September 22, 2014 in Uncategorized
Former Minister of Education Sports and Culture, David Coltart said that it was thanks to President Mugabe that Bulawayo was hosting the African Union Sports Council Region Five Under-20 Games to the city. The games are set for 4 to 15 December 2014 and government has already set aside $14 million to pay for the games. What was really revealing here was the decision was made!
“After arguing the case for Bulawayo, it was clear to me that I was losing the argument because an overwhelming majority were against it coming to Bulawayo, including certain heavyweights, and I assumed that it was a lost cause. I said as much and it was then that President Mugabe intervened for the first time saying that I needed to be bolder in advancing my argument and that he agreed it should be held in Bulawayo. The moment he disclosed his hand all the opposition coming from a few Zanu-PF heavyweights evaporated and a final decision was made to hold it in Bulawayo,” said Coltart in his statement.
Putting aside the merits or demerits of the matter at issue here; it is disheartening to note the complete arbitrary way the decision to hold the games in Bulawayo was made. A decision costing $14 million is an important decision and therefore should not have been an arbitrary one. From Mr Coltart’s statement, Mugabe did not advance any arguments one way or the other, the moment he disclosed his hand all opposition “evaporated”.
A few weeks ago Rugare Gumbo, Zanu PF spokesman, gave us an insight into how Mugabe is regarded by his fellow Zanu PF leaders.
“Unoda kuti ndipikise zvarehwa nevakuru? Zvinenge zvataurwa nevakuru hazvipikiswe. (Do you want me to dispute a position taken by higher offices? What high offices say stands),” said Zanu PF party spokesman Rugare Gumbo.
He was responding to the question that had dogged Zimbabwe politics; why Mugabe had managed to parachute his wife, Grace, into the women league, central committee and politburo leadership positions in direct violation of Zanu PF’s party rule forbidding anyone taking up any leadership position unless they have held a provincial position for at least 15 years first. Grace has never held any party position until now.
In a health democracy there should be a health debate in cabinet and parliament so that all aspect of the matters affecting the nation are thoroughly reviewed from all possible angles. It is this lack of meaningful debate and discussion that explains why the country has pursued some really stupid policies.
There could not have been an serious debate in government before the regime let lose the then governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, into his money printing scheme, for example. A serious debate would have revealed that the scheme would fuel inflation and it would have been shelved long before inflation soared to the nauseating height of 500 billion per cent!
It is this “Zvinenge zvataurwa nevakuru hazvipikiswe” mentality that has turned Zanu PF into a de facto one-party dictatorship and then into something a lot worse – a one-man dictatorship. When the truth of the country’s history of the last 34 years comes to be told it should not be surprising that key decisions like the plundering of the diamonds in Marange or the Gukurahundi massacres were all largely the dictate of a few individuals without any meaningful peer review.
When Zimbabwe gained her independence on 18 April 1980 the nation was euphoric with excitement to see the end of the nightmare of the civil war that had turned the lives of all upside down causing so much suffering and the deaths of over 300 000. The euphoria was made a double dose because the event closed one door and opened another; the door into a bright tomorrow of freedom, liberty and economic prosperity for all.
In 1980 Zimbabweans were confidence the nation would avoid the pitfalls of greed, incompetence and love of power that many other African countries that had attained their independence before us had fallen into turning their dreams of building justice and prosperous nations into the nightmare. And yet today Zimbabwe’s economy is in ruins; the economy shrunk a staggering 84% in the six-year period 2002 to 2008 alone and has never to recover. A recent UNICEF report said 2 million of our people are living in abject poverty.
Zanu PF has ridden roughshod over the people dream of freedom and liberty denying them basic rights like the right to a free vote and even the right to life. In 34 years the party has murdered over 30 000 innocent Zimbabweans in cold blood to establish and maintain this de facto Zanu PF dictatorship. In a dictatorship it is the will of those in power that matter; the rule of law counts for nothing.
The rule of law is the only guarantee of freedom, liberty human rights and economic prosperity. Whilst there is rule of law nations have prospered; remove it and nations have suffered. Zimbabwe’s spectacular political and economic decline since independence can be attributed the disregard of the country’s democratic constitution by Zanu PF and Mugabe to put the party and the tyrant above the rule of law.
We need to restore the basic tenets of democratic accountability at all levels of public life: starting at the top, cabinet carry out its duty of thoroughly digest government policies in meaningful debates and hold the president to account, and stop the current practice of rubber stamping his wishes. MPs must use the special parliamentary powers, such as the power to call upon anyone to testify under oath, to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the search for what is in the best interests of the nation and it is their duty to hold the executive to account. It is the duty of the electorate to hold the executive and all public officials to account through free, fair and credible elections.
We must restore the notion that Zimbabwe will uphold rule of law at all times and to never again be ruled by the whim of a dictator.