ZIMBABWEANS are sovereign citizens because of the status that this country got from its forefathers like Joshua Nkomo, Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, Leopold Takawira, Nikita Mangena, Josaya Magama Tongogara and Herbert Hamandishe Pfumaindini Wilshire Chitepo among others after decades of colonial and imperial rule that started with the occupation of Zimbabwe in 1890.
In this regard, no person no matter how powerful or cruel should assume the role of the sovereign in their individual capacity and for selfish political reasons as is currently happening in Zimbabwe.
During the Matabeleland and Midlands disturbances, the 1990 elections, the constitutional referendum, the violent farm invasions, the 2000, 2002, 2005 and the 29 March 2008 elections, several ways have been discovered by the leading politicians in Zanu PF to deprive Zimbabweans of their sovereign and legitimate right to choose their leaders without coercion and violence.
In the long run, Mugabe and Zanu PF are depriving Zimbabweans of their sovereign status.
With the deprivation of this status, Zimbabweans’ unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are being infringed upon by one person who has assumed the role of sovereign on his own and is supported by a heartless and cruel lot.
The current electoral impasse created by the desire of President Mugabe to be the sovereign without due regard to the democratic outcome of the elections held on 29 March in which he lost to the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) brings me to the point where I question the meaning of sovereign and its origins.
According to the 6th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary,Â a sovereign is defined as, “A person, body, or state in which independent authority is vested; a chief ruler with supreme power; a king or other ruler in a monarchy.”
In the Zimbabwean context, before the Second Chimurenga that brought Independence in 1980, the British Queen was sovereign and the Zimbabwean people were her subjects.
The war of liberation was supposed to have changed this but Mugabe due to his unquenchable thirst for power did not.
If Zanu PF and its leader Mugabe were democratic, sovereignty was supposed to be transferred from one man to the collective body of the people and he who before was a subject of the Queen is now a citizen of the State. However, there has been no paradigm shift because Mugabe and his ruling party have refused to transfer sovereignty to the people of Zimbabwe.
In fact Mugabe has extended imperial rule by assuming imperial powers under a regime of laws that bestows upon him powers similar to those of monarchs in Europe before the emergence of democracy.
Mugabe has become a native imperialist who treats his subjects with scorn and contempt worse than they were treated under the late Ian Smith and his predecessors.
I contend that Mugabe has become worse than the colonial rulers because during the colonial period, the colonialists were able to change power among themselves.
Most critically, the colonialists following their defeat by the liberation forces, agreed to give power to Zanu PF without further bloodshed. But today, as I write, there is mayhem in the country because Mugabe does not want to accept the sovereign will of Zimbabweans as expressed during the elections on March 29.
He treats Zimbabweans as his subjects just like they were treated during the colonial period.
The electoral crisis in Zimbabwe could be best explained by the failure of Zanu PF and Mugabe to transfer the power that was gained after Independence to the generality of Zimbabweans. Instead, Mugabe largely has become a sole share holder in a company.
He has dissolved the body of directors, and fired and arrested the shareholders.
Until Mugabe realised that he cannot run a corporate organisation like that, he will never accept the electoral outcome because he argues that no one can elect him in his own company.
This scenario requires that the body of directors meet with the shareholders and come up with a decisive action plan to recapture their company from Mugabe.
President Mugabe should realise that corporate governance ethics demands that if a chief executive officer of a company fails to safeguard the interests of the shareholders by promoting the company and their investments, the shareholders through the board of directors can convene a meeting and decide to fire or ask the chief executive to resign.
This is common practice in corporate governance that Mugabe should appreciate.
In the Zimbabwean case, the people of Zimbabwe who are the shareholders of the Republic went to vote on March 29 to elect a new chief executive officer of the country.
Â Other office bearers were elected in parliament, senate and council but the results of the chief executive are yet to be announced because the incumbent feels that the shareholders did not renew his term of office sufficiently enthusiastically.
President Mugabe should realise and accept that in the history of corporate governance there are very few cases if any where a chief executive officer refuses to be fired but instead fires the board of directors and the shareholders or even goes further to beat them up.
However, what the board of directors and the shareholders should do when faced with such a situation is to convene an emergency general meeting where all interested parties in the company, the major and minority shareholders put their heads together to deal with the defiant chief executive officer and safeguard their investments.
This in view is what the political parties, big and small, civil society organisations and those interested in rescuing this country from Mugabe’s uncontrolled insatiable appetite for power should do as a matter of urgency in order save this country from sliding into anarchy.
The two formations of the MDC and those in the pro-democracy movement should stop involving themselves in parochial and self-serving interests and convene an emergency meeting where strategies to deal with the Zimbabwean problem are put on the table and democratically executed.
The time for scoring points under the current situation while one person with a group of unschooled securocrats are holding the whole country hostage should be resisted and put to an end.
In this regard, there is no person who is small or big but all Zimbabweans in their collective strength and wisdom in purpose can overcome this sad chapter in the history of our country.
Mugabe should realise that his time is up and his continued abuse of human rights will only strengthen the position of those who want him to be a candidate of the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity. He should as a matter of urgency order the soldiers and other paramilitary groups to stop committing crimes against people who did not vote for him because it is their democratic right to choose leaders of their choice.
While I appreciate that time has run out for Mugabe to repent, it is worthwhile for him to read Nicole Machiavelli’s The Discourses in which he says that a leader must leave a legacy to be remembered.
By Pedzisayi RuhanyaÂ
lPedzisai Ruhanya is a human rights researcher based in Harare.