By Lloyd Msipa
I listened and I watched Dr Ibbo Mandaza’s presentation at the just ended ERC symposium on peace and the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe.
In a commentary on Zimbabwe’s state of readiness for the harmonised elections, Dr Mandaza says the political freedoms that Zimbabweans are enjoying today is a result of a degenerated ZANU PF party and State. The perceived freedoms are a result of the inability of the ZANU PF government being unable to control or stamp its authority on the freedoms prevailing in the country. I disagree.
To the contrary, the arrival of the Emmerson Mnangagwa government following last years power transfer has been such a refreshing political development in Zimbabwe since 1980. In fact, the regeneration of political freedoms speak of a political party now so sure of itself such that it doesn’t have to resort force or cohesion . The fact that the opposition has been able to travel and campaign the length and breadth of the country speaks of a transforming political culture in Zimbabwe.
The prevailing political freedoms are clear evidence that ZANU PF has transformed itself from the monster it had become under Robert Mugabe to a liberal political party that respects the rights of its citizens to associate freely with the political party of their choice. To suggest that the prevailing political freedoms are a result of a lose of control by ZANU PF is not only foolish, but suggests that the speaker has a more sinister agenda by selling such a warped narrative.
To confirm the incongruence of that statement, Dr Ibbo goes on to to say it is because of these freedoms that ZANU PF is weak and will lose. That the degeneration of ZANU PF and the state happened sometime in the 1990,s and according to him it got worse under the Mnangagwa administration. What a warped analysis.
The truth of the matter is ZANU PF and the State under Emmerson Mnangagwa, has regenerated and established freedoms that had become non existent in Zimbabwe, established a free political environment that the world has taken notice of.
This is a significant development. The political environment prevailing in Zimbabwe and the disabling of past oppressive legislation through amendments in parliament has not gone unnoticed by international financial institutions. They have suddenly developed the confidence to lend money to Zimbabwe after two decades of isolation. Internationally, countries that considered Zanu-PF as a repressive political party have suddenly transformed and are happy with the same political party.
The same countries that considered ZANU PF and the Zimbabwe government incapable of running a free and fair election have suddenly transformed overnight all A’s a result of efforts put by the incumbent president, a president who listens to the citizen and above all a president who knows that the “Voice of the people, is the voice of God”. Dr Ibbo Mandaza is a respectable academic, but like all humanity, we sometimes get it wrong. This is one of those instances.