By Byron Mutingwende
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) is worried that the country continues to be plunged into a leadership crisis following the serious infighting within the ruling party Zanu (PF).
“Ordinarily, the Coalition does not comment on internal affairs of political parties but given the conflation of the state and the ruling party (Zimbabwe is a party state), events in ZANU PF have a strong bearing in the architecture and conduct of business in government, which is presiding over the current economic and governance crisis. We are concerned that the country is being dragged towards a political dynasty by the first family, in the process undermining democratic ethos as enshrined in the national constitution,” CiZC said in a statement.
CiZC said the political events that dominated the country on 6 November 2017 point to two possible pathways. On one hand is the hybrid political dynasty, which is democratic regression characterised by an onslaught on the constitution and its values of a constitutional democracy underpinned by a republic state architecture.
“This scenario will see the substitution of the Republic by a dynasty as the Mugabes escalate efforts at safeguarding the family empire. Hybrid political dynasties are modern hybrids in which elite political aims are linked to popular norms of charismatic legitimacy and descendants of charismatic leaders reconstitute the political, this follows that the dynasty is nontraditional as it is subjected to popular legitimacy processes such as elections though nominal. We posit that with or without the appointment of the first lady, the president will appoint from his inner circle and reign from the shadows. Within this scenario, it is unlikely that the G40 faction in particular and ZANU PF in general, will witness intra-party cohesion.”
On the other hand is the possible collapse of economic and governance sectors.
“While this scenario already seems underway, the scenario qualifies the Hybrid Political Dynasty. Zimbabwe’s economy will continue on a downward trend with no apparent efforts to resuscitate it while the governance sector will continue to witness a collapse of democratic tenets with the more concentration of state power in the Hybrid Political Dynasty. For the ordinary Zimbabwean, the economy will continue to deteriorate, characterised by the establishment of an enclave economy where the first family virtually controls all sectors of the economy including government tenders. This will allow the dynasty to be the sole economic powerhouse on the land allowing or a thriving patronage system. Within this scenario, Zimbabwe should expect unrest from an increasingly agitated citizen,” CiZC said.
CiZC said the two scenarios highlighted above pose serious questions on the country trajectory, which in their view is sliding towards a failed state scenario where state capture by both the president and his shadow (post physical tenure) becomes a norm. The political repression in Zimbabwe and economic performance will interact as an enclave economy enjoyed by the ruling oligarchy aided by the nature of democratic inaction and nationalism, while bureaucracies are captured by the elite. The dynasty will therefore place more emphasis on building networks of loyalty to compensate for the weakness of democratic enforcement mechanisms. In their view this will also lash out at bonds of loyalty that allow other members of society to enforce agreements potentially at odds with the dynasty’s wishes.
CiZC said it is worried that the dearth in leadership is not only an indicator of a protracted governance leadership crisis in Zimbabwe but a perpetuation of the economic and governance crisis with no meaningful strides taken to revitalise the collapse in critical sectors of the economy while the fiscal space continues to shrink.
They were worried that the leadership of President Mugabe continues to remould the state and economic architecture to deprive opportunities for the ordinary citizen in the pursuit of prosperity and happiness for the ordinary Zimbabweans. CiZC contend that the current multifaceted national crises reflect on the legacy of the national leadership.
“Characteristic of the Hybrid Political Dynasty, all avenues of accountability are either abandoned or stifled, the CiZC is concerned that the dearth in transparency runs counter to the national values enshrined in the Constitution and can only serve to further plunge the country in deeper governance crises.
“If anything the leadership crisis in Zimbabwe has shown that its transformation into a political dynasty is in pursuit of political careers and self-perpetuation. Given the current state of weakened institutions of accountability, governance and economy, patronage and antidevelopment corruption will continue to thrive. In the interregnum, under a hybrid political dynasty, ordinary citizens should not expect economic growth and changes in the quality of public services.
Given the unfolding crises, CiZC calls upon President Mugabe to honour his obligation and oath by addressing the current political, economic and social crises and uphold the very foundations of the republic enshrined in the constitution and allow for an open transparent national dialogue on the leadership question.
It recommended that non-state actors, primarily civil society, should begin to develop and implement actions and initiatives on the political transition reading outward the events leading to the 2018 elections with a view of leveraging the transition. In the same ambit citizens were encouraged to stand firm in holding the government to account and begin dialogue and reclaim spaces that seek to arrest the governance and economic crises.
“We also call upon the regional (SADC and AU) and international community to impress upon the leadership in Zimbabwe to immediately abandon plans that will further escalate the national crises and adopt interim measures that cushion ordinary citizens against the economic crisis. In this we underscore the importance of upholding the constitution and its values in addressing the leadership dearth in Zimbabwe,” CiZC said.