Articles

State of paralysis

Zimbabwe can best be described as in a state of paralysis with the unity government on the road to nowhere and civil society not sure about what to do next.   The new thing in town is Star FM, operated by the state owned media group, Zimpapers and Star FM is already deeming due to its failure to spark as a result of connections to Zimpapers and the Ministry of Information and Publicity.   The hype on a 2012 election demand by President Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF has collapsed under the weight of internal contradictions and infighting. ZANU PF is now using the SADC Luanda summit demand that the Global Political Agreement be fulfilled as an excuse to slowdown and silently hush the election talk. While SADC played a key role in toning down ZANU PF, the party is however caught in intense internal divisions over Mugabe's succession that some long standing party structures, embedded in its constitution, the District Coordinating Committees (DCC) are being disbanded. "They have since stopped serving any purpose € were the words of party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo. The media also reports that president Mugabe is likely to travel back to Singapore for yet unknown reasons alleged to be treatment for an undisclosed ailment. Before his planned departure Mugabe had soberly told the media that his party is going back to the drawing board on internal political and leadership issues. There was no mention of elections in 2012 and the President is clearly sobering up to the reality.   The MDC-T leadership is busy patching up its own house with the Prime minister and party Leader Morgan Tsvangirai visiting Bulawayo to mend growing party rifts. His Secretary General Tendai Biti was quoted in the media stating his loyalty to Tsvangirai after weeks of speculation that the two are not seeing eye to eye. The most energetic of the MDC parties appear to be the Welshman Ncube party which is reportedly holding rallies throughout Zimbabwe mobilising for support.     While there remain a number of key decisions to be made by the political leadership, Zimbabwe has reached a state of political paralysis mid 2012 that is characterised by uncertainly and lack of positions and actions by politicians and waning enthusiasm for anything within CSOs. At the time of writing there was no clarity on when the new proposed constitution document would be finalised and what is holding movement on this process. Even ZANU PF mandarins like Jonathan Moyo who keep society entertained through their attacks on the MDC parties and the constitutional review process have suddenly gone quite. Dr Tafataona Mahoso, Jonathan Moyo's sidekick and head of the Zimbabwe Media Commission is suddenly writing about the boring story of sanctions. One has to ask the question what does this political haggling detente mean?. It appears no one is so sure of the future now and which direction to turn or which issue to run with. Political parties have without doubt gone back to the drawing board noting that elections might as well be sometime in 2013. As of now they have to learn to live together in the wobbling GNU while patching their breaking political houses and planning their next move. Civil society appears lost in all this and there is a palpable sense that indeed CSO agenda is driven by what the parties do and say. CSOs seem to mobilise around the political parties and when they go silent then they have, as others say, no agenda. This to me is the time to take full advantage to mobilise and drive home the need for peace and the message of reform. This message must be continuously drummed up more so being aware that the next time political parties wake up they are likely to be holding the 'agreed' constitutional document in their hands. CSOs need to continue beating the drum on the need for openness on the constitutional draft document and push citizen concerns on the clear absence of guarantees on peace and free participation in elections. When the politicians are quiet, then it is time CSOs push their agenda more forcefully.   Morgan Tsvangirai says he will have the draft constitution sometime next week, the question is do we know what's in there?

By David Mutomba

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