Strange things continue to happen in Zimbabwe, where many people assume that there is dawn of a new era. All wrongs are piled on former President Mugabe and his wife, Grace. Yet the country’s problems are simply a manifestation of irresponsibility, on the part of ordinary citizens. The unheeded irresponsibility has bedevilled the country since independence.
While Mugabe has his share of failures, as having superintended over a failed state, he is not solely responsible for the existent confusion. Mugabe may have simply taken advantage of the confusion, for selfish reasons. But the Zimbabwean people are generally the ones carrying most blame. Until they become willing to take responsibility, the symptoms will continue unabated.
Recently, we saw overwhelming celebrations, when the army, seemingly liberated Zimbabweans from Mugabe’s dictatorship? The army became heroes of the people. But this is the same army, which Mugabe took advantage of—denying the MDC take-over after winning elections in 2000 and 2008?
All this happened, despite the best legal minds in the opposition camp. Independent observers saw an opposition that assumed wisdom in acquiescing to the misbehaviour of the army. It would have been a different story, had the MDC resolutely challenged the matter up with the Law Courts.
But, as clearly documented, they, instead, took comfort in just blaming Mugabe of being a dictator. Such legal experts could not even attempt to legally test the constitutionality of the behaviour of the army in Courts? Could they have assumed that such legal contest would be in favour of the establishment, because the Chief Justice was Mugabe’s relative?
Regrettably, common sense would dictate that such type of thinking would be more amateurish than professional. What is the purpose of studying law, if leaving one as timid as unable to contest a clear violation of the constitution, by the army?
But a fair question ought to be, why go to an election when the army has declared that it is not going to allow a democratically elected person to take over? Clearly, for period from 2002 to 2017, Mugabe was in power, not by people’s will, but by the will of the army.
Could our legal experts convince us that the army’s invalidation of elected politicians without guerrilla war credentials was constitutional? That question alone, creates doubts, that such legal experts are different from ordinary people.
Some people view MDC as having sold out in year 2013. Such people specifically, target Morgan Tsvangirayi, as not having been as astute as Robert Mugabe. But, just as Robert Mugabe cannot be held responsible for the current problems, Morgan Tsvangirayi cannot solely be to blame, either.
Tsvangirayi, simply represented those who conferred him with MDC leadership—as he also surrounded himself with top lawyers in decision-making. Some of those legal experts were, actually, professors in constitutional law.
Ordinarily, those who entrusted Tsvangirayi with leadership, ought to have questioned the ingenuity in not legally challenging the utterances of the army. But, as it transpired, those people were actually behind Tsvangirayi’s failures.
If Morgan Tsvangariayi displayed lack of wisdom in year 2013 election, that was portrayal of the calibre of those who entrusted him with MDC leadership. In a democracy, a leader is expected to abide by the mandate of those electing him/he into the leadership position.
It would be unfair to expect Morgan Tsvangirayi to project a mind-set that is different from those bestowing him with leadership. I respect Morgan Tsvangirayi for simply having projected the thinking behaviour of those who entrusted him with leadership. Doing anything else would have confirmed him to be a dictator, rather than a democrat.
Alternatively, the culture of Zimbabwean people, leading to current failures in taking responsibility, is making a cult out of those bestowed with leadership? The sign of irresponsibility is projected in inability to ask leaders to account for what they would be mandated with. See [Nkosana Moyo’s ideas appeal as better]
The same applies, even in ZANU PF, as all leaders are constitutionally elected. Those carrying responsibility, when things go wrong, are those electing the wrong people to represent them. It seems the culture of utilizing the constitution is not in the blood of the Zimbabwean people?
The constitution should be used as guide in governance, as meant to protect ordinary citizens. But, out of irresponsibility, the same citizens simply allow the constitution to be violated willy-nilly. If, indeed, the former President was a criminal, he may have simply taken advantage of people’s irresponsibility. That is when considering people’s failures in treating the constitution valuably.
Even the Lancaster house Constitution, may not necessarily have been as bad as most people assume. Except for the oppressive Acts—formerly used by Rhodesia Front—in dealing with what had then been classified as fight against terrorism.
The maximum value of the Lancaster House Constitution was in accommodating everyone, including the minority groups. Britain, as the former colonizer also had its input, in brokering a deal that ushered in our independence.
However, the subsequent various amendments had nothing to do with people’s conveniences. Those amendments were in the interests of the governing authorities—dictating to the naïve populace, assuming the Lancaster House constitution was bad. The People’s naivety was in inability to question, but simply giving a blank cheque to those in power. The rest is history.
The formation of what appeared as a formidable opposition party in 1999, in the mould of MDC, appeared as addressing people’s problems. But unfortunately, the focus was more on Mugabe’s removal, than addressing causes of improper governance. Those people ought to have focussed on utilizing the provisions of the constitution, in its entirety, even before thinking about Mugabe’s removal.
On the draft constitution, Mugabe, using the likes of Chinamasa, stubbornly amended clauses that disqualified him from participating in the next election. Those clauses—being people’s recommendations on that referendum—had to be removed. But how could that be allowed—without being legally challenged—as against the outcome of the people’s wishes?
Indeed, if everything else had been adopted and utilized, without allowing violation, Mugabe would not have won in 2000 elections. His arrogance, in going against people’s will, could have been checked, when professionally contested in Law Courts—but this was not done.
Later, Mugabe simply utilized POSA, being Ian Smith’s refurbished LOMA (Law and Order Maintenance Act). The so-called legislators ought to have banished such laws, as way back as 1980. But the legislators, in Parliament—assumed as representing those who elected them—went along with such corruptible statutory laws.
This points to the fact that Mugabe may have then been elected into office by criminals. Ordinary people bought to the propaganda that the MDC, was an opposition created by the West, in order to destabilize Zimbabwe.
The spinning, in such propaganda, could also have been contested lawfully, but this was not done. Most common people were so naïve as unable to appreciate the value of the Constitution. They believed the propaganda, as coming from their idolized leaders in government.
Tactfully, had even the rejected 2000 draft constitution been adopted, Mugabe would have been retired constitutionally in 2005. If adopted and utilized, the same constitution would have also curtailed the violence, later manipulated by the establishment. But, clearly, the Zimbabwean problems arose from inability to use the Law Courts, resulting from the invalidation of constitutional provisions.
When the Army Commander, at the time, declared that the President’s office was a straitjacket, which constitution was he using? If none, why did our Law Experts allow him to get away with it? Having set the precedent, this clear violation of the constitution was to follow in subsequent general elections.
The MDC can frantically argue that they attempted to contest the outcome of election results in various constituencies, but receiving no Court’s sympathy. But those contestations were basically effects, rather than causes. Apparently, the precedent had been set, displaying that the government could violate the constitution, willy-nilly, without facing consequences.
Anyone can blame Mugabe as having been the chief culprit. But I would stand in Mugabe’s corner, if he were to defend himself as not having necessarily violated the constitution. It is the army that violated the constitution, yet there was no complainant—taking the matter up with the law courts.
Mugabe’s argument would simply be that his responsibilities were not necessarily to superintend over the judiciary. In turn, the judiciary would dismiss the matter, as no complaint was ever brought up in Courts, concerning constitutional violation. The buck stops with the ordinary citizens.
Albert Einstein declared that another definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. I find this very true, when considering recent developments, leading to Mnangagwa’s ascension to power. The whole drama is a real circus.
We saw multitudes marching in support of what the army had done to stage a coup, against Robert Mugabe. What the army did was clear violation of the constitution. However, that popular march, supporting the army, was adjudged as in favour of people’s wishes?
What all this means is that the violation of the constitution is acceptable, as long as favouring people’s wishes. Therefore, who would blame Mugabe for violating the constitution, for purposes of retaining power, as also arguing that the multitudes supported his actions?
Mugabe’s argument cannot be different from the one used for Mnangagwa’s ascendance to power. Anyone can argue that it is acceptable to violate a constitution, by popular demand. But, the so-called popular demand and mob psychology behaviour are one and the same, as no rule of law governs them.
The opposition forces also marched in approval of what the army did. This was a popular march indeed, but clearly violating the constitution. My simple question to our legal experts is: In future, what will stop the army from overriding any constitutional provision, whether justified or not? See [For a problem to be a problem, it has to contain a lie].
What seems apparent is that; while some people may proudly declare that Zimbabwe is a country without war, it is a country sustained in foolishness. I have no qualms with Mugabes and the Mnangagwas, or the army, necessarily. My viewpoint adjudges Zimbabwe as a country with people of foolish disposition more than any imagined country.
This assertion is validated by what happened on the 18th November 2017. This was when people united in priding themselves in supporting the army—when staging a coup to address factionalism in ZANU PF. Those marchers thought they were clever. But they were foolish, as to remain vulnerable, even after the recently adopted constitution.
Zimbabweans were like the foolish impalas that innocently drink water in a crocodile infested river. Zimbabweans were comfortable in assuming that their problems were over, after the removal of Mugabe. However, all their problems emanated from irresponsibility on their part, rather than Mugabe’s personality.
After all, Mugabe was not a dictator, as globally known to have been constitutionally elected? If entertaining ever winning elections, as to be endorsed by the army, the opposition parties are, indeed, living in a fool’s paradise.
My prediction is that Munangagwa and his ZANU PF will overwhelmingly win in the next election. There is no need for the Zimbabweans to cry foul this time. Mugabe is no longer in picture, for them to point their fingers at.
Perhaps, the next target, at which people will point fingers, will be the ailing Morgan Tsvangirayi? But my only advice to fellow Zimbabweans, is that they can as well settle for Mnangagwa and his known looters in government.
The circus will continue, until Zimbabweans appreciate that, in this world there is nothing called independence, without responsibility. The attainment of degrees, has got nothing to do with responsibility, which requires integrity?
In fact, the pursuant of education without responsibility is what has led this country to be a laughing stock of other nations. Nevertheless, when what you get is not what you wanted, then what you get is experience.
My only hope is that my fellow Zimbabweans will eventually come out of such clear stupidity, as characterized in ignoring their own constitution. It is only a matter of time, before they discover their problems being a result of failure to take responsibility on matters of self-governance.
Basically, I suppose Zimbabwean problems emanate from adopting Christianity for what one gets, instead of what one gives? If one attends Christian Churches—especially the Pentecostal gatherings—prayers are for God to intervene and take people out of problems.
But this is without those people, necessarily being encouraged to do anything to address causes of such problems? The term responsibility, appears as not in the vocabulary of pastors? They simply promise to pray for the prosperity of their congregants, on condition that those congregants remain faithful in paying tithes?
Everything appears normal, but leading to continuation of the status quo. God would not be in picture. The culture of irresponsibility needs eradication before things can come back to normal. See [Is there Christian betrayal in Zimbabwe]
How are people elected into government? What legal instruments are used, in the event that such people fail to deliver according to promises? Our constitution has got answers to these questions. But it takes responsible people to apply the contents of the constitution, for things to come back to normal.
Sadly, some people have succumbed to the assumption that the white settlers were better than black rulers. All this depicts genuine irresponsibility on the part of the complainants—so naïve as to allow criminals to rule over them. See also [Violation of the constitution in taking oaths].
But, the matter of irresponsibility is, itself criminal, just as lack of education can lead to criminality. People can vainly hide behind Churches, assuming that through pastoral prayers God will take them out of their troubles.
Undoubtedly, as long as the person remains irresponsible, he/she would have to eventually face the consequences of irresponsibility. There is no two ways about it, as any person reaps what he/she sows.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99