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GNU must not stifle debate

THE thrust of the inclusive government whose term began in February is towards addressing the political polarisation in the nation, fostering national healing and leading the drive towards economic revival.

However, we should always bear in mind that it is a negotiated settlement between the MDC and Zanu PF.

This has resulted in a scenario in which all key reform issues and activities are negotiated and not openly debated. This means that the majority of the population have been disqualified in participating in this discourse by these parties.
It is a political environment that few understand, save for those involved in the closed door negotiations. Institutions like parliament, the media, civic society and the judiciary are reduced to mere spectators and cheer leaders. It is a Munhumutapa affair.
Even court cases –– such as those of Roy Bennett and Jestina Mukoko –– have been used to gain leverage on the negotiating table.
The unfortunate result is that the inclusive government has bestowed upon itself the role of bringing about the political and economic transformation of Zimbabwe.
It is all about the capacity to manipulate the machinery of power ––  Zanu PF using its control of the security forces, and the MDC its wide support base and perceived access to international capital.
Genuine parliamentary debate has thus been excluded from this set up.
Zanu PF fears a society where truth and justice prevail is trying to engineer change that ensures that it remains in control.
The MDC is trying to squeeze all of the power and leverage it can from Zanu PF’s 29 year grip.
The problem with this scenario is that it becomes a deterrent to the achievement of progress. Civil society and all other platforms for dialogue therefore risk breaking down as intermediaries between the state and the people.
More than ever Zimbabweans need now to be vigilant in demanding space for debate. This will allow us to guard against the trappings of power that the inclusive government is susceptible to. Otherwise what passes for temporary might become permanent.
However, the inclusive government is much better than Zanu PF’s minority rule.
Yet, even the best form of government is susceptible to betraying the people it serves.


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