We need strong, democratic institutions

The struggle to establish and nurture multi-party democracy is focused on building strong, democratic institutions that can meet the needs of the people.

The government inherited a partisan media and now use it to serve Zanu (PF) interests.
The government inherited a partisan media and now use it to serve Zanu (PF) interests.

The need for democratic institutions is dire given the total failure of the political system. Instead of running the country through democratic institutions, governance was based on partisan and compromised individuals elevated above the institutions supposed to serve the people. Where there should have been a competent, professional and non-partisan judiciary, we saw a compromised or cowed judiciary unable to stand up to the executive.

Instead of establishing a genuine public media that defends the interests of Zimbabweans, the government inherited a partisan and pro-ruling party media from the Rhodesian Front and used it to serve the partisan Zanu (PF) interests. Our struggle is for equality in a multi-party environment, not to pursue a rejected and discredited one-party-state ideology.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, despite having new commissioners agreed to by the political parties in the coalition government, is still staffed at the administrative level by individuals whose independence and non-partisanship has been called into question. It is not enough to have professional commissioners with a compromised staff implementing their policy decisions. Unless the staff serving ZEC become professional and non-partisan, the Electoral Commission cannot be viewed as an independent and non-partisan commission.

For an extended period of time, Zimbabwe has experienced a multiplicity of challenges that have received intense attention. Through the overuse of the phrase ‘The Zimbabwe Crisis’ the anatomy, meaning and true nature of the issue has been lost.

Partisan national institutions are responsible for the miscarriage of justice and the break-down of the rule of law. The subversion of national institutions is at the heart of the Zimbabwe crisis. It is not a failure to uphold the rule of law that is the problem in our country, but a clear unwillingness, on political grounds, to do so. If the Zimbabwe Republic Police political leadership was willing and committed, they have the capacity and resources to investigate and apprehend perpetrators of political violence and bring justice to victims. Unfortunately, respect for the rule of law is one of the victims of subverting national institutions.

Article 13 of the Global Political Agreement notes that: “State organs and institutions do not belong to any political party and should be impartial in their duties.” If the political leadership is able to translate this article into practice, then Zimbabwe’s democratic transition will be successful.

Without the full restoration of the impartiality and independence of national institutions, any attempts to find common ground and forge a national identity will be futile. Focus should now be on forging a national vision. – Dewa Mavhinga, Regional Coordinator, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

Post published in: Politics

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