Saturday, 13 September 2008

The MDC-ZANU PF Deal:Herald of a Bright Future?

Thank you guys for the comments you are sending me, unfortunately I am not able to reply to you all by way of e-mails. First of all let me point out that I am not a political scientist nor am I an academic as many of you presumed. I am just an ordinary person who is pretty much interested in the events that take place in my beloved little country which hitherto has been held hostage by a bankrupt political class and has never known even a spectre of the democratic notions of government dating to the precolonial era. However I must hasten to say that I am aspiring to be an academic so that one day I will find myself contributing in no small measure to the entrenchment of democratic values in my society. So much for that, that is not my intention today to preach to you my aspirations in the future to come under the new political dispensation beginning Monday the 15th of September 2008

Thursday the 11th of September 2008 is a historic day in the political history of Zimbabwe in the past dacade. The day saw the signing of a pact to form a government of National Unity between the two major political players in the country, Zanu PF (the ruling party) and the opposition MDC. However the contents of the pact are not yet in the public domain as the official signing will take place on Monday the 15th of September 2008, presumably in the prsence of other African leaders. Whether the government to be formed is the answer to a litany of the woes that hound Zimbabwe today remains a key question. The power-sharing deal faces a tough credibility test to determine whether it is enough to kick start the country's emergence from catastrophic economic collapse.

There is a labyrinth of key questions that have to be examined with regards the deal. It is an open secret that the military junta is not happy with the whole arrangement especially when one goes down the memory lane to the history just before the first round of the harmonised elections. The chefs in the security forces publicly professed that they will not just allow Tsvangirai to take the thrones at the State house. Could they have changed their minds over this aspect, no one knows what they are really up to. If they still maintain such a hard line of thinking it will be a mammoth task to the government to be formed

The more contentious issue is the sustenance of the Cabinet to be formed. From the concessions that culminated in the signing of the agreement it was pointed out that the new Cabinet will comprise of 31 ministers: 15 from Zanu Pf, 13 from MDC Tsvangirai and the other 3 from MDC Mutambara faction. It is ironic that Tsvangirai who, for the past years was against Mugabe over this big Cabinet would find himself as a party to that same Cabinet which in addition would include four Deputy Vice Presidents! This is an unfortunate aberration representing his surrender or mollification in the face of Zanu PF's unpreparedness to relinguish power to the opposition. This has been viewed by political analysts as an indication of Tsvangirai's cunning for power. One will wonder how such a huge Cabinet will be financed especially in view of the fact that there are more pressing needs that have to be addressed as a matter of urgency: the food crisis being the major issue requiring urgent intervetion.

Political analysits have exprssed dismay in the whole process that led to the signing of the agreement. The non-inclusive character of the negotiation process has been hightlighted as a serious departure from the tenets of democratic governance. Various political actors and the citizenry as a whole were excluded from the whole process and in the final analysis they are not in a position to ascribe legitimacy to the whole process. It is now trite and banal that the success and legitimacy of any governmental process is a product of a participatory approach by a cross section of the society.

More important is the issue of bringing back the economy to a recovery path. The problems that are bedevilling Zimbabwe are of an economic character and therefore require an economic solution. It will be a Herculian task for the new goverment to be to convince and instill investor confidence that Zimbabwe will be palatable for business operations taking into account the fact that Zanu PF elements will still be part of the new government.

Corruption which is now endemic in the country will be another aspect that will have to be confronted by the new government. It is generally accepted the world over that the stemming out of corruption in a country is the fulcrum of any successful economy. The Zimbabwean populace is now generally corrupt, both in public and private sectors and including the generality of the population. It will be a daunting task for the new government to come up with successful initiatives that will invariably reduce the incidence of corruption.

So in a nutshell it is too premature I presume for Zimbabweans to celebrate the signing of the pact as this will not in any way turn around the economy in in moment. There is a lot of vapour that has to cleared so as to chat a clear and defined way otherwise we might find ourselves in a more precarious position than before after the realisation that this may be only the transfer of political power without concomitent developments beneficial to the ordinary persons in the street.