ONE would have been forgiven for thinking, at the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) two years ago, that it was the end of history for the country as the struggle over ideologies between Zanu PF and the MDC was coming to an end.
Just like Francis Fukuyama wrongly predicted in his seminal article “The end of history and the last man” when the cold war ended, it was wrong to conclude in Zimbabwe the struggle over ideologies had come to an end.
In fact, if it were the end of history, then it was the beginning of nonsense which the country has lived with over the past 25 months.
When the GPA was signed in September 2008, two diametrically opposed ideologies converged barring the fact that they are mutually exclusive.
One thought the differences would be patched up and all would work in unison in the second republic.
Zanu PF, riding on the wave of exhausted nationalism and populist policies which cost them an election where a two thirds majority in the previous parliament was cut to less than half, and on the other hand the two MDCs buoyed by a victory in the last election came to the table with a neo-liberal and social democratic agenda.
Many thought leaders who had appended their signatures on the GPA would be rational actors who would put national interest ahead of selfish ends. This, it has to be pointed out, was a hope dipped in idealism as the leaders were not rational after all as they seized the moment to restrategise.
The signing of the GPA ushered in a Machiavellian moment where there was, behind the arrases, a war of one against all. It was a zero-sum struggle between the different ideologies. On paper, the two mutually exclusive ideologies appeared to work. However, despite the plastic, photo shoot smiles that we were subjected to, there were signs things were not working.
The economy failed to take off, the outstanding issues pertaining to the implementation of the GPA continued to accumulate and Zimbabwe failed to reclaim its position in the world. This was evident in the standpoints President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara took when addressing various forums at home and abroad. It was clearly evident that there was no ideological congruence.
Now, the façade has worn off with the passage of time and last week Tsvangirai made a confession that all was not well in the inner circles of the state.
Questions now arise on where the country got it wrong.
The blending of the two sides, one that had the votes but not the power and those with the power and not the votes, was a recipe for chaos and this has been the case ever since.
An analysis of the politics of the GPA and ultimately the government of national unity shows that power and ideology are central to all the strategies.
The analysis of who gets what, when, how, why and where was and still is central to the whole political arrangement. This would feed into the ideologies of the respective political party. It also assisted in answering the question of justice, order, conflict, legitimacy, accountability, obligation and decision making which have also been central to the country after the turn of the century.
With the assistance of hindsight, it would not be unfair to conclude that the ideological conflict in the shaky political arrangement has been unhealthy and is the beginning and end of the country’s problems.
Until there is common ground in terms of ideas that constitute the country’s goals, expectations and actions — a national ideology of some sort, then there can be no moving out of the wood.
The nation will have to wait until a time when the president will consult the premier on issues and not take advantage of technicalities which give him some nominal power to make appointments. Constitutions are made by people for people, and in the spirit of honouring the letter and spirit of the GPA, Mugabe should have consulted his partners in government. That much must be evident to even the most obtuse observers.
For as long as these spats continue, Zimbabwe’s rebirth will continue to be a still-born affair and we will all lose out in the end.