As the first president of Botswana Seretse Khama put it : “Perhaps the time has come when we should sit down and look very closely at ourselves before we condemn, before we accuse, and try to determine where the fault lies, whether it is really due to interference of external powers or our own mishandling of our own affairs.”
I am aware of the many challenges standing in our way towards having a credible, peaceful, free and fair election. I have in mind our past which is replete with many injustices, frustrations and disappointments.
And all we can do is go on hoping. After every disappointment, however, we must find fresh reason for hope. What worries me daily, however, is why we find it difficult to develop institutions and a home-grown constitution that reflects our values, traditions, customs and culture, and our aspirations. Why has it taken our country so long to institute the regime of constitutionalism?
I am worried because the ruling oligarchy has, over the last two decades, been able to suffocate civil society, disenfranchise popular forces, plunder the economy and stunt wealth creation that could have confronted poverty, marginalisation and deprivation.
In coming up with the coalition government in Zimbabwe, the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement, Sadc and AU, desired to erect a house but they used a manure formula, and manure they got.
We are using a manure formula in developing national institutions and manure we will get. This will haunt us for generations to come. We appear to be reckless and this has serious implications for our national security, stability, sustainable development and reconstruction. The earlier we acknowledge this anomaly the better.
Let’s take for instance this sensitive example, reconciliation in Zimbabwe. Issues of reconciliation are closely related to issues of justice and accountability for past crimes and restitution or compensation for losses which have been experienced. We all know that peace without justice is most often not sustainable.
Think of the many orphans, widows, widowers, refugees and internally displaced persons, produced by Gukurahundi, fast-track land reform programme, Operation Murambatsvina, political violence before, during and after 2000. The Organ of National Healing has proved to be a useless nuisance. This again has negative implications for the elections envisaged to be held in 2011 and beyond that.
My reminder to those in power is that your behaviour, whether on national or international issues, materially and psychologically affects us particularly the youth, women, people with disabilities and the elderly. Your behaviour cannot escape observation and scrutiny by your subjects and beyond.
What Zimbabwe needs and needs badly are respectable institutions and principled leaders who will respect these institutions whether at national or international level. Let’s not just talk about our sovereignty but we also need to acknowledge the existence of domestic and international responsibility in the sovereignty we always talk about, Mr President!
After all is said and done, I hope for nothing but a free and united Zimbabwe, Africa and world. God bless Zimbabwe. Aluta continua! The struggle continues unabated!