Editor’s memo:Zimbabweans prisoners of Zanu PF

WE live in a surreal country where anti-reformists from the Zanu PF element in the inclusive government work overtime daily to keep the nation and its people under subjugation and in poverty for the sake of their political expedience.

These hardliners have become contemptuous of the national interest and their sole mission is to reduce the country into a jail and us citizens prisoners trying to escape. They have no respect for either political or economic agreements they appended their signatures to and their level of intransigence continues to increase with each passing day.

They are masters of the blame game for their own mistakes and misjudgements.
When Zanu PF and the two MDC formations signed the global political agreement (GPA) last year, I thought the former ruling party had awakened to the realities of modern democratic governance and was prepared to play a pivotal role in the reconstruction of the country. I was mistaken.

Since the inclusive government was inaugurated in February last year, Zanu PF has been shredding the GPA with reckless abandon. I have no doubt that it entered into this marriage of convenience with the intention to use the MDC formations to gain international goodwill and to mend the economy in the vain hope that along the way, the electorate would abandon the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

It is startling to read in the publicly-owned, but state-run newspapers, that Zanu PF hardliners are attacking members of the international community after they called for the party and its partners to fulfil the GPA – a pact the three parties signed out of their own volition and commitment.

The Fishmongers, a group of wealthy nations led by the United States and Britain, met in Oslo, Norway, last week and agreed that they will only fully re-engage Zimbabwe and bankroll its reconstruction if the nation fully consummates the GPA.

In Zanu PF’s eyes, the Fishmongers will never loosen their purse-strings until they see the back of President Robert Mugabe. But the group never made that statement. Why should we prejudge them when they made it clear that they remain ready to respond positively to “tangle progress” in implementing key provisions of the GPA.

The Fishmongers are simply asking us to address our democratic deficit if we are to again become a member of the international community and enjoy the benefits thereof.

The group of the wealthy nations acknowledged several steps the inclusive government has made, among them, the establishment of the Electoral and Human Rights Commissions, the adoption of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill, and the recent granting of licences for independent media by the ZMC, but was quick to say they were not enough.

Among their concerns were the lack of respect for the rule of law, which Didymus Mutasa has helpfully illustrated this week, protection of fundamental freedoms, and the slow pace of progress in improving governance.
“We urge the parties to accelerate the implementation of their outstanding commitments under the GPA,” the Fishmongers said in their statement. “The lack of progress in this area undermines the ability of the inclusive government to deliver the change which ordinary Zimbabweans expect, and hampers full re-engagement with the international community.

“We share the concern of the private sector, both international and domestic, about the negative consequences of the recently published regulations on indigenisation for the already fragile investment climate.”

Who can quarrel with that? The country needs institutional reforms which include the easing out of army generals who have pronounced their political affiliations, demilitarisation of state institutions and overhaul of the army, the police and other state security organs so they serve the people instead of a political party. We need to open a new democratic chapter if we are to be counted among successful nations.

I am disturbed why Tsvangirai and his party are failing to respond firmly to Mugabe and Zanu PF’s intransigence. Is it that Tsvangirai has now succumbed to the trappings of power to the extent that he has developed a lackadaisical attitude? For how long is he going to stand aloof while Mugabe and his hangers-on continue to destroy this country?

Constantine Chimakure

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