By Pearson Mbalekwa
IT is expected that after a very strong and devastating Eddy with a trail of destruction and misery in its trail, victims would start to pick up the pieces and begin to rebuild their live
s when the dust has settled down and losses counted.
But alas! The political hurricane which I shall term “Hurricane Destruction” has continued to cause havoc and mayhem and will not subside until every standing natural and man-made structure is destroyed.
It is now nine months since the so-called plot to unseat the senior leadership of Zanu PF by six provincial chairmen that included some Young Turks and a few old guard politicians, were accused of contravening party regulations and condemned to political banishment by those who wield state power within Zanu PF.
It is a fact that Hurricane Destruction has torn the threads of the party from the seams, no matter what (secretary for administration Didymus) Mutasa or anyone says.
Zanu PF will never be as coherent as in the past and certainly the die is cast; the wheel of change is turning, the stage is set and the countdown is about to begin towards an advent that will certainly change the face of Zimbabwe politics forever and, initiate a collapse of a system that had started very well but which has now suddenly abandoned its course and has become afraid of its own shadow as it moves towards oblivion.
Why have things gone wrong; who has destroyed Zanu PF and for what? These are the questions millions of Zimbabweans are asking themselves.
The story of Tsholotsho has been told albeit by the beneficiaries of a political party that is fraught with hate, fear and a tyrannical leadership.
According to the presidium of Zanu PF and indeed those that are controlling state power, it is claimed that there was a conspiracy to remove the senior leadership of Zanu PF by a group led by six Zanu PF provincial chairmen, some members of the politburo, central committee, MPs, veterans of the war of liberation and that this conspiracy was hatched by former Information minister Jonathan Moyo.
It is further alleged that the beneficiary would have been Emmerson Mnangagwa, the current Minister for Rural Housing.
The actual coup détat against the constitution was not by the so-called Tsholotsho conspirators but by the politburo that sat at Zanu PF headquarters on November 18 2004 to undermine the party constitution.
The constitution was illegally amended to accommodate the preferred candidate of the political mandarins of Zanu PF when it had become clear that Mnangagwa was heading for a clear victory if the party procedure was followed to elect a new vice-president during the next congress which was due in December 2004.
These political mandarins felt Mnangagwa had to be stopped by every conceivable plot that could be hatched. Those members of the politburo that gathered at the Zanu PF headquarters on November 18 2004 totally and with no regard whatsoever to the requirements of the guiding principles of the party, usurped the power of the central committee which by its every nature is empowered to deal with constitutional matters.
The powers of the politburo are:
* to act as the administration organ of the central committee;
* implement all decisions, directions, rules and regulations of the central committee on all matters; and
* be answerable to the central committee on all matters.
It was presumed that since in Zanu PF posts are through patronage, this move by the politburo would put the matter to rest. The status quo in the presidium would remain save for the inclusion of the new princess of Zanu PF politics whose ascendancy, had been determined by the coup détat against the constitution that morning.
Why was the altering of the constitution by the politburo illegal and a coup against the constitution?
The answer lies within the constitution of Zanu PF which under Article 7 of section 34 (8) states: “the central committee being the principle organ of congress and acting on behalf of congress which congress is not sitting shall have full preliminary unfettered powers to amend the constitution, if deemed necessary, subject to ratification by congress”.
It is therefore crystal clear that the politburo acted ultra vires as it had no mandate nor authority to act in the manner it did.
It usurped the authority of the central committee thereby undermining the importance of the constitution to accommodate Joice Mujuru. The appointment was unprocedural and unconstitutional and the whole amendment of the constitution was equally illegal and whatever appointment that came through this illegal amendment is null and void.
According to Article 30 section 253 (6) of the constitution, if a two-thirds majority of delegates of the central committee is present, voting shall be required for the adoption of proposed amendments to the constitution and in this particular case, neither was there an assembly of the central committee nor the adoption of the amendment of the constitution on that November day – a real mockery of democracy.
It is therefore not difficult to see why the camp that usurped power has been very vicious in its retributions. In every coup, those who would have usurped power will use brutal force to purge their opponents and subdue any resistance against them. They always live in fear as they know that only brutal force and intimidation can ensure their survival.
It is not surprising therefore to realise that one newspaper (which supported the female candidate) is calling for forgiveness of the “Tsholotsho conspirators”. This is an act of desperation.
Vice-President Mujuru is the one who must be forgiven for coming in through a blatant coup against the Zanu PF constitution.
Those of us that attempted to introduce some semblance of democracy in Zanu PF became villains of the vanguard party, we had become unpatriotic to the senior leadership, we had to be reoriented to the requirements and dictates of a revolutionary party. Because we did not have (gwara) discipline we had to be sent to the party’s gulag archipelago to be reformed.
These Zanu PF gurus are experts in the art of stick and carrot strategy, they are now frantically trying to divide this formidable group by appointing some into ineffectual positions in government just to keep the leash on their necks while others are threatened to have their life-serving machines cut off. This is where the importance of political patronage comes into play. This is political blackmail which has worked so well in the past but the hold on this noose will soon break.
So was there a putsch about to take place organised by the so-called Tsholotsho conspirators?
The answer is an equivocal no.
The truth of the matter is that only the vacancy left by the colossal and unifier of the flock of Zanu PF, the late Simon Vengesai Muzenda was being canvassed for by supporters of Mnangagwa. But, the events of November 18 2004 changed the whole plan as the political mandarins of Zanu PF had blocked this vacancy by the action already alluded to. This therefore necessitated a change of game plan so the original idea had to be revised and a total onslaught on the presidium had to be embarked upon with the exception of the president and first secretary but the rest had to be contested. All this had to be done within 48 hours. It was an elephant of a task given the fact that the other group had the referee and all the state machinery at its disposal. But yet, we put up a credible account of ourselves, a feat we all pride ourselves in. Of course one has to be proud to be associated with the so-called Tsholosho group, we were exercising our right to make an informed decision, the right to choose a person of our own desire. Is this not what thousands of our gallant heroes died for?
They died so that we could participate in national debates through universal suffrage. This is the right that I am ready to sacrifice all in order to attain. It is better to die trying than never try.
Time has now come for patriots to get together and contribute to a truly democratic Zimbabwe, which is not only independent but free. We now want independence with freedom. This is what the Tsholotsho group was aiming at and that aim must now be achieved by patriotic Zimbabweans through the unity and dedication towards this cause by all freedom-loving people.
Did I hear someone say freedom is within our sight?
A party that is incapable of upholding its own constitution cannot be expected to respect any other constitution. A party that does not believe in a free and fair election using its own constitutional guidelines cannot, and will never freely accept any challenge to its hold on power.
It is obvious that campaigning or canvassing for positions within the structures of Zanu PF by the Tsholotsho group was legal and constitutional.
There was no law nor regulations infringed by the Tsholotsho group. It is within the sphere allowed by a democratic system. May the political mandarins of Zanu PF be reminded that when there is congress, all positions are open for challenge including that for the first secretary of the party. That is what an election means.
Unless there is democracy within the ruling party, people should never expect Zanu PF to freely allow the political playing field to be even during any other election.
Democracy can only be practised by democrats. For all those that want to fulfill the aspirations of our fallen heroes, I dare them to (sungai dzisimbe) brace themselves for a gruelling battle in 2008.
The population of this country should and must ensure that the presidential election is held in 2008 and not further than that, as this country has economically and socially bled enough.
* Pearson Mbalekwa is a fomer Zanu PF legislator for Zvishavane.