A Shameful Betrayal Of National Independence

FELLOW citizens, once again we commemorate the great occasion of the independence of our country from colonial and imperialist rule.

April 18 should always be an opportunity for us as a nation to reflect, take stock, and define new trajectories. This particular 28th commemoration is like none of the previous ones.

We are in uniquely invidious circumstances. Our economy has virtually collapsed and industries have ground to a halt. Our society is calibrated by fear, terror and outright brutality. Our national institutions of governance have been rendered dysfunctional and impotent.

We have had harmonised general elections, and 20 days later the results of the presidential polls are not yet released. One of the key objectives of the liberation struggle was attainment of the one person one vote dispensation. Twenty eight years after Independence, our people are denied this basic right.

Opposition supporters are being brutalised and killed in the rural areas under an unprecedented terror campaign.

This is the state of our nation on Independence Day. It is ironic that we should be celebrating the birth of our freedom in the prevailing climate. What a travesty of justice, principle and national interest!

There is a method to the Zanu PF madness we have witnessed in the last three weeks. Mugabe’s strategy is pure and simple: Regain control of parliament by crooked means, win a run-off (or re-run) of the presidential elections by using brute force and blatant rigging, and thus control the Senate as well. As a result of these efforts, Zanu PF will be back in complete charge of all the three arms of government.

Thereafter, the objective is then to force and harangue a bludgeoned and brutalised opposition into a government of national unity.

Mugabe now knows that he will never win a free and fair election in Zimbabwe. Hence, if he agrees to any new election it is clear that he would have put measures and systems in place to ensure his victory by any means necessary.

This is why participation or lack of it in any new election involving Mugabe is a huge decision conundrum for the opposition: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Let us further interrogate the Zanu PF game plan. What does Mugabe need to execute his evil strategy? Time.

All that the post-election shenanigans have served to do is buy time for the dictatorship to carry out the necessary intimidation and violence, while putting the requisite rigging mechanisms in place.

Zanu PF strategists know that after they announce the results they legally only have three weeks to the run-off. They toyed around with the idea of demanding 90 days, but dropped the proposition on realising that they could not legally sustain it.

The tactic then adopted was to hold onto the results until they have done most of the dirty work, and release the hung presidential results when they have only three weeks of evil steps to implement.

A variation of the plan at that stage is to allege gross and systematic patterns of misconduct and irregularities, declare the presidential elections null and void, and call for a re-run instead of a run-off.

Yes, Robert, we know what’s up. However, we are glad that you also know what time it is.

In terms of the House of Assembly, the agenda is to fraudulently seize at least nine seats from the opposition through recounts and court action leading to re-runs.

This explains the 23 recounts that ZEC has instituted. There is clearly criminal collusion between ZEC and Zanu PF. To add insult to injury, this unholy marriage is dutifully consummated by a compliant and pliable judiciary.

For the record, the farce about hung presidential election results without a clear winner should be rejected with the contempt that it deserves.

Mugabe lost the election and Morgan Tsvangirai won with an outright majority.

What Zanu PF has successfully done is to psychologically prepare the nation for a false result through massive propaganda, unmitigated lies and manipulative distortions. It is clear that Zanu PF’s keenness to portray the results as hung means that the results are the opposite ie we have an outright defeat of Robert Mugabe.

 It is shameful that even regional leaders and the international community have been duped by Zanu PF’s big lie. All these discussions of run-off or re-run options are testimony of, and submission to, the power of a duplicitous Zanu PF. Mugabe has won the psychological warfare.   

It is sad that in all this perversion and destruction of the Zimbabwean national interest, the illegitimate regime of Mugabe has a partner in crime in the name of the SA President.

Yes, Mr Mbeki there is a crisis in Zimbabwe. We are sick and tired of your shameless antics. You clamour that Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa, and yet you treat us worse than your mother’s backyard.

Whatever credibility and political capital you had left from Polokwane, you are busy dissipating with reckless abandon. This is not how one constructs a basis and rationale for the African Renaissance or New Partnership for Development.

Shame on you Thabo Mbeki! Indeed our cup of patience with you has run completely full. How can you be an effective mediator between the Zimbabwean political parties when you show such shameless duplicity, poor judgment and spinelessness? Zimbabwe and Africa deserve better leadership than this.

Going forward all opposition parties, in particular the two MDC formations must work closely on all matters affecting the national interest. They ought to co-operate in the way they tackle the current political stalemate in our country.

While the two MDC formations acknowledge that they are two separate political parties, they must irrevocably agree and undertake to work as one in the legislature. In this regard they will have one Chief Whip and a single caucus. They will agree to vote together in order to drive the transformational agenda in our country.

There must be a solid and binding coalition and co-operation agreement between the two formations.

Our MPs will never vote with the dictator’s party. We cannot work with criminals, economic saboteurs and social deviants. Put simply, the opposition is now in charge of parliament with 109 MPs, period. That’s

where the game is at Robert. Get over it. The self-serving and speculative hallucination among Zanu PF apologists must stop. The opposition parties are united in their total onslaught on the regime.

 In a way, the people of Zimbabwe and the opposition forces are underestimating the critical role and power of the House of Assembly. This is probably because for the past 28 years it was rendered a docile and ineffectual institution due to its domination by Zanu PF. Now that we are in control of this legislative organ of the state, let us demonstrate its true function and impact.

The 110 opposition MPs must informally convene, immediately. They should elect the Speaker, and outline a comprehensive agenda for the incoming Parliament. Items that should be debated and adopted must include but are not limited to: (1) Impeachment of the caretaker President, Robert Mugabe (2) Removal of Aippa and Posa (3) Establishment of processes for achieving a people-driven democratic constitution (4) Immediate prosecution of public servants, including military and police officers who are currently abusing their authority (5) Establishment of processes to rationalise the land reform program (6) Setting up of a Truth and Justice Commission for Gukurahundi and Murambatsvina (7) Immediate removal from office, and criminal prosecution, of the RBZ Governor, Gideon Gono (8) Dismantling and reconstitution of ZEC.
Although this gathering of, and resolutions adopted by these 110 MPs will be informal, a framework will be established. As these MPs constitute the majority they will use this informal platform to drive the parliamentary agenda. This will send shivers down the spines of that illegal cabal running our country, as reality will suddenly sink in. 

By Arthur Mutambara

Prof Mutambara is leader of a faction of the MDC.