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Nancy Makurira: Why Parliament of Zimbabwe has been turned into a circus

By Nancy Makurira

The Parliament of Zimbabwe has become a circus, full of animals plagued with an innate deficiency of logic, as expected of animals whose sole concern is their stomach. It is not contempt nor unpatriotic to classify the parliament as a circus.

Nancy Makurira is the MDC UK and Ireland Youth Assembly Vice Chairperson
Nancy Makurira is the MDC UK and Ireland Youth Assembly Vice Chairperson

When you have a bunch of men and women who cannot think with the stuff behind their own ears, men and women who are sycophantic, pliable to the extent of worshipping a man, Mnangagwa, whose aspirations are for the establishment of a lifetime presidency, enabled by a one party state emergent from the ashes of an aborted democracy, then that classification of parliament is justified.

A sycophantic and pliant legislature, captured and serving at the whims of a president whose legitimacy is unverifiable and controversial, whose appetite for power is insatiable, is a threat against the theoretical sacrosanctity of the constitution, the supreme law of the land.

It is very imperative to observe and commit to memory, that the constitution is the will of the people. The people’s will is not something that people who seek to outdo each other in bootlicking temper with in a parliament which has tragically deteriorated into a circus.

An unholy alliance between a useless, rubber stamping parliament and a power hungry executive arm of government is conspiratorial against the will of the people. In the same vein, there is nothing unpatriotic about the legislative and executive arms of illegitimate, or rather, if it pleases you, controversial government, cosying up to each other.

Now to the crux of the matter, criticism. In the context of a democracy, criticism, is as vital as any corner head of an enduring foundation of society, whose inclination is a just society premised on constitutionalism. The predominance of the will of the people. This will of the people is not clay with which one shapes according to his mood swings.

The Zimbabwean government, which is a conflation of the illegitimate government and criminal party of Zanu PF is, through the self-serving parliament in which Zanu PF used lawfare, which is employment of a partisan judiciary to churn judgements meant to demobilize and immobilize the opposition, seeking to deprive Zimbabweans of their freedom of expression. Freedom of expression to be critical of government spectacular and perpetual failure.

This freedom of expression is an extension of popular will, embodied in the predominance of the supremacy of the constitution. A deprivation of this freedom of expression means that there are two primary casualties. Transparency and accountability. Zimbabwe cannot afford a veil of darkness descending on where transparency and accountability are concerned.

Transparency is vital for a democratic society. It is a mechanism meant to ensure that people’s wealth is not pillaged and plundered by Zanu PF for its own egotistical stroking.

The logic of having transparency mechanism thus is to derail any prolonged illegitimate power retention, which ultimately is compelled by the need and urgency of maintaining avenues allowing consistent and assured looting of people’s wealth. This thus leads to negligence of people’s welfare. This alone demonstrates the need for criticism against government.

Corruption is a real vice afflicting Zanu PF. Transparency is as good as therapy against the said vice. Ironically, Zanu PF does not want therapy, but wants to sink in the abyss that is sequential of any vice spiralling out of control. Not wanting criticism on the part of Zanu PF is an attempt to keep skeletons under lock and key in the closet. Skeletons of plunder and pillaging of people’s wealth.

From a rational perspective of Zanu PF, the skeletons have to remain in the closet for one simple reason. Fear of the people. There is a native awareness among the Zanu PF inner circle of the undeniable power of the masses. Why?

Zanu PF realizes that while it is shielded by the military besieging citizens, dishing out terror, reliant on a rubber-stamping parliament and a half captured partisan judiciary, the people have power which terrifies Zanu PF, which explains its terror and choice of modus operandi whose inclination is an active and perpetual suppression of the said power. Taming it, if you will.

Accountability. This is a mechanism whose scope is usually sole focus on fundamental constitutional liberties, particularly human and property rights. From as early as August 1980, Zimbabwe was, under the sadistic leadership of Zanu PF, mobilizing and engaging in ethnic cleansing, targeting perceived minorities supporting so called dissidents.

This was a genocide the nation is yet to reconcile over and heal from. Males aged between 16 and 40 were systemically weeded out of the defenceless and terrified population then killed extra judicially. Pregnant women were bayoneted, their unborn babies ripped out. Other unfortunate girls and women were raped, entire villages were herded in thatched huts and burnt alive.

This was compounded by the chaotic land grab, and post 2000 electoral violence and displacements, principally Operations Makavhoterepi and Murambatsvina. There was a blatant and wholesale disregard for constitutional liberties pertaining to sanctity of life and property.

Thus legislating against criticising the government is akin to silent approval and commendation of its sadistic relations with dissenting populace, frustrated by its apparent failures. At the expense of an open, diverse and democratic Zimbabwe.

The point is simple, all this happened while all the affected regions were under martial law and locked down, whose efficacy was to dry any outflows of information.

This was based on the referenced appreciation of Zanu PF realization of the people’s power in possession of the former, which the people would claim, would they come to know of the sadism and atrocities committed by Zanu PF. Criticism of Zanu PF would be the genesis point of the repossession of the power which Zanu PF wants to retain and usurp indefinitely from the people who made the costly error of entrusting it with the said power.

Here, two points are furnished, one being that criticism is essential as it is deterrent in nature, and another being that criticism is vital as it is constructive.

Zanu PF dominated circus of parliament wants to do away with criticism, which is manifesting as deterrence against abuse of power, terrorizing and sieging of citizens, plunder and pillaging of their wealth, at the expense of the paramountcy of their welfare and their livelihoods, in addition to evasion of a constructive culture prioritizing essential democratic society overriding qualities especially tolerance, inclusivity, anti-alienation measures for instance.

The logic of illogical and futility aspirations of a consolidated hegemonic authoritarian one party state by Zanu PF is the one responsible for the preference of Zanu PF muzzling citizens abroad criticizing it. Tolerance of this preference of Zanu PF, means that neither constructive criticism nor deterrent criticism have room in the democracy aborted society of Zimbabwe.

Alienation, marginalization and economic and political exclusion will reign. The citizens will remain besieged by the military, the constitution will perpetually be a victim of mutilation and soiling by the parliament which has become a circus, serving individual interest, above collective interests.

There will be a prevalence of rule by law, serving to encourage plunder and pillaging of people’s wealth, and as means to an end of assured insulation against prosecution of those looting, punctuated by the grim affairs of neglected people’s welfare. People’s lives and their properties will remain forfeit in the eyes of Zanu PF, unless this piece of unconstitutional legislation is aborted.

Nancy Makurira is the MDC UK and Ireland Youth Assembly Vice Chairperson