By Tendai Ruben Mbofana
One of the most disingenuous things the ZANU PF administration is notorious for is its persistent portrayal of ‘regime change’ as some diabolical concept, to be viewed with utter disdain.
Whenever Zimbabweans stand up for their rights and speak up against the nefarious activities of the government, they are immediately branded ‘regime change agents’.
These labels are painted as if desiring ‘regime change’ is the highest form of treason and unpatriotism, possibly deserving the gravest punishment.
In fact, this has been employed as a pretext to justify the relentless repression of any voices of dissent or brutal crackdown upon the opposition in Zimbabwe.
All this is done under the guise of ‘protecting the country against agents of regime change’.
However, is regime change supposed to be unacceptable in the country?
Is there anything wrong with aspiring for regime change?
Is it some form of crime or evil, motivated by a sinister agenda against Zimbabwe?
Well, it may shock many, but the concept of ‘regime change’ is the backbone and cornerstone of any democracy.
This is what separates democratic states from dictatorships!
This is why, in Zimbabwe, at five-year intervals, every citizen over the age of eighteen years is afforded their right to change the regime of the day, should they so wish, via elections.
In so doing, the concept of regime change is actually a right guaranteed and protected by our own Constitution!
We can even assert that section 67 is the ‘regime change clause’, which effectively enshrines this fundamental right in the country’s supreme law.
It states, inter alia, every Zimbabwean citizen’s right to free, fair and regular elections for any public office; and to form, to join and to participate in the activities of a political party or organization of their choice.
Further to this, it is the right for every Zimbabwean over the age of eighteen years to vote in all elections and referendums.
What are all these rights effectively guaranteeing?
The right to regime change!
In other words, anyone who wishes for regime change in Zimbabwe is merely exercising his or her democratic right, which is protected by the country’s Constitution.
It is perfectly legal and acceptable.
Additionally, anyone who wants to preserve the status quo is also perfectly within his or her rights.
Nonetheless, this has to be exercised without impeding or violating the other group’s right to change or remove the incumbent government.
As such, it is totally irresponsible and disingenuous for the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa administration to constantly portray those who oppose them as ‘regime change agents’ in bad light.
This brazen attempt at bastardizing the country’s supreme law is clearly motivated by a perverted desire to silence critics and opposition players.
I find it extremely difficult to believe that a government filled with academics and knowledgeable people would be ignorant of the laws of the land.
This feigned ignorance is merely a front for justifying oppression and tyrannical rule.
Let us remember that Mnangagwa and his administration are not forced to pretend to be democratic or exercise a version of democracy they may not necessarily want.
If they wish to adopt and implement a political system akin to their supposed ‘all-weather friends’ in China and North Korea, then they should come out in the open.
Those are the countries where regime change is frowned upon and regarded as an act of treason – since these are Constitutional one-party states.
We are all aware that, immediately after independence in 1980, the ruling ZANU PF was keen on introducing a one-party state system.
It is widely believed to have been one of the major drivers behind the barbaric genocidal massacres of suspected PF-ZAPU supporters (Ndebele-speakers, to be more specific).
This is where over 20,000 innocent unarmed civilians were savagely butchered by the North Korea trained Fifth Brigade in the Midlands and Matebeleland provinces between 1982 and 1987.
Today, the onslaught against the opposition continues – this time through the weaponization of the law targeting CCC officials and supporters.
Right now, Job Sikhala has been languishing in prison for over a year without any meaningful trial whilst repeatedly denied his constitutional right to bail.
These attacks were upped after the recent 23rd and 24th August harmonized elections, where several newly-elected CCC legislators and councilors – as Gift Ostallos Siziba, Maureen Kademaunga, and Kudzai Kadzombe – were arrested on various laughable charges.
This was after elections that were roundly condemned as grossly flawed and falling far short of acceptable standards of freeness, fairness, and credibility.
Several election observer missions – notably SADC, the AU, COMESA, Commonwealth and EU – presented adverse reports on the plebiscite, as having been conducted under conditions that violated the country’s Constitution and electoral laws, as well as regional and international guidelines governing democratic elections.
This all signals to a regime that loathes multi-party democracy and feels entitled to be the sole authorities in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe government should not deceive both the nation and the world.
We all deserve to know what system of government they genuinely envision for the country.
As highlighted before, no one is forced to choose one over the other.
In fact, if they strongly feel that the current system is un-African, then I am all for doing away with the present system with a government headed by a president.
If they sincerely envision a truly African system, then let us be governed by our traditional leaders – as was the case pre-colonization.
In other words, we do not need Mnangagwa and his regime under a truly African political model.
The ZANU PF regime should not deceive anyone.
This deception is actually causing confusion.
As citizens, we have the right to know what political system we are truly following so that we respond accordingly.
Nonetheless, as the situation currently subsists, our laws are very clear: we are still a multi-party democracy.
In other words, regime change is perfectly legal in Zimbabwe!
● Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit website: http://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/