TRANSITIONAL AUTHORITY THE ONLY WAY FORWARD
by Tapson Muchena
2 February 2021
It is time to put in place a new and different way of doing politics in Zimbabwe because the current party system has failed us and brought us to the brink of ruin.
ZANU PF’s oppressive, exploitative and manipulative structures have cowed the populace, conflated party and State, and ensured that power and wealth are concentrated in the hands of party chefs and apparatchiks. The past 41 years have been a travesty of government and good governance.
Hope was born in 1999 with the emergence of Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic change but that hope was effectively stifled when ZANU PF stole the 2008 election and denied Tsvangirai and the MDC their right to rule. The MDC has limped on since then and morphed into various manifestations which, instead of fighting against the system, have been fighting one another to become part of the system.
In the last 12 months, we have witnessed the recall from Parliament of MDC Alliance MP’s in a move which many saw as a ZANU PF-inspired ploy by Thokozani Khupe and Douglas Mwonzora to crush the MDC opposition. In recent weeks, now that Mwonzora has displaced Khupe, he is moving to consolidate power by recalling more legislators from Parliament as well as councillors who continue to defy him and remain loyal to her. Khupe herself is refusing to stand down as parliamentary Leader of the Opposition. What is particularly reprehensible is that these machinations should be occurring under the cover of the COVID-19 emergency.
Apart from making ineffectual addresses to the nation, Nelson Chamisa has largely disappeared from sight and his MDC-A has been emasculated. It must be exceedingly painful for grass roots supporters who still share Tsvangirai’s 1999 vision and ideals to see what MDC has become. The “people’s project” has been destroyed.
It may seem that ZANU PF is tightening its grip yet again but that is not necessarily the case. The ZANU PF government is in peril. In an attempt to avoid economic collapse and unlock funds to fight the current COVID-19 pandemic, finance minister Mthuli Ncube made a passionate appeal to international institutions to help the government to clear billions of dollars of debt and arrears owed to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank. Ncube wrote to the International Financial Institutions in Washington that the government and economy are near to collapse and raised the spectre of an implosion of the state. His pleas were rebuffed because the IFI’s recognise that Zimbabwe’s problems are rooted in politics not in economics.
Zimbabwe is in economic crisis that is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 40 years of looting, mismanagement and unbridled corruption have impoverished this jewel in Africa. In recent times, the combined effects of the 2019 drought and Cyclone Idai, shortage of foreign currency, contraction of agriculture, electricity, and water production have forced more than 50% of Zimbabweans into food insecurity. Fiscal mismanagement and bungled de-dollarisation have precipitated depreciation of the local currency and high inflation. Ongoing local currency depreciation and disruption of production, trade and tourism by COVID-19 will continue to drive inflationary pressures for the foreseeable future. Economic collapse will be the trigger for the collapse of the Government of Zimbabwe and it appears to be a hair’s breadth away.
The people’s question
I have been listening to a number of ordinary citizens on the streets of Masvingo town and to others with whom I am in contact throughout Zimbabwe. In short they are saying we are stuck with ZANU PF and we will continue to suffer because there is no alternative. They keep raising the question, “If ZANU goes, who takes over?” Their question highlights the pressing need to assemble a Transitional Authority as a credible and capable alternative that, in the event of a government collapse, stands ready to step into the void, take control of government and set Zimbabwe on the path to recovery. ZUNDE has previously canvassed the idea of a Transitional Authority but the political landscape was not as conducive then as it is today. There are many talented, credible Zimbabweans scattered around the globe and now is the time to engage with them to explore how we can constitute such a competent and effective Transitional Authority to stand in waiting, prepared to step in.
This is the reality we now must face: ZANU PF is not the way. MDC is not the way. It is imperative for Zimbabwe to find a different way founded on good governance and the rule of law.
Governance is not government. No, governance is the sum total of relationships between a government and citizens and those relationships are at a low ebb in Zimbabwe right now. A prime focus of the Transitional Authority must be to right the relationships between government and citizens in Zimbabwe.
Our problems are not in the West, nor are our solutions in the East. Our problems are the greedy jackals among our own people and the false prophets among us who have worn us down. Our solutions are within our own hearts and in our own hands. Achieving good governance in Zimbabwe requires providing African solutions to African problems, and our culture and traditions provide us with the means to do so. The way out of ALL of Zimbabwe’s problems can be found in the traditions of Hunhu/Ubuntu. African politics must be grounded in African philosophy. We have to be truly African in the modern world.
Good governance is the key. And the key to good governance in Africa is hunuism/ubuntuism.
Nyika vanhu, the nation is the people. Vanhu vanhu nekuda kwevanhu, people are people because of people. We have to be true to our African traditions: recognition of our common humanness and our connectedness is the African way. The Transitional Authority will be tasked with discerning and delineating hunuism/ubutuism to inform the process of striking a balance between tradition and change, continuity and stability as they chart the way for establishing Zimbabwe as a truly African democracy.
The way forward
ZUNDE is a unifying political movement. We are in dialogue with all and we are in competition with none. We are a catalyst for interaction that will generate a critical mass to usher in principled government in Zimbabwe. We seek to transform politics in Zimbabwe once and for all. We seek to establish the politics of principles and values, and we totally reject the politics of personalities. We seek to establish a peaceful, free, democratic, and prosperous Zimbabwe based on good governance, equality of citizens, and the rule of law. We are about finishing the revolution started by our ancestors and the heroes of the liberation struggle whose primary aim was to usher in a democracy based on the wishes and aspirations of the people.
We are serious about establishing a Transitional Authority. We invite contributions from those many talented, credible Zimbabweans scattered around the globe who will help us to define how we can constitute such a competent and effective body to stand in waiting, prepared to step in. We are not looking for theorists, we are seeking pragmatists who are prepared to be members of this body because they are committed to building a free, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe characterised by good governance and the rule of law.
Is ZUNDE seeking power? No we are not. Are we seeking regime change? Yes we are. But we are seeking more than regime change – we are seeking to change the way that politics is done in Zimbabwe.
We are seeking to bring together those who are committed to the politics of principles and values and who are ready to step in to rebuild our nation.
If that is you, please contact ZUNDE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tapson Muchena is an academic and a keen observer of the Zimbabwe situation.