The shaky coalition government has not agreed on the contents of a new constitution and the implementation of political, electoral, security sector and media reforms remains a pipe- dream.
Zanu PF wants elections this year with or without a new constitution, but the two MDC formations insist on the implementation of the agreed reforms and election roadmap.
The country’s partisan securocrats have indicated that they would not salute anyone who did not have liberation war credentials, meaning that they would not recognise Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC in the event that he wins elections against President Robert Mugabe.
While the parties continue to quarrel, poverty, hunger, unemployment, high food prices, and political violence threaten to wipe the gains of independence.
Analysts said although the country has made some strides in improving the lives of people, 32 years down the line, many are still to realise the better life they were promised at independence in 1980.
Social rights activist, Hopewell Gumbo said the hard-won independence from colonial rule has been “recklessly” squandered in the last two decades owing to poor management of the economy and a reversal of the boom in social and economic justice upliftment in the first decade.
“The boom has been overshadowed by a completely opposite way of running the country for the benefit of the majority in favour of the few rich and politically powerful,” he said.
Gumbo said only a small minority now presided over the State with far greater privileges than many who looked to the struggle for independence with hope.
He said as new generations come to realise the reality of a struggle that lost its way, sooner or later a re-awakening was begging and ultimate social, economic and political independence was on the horizon.
“The old and tired forces of domination are arguably on the other side of the cliff,” said Gumbo.
“The poor and politically oppressed must start the long walk to freedom now and organise for the restoration of the values for true independence whose arrival saw many lose their lives and loved ones.”
Political commentator, Blessing Vava said significant gains have been made in terms of access to resources for the black majority unlike in the past when everything was in the hands of the colonialists.
However, he noted that the processes involved have been skewed to benefit a particular group at the expense of broad-based empowerment.
“A majority of Zimbabweans are still landless and living in abject poverty,” said Vava.
He said although the growth of Zimbabwe’s education system in the last 20 years was highly commendable, it was sad to note that authorities were now turning a blind eye on the sector.
Vava said as long as Zanu PF has no clear succession plan, the foreseeable future was not promising as the 88-year-old President Robert Mugabe is now in his twilight.
“If Mugabe dies or is incapacitated, there is a high likelihood of chaos as political heavyweights move to assume power from their different factions,” said Vava.
He said there was need for the unconditional opening of democratic space by doing away with the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and all other laws that stifle enjoyment of the democratic space.
There is also need for policies that encourage wealth creation and not wealth grabbing, while the police and army have to restore professionalism and stop being partisan and respect the wishes of the people, said Vava.
“Above all, Zimbabwe needs a genuine, democratic, people- driven constitution that will allow for the participation of citizens in national democratic processes like elections,” he said.
But Zimbabwe National Liberation War collaborators Association (ZNLWCA) chairman and Zanu PF activist, Pupurai Togarepi is of the view that Zimbabweans are now enjoying the fruits of independence as they were now free to form or join political parties of their choice and exercise their right to vote.
“We have also reclaimed our resources such as the land and minerals, but what the country needs to ensure is that these are accessible and enjoyed by everyone which was the basis of the war of liberation,” he said.
Togarepi said the future of the country was positive; as Zimbabweans were now able to sit together in order to resolve their political differences.
we should vote for capable people, not noise-makers, says Chihwayi
Kurauone Chihwayi, who is the deputy spokesperson for the Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC, said while his party joined the majority of Zimbabweans in celebrating Independence, it was sad to note many people were still living a miserable life.
He said the nation witnessed bizarre incidents such as Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early 1980’s which saw the killing of thousands of people during an army crackdown.
Chihwayi said there has been serious abuse of office by the majority of Zanu PF officials, selective application of the rule of law, state sponsored violence, a partisan and haphazard land reform programme and the crafting of anti-people laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) and Posa.
“Zimbabweans are yet to enjoy total social, political and economic freedom,” he said.
Chihwayi said the past 32 years have been characterised by anarchy, election rigging, police and army brutalities and organised “looting” of private properties.
“The only way out for Zimbabweans is not repeating the mistake we made in 1980 of replacing a white oppressor with a black oppressor,” he said. “We should avoid voting for deadwood, we should vote for capable people, not noise-makers.”