Tafadzwa Mugwadi Correspondent
The world over, every nation that is worth its survival has always been faced with decision moments in response to either historical, present or future threats. Zimbabwe is not an exception. The only unfortunate reality is that when the country reaches such a scizzorian stage, not everyone would be able to realise it.
It becomes more dangerous when even those in key leadership positions in both the ruling party and Government become part of the fraction of citizens that are unconscious of the stage the country has reached.
There are various factors that might birth such unconsciousness but mostly, they border on ignorance, unbridled ambition as well as having elements of unrevolutionary disposition manning key positions in the party.
What is it that has given rise to such a realisation and which stage are we as a nation which makes it imperative to cause interrogation of such a cardinal disposition of our revolution as a nation and a people?
The undisputable fact is that Zimbabwe’s political socio-economic fundamentals have been operating on a sad and regrettable pedestal, with the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by Western allies and maintained by an aimlessly stubborn superpower, the US, being the elephant in the room.
The culmination into these sanctions and their genesis is not a matter of debate for sober and conscious Zimbabweans but one whose writing is on the wall.
Sanctions and isolationist policies against Zimbabwe were provoked by the land reform programme, which took place at a time when the Americans, in cahoots with the British government of Tony Blair and successive leaders until Theresa May, were frothing for regime change fronted by the MDC.
These are facts that must never be left out from our historical curriculum to ensure that future generations know where the country is coming from, where it is now and where is it going.
Zimbabwe has endured systematic attacks on its economy and a well-orchestrated attack on its politics particularly elections by self-appointed God’s deputies who claim to love our people more than we do.
Those who claim to know what we want more than we do and most regrettably, those who claim to know how we should solve our problems better than we who face them, notwithstanding that the bulk of our problems are a product of their regime change antics.
However, the time has come for the country to redefine its political culture and bolder its position even as the re-engagement process under President Mnangagwa unfolds. Zimbabwe needs to follow the footsteps of giant countries that have faced similar challenges and taken strong positions, including legislation to stop, penalise and criminalise nefarious political conduct.
The time for a Zimbabwean model of a Patriot Act and a Logan Act is now.
The trials and tribulations that have faced this country for the past two decades and the resilience our people have shown between 2002 to 2009 make us a great people whose name will never be removed from the sun as a tiny nation that resisted peacefully, the systematic attack by a group of superpowers using proxies in the MDCs and their various guises in civil society.
The resilience should now be taken to another level.
The recent renewal of ZIDERA and sanctions against Zimbabwe by the US despite spirited and genuine re-engagement attempts by our leadership under ED is a clear slap in the face of our people. It is a bold statement that exposes US hypocrisy and unrepentant indulgence in regime change politics nurtured around Tendai Biti whose name they flaunt more than that of the Independence Bell in Philadelphia or that of George Washington, the founder of the US.
That this country is a product of blood and the sword of precious lives that perished to defeat imperialism and colonialism should never be forgotten and must always be the tower of vigilance in defence of the country’s national interest.
It’s therefore erroneous to ignore this sad chapter of Zimbabwe that continues to haunt us today and hinder our developmental prospects. Indeed, something has to be done.
What is it?
As the ZANU-PF conference goes about its business inEsigodini, it is critical that the party rigorously debates instituting legal instruments to deal decisively with nefarious political conducts both at individual and group level to ensure that there are prohibitive measures against those plotting against the country and its people for the sake of power.
The US government changed the political and civil liberties landscape following the 9/11 attacks and since then, the political terrain has never been the same again.
A law known as the Patriot Act was passed with a record overwhelming vote from both Houses because the security and national interest of the US as well as its foreign policy were at stake. It is out of such legislation that I respect the Americans and American leaders, never mind whether Republicans or Democrats.
When it comes to matters of America, there is no compromise.
If the Americans reacted so swiftly after 9/11 and cracked down on terrorism to the extent of tracing down Osama Bin Laden, and murder him in another sovereign country without permission of entrance, then we can only be less serious people who take matters of Zimbabwe lightly.
Yes, re-engagement should never be discarded or doubted nor dropped but it must never blind us to what needs to be done nor make us doubt our resolve that has carried us thus far.
The truth of history and posterity is that level-headed Zimbabweans should not blame the US entirely and squarely for the sanctions.
They were only given a blank cheque by a key political actor in the MDC, the largest opposition party in Zimbabwe and were misled by criminals that gatecrashed the White House and Downing Street at about the same time as Bush and Blair who had interests in regime change.
Thanks to the British who have begun rehabilitating their relations with Zimbabwe, a country they maintain permanent interests in.
If we are aware that the MDC bears a huge responsibility for causing international isolation of the country and inviting sanctions, being the mouthpiece to justify their continued existence as well as threatening to invite more, it is in the interest of Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans to outlaw such an organisation.
MDC is a threat to the national interest and no different from a rebel movement, the only difference being that this one has no capacity to arm itself.
A clear message must be sent to the instigators of sanctions and those would- be offenders that, plot not against the country or its people.
If one looks at South Africa there is one position about land reform. The interesting narrative in South Africa is that both the ANC and the EFF as well as other key parties are supporting each other on the need to take back the land to its rightful owners.
The US and its abrasive pretender in POTUS threatened sanctions against South Africa in the event of that decision.
To their surprise, the EFF which is an ardent opposition to the ANC, was the first to respond to the US, telling it such threats would never shake their resolve to take back the land.
This was followed by a scathing response by SA President Cyril Ramaphosa who told Donald Trump that he was too distant and detached from the history of dispossession and apartheid that black South Africans suffered such that he was never a good opinionist on the matter.
However, the opposition in Zimbabwe does completely the opposite and theirs is a spirit of opposition than a critical mindset.
It is not surprising to hear them say “todira mavhu/jecha”, which in all essence is an admission to acts of sabotage.
The US faced the same challenge and on January 30 1799, the then president John Adams signed into law, the Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 USC ss 953), a federal law that criminalises negotiation by unauthorised persons with foreign governments having a dispute with the US.
The intent behind the Act was to prevent unauthorised negotiations from undermining the government’s position, following George Logan in 1798. Why should the MDC and its Trojan horses in the so-called civil society be allowed to lobby and press for more sanctions?
It is from this perspective that our democracy is becoming dangerously loose and vulnerable to abuse. That the US is hostile to Zimbabwe is not a matter of debate. There is therefore every reason to copy them, however, and enact our own Logan Act. No one must cry foul because Zimbabwe will only be copying from “established democracies”.
The Zimbabwean Logan Act must impose heavy penalties that involve prohibition of such individuals from contesting elections or occupying public offices as well as disband their organisations for life to send a strong message to would-be copycats of the current opposition.
The ZANU-PF conference must therefore rigorously engage this critical issue with a view of taking prohibitive and punitive measures to avoid similar mistakes, omissions and commissions in the future otherwise our polity will be contaminated forever if decisive measures are not put in place.
The MDC and its bunch of puppets must not be allowed to engage in freelance diplomacy in a manner that is inimical to the national interest.
ZANU-PF will have itself to blame if it fails to use the political muscle that it has through the numerical advantage of a two thirds majority in Parliament to shape the direction of the country’s politics as well as outlaw the jetsam and flotsam in the political, social and economic playing field.
The whole purpose of a party achieving a two thirds majority in Parliament is not to magnify the volume of cheers and jeers in the chambers, but to strategically tighten the loose ends in the national interest.
It is therefore self-defeating for ZANU-PF to fail to use the two thirds majority in Parliament to cleanse the political space of those who have ransomed the people of Zimbabwe for a long time as well as those who have conspired to against the economy and collective efforts of our people.
It is a fact that MDC leaders invited sanctions, that the current leaders after Morgan Tsvangirai have justified the continued existence of such sanctions.
That they have asked for more, while intensifying calls for economic sabotage internally through fuelling hoarding of cash, parallel market as well as artificial shortages of basics to spearhead price hikes and inflation are things that only warrant tougher action from Government and the ruling party however way it comes.
What is wrong if ZANU-PF uses its parliamentary superiority to put all such juvenile over excitement to silence? The ZANU-PF annual people’s conference must therefore refuse the temptation to ignore the debate of a Logan version of Zimbabwe.
There is every need to legislate against individuals that plot and conspire against the country with foreigners or strategic industries. Calling for sanctions against a country in other countries is punishable by death while in the US it is an open invitation for a free ride to Guantanamo Bay. Why is it so permissible in Zimbabwe, to the extent that it is actually a source of pride for the opposition?
The conference must have less food on the table for the delegates and more paper work to ensure a thought leadership conference and not one where delegates show their musical and dancing prowess.
The people’s conference is not a gala, nor a show, neither is it a get-together early Christmas party. Rather it is by all standards, an august platform and a political trade fair of ideas between and among a cross-section of the population of the country to inform and shape the reform process under the Second Republican leader ED Mnangagwa.
In the consideration of all the alternatives raised, the people’s conference must always be mindful of the fact that it has a two thirds majority in Parliament which makes its job pretty easy, otherwise, such a parliamentary majority is useless and not so worth going forward if it cannot legislate to disarm or scatter threats to developmental efforts.
Such a majority was a product of tiresome hard work and therefore must be used effectively to set the record correct for provocateurs and devil’s advocates.
Tafadzwa Mugwadi is a Zimbabwean political scientist and a conflict mediation consultant. He holds a Master of Science Degree in International Relations and a BSc Honours Degree in Political Science from the University of Zimbabwe. He can be contacted at [email protected]