DC-USA Secretary Andrew Chaponda responds to Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya’s policy document on Priorities for Civil Society-donors Engagement in Zimbabwe which has been circulated to diplomats and civil society.
Dr Ruhanya, formerly programmes manager at Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and Humphrey Fellow at University of Minnesota, is director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, and is arguing for a ’transformative’ rather than ’regime change’ orientation for civil society donours, published here. Chaponda writes:
The Political lineage of the author is left in no doubt in section ‘Post 2000 Electoral Contradiction‘. Who in their right political mind, unless they are a Zanu (PF) paid spin doctor, would declare in such a nonchalant manner that:
” Zanu (PF) lost its legitimacy through excessive use of state violence in the general election of 2008, but regained legitimacy following the 2013 national elections, putting the question of legitimacy to bed”.
Now as citizens we are being reduced to debate and accept that there is a degree of inevitable force that will always be used as part of any electoral process. Only when it gets excessive, how does one define excessive? To me one death is excessive. What is excessive in the writer’s opinion, 1, 5, 100, 200 deaths?
The author forgets that Zanu (PF) is an inherently violent organization which rose to power not by will to transform but a will to power at all cost.
The superstructure that Zanu (PF) has built and nurtured over the years is one that entrenches itself while excluding by any means necessary anyone bent on a will to transform it let alone will to power.
This is borne out by the fact that Zanu (PF) has militarised every conceivable office of the state and has not been hesitant to use force whenever it feels the push to transform is getting too uncomfortably close to will to power.
Let us also not confuse the purpose of political parties including the MDC-T. The MDC-T is and has always been a political party that seeks to offer an alternative way to governance from that of Zanu (PF).
In that respect it should in my opinion be driven by the will to power, first and once in charge of the reigns of state craft, transform the society to a more equal, transparent and inclusive society where future changes in government can be carried out in a peaceful, not even one person should die environment.
Zanu (PF) has transformed through graft and patronage the instruments of the state where they are out to render political decisions and opinions. Courts and quasi governmental organizations are cases in point.
Their decisions are often based on preserving the Zanu (PF) will to power as they systematically exclude all attempts at reasonable push towards will to transform. As a case in point MDC election challenges of 2000 are still to be concluded; the Kampepe Report that attested to massive systematic rigging in 2002 was published, and the 2013 election was Nikuved, but the author unashamedly postulates that it restored Zanu (PF)’s legitimacy.
What I am trying to say is that, yes transformative politics have a role to play in a system built on a transformative superstructure, where tolerance and the rule of law are staples. In our case Zanu (PF) is anathema to the tenets of a free and democratic elections, resorting instead to brute force and murder as a means to retaining power.
Anyone in their ranks, from judges to politicians who is seen as being transformative is gotten rid of. How then does one, if he is not a Zanu (PF) functionary, advocate for a transformative process in changing the system when he fully knows that the Zanu (PF) modus operandi to use will to power as a means to obtain and retain that power.
Ruhanya is no fan of transformative politics. He advocates and as MDC-T we are at cross roads mainly because of our ideological makeup that says all human life should be respected and that we will never march to state house over a single dead body.
With that diametrically opposite approach to gain and retain power, the question becomes, which of the two methods is effective and leads to its achieving objective. Zanu (PF) has shown time and again that power shall not be taken or relinquished through a transformative process but by force.
Force is the language Zanu (PF) understands and applied to solving all problems. The only tool they have in their box is force and time-and-again they have demonstrated that they can use if to maximum effect.
A country and people that put all their hope in some distant prophesy of Mugabe dying goes to show that our citizens are aware of the inherent power and ability to frustrate and inflict harm that Mugabe has.
If only god can take him away, maybe the country can veer in a different direction, has become the default mode. Unfortunately Zanu (PF) is not Mugabe alone. His minions have perfected the rule by coercion and transformative will will once again be viciously brought down, as has been the case these past 34 years.
What then should we as MDC-T do to counter this tragedy and reality? There are both violent/bloody propositions as well as not so bloody violent propositions.
Confronting the regime fair and square in the streets will be bloody and violent.
As the economy increasingly confined in the hands of Zanu (PF) cronies, target and boycott those industries and services, including in refusal to pay all for any and every service the state provides. After all water, electricity, infrastructure is in ruins. The road tolls, levies that we are paying, are going into the pockets of Zanu (PF) cronies, or they are aiding and abetting our continued suffering.
We are in-fact oiling the wheels of patronage, Zanu (PF) in turn uses to suffocate us.
If we will to transform we have to have the burning will to power, and with that power transform what has essentially become a police/military state, with our acquiescence.
Margaret Dongo is a trailblazing Zimbabwean politician, social commentator, human rights activist, former Member of …