In pursuing a national initiative such as the "National Vision for
Process of Achieving the National Vision
It is our submission that the Church leaders' process in crafting a National Vision for
In addition, some of those organizations engaged were shown versions of the document that were different from what was eventually launched. This has led to complaints about duplicity and manipulation from the Catholic Jesuits, and Bishop Pius Ncube. The perception is that people and organizations were being used to legitimize a dubious agenda.
The most problematic process aspect of the Church initiative has been the way they have engaged Robert Mugabe and ZANU(PF). From the tea sessions at State House to the launch of the document by Robert Mugabe, the Church leaders have allowed the criminal dictatorship of Robert Mugabe to destroy the potential of the initiative. Mugabe's ill-advised comments about non-negotiable issues, defence of the Lancaster House constitution, and general disdain for other stakeholders, have compromised the effectiveness of the initiative. In a very cynical way Mugabe embraced the project in order to destroy its credibility, and then unleashed his chief apologists and propagandists to viciously attack the initiative in the state media. What a shameful ploy!
The Church leaders are well-intentioned and their motivation is honourable. However, they have been extremely naïve. With the continuously deteriorating economic malaise and global isolation, Mugabe wants to buy time. He could use the initiative to do just that by appearing to be doing something. The suffering people of
Content of the National Vision
The MDC will be submitting a detailed written response to the content of the vision document. Here we outline some preliminary and inconclusive remarks. The general gist of the document is in sync with the views of most Zimbabweans, that is, the material is common cause. However, there are areas characterized by omissions and distortions. Some of the distortions are due to the dysfunctional process through which the initiative has gone. The ugly hand of ZANU(PF) is evident. As already submitted, you cannot separate content from process.
For a start, the vision statement sounds like apple pie and motherhood. There is no economic vision, neither is there a social justice aspect to it. There is no clarity on the economic strategy that will take
A major distortion in the document is around the nature and cause of the Zimbabwean crisis. At the root of our national problems are issues of bad governance, political legitimacy, economic mismanagement, corruption, and political dictatorship, all due to the absolute failure of Robert Mugabe and ZANU(PF). This must be stated without equivocation or ambiguity. The vision document at best equivocates, at worst it is apologetic. Misdiagnosis of a problem will lead to wrong solutions.
It is also astounding that the language of the document is very subdued and apologetic when describing national institutional ills such as POSA and AIPPA. In some cases the diction resembles that of ZANU(PF) in the way issues like patriotism and sanctions are discussed. Presumably these language overtures are meant to placate the dictator, Robert Mugabe. It must be emphasized that this is done at a huge cost: De-legitimization of the content leading to its total rejection by the people of
Another area of contention in the document is on the subject of Gukurahundi, which is treated shamelessly as a footnote. There is a celebration of the first 15 years of independence as blissful and full of hope. Yet, it is during this period that the regime of Robert Mugabe massacred over 20 000 civilians in
A general point about the document is that it lacks time-frames, and prioritization of the different initiatives and recommendations. There must be clarity on what matters are short term, medium term and long term.
The document extensively uses Christian Biblical chapters and verses. This is inappropriate in a national vision document. Even if our country is 90% Christian we still have Moslems, Hindus, and Jews as part of our nation. There are also Zimbabweans who believe in traditional religions. We need religious tolerance in our national vision.
As indicated earlier, our detailed written response on the content is forthcoming.
The Way Forward
In conclusion it is clear that the Church leaders have process and content challenges in their great initiative. It is important that they embrace the critique we have provided above and address relevant matters. Dramatic changes and corrective measures are required, in particular around the process. The initiative has to be wrestled back from ZANU(PF), its credibility re-established, while building buy-in and confidence among disgruntled stakeholders. The success of the initiative will depend solely on the Church leaders doing the right things. As the
The National Vision for
Defeat is not on the agenda & Victory is certain.
The Struggle Continues Unabated.
Arthur G.O. Mutambara