Zimbabweans are frustrated by a political system that has failed to deliver the democratic changes they had risked their lives and limb for in 2008. This Government of National Unity (GNU) has wasted the last five years in endless bickering; wasted billions of dollars in dubious ventures and meanwhile the people have continued to suffer from the ill effects of the economic meltdown and the continued political oppression.
In their frustration and despair many Zimbabweans are now resolved to go for new elections in the hope that maybe, just maybe, this time there will be democratic changes the country's desperately.
Desperate people do desperate things; going into an election process and risking a repeat of the 2008 violence is a very desperate act. And I can relate to that.
However, I am not here cheer and applaud those brave men and women who want to once again undertake this act of desperation. I am here to say to them; there is another way, a better way to bring about the change we are all seeking in Zimbabwe.
This year, 2013 unlike 2008, Zimbabweans do not have to risk it all on the off chance that there will be some democratic change. Vote NO in the upcoming referendum and you will force the democratic changes, the democratic reforms agreed in the GPA, to be implemented BEFORE the elections.
If the GNU was not such a useless and dysfunctional regime these reforms should have been implemented years ago and the planned elections would be free and fair- with a free media, free of violence, etc. Mugabe and Tsvangirai must not be allowed to pick and choose what reforms will not be implemented, in this case none, and be allowed to get away with it. It is high time the people put their foot down and say no; enough is enough.
Zimbabwe's culture of political violence is known to us all it will suffice to say that in 2008 Mugabe "declared war" on the people of Zimbabwe, as Tsvangirai rightly put it. Many people believe Mugabe "cooked" the March 2008 result to deny Tsvangirai a clear win and thus force a run-off. And to overturn Tsvangirai's earlier lead Mugabe deployed the Police, Army, CIO, the War Vets and his own party thugs to harass, beat, rape and kill, over 500 murdered, the electorate and force them to vote for him in the run-off.
The people's frustration and despair with this government is real and urgent. Last week the nation learnt that only 18% of the "O" level students had passed five or more subjects. A nauseating 82%, failed. It is not because these students are "thick" or that they are lazy; no. The Minister of Education, Senator David Coltart, admitted the problem is the years of chronic under funding born out of miss placed priorities.
Last year what this GNU spent on Mugabe, Tsvangirai and a handful of others officials' overseas trips alone - not counting all the money spent on cars; the millions spent on Mugabe's daughter, that professional student, for her umpteenth degree so she can outdo her father who only has seven University degrees; forget Tsvangirai's US$ 3 million mansion; etc.; just on overseas trips - was a staggering three times more than what the regime spent on the 300 000 or so schools in Zimbabwe.
The story of neglected school is repeated in health service, prison service, everywhere you look the nation is in varying stages of rot and decay. And it is the hope of arresting this hopelessness and despair that Zimbabweans are once again risking the wanton violence of 2008 and have another election.
Fortunately for Zimbabweans, this year we do not have to risk live and limb for minuscule democratic change as has happened these last five years. The one positive thing that has come out of the selfless sacrifices of 2008 is the acknowledgement in the GPA that Zimbabwe must implement democratic reforms and write a democratic constitution if the nation was to have free and fair elections and avoid a repeat of 2008 violence.
It is incumbent on us, the people, to hold all the parties to the GPA, i.e. our own three political parties, and the regional body SADC, who are the guarantor of the GPA, to account and demand that these tasks necessary for free and fair elections are carried out BEFORE election are held.
After five years of this GNU we find that none of the reforms have been implemented and this COPAC constitution "dictated" by Mugabe, as Paul Mangwana has been boasting is not fit for purpose. This dysfunctional government has the audacity not just to grade their own performance in implementing the reforms by awarding themselves 82% pass and they now expect us to just rubber stamp that with a yes vote in the referendum. They score 18%, the reforms must be implemented, and so we must fail them and vote no in the referendum.
If people vote yes in the referendum then the elections will go ahead BEFORE the reforms are implemented and there will be nothing, absolutely nothing to stop the violence of 2008 being repeated. Mugabe and Zanu PF are geared for another bloody election, the party's terror machine is well-oiled with money from the sale of Marange diamonds; the party is waiting to have the yes vote safely in the bag, then the juggernaut will go into overdrive.
Zimbabweans should not be fooled by these MDC leaders who are talking of fighting back; last time when the going got tough they all disappeared like morning mist under the African sun. Morgan Tsvangirai himself made the mad dash for the Netherland Embassy, not even Usain Bolt would have caught him!
We should not listen to those who are itching for a fight. "Forward yes, backward never!" is a very catchy phrase, yes; but it not to be applied blindly. We have ditch to cross here and it is out of practical necessity that we take a few steps back so we can jump over the ditch. It will be stupid to land in the ditch breaking a leg or worse just because we did not take the necessary steps back for fear we would be judged as retreating.
If there is another bloody election; the government that will emerge will be, like it or not, a political compromise with a dictatorial Zanu PF component. This GNU has been a glass half full of milk and half sewage; even if we get a glass of milk with a teaspoon full of sewage, we will still have a glass of sewage!
There has been talk of a NO vote will mean going back to the Lancaster House Constitution (LHC). Let me say it now; that those saying that are talking rubbish. The GPA called for a new democratic constitution because all parties acknowledge the LHC had failed to deliver free and fair elections. So why would the GPA call for a referendum, asking the people to judge the performance of the GNU in carrying out the implementation of the reforms and producing a democratic constitution and the delivery of free and fair elections only to revert back to the failed system if the people should judge the GNU as having failed?
Both SADC and the international community at large want to see free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. How many times has President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who is SADC's key man on the Zimbabwe crisis, called on Zimbabwe's errant political leaders to follow the GPA road map? Countless times! How many times have the EU, USA and other Western governments said they will lift the targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle if the GPA reforms are implemented and the nation holds free, fair and credible elections? Again, countless times! So if SADC and the international community had a vote in this referendum would they vote yes and have another bloody election? Hell, no! They will all vote no and thus force the full implementation of the reforms BEFORE elections are held.
It seems everyone else is as keen as mustard to see the reforms implemented and free and fair elections held in Zimbabwe this year everyone that is except the Zimbabweans themselves who are, out of ignorance - one must added, keen to hold another bloody election!
Doctor Madhuku has given his reasons why he rejects the Copac Constitution, I reject from it because the structural and wording is weak and feeble and therefore can never delivery the basic rights including the right to free and fair election and the right to life, Join me next time when I will explore and expand these reasons.
Today my parting message to you all my fellow Zimbabweans is this: just because this dysfunctional GNU would not implement the democratic reforms that does not mean they are no longer required or that no one else can implement them. There will be no free and fair elections in Zimbabwe ever until these reforms are implemented!
We must demand the full implementation of all the reforms BEFORE elections are held by voting NO in the upcoming referendum.
As one would say in Shona; Ibenzi rinokama gweme nokuti ratadza kushunga mombe yemukaka! Only a madman would "milk" the he-goat because he failed to corner the milk cow. If it is free and fair elections and good wholesome government we want then we must demand the implementation of the reforms. It may easier to corner the he-goat but if it is milk the fool is after then at the end of the day he will still need to corner the milk cow!