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A genuine reform agenda could have saved Zimbabweans

25 Jan 2021 at 19:48hrs | Views
Since the adoption of the new constitution in 2013, there have been expectations of constitutional reforms and realignment of the country's laws to the new supreme law.

The reform agenda did not necessarily begin at the 2013 constitutional amendment, but way before that process took place. The new constitution itself was another of the many items that were tabled for reform.

In actual fact, the reform agenda dates back to the period the 2008/9 when the GNU was negotiated at the insistence of other participants to the negotiations who set that as a precondition for a unity government with a cornered ZANU PF at the time. The areas of reform included the security sector, the judiciary, governance, political and economic sectors, a number of rights and constitutional freedoms, to name but a few.

The nation, noting that those who were vocal in demanding a cross cutting reform agenda were opposition parties with a sizeable representation in parliament at that time, had so much hope that the fortunes of the country were headed for a positive transformation.

As the nation eventually celebrated the attainment of the GNU and as the beginning of the reform process was expected to take off, the agents of, representatives of and the advocates of the reform agenda in Zimbabwe pulled the biggest and greatest betrayal the country ever witnessed at the hands of opposition political parties.

The would be agents of change, turned out to be pseudo when they later used the GNU period to join the ZANU PF feeding frenzy, at times even embarrassingly outperforming Zanu PF as was evidenced by some indiscretions and excesses by the former Prime Minister, the late Morgan Tsvangirai.

The once zealous advocates of reform, the erstwhile opposition, now with snouts in the trough, forgot the real agenda of the GNU and completely stopped pushing for any meaningful reforms other than perhaps the constitution making process, and then only because COPAC had a fat purse from which they voraciously dipped their hands as evidence later showed. The parliamentary processes were forgotten as the members from the opposition went to the august house and fell asleep owing to the fat perks and luncheons. Not a single motion was moved to kick-start the reform agenda or the aligning our laws to the new constitution.

The chorus for the reform agenda was only heard during  the campaign for election at the end of the GNU process. The opposition had done a truly shoddy job on the constitution as well as aligning governance to the new constitution. A hurried attempt to deal with one tenet, devolution, saw the very important agent for empowering the people so watered down that it made a mockery of the wishes of the people who had so overwhelmingly voted to see it as an empowering system of governance.

Thus an opportunity went begging. The song was to die after the 2013 polls, only to be revisited for electoral purposes  at the 2018 elections. The same parliamentarians who had shown incompetence regarding the reform agenda in 2008 were recycled in 2013 and 2018. Talk about the same mistake repeated over and over and expecting a different outcome! The topic has become only a political football aimed at hoodwinking the masses come election time.

Today, as the silence on the reform agenda is so deafening, the country is at the mercy of a government that relishes at every opportunity to commit constitutional excesses. With the world corona pandemic wreaking havoc, the state has seen opportunities to violate the constitution and they have done so with absolute impunity with a dead opposition and so much confusing gaps in the laws and the constitution.

Lockdowns are planned narrowly by the junta and are imposed on a helpless citizenry who already are struggling to survive each day that passes. No contingency plans to deal with the attendant scourge of starvation are put in place, while arbitrary and oppressive curfews are imposed without any regard to a population under siege from economic malfunction and unemployment. Covid funds have been abused at the highest government levels and no accounting will never take place with our compromised police service and the judiciary. On a daily basis, the security sector, in its different departments, is reported to have committed unchecked atrocities on citizens. All these could have been averted had we followed as a nation, the reform agenda we had set ourselves to in 2008. Without proper opposition, the whole country is paying for the ineptitude and incompetence of the lot. Through continual shedding of blood.

Iphithule Maphosa Spokesperson

Source - Iphithule Maphosa
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