Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Hopewell Chin’ono: The Election Violence Commission exposes the folly of non-engagement

By Hopewell Chin’ono

So the President announced the commission of enquiry into what happened on August the 1st when 7 citizens were shot dead by the military and opposition supporters burned vehicles and property.

Hopewell Chin'ono
Hopewell Chin’ono

Naturally those who support the government of the day felt that he had done well by bringing in reputable foreign commissioners into the enquiry.

Those opposed to his presidency and his government made noises about the inclusion of University of Zimbabwe professors Charity Manyeruke and Lovemore Madhuku.

Also some Zimbabweans who are “politically neutral” questioned the inclusion of the two UZ professors.

Charity Manyeruke is an unapologetic ZANUPF supporter who is also in the ruling party structures.

Many in the opposition ranks are also unhappy because Madhuku was a presidential candidate in the recent harmonized elections.

However the President’s reasoning could have been that if Madhuku was opposed to him in the election as a contestant, then he is reputable enough for the commission job.

We might never know why he chose him unless one day he lays it down for the nation to know.
More importantly, two days ago I spoke about how political inclusion (not to be confused with a GNU) was important for the MDCA, Nelson Chamisa and the nation.

If ever you doubted by argument then, yesterday was your answer.

If Nelson Chamisa had not been disagreeable to Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidency, he could have legitimately pushed for names of his own choice to be included on the commission team.

That is the bedrock of political inclusion, he doesn’t have to be in Mnangagwa’s government to have that political influence.

He could have put forward names that could have balanced-out the inclusion of people like Charity Manyeruke.

However he can’t have this privilege whilst denigrating the person mandated at law to set up such a commission.

It is not possible to not concede defeat after the highest court in the land has ruled and refusing to acknowledge Mnangagwa’s presidency and at the same time want him to do as you wish.

As long as the MDCA is opposed publicly or otherwise to the constitutional court ruling on Mnangagwa’s presidency, their only voice will be found in the 65 MDCA members of parliament.

That political voice will be inconsequential because it will be competing with and against 141 ZANUPF members of parliament and a ZANUPF executive led by Emmerson Mnangagwa and his two deputies, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi.

This will reduce the MDCA and Nelson Chamisa to a fringe protest movement and not a political outfit of any meaningful consequence.

This will be made worse for the MDCA if the Mnangagwa admnistration starts delivering on some of its promises.

As I have always argued, this will not be healthy for the country because any nation and democracy needs a critical and solid opposition whose voice is of political relevance, a voice that the government will be forced to listen to once it speaks.

If the MDCA fails to get its act together, they would have subjected the country to a one party state because their solutions or lack thereof are not enhancing anything politically towards the social and economic development of the country at present.

There will be more instances where commissions or outfits of national importance will be required to be in place, the composition of these commissions will remain politically tilted unless the opposition decides to sit on the national table and be part of the social and political discourse.

You can’t expect to be heard when you are not on the table where matters of national importance are being discussed.

The argument about Mnangagwa’s legitimacy is long over gone and any citizen or political party opposed to him and ZANUPF has to start thinking about 2023 or being part of the solution making process now.

This is why you find that great Africans of international reputation like former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe and former Common Wealth Secretary General Chief Emeka Anyaouku of Nigeria are agreeing to work with Emmerson Mnangagwa.

These African luminaries would never have accepted Mnangagwa’s brief if his legitimacy was in any doubt.

The international community in Africa and countries like Britain and Germany have publicly started working with Mnangagwa with Germany sending its Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Muller to Zimbabwe days after Mnangagwa’s inauguration.

The longer Nelson Chamisa takes to resolve his disagreement to Mnangagwa’s presidency, the quicker he will sink into political oblivion.

Many around him are pointing to the economy being Mnangagwa’s achilles heel and as an instrument that will force him to defer to Nelson Chamisa and the MDCA.

This assumes that the key to the economy is rooted in the MDCA’s nod to Mnangagwa’s presidency.

However the real key to unlocking the economy will be The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), which is the designated pathway for Zimbabwe to reconnect with the US and the rest of the world.

All that the Mnangagwa administration needs to do is unlock the key elements mentioned in the ZIDERA Act through reforms and proceed accordingly.

This week president met with James Manyika who used to advise President Barack Obama.

This is a sign that Zimbabweans of immense global relevance are starting to have the all-important conversations about where to take the country and more importantly how to fix the country’s problems.

These reforms and solutions will require more commissions to implement them whilst Nelson Chamisa is not on the table.

He will once more miss out on being part of the reformation agenda program and more importantly, his solutions will not be part of that reformation.

ZANUPF will not be obligated to add reforms that will disadvantage them as only Chamisa and his party can push for what they believe to be fairer.

How will they do this when they are not on the table?

So whilst people like Manyeruke are known to be partisan and rooted in ZANUPF politics, President Mnangagwa can only chose those willing to work with him.

Those unwilling to do so can’t expect a president they don’t recognize to appoint them to commissions and boards of national importance when they refuse to acknowledge his presidency.

There is a choice and a big decision to be made by Nelson Chamisa and the MDCA, either be part of the national political process or relegate yourselves to posting entertaining social media messages like how many of Zimbabwe’s pimpernels now do from lands afar.

Either of the two decisions will have a bearing on whether 2023 will be free and fair for them.

As someone mentioned, there are consequences to every decision we make and these consequences cannot be chosen. They are fully dependent on the decisions that one chooses to make and inevitably they determine the long-term effects of your desired outcomes.

Our expectations must not only be rooted in the literacy to read what the law and constitution say, but in the critical thinking of understanding where we are coming from and how low we had sunk as a nation

Hopewell Chin’ono is an award winning Zimbabwean international Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker. He is a Harvard University Nieman Fellow and a CNN African Journalist of the year.
He is also a Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Africa leadership Institute.

Hopewell has a new documentary film coming out which is looking at mental illness in Zimbabwe called State of Mind. State of Mind has been nominated for a top award in Kenya.

Hopewell can be contacted at [email protected] or on twitter @daddyhope