By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
02 April 2014
Dewa Mavhinga, a leading civil rights activist, has said a new Government of National Unity is not an option because it will fail like the previous one and will divert people from pursuing genuine political reform.
He said ZANU PF can only reform if it is subjected to ‘domestic’ pressure from united, organized and informed citizens who can actively participate in political processes. He said that the focus should be on laying the ground for ‘sufficient pressure’ which will force political change. Mavhinga, who is the chairperson of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said this can be done by building the citizens’ capacity to make connections between economic decline and the lack of political freedom.
Mavhinga’s comments come after senior MDC-T politicians, including party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, have called for a new coalition saying ZANU PF has neither the will nor capacity to lead an economic recovery. Some analysts have predicted a complete economic collapse which they say will force ZANU PF into a new coalition.
But Mavhinga said people should not just hope that the economy will implode and force ZANU PF to do this. He said instead the people should mobilise and demand their basic rights and political freedoms. He added: ‘The problem ahead of the 2013 election was that of demobilized people who were now looking up to the GNU when they were not in a position in their own communities to push for reform. This is what needs to be addressed’.
He said part of the demobilization of the communities was a result of civil society aligning itself with the MDC parties without playing their role of offering warnings and constructive criticism. He added: ‘This is why we are restating the position that civil society’s autonomy and independence should be guarded jealously so that they can play their role of empowering the citizens.’
Many analysts have blamed civil society for not warning the opposition against entering the 2013 election without proper reforms to the electoral system. ZANU PF was eventually declared the winner but few have accepted the result because of the unfairness of the electoral process. To this date the electronic voter’s roll is still not available to the opposition and to Zimbabweans.