation has ever faced.
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We have become the subject of arguments that sound the same and yet bear no common ground. In the hearts of many, silent prayers are being said that as a nation our current predicament may one day be to us all a point of historical reference.


The ruling Zanu PF and the opposition MDC come to us claiming to have programmes to see us through to a country in which we will be content, self-governing people. The difference between the two is the emphasis they place on the definition of a truly independent country.


The MDC insists on the freedom of the individual (liberties), property rights and transparent rule while on the other hand Zanu PF believes in a country where freedom is not narrowly interpreted to mean fairness no matter what previous injustices that need correction.


The party seems to ridicule the enjoyment of “cosmetic” freedoms, the right to expression, assembly and association which it deems are less important than the right to a means of survival such as land, water etc.


It seems to work towards a goal in which discussion of freedom and fairness would seem inappropiate and premature if it were entered before society had access to the means of production. They argue that without giving people the resources that empower them, they will always survive under the control of alien forces financially and mentally.


As a nation we need a society in which entrepreneurial ambition is not the preserve of those who, through colonial injustice, deprived us of the opportunity to compete economically for over a century.


We need to look at ways through which the disadvantages imposed on us through colonial greed can be uprooted from our system. Those who benefited from settler racism against blacks in the then Rhodesia must embrace the reality that the patterns that characterise ownership and distribution of wealth or use of natural resources in our country speak of an urgent need to revolutionise wealth redistribution in Zimbabwe.


However, even if we entirely agree on this, we need to have the freedom within that agreement to change our leadership, to hear and judge for ourselves approaches the different leaders are proposing for that common goal we share as a nation.


We need no coercion nor anticipate punishment for choices we make for ourselves. By now we should be aware that whatever the outcome of the March election we are going into the same impasse we have been caught in since 2000. Whoever wins, we are going to endure another five years of desperation as it is clear they will not accept defeat.


For the opposition it is their case that without new and fair electoral rules the outcome of the election should be disputed if they participate.


For the ruling party it is their case that victory by the opposition is a way back to recolonisation and that such an outcome should be resisted if it happens. That is our crisis.


Why then should we go into elections whose outcome will only cause further misunderstanding? The economy should not be allowed to remain at the mercy of a few. We need once and for all to accept that the priority here is not elections, but laying foundations on which our country must survive.


We need to come to terms with two realities – that our country needs a new framework for the continuation of a well-managed and transparent land distribution exercise and a new constitution that creates a free and democratic country.


We cannot go ahead with elections whose outcome will be rejected.

No one wants political repression nor would anyone rejoice in poverty caused by systems devised by deprivation and injustice of any nature.


Our national agenda must be to make, before these elections are held, complete non-partisan transformation in the two important areas of our land and constitutional affairs.



Courage Shumba,

UK.