By The Solutions Tower Staff
Zimbabwe’s elections since 1990 have been marred by allegations of violence, fraud and murder of those perceived to hold contrary political views to those of Zanu PF party. Zanu PF has always viewed itself as the vanguard of the revolution, having waged the war of liberation to free the country from British rule. But 1999, Zanu PF’s political fortunes took a nosedive, primarily due to the formation of a labour backed opposition political party, the MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai. The MDC party was formed against a backdrop of massive complacency by Zanu PF.
So the formation of the MDC immediately pressed panic buttons among those within the ruling party as the new labour based party did not waste time tearing into Zanu PF’s support base, with most urban centres and commercial farmlands immediately converting to opposition strongholds.
Gripped by fear of losing power, ZanuPf went into default mode, resorting to violence and intimidation. ZanuPf has used violence as a tool for power retention since 1999. Zimbabweans are now short of space to manoeuvre, and are being pushed into a position of between two hard rock places.
Zimbabweans have witnessed the ruling party official looting national resources. Millions of Zimbabweans have migrated to other countries as a result of mismanagement of the economy by ZanuPf. It is estimated that neighbouring South Africa hosts about four million refugees from Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has thus found itself confronted by a dual predicament; first a need for real and unrestrained electoral reforms and also that there be security sector reforms. But had the MDCs pushed for tangible reforms during the Government of National Unity of 2008, Zimbabwe would probably have made strides towards democratisation of many of its vital national institutions.
As 2018 beacons, Zimbabwe cannot avoid self introspection: Should the country be stampeded into another election whose result is foregone conclusion?
Should Zimbabweans once again be put on the altar of expediency so that Zanu PF politicians force themselves to another term by means of intimidation and bloodbath?
No, 2018 elections could be pushed forward in favour of a conceited national dialogue by Zimbabweans from across the divide. The last thing Zimbabwe requires in future is retribution. Those currently in power should accept that the law of diminishing returns cannot be halted for much too long, and that a people continuously restrained shall have their moment to rise up not in a too distant future. Libya, Egypt, Rwanda, among others, should stand as reminders to the status quo of how a people’s quest for real freedom can never be suppressed ad infinitum.
President Mugabe, as the ‘sun eventually sets down on him’, should realise the need now to completely change the direction the country is taking and to rally the country towards creation of a National Transitional Authority (NTA) whose form and content should be decided by Zimbabweans.
The above would form the real crux of the matter, and must be able to stir the country out of its current quagmire. As suggested by Tendai Biti and other prominent Zimbabweans,the NTA should comprise of persons from all walks of life, including interested civil society. Moreover, the NTA should exclude politicians from both Zanu PF and the opposition.
The NTA should gradually ease Mugabe out of power, and earnestly begin working towards creation of a conducive electoral environment. With wide consultation, the NTA should be able to manoeuvre the country to stability, and at the same time create conditions conducive for a fair, free and transparent elections.
It is, therefore, crucial that resolutions be sought to challenges besetting Zimbabwe. The NTA must be a national project which must achieve transitional justice as clearly set out by Zimbabweans. The NTA must also work within a given and specific timeframe.
The National Transitional Authority can be utilised by Zimbabweans as an Alternative Solution to soft-land the country from the current political & economic crisis to returning Zimbabwe to its former glory as the Jewel Of Africa.
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