It is the same now – it is what we do with the new opportunities that the change represents that will determine its ultimate outcome. In 1976 it was eventually 3 years of conflict and then Lancaster House and the British engineered transfer of power to Robert Mugabe, whom they saw as being the only man who could end the war, control all the factions and created a coherent government. They were right and wrong, and the long-term outcome of those decisions is the mess we are now in.
The new team in power are clearly trying to change things for the better. They have no choice as elections loom and must be fought in just 7 months’ time. They know that they have a real challenge ahead of them; they are committed to a free and fair election, they know they have not made any friends in what they have done over the past 4 years, and they know that that must, to a very great extent, carry the baggage left over from the Mugabe era.
To do so they simply must deal with corruption, maintain law and order, stop the remnants of the G40 and Joice causing more problems and destabilizing the country. They know they must deal with the cash shortages, the rising prices and shortages. They know they must convince the population that they have changed and its not just the tired old policies of the Mugabe dynasty. They must be able to offer hope and they have to achieve all of this in 7 months.
For all of us we must accept that this agenda is also in our interests – even if we are in the opposition. These are national and not parochial problems that must be tackled if any of us are going to have any sort of future. The MDC and especially Morgan Tsvangirai have brought democracy back to Zimbabwe and restored our rights as a people. But right now, with his illness, other than offering opposition and curbing the excesses of any future government, we are probably stuck with ED and that is our dilemma. We have no choice but to make it work.
Harare 7th January 2017