Rocks in the Water
Today Morgan Tsvangirai is in South Africa talking to the President, Jacob Zuma. These are critical talks on which the whole process underway here in Zimbabwe may depend. To get here, close to a landing on the beach we have been working towards for the past ten years, we have fought many battles and suffered a great deal. But we must watch out in these last moments before a landing - there are rocks in the water.
The first rock is an attempt that is under way right now to dislodge the MDC Speaker of the House of Assembly and replace him with a person from Zanu PF or the Mutambara group. The background to this is the allegation, made just after Lovemore Moyo's election to this very important post in 2008, that his election was not acceptable from a procedural perspective. This led to a Court hearing two weeks ago where the merits of the case were heard and could lead to a hearing where the allegations may be upheld and his election nullified by the Courts.
If that happens we would face a fresh election process for a new Speaker and in anticipation, our opponents in the House are working to eliminate the majority that gave us control of the Speakers post in 2008. The Mutambara group has dismissed three Members of Parliament already and is targeting others. Zanu PF controlled Courts have already succeeded in securing convictions on various grounds of 5 Members of Parliament and are targeting many others. If these convictions succeed they would lose their voting rights in any election for the Speaker.
If this manoeuvre is successful Zanu would gain control of this vital post, giving them effective control of all three main arms of government
- the Judiciary, the Executive and Parliament.
Once this objective is gained, they would then go to the next phase which is to secure a majority in Parliament. This they would try to achieve by forcing a large number of bi-elections. Already we can identify 17 of these and there may be more by the time we get to the date targeted for the elections. This could be as soon as October.
Such a large number of bi-elections at one time would constitute a virtual mini national election and in anticipation Zanu is mobilising their formidable machine designed to deliver an electoral victory. The majority of the bi-elections will be in remote rural constituencies
- clearly their favoured electoral environment.
They have activated the Joint Operations Command structures in all Provinces, deployed army officers to take charge of the preparations in the electoral districts and positioned teams of youth militia in all electoral Wards. A programme of violence is planned to target the constitution making process which is under way and the bi-elections themselves. We know full well what lies in front for us - we have been there before and it's not pretty.
If they get the results they are targeting then by the end of the year they could have turned the political situation here on its head - they would hold a majority in Parliament and the Speakers chair, they would have control of the Judiciary and the Executive even though we are in there and cannot be ignored.
This would give them the capacity to then control the Constitution drafting process and direct its outcome. They would be able to protect their positions in the security establishment, the media and the electoral system. They would have a full quiver of weapons to use against the MDC in any future elections. They would control the ground and make the rules, they would control the voters roll and the delimitation process and they would collect the voting ballots and be responsible for counting them and reporting the results - and we all know what that means.
It would deliver this Transitional Government boat onto the beach its been destined for since September the 15th 2008, but instead of bringing in a new dispensation and hope for the future, instead of restoring our rights and freedoms or the prospects of rebuilding our broken economy, it would dump us on the beach defeated and broken and our isolation and national destruction would continue unabated.
Rocks in the water. Our only defence is to know they are there and manoeuvre around them in our thrust for the beach or to engineer a wave that will carry us over them without tearing the bottom out of our boat.
The past two weeks have been fascinating, knowing that Morgan would be seeing the South African President; the Zanu PF element has been running around trying to limit the damage. They finally agreed to hold a meeting of the National Security Council after failing to do so for 5 months.
There they had to sit and listen the Prime Minister listing their failures to fulfil their obligations under the GPA. In Parliament we had to sit through a long winded explanation of why the Security Chiefs still refuse to salute the Prime Minister.
After two years of legal efforts a letter was finally released giving the owners of the Daily News the right to resume publishing the newspaper.
When this emerges on our streets it will have an immediate impact on the political situation. Already down to very small circulation figures, the Zanu controlled and State funded newspapers will struggle to stay afloat and may even be forced to close unless Zanu itself can prop them up financially.
On Thursday the Speakers from the whole of the SADC region sat in the Speakers gallery of Parliament to witness the debate in our House, There they heard a series of hard hitting and well researched contributions by MDC legislators on the key issues of our day - political violence, gerrymandered elections, rigged Court cases on trumped up charges in politically motivated and controlled Courts. They witnessed one after another of the Zanu PF benches empty until by the end of the day there was only one lone Zanu PF legislator in the House. They did not even try to defend themselves.
No they prefer working in secret - under water, plotting how to sink this ship before it can deliver the people onto the beach, free to rebuild their individual lives and nation.
Bulawayo, 2nd August 2009