Zim's new constitution, a covenant with new destiny

HARARE - We are on a new trajectory of hope and prosperity.  We are inspired by the biblical teachings of Matthew.

We refuse to be down and out.

We are a mighty people and indeed, ours is now the equivalent of the Sermon on the Mount as aptly captured in the gospel of Matthew  5 verse 9   “Happy are those who work for peace; God will be merciful to them."
Our  new found enthusiasm is also  bench-marked on  the lucidity of  another biblical foundational value as disclosed in Galatians 3 verse 15 “My brothers and sisters, I am going to use an everyday example: when two people agree  on a matter and sign an agreement, no one can break it or add anything to it."

When President Mugabe put his signature to the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment  ( No 20) Bill at State House on Wednesday, May  22, 2013, Zimbabwe irreversibly entered into a new political phase where we cut off  our link with the colonially-imposed Lancaster House constitution.

History was made on that fateful morning at Number 1 Chancellor Avenue, Harare.

Zimbabwe will never  be the same again after that momentous occasion.

The forces of modernity and positivism have now engulfed the entire nation.

That was a defining moment; indeed, the kind of occasion every historian would like to chronicle.

There are those of us who would want to make a new start.

We are sick and tired of mud-slinging and hate-mongering.

We now want to build a mighty nation.

Yes, we want to build a $200 billion economy by 2040 — such is our optimism!  The tragedy our nation has been our chronic failure to walk the talk.

We have never been short of brilliant policy blueprints.

In fact, over the years, Zimbabwe has crafted some very brilliant policy documents that have only remained on paper; never to be actualised.

We have the Short Term Economic Recovery Program (STERP) in two versions, STERP 1 and STERP 2.

But has our economy came of out  its deep slumber and stagnation?

Capacity utilisation in our industrial sites is woefully depressed with some economists estimating that we are still around 17 percent in that regard.

We have signed several bilateral protection agreements with several countries but still an economic turnaround seems like a pipe dream.

Amidst much pomp and ceremony at the Harare International Conference Centre in 2010, we entered into a Bippa with Botswana in terms of which an amount of P500 million was going to be injected into our economy.
The last time I checked nothing has really materialised from this much talked about Bippa.

What this fundamentally means is that we are getting our act wrong somewhere; where it gravely matters.
We sometimes enter into good agreements with bad partners and sometimes we enter into bad agreements with good partners.

We seem to lack a concise and cutting edge  national paradigm when we routinely commit ourselves to these various bilateral and multi-lateral agreements.

Put simply, we have to wake-up and smell the coffee.

We desperately need a new paradigm which is distinctly different from this lackadaisical business-as-usual approach to running affairs of the State.

More importantly also, we should immediately cease being lazy, incompetent, inefficient and corrupt.
The prevailing government work ethic is simply not up to scratch.

We should learn to monitor and evaluate our work programmes.

In fact, we should refuse to normalise the abnormal. Mediocrity should not be sanitised.

Where heads have to roll; they should actually roll. The world of sacred cows should be history.

Zimbabwe is too well-endowed with adequately trained human personnel for us to worry about firing lazy, corrupt and incompetent operatives.

Put differently, we need a new culture of doing business or else no matter how many times we will change our governments we will still remain underdeveloped and poor.

What Zimbabwe needs and needs urgently is to build strong and efficient institutions and systems as opposed to nurturing strong personalities.

Some of us would rather have a weak individual running a strong institution rather than have a strong individual running a weak institution.

There is absolutely no excuse for our state of penury and economic stagnation.

If it’s our bad politics, then we should learn to engage in good politics where thieves and crooks masquerading as nationalists and later day patriots should be exposed.

They should be named and shamed.

For how else can you explain the humiliating action of importing 150 000 tonnes of maize at a cost of $25 million from neighbouring Zambia more than 10 years after embarking upon the much hyped so-called land reform programme?

What are the “new farmers’’ doing out there? Where is the production?

Commercial farms that used to be viably run have now been reduced to little peasant estates with sporadic tobacco farming here and there.

One can actually touch the poverty and indigence of the “new" farmers who have taken over most of the farms.

Surely, something very wrong has taken place and the new government coming soon should quickly save the people from this life of penury and perpetual peasantry.

And to think that we even have a food and nutrition security policy for Zimbabwe that was pompously launched in Harare only a few days ago? Surely, the gods must be crazy.

We should take the promulgation of the new Constitution as a historic event that should usher in a new environment across all facets of our lives.

For indeed, the rights of women and children have been chronicled and protected in this new covenant.
The rights of workers and war veterans have also been enshrined and protected.

Even the rights of people living with disabilities have also been protected.

Our bill of rights under Chapter Four of the new Constitution is nothing short of a masterpiece.

It will make Abraham Lincoln green with envy. Yes; it would even make Martin Luther King Jr dance in ecstasy.

We should seize this historic moment and ensure that Zimbabwe shall never again be a land of poor and down-trodden people.

This is our moment to shine. It is very true that Zimbabwe, with this new Constitution, should never be a colony again. We don’t want to be a colony of the British.

We don’t want to be a colony of the Americans. And yes, we don’t want to be a colony of the Chinese.

We are a very proud and sovereign nation.

Doomsayers might have other ideas. Out there, there are people who are incorrigibly and fundamentally opposed to change.

But then, they are just a tiny minority whom we shouldn’t lose sleep over.

The majority of the people have been fatigued by a system that rewards corruption and greed and invariably punishes good, honest, hardwork.

They want to move on with their lives. They have had enough of bad politics. Actually, they now hate politicians. We now have no excuse for failure.

We are in charge of our own destiny.

History will judge us harshly if we fail to extricate ourselves from this hopeless life of hate, poverty, malice and stagnation.

We have made a covenant with destiny. We should now rise and shine.

And this should begin with the kind of elections that we are going to hold sooner later in the year.

These elections have to be free and fair and most importantly, they should pass the test of legitimacy locally, regionally and internationally.

We need no knives, knobkerries and machetes in conducting this forthcoming plebiscite.
If change is coming then let it come. No one should be intimidated with talk of guns and bullets.

The people now obviously prefer talk of the ballot as opposed to the bullet.

Naturally, we expect  losers  in  a free and fair election to accept the people’s choice with grace and ambiance. We don’t want a civil war. In fact, Zimbabwe doesn’t deserve a civil war.

Winners should govern with respect and magnanimity. This country belongs to all of us. No one has a monopoly of patriotism. Inclusivity is better than exclusivity.

This winner-take-all syndrome has driven this otherwise great nation to the brink. There is enough for everyone.

There is no need to be selfish and greedy. We look forward to the building of a great nation State post elections. Yes, we can do it.

Purveyors of hate and division are obviously planning for mayhem but then, they shouldn’t be given a chance.

We are Zimbabweans all of us in all shapes and sizes; in all colour and creed. We are indeed, the chosen people. - Obert Gutu
*Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite in Harare. He is also the MDC Harare provincial spokesperson and the Deputy Minister of Justice  and Legal Affairs.

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