Down to the Wire

Yesterday I attended a committee meeting at the Party Headquarters and saw a copy of the draft Constitution for Zimbabwe. It is now almost complete and they are expecting the final version to be ready next week for presentation to the Principals to the GPA. This has taken nearly three years, it was meant to be completed in early 2011 so we are about 18 months behind schedule, but behind the scenes there have been months of hand to hand combat.

This has been an intellectual, legal and political process and from what I have seen they have done a remarkable job under very difficult circumstances. It is far from an ideal version of a national constitution, but it covers all the bases and is a big improvement on what we have now and what was originally negotiated behind closed doors in the Kariba draft. It cannot be called a “Peoples” draft and we in the MDC recognized some time ago that we would have to compromise and use the new constitutional framework as a transitional arrangement to secure a democratically managed change of Government.

Once it is adopted by the three Principals it will then go to the second National Peoples Convention for debate and adoption and only then go to a Referendum. If all goes to plan this will be fairly soon and the Parties will join hands (as they did in Kenya) to get the Constitution adopted by a clear majority of the people. I have no doubt that if we in the MDC support the final draft it will be sanctioned by the great majority of our people.

We then have a lot to do – take the new Constitution through both Houses of Parliament, get it implemented and all ancillary legislation changed. Then start the process of reform to create the conditions required for a genuine free and fair election. What is needed for this to happen is well known and clearly established in the various agreements that all three political parties have signed up to since 2008. They are also clearly defined in both AU and SADC protocols and practice.

It is clear that regional leadership and the wider leadership of Africa as a whole now support this process. This was clearly demonstrated last year at Livingstone, then at Mid Rand and finally at the major SADC summit in Luanda. As far as the AU is concerned the position of the SADC leadership was endorsed at the summit in Addis in February this year almost without dissent.

This consensus is very powerful and a land locked country like Zimbabwe simply cannot ignore the reality that this represents. In many respects our position is similar to that of Mali – land locked and unable to withstand the pressure from regional States when they really put their collective foot down as they did recently. So where does that leave us?

Firstly it shows what the international Community has begun to recognize; this is real progress, it’s not reversible and Zanu plans either for a military or a political coup against the GPA process are unlikely to succeed.

Secondly it narrows down the options for all Parties who must now make decisions; collectively they are on a road that will eventually take us to elections that none of us can control. The people will decide, for maybe the first time in our beleaguered history, who will govern them into the future, or at least the next five years.

Does Webster Shamu really think he can continue to defy the President and the Prime Minister when it comes to media reform? Is he really challenging the authority of the President and leader of his political party and does Mugabe no longer have the power to control his minions? Does Savior Kasukawere really think we are going to allow him to nationalize the mines and the banks and lead us down a path that Zambia strayed into in the 60’s with such disastrous consequences? Does Mnangagwa really think he has a snowballs hope of ever leading Zanu – let alone Zimbabwe?

For all of these people, the situation is now down to the wire. Sure they control the security services, so what? – in the new dispensation under the new Constitution they are back in their barracks and under civilian control. The region has pulled their teeth and you know the fate of a toothless bulldog.

Sure they control the diamond fields and the money that is being generated there but 90 per cent of it is being stolen and hidden away in foreign bank accounts and only a handful are really benefitting – does Obert Mpofu really think he is going to enjoy his ill-gotten wealth and assets in Zimbabwe? Where will all these once powerful and untouchable individuals be when finally the chips are down and a peoples Government is in charge of the affairs of State? Do they not think about these issues or are they, like Hitler in his Bunker in Berlin in 1945, still issuing orders to a broken army while the Russians and the Allies crossed the bridges into the City.

For all these people, this situation is going to the wire and it is moving much more rapidly than they appreciate. Mr. Mugabe may well run down the stairs of the plane that brought him home on Thursday this week – but it is clear to all that time is no longer a friend. He must seek now to secure his place in history and avoid a totally undignified end and exit and his real allies in that exercise are in the MDC not Zanu PF.

I really feel sorry for the guys on the stock market – they are always so hopeful and positive. They know what they are looking at is a real potential gold mine with assets at 20 per cent of their value or less, yet week by week, the markets vote against them and last week was no different. If Kasukawere was even watching or interested, the turnover on the local bourse fell from $16 million in the previous week to $4 million in a market worth perhaps $3,5 billion at today’s values. Share prices fell yet again and must now represent the best investment option in global markets worldwide. A real vote of “no confidence”, if I ever saw one and Savior was personally responsible.

Just to confirm that these people are in never never land, an 80 year old women in the leadership of Zanu PF took over a large functioning Conservancy last week, forcing the owners and their staff out of their homes and depriving them of a life time investment – she already has taken over 8 other farms, all of which are now in varying degrees of degradation.

I flew over Middle Save estates last week and looked down and saw that apart from the old ARDA farms now being leased and managed by a private company, all the farms occupied by Zanu PF hangers on were derelict and empty – not even a single maize crop – nothing. These were at one stage some of the most productive farm properties in the country.

This year, after 12 years of fast track land reform, we will import 80 per cent of our food. The failure of the programme is absolute. The pathetic excuses no longer play to anyone. The King has no clothes on yet he struts down the road dressed only in the false images in his mind – created in part by his own propaganda.

Does anyone really think this can go on? Of course not and now it’s only a matter of time, time that Zanu PF no longer has much left. It’s down to the wire at last and decisions must be made and made soon or the consequences for those who are living in the past and cannot face reality, will be disastrous.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 15th April 2012