by Ropafadzo Misodzi
12 May 2020
Mthuli Ncube’s letter to the international financiers must be taken at face value. Zimbabweans cannot ignore it. Ncube is clearly writing for good reason. All is not well financially in the corridors of power. It appears that we are on our last legs, begging again even though we have a poor record as international debtors. Without the political backing and muscle that Mthuli needs, we should all be worried. Those who
rule over us have plundered, pillaged, stolen, and trashed what we had, and it is all gone. We have showered blame on each other, and we are now tired. It is time to rise and move forward. Our politics is a huge mess, and we simply must think again. It is time to put our heads together and define a new narrative, a different way of doing politics that defines us as Africans.
Zimbabwean people have been infected by a bad governance virus that has cowed them into human beings lacking hope. We are now beggars living on the edge, living such unfulfilling lives we have become content with being utterly and perennially poor. Power and wealth are concentrated in the hands of a few party chefs, apparatchiks, their surrogates, and a few corrupt individuals. 40 years of bad governance have yielded nothing but misery and pain
and distorted lifestyles which we have grown to accept as normal. The worst thing is that it is not going to get any better any time soon.
Our hopes and aspirations for democracy died on 14 February 2018 with the passing of Morgan Tsvangirai. What followed within the democratic movement is encapsulated in the Shona expression, kutungana kwembudzi (goat fights that benefit no one). They are still going on as I write. Those involved in these goat fights keep fighting each other as if that will bring the nation better days and the long-awaited democratic change. They seem oblivious to the fact that whoever emerges as the winner will be going back to a divided people – people much worse off and further apart than ever before. In the meantime, we can either continue to hold our breath while they fight, or we can persist in our fight for our right to self-determination. A fight like this among the ranks of the opposition, those entrusted with winning political power, can only mean one thing – it is no longer about people-power and servant leadership. It is about “who eats at the high table”. It is about them and for their benefit.
So, it would seem that the ZANU PF government is in peril, otherwise Ncube would not have written his letter of 2 April 2020. In an attempt to avoid economic collapse and unlock funds to fight the current COVID pandemic, finance minister Mthuli Ncube is pleading with international institutions to help the government to clear billions of dollars of debt and arrears to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank. In his 2 April letter to the international financial institutions in Washington, Ncube writes that the government and economy are near to collapse and raises the spectre of an implosion of the state. Ncube’s pleas are falling on deaf ears because the IFI’s recognise that Zimbabwe’s problems are rooted in politics not in economics. His cry for help is a long shot judging by what we have seen before. The Zimbabwe economy has been in comatose for over 20 years. Yet ZANU PF politicians seem to hang on as if there is still something they can steal. What do they care about what the people really want anyway? We, however, must not stop preparing and planning for our future governance concerns as a people. It is quite possible that economic collapse will be the trigger for the collapse of the Government of Zimbabwe which appears to be hanging on by a fine thread.
The people’s question
Listening to ordinary citizens on the streets of Zimbabwe and chatting with those I talk to, they keep saying they will continue to suffer because there is no alternative. I get a picture of a frustrated nation losing hope by the day. They keep raising the question, “Who will take over when those donkeys begin growing horns?” Their question highlights the pressing need to assemble a team from all over the world, a provisional body, or a transitional administration of credible and capable men and women of good record and reputations from across the whole spectrum of expertise, regardless of their political or other afflictions. It is an opportunity to look at what we have as a nation, to put aside our political toxic differences for the good of the nation, and to maximise the skills base that we have across the globe. This team must be able, in the event of a government collapse, to stand 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. In this set up ZUNDE will be happy to coordinate this effort, starting with putting together a skills database. 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 body to stand in waiting, prepared to step in.
This is the reality we now must face: ZANU PF is not the way. They have undoubtedly failed us for 40 years. The MDC and their good intentions have been at it for decades and have reduced themselves to a team of activists fighting each other. It is imperative for Zimbabwe to find a different way founded on African good governance and the rule of law.
What will our governance model look like? Governance is not government. Not at all! Governance is the sum total of relationships between government and citizens. Those relationships are at a low ebb in Zimbabwe right now. A prime focus of the transitional body must be to right the relationships between government and citizens in Zimbabwe when the time comes. But the ground preparation must begin now. Our problems do not come from the West, nor are our solutions to be found in the East. Our problems are in the mindset of greed, hate, intolerance and self-hate that has crippled us for decades now. Mugabe brought us politics of hate and we have embraced it fully. If you are not with us, you are the enemy whose head must be crushed, so we now believe. The greedy jackals among our own people and the false prophets among us 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 values provide us with the means to do so. The way out of ALL of Zimbabwe’s problems can be found in the concept of Hunhu/Ubuntu. Hate, corruption, intolerance, self-hate, and greed are totally alien to hunhu/ubuntu. We need to do politics the African way, (zvinehunhu). African politics must be grounded in African philosophy because that is who we are and what we know best. We must be truly African in the modern world if we are to become giants in Africa again. Good governance is deeply rooted in this noble African philosophy. Nyika vanhu, nationhood means people. Vanhu vanhu nekuda kwevanhu, people are people because of people. We must be true to our African culture founded in our values that recognise our shared humanness and our connectedness. That is the African way. The transitional body will be tasked with discerning and delineating hunhu/ubuntu to inform the process of striking a balance between tradition, change,
continuity, values, principles 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 of some sort. We invite contributions from those many talented, credible Zimbabweans scattered around the globe who are ready to volunteer and 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. That is the people’s prerogative and call.
Are we seeking regime change? Yes, we are. There is nothing wrong with regime change. It is a people’s right to change their government if it is no longer serving them. But we are seeking more than regime change – we are seeking to change mindsets, the way that politics is done in Zimbabwe and to be human beings again.
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 me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ropafadzo Misodzi is a member of ZUNDE.