By Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu
THE Zimbabwe Constitutional Court’s August 24 2018 verdict in the Nelson Chamisa versus Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa national presidential election tussle brought to an end a politically exciting period in the country.
The nation had, until that ruling, been sitting on the edge of a political precipice, anxiously biting its fingernails and grinding its innards under a hovering shadow of insecurity generated by well-nigh palpable uncertainty.
The verdict blew away that cloud, together with its concomitant elements of fear, alarm and despondency, replacing it with some hope for the future.
Zimbabweans had been living in fear and want at most, or under apprehension and corruption, at least during former President Robert Mugabe’s era, right from the Gukurahundi period, throughout the time of the land reform campaign, then the Murambatsvina stage, followed by the MDC series of disputed election results, then came an unprecedented hyperinflation that led to the abandonment of the national currency and the adoption of the present multi-currency regime.
It was a series of national crises; one political, another social, followed by the unforgettable 2008 economic collapse.
Results of those crises are the yawning potholes on the country’s roads, the crippling currency shortages at the banks, the disastrous lack of medicines at national hospitals and clinics, and the flight of investment capital and industries from the country.
Those were the consequences of former President Mugabe’s unfortunate poor governance, an era that should, most regretfully, be remembered by every mentally normal Zimbabwean.
Those are the negative social and economic consequences the newly-elected Zimbabwean national and municipal administrations have to either eliminate, repair, as well as repaying a hefty foreign debt.
As outlined by the new President Emmerson Mnangangwa on his official inauguration, national focus should now be on the revival of the national economy.
Prioritising the acquisition of political power as is the case with Nelson Chamisa and his MDC is an example of very deplorable self-centeredness.
It was in the very first instance ill-advised to have taken to court a suspicion that ZANU PF had rigged the July 30 harmonised elections.
Had Chamisa and his most senior colleagues sought advice from politically nature and experienced Zimbabweans, they would have been told to accept the announced results and instead adopt a pragmatic approach.
When dealing with current Zimbabwean political problems, it is important to consider the country’s anti-colonial historical experience and not treat its political problems as if Zimbabwe had a similar past as that of Botswana or the Gambia.
The way former President Mugabe resigned and was replaced by President Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe’s national leader indicated how the country’s political process is following a unique securico-democratic trajectory. While a few analysts may argue it was not legitimate, most people openly supported the development because it was clearly within the security laws and upheld the rights of the individual than what had recently preceded it.
It was indeed appropriate to name it ‘Operation Restore Legacy.’
Some political observers and analysts are of the opinion it should have been launched in 2005, immediately after some ZANU PF provincial leaders were
suspended from the Party for masterminding the infamous Dinyane School Declaration.
Six provinces out of 10 had supported Cde Mnangangwa’s candidature in free and unfettered circumstances.
However, the advisability or need for such an intervention by the national security forces in those political circumstances could not have been justifiable at that time.
The MDC, whichever faction, should have by now learnt from both regional and continental politico-historical electoral developments that in all the cases where armed struggles played the major role to liberate the respective countries, political power continues to be held by the former liberation parties.
That is the case in Angola where the MPLA is still in control since 1974 and in Mozambique where FRELIMO is the party in government.
In Guinea-Bissau, the PAIGC has been in power since it kicked out the Portuguese colonialists in the 1970s.
In Namibia, it is SWAPO that has been the party in government since the liberation of that country in 1990.
In South Africa, the ANC became the country’s administration since its political democratisation in 1994.
That trend was the same virtually wherever feudalistic or colonial regimes were replaced by popular armed revolutions.
Egypt is a good example of this category where the security forces or parties associated with them have been in power since the removal of King Farouk by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s.
The Russian revolutionary party, the Communist Party, remained in power from 1917 when it overthrew the Tsar until the dissolution of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR); and in China, Cuba, Vietanam and the DPRK, it is the same political parties that liberated those states that are still in office.
The main reason for that political phenomenon to prevail is that the parties concerned have, or had, a memorable, appreciated, people-oriented historical development that was, or is, maintained by, and through, the ballot.
It is not possible in an article of this length to make a detailed analysis of the socio-economic as well as cultural factors that contribute to the continued maintenance of the revolutionary phenomenon in each of the mentioned countries.
Suffice it to say that Zimbabwe is one of those states born by the barrels of revolutionary guns and that the revolutionaries are still very much alive and are organised in the ranks of ZANU PF.
Those revolutionaries consciously, or unconsciously, authored a National Constitution many of whose clauses protect the country’s revolutionary legacy.
The country’s laws are, of course, in harmony with that Constitution.
Zimbabwe’s electoral processes follow that revolutionary legacy, that is to say, universal adult suffrage, to the delimitation of wards and constituencies, most of which are in the rural areas where the majority of the people live.
Zimbabwe has now entered a stage of socio-economic planning and development, a stage in which the yearning and vying for political power should be relegated to the files of the past.
It should be in that mood and spirit that Chamisa and his MDC Alliance colleagues should face Zimbabwe’s unfolding future by taking advantage of President Mnangagwa’s call for the country to move ahead as one nation instead of being bogged down in retrogressive inter-party, inter-tribal, inter-radical and inter-factional disputes and squabbles.
The author of this article is quite convinced that President Mnangangwa speaks from his heart and not merely from his head.
He presents a truthful leader and deserves the support of the nation.
Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu is a retired, Bulawayo-based journalist. He can be contacted on cell 0734 328 136 or through email: firstname.lastname@example.org