For instance, on the eve of the presidential election in March 2002 the top army generals of Zimbabwe led by then commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces Major-General Zvinavashe issued a public statement in which it was announced that they would never salute a leader who did not have liberation war credentials. An obvious position meant to target Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the democratic opposition.
In June 2008, pursuant to a victory of the MDC in the March 2008 election the military staged a pre-emptive military coup that literally prevented political opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC from taking over, installing President Mugabe as president of the republic.
November 2017 now represents a third occasion of a revolt against the constitution, but this time, marked with the popular removal of an unpopular president.
Despite the illegalities of the November 2017 processes, Zimbabwe now has the obligation of ensuring that there’s a major shift and fundamental departure from a past of division, attrition and fear.
Zimbabwe needs a genuine break from its tortured past, not a continuation of the old order. The new Zimbabwe, to be established now, need to be founded on the values and principles of constitutionalism, the rule of law, a just and prosperous society. In the new Zimbabwe, every citizen must be free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.
The starting point must be a return to true legitimacy, constitutionalism, and the rule of law. The roadmap to legitimacy is the fundamental precondition to the establishment of a sustainable, just, and free Zimbabwe. This roadmap must be anchored on clear benchmarks. These include:
1) The immediate restoration of constitutionalism, the rule of law, and legitimate civilian rule. The military must be demobilized from the streets.
2) Implementation of genuine electoral reforms to ensure that the election in July-August 2018 is free, fair, credible, and legitimate. Those electoral reforms, including: the preparation of a brand new biometric voters’ roll to which all political parties sign onto; agreement on an independent electoral management body; the introduction of a diaspora vote; international observation and poll monitors; defined role of the UN and its agencies; full access to media; and a safe environment for campaigning and voting free from intimidation.
3) Political and institutional reforms, which include aligning the country’s laws with the 2013 constitution, and in particular actualizing the provisions dealing with devolution and the land question.
4) Major economic reforms that focus on restoring livelihoods, growing a shared economy and addressing the huge challenge of unemployment and under-development.
5) Restoring the social contract, including the renewal and rebirth of a new Zimbabwe that shuns corruption and promotes national healing and reconciliation.
The above road map must be guaranteed and underwritten by the international community. In this regard, the role of the African Union and the United Nations will be critical.
Continued next page