We must reconfigure our governance systems

Zimbabwe Independent

MORE than enough has been said about the snowballing problems facing Zimbabwe and its citizens. A lot has also been said about the inability of successive Zanu PF governments to resolve these problems over the past 40 years. Be this as it may, Zanu PF as a party has persistently claimed electoral victory, but has systematically run down the country, as it seeks to benefit its patrimonial networks.

In the process, Zanu PF unconscionably and falsely claims legitimacy in governing the country, and also falsely claims political popularity — belying the stark contradictions, not least the vast public bitterness against it, the tension between government and its citizens as evidenced by frequent public demonstrations that it (Zanu PF government) ends up repressing, and the failed state of the economy under its “watch”.

Apart from the frequent ludicrous dissonant claims by the so-called “war veterans” that Zanu PF is entitled to govern the country forever as it “fought the war”, successive Zanu PF governments have over the years also claimed that all its actions, and hence mode of governance are democratic.

Are the majority of Zimbabweans missing something in this long persistent Zanu PF power retention, despite the economic failures, despite the public bitterness and fights that have frequently been deadly?

To be sure, a democracy is implemented via free, fair and transparent elections. the political party with the majority votes and representation in parliament, is tasked to form a competent, responsible and accountable government, often referred to as the executive arm of government overall.

Parliament as another arm of government, has the independent role to set laws for both the executive arm and citizens to adhere to. The judiciary interprets the just laws set up by parliament, any infractions of these laws by government and/or citizens being disciplined expeditiously in a deterrent manner, in accordance with the set down laws.

The constitution of the country, which is the supreme law, should provide for all these democratic processes and actions in a consistent and coherent manner — certainly not contradictory.

Quite contrary to the democratic modus operandi outlined above, successive Zanu PF governments have consistently been accused of meddling with electoral bodies and processes.

It is, in particular, accused of coercing the rural electorate into voting for it. In Zimbabwe’s Guerilla War — Peasant Voices, Norma Kriger convincingly attests to Zanu PF’s record of coercion from the days of the guerrilla war, right through to the post-independence era.

To understand why Zimbabwe laws allow the Zanu PF governments to meddle with electoral bodies, and hence election processes, it should be apparent that parliaments in Zimbabwe have never been independent and effective, being unable to formulate any laws as desired by various constituencies.

This is why Zimbabwe runs large corrupt governments, to benefit Zanu PF’s ever-increasing patrimonial networks — hence failure to deliver on energy, health services, public transport, among others. The Zanu PF governments have, for instance, refused pensioners’ requests for a review of pension and insurance legislation, instead insisting Finance Ministry through the Insurance and Pensions Commission (Ipec) unilaterally does it for them.

Martin Tarusenga, general manager, Zimbabwe Pensions & Insurance Rights.

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