Biti: New Strategies to Remain Relevant?

Isn’t it amazing how reasonable politicians become when they have lost political battles and they are looking for ways to endear themselves to the people. We would not believe that these were the words of Tendai Biti yesterday if the story was not published in the reliable Zimbabwe Independent under the deceptive headline New Strategies To Remove Mugabe:

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By Makusha Mugabe

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Biti

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“Mugabe stole the 2013 elections using all kinds of sophisticated shenanigans, including rigging, and unless and until we attended to genuine electoral reforms then any participation in elections is simply legitimising a flawed process.

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“It eludes one’s wisdom that more than 36 months after the July 2013 elections we still do not have copies of the electronic voters roll.

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“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), a body which runs the elections, has also not received its copy of the electronic voters roll.

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“The issue of elections in Zimbabwe has been a circus. It is time to confront the beast and demand far-reaching electoral reforms.”

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Compelling reading? You bet. And you wonder whether Tendai Biti has just discovered these truths.
\nWhile maintaining his position that the Principals scuttled the change agenda that had been negotiated to form the for the Inclusive Government, Biti said the change agenda needed to be completed, including:

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Complete overhaul of the electoral framework, with a new voters roll and a modernised electoral system.

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Demilitarised electoral system and other institutions.

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A securitised Zec – one which has its own budget and is truly independent.

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And international elections monitoring with international standards.

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Zimbabweans must demand these changes and not out-source them to political parties alone.

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Civic society and political parties must converge on demanding these changes and form ‘an alliance on electoral reforms.

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Elias Mambo of the Independent couldn’t help but ask how this could be achieved when opposition parties were so divided.

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His answer was to agree with Mambo on the need for a common front to fight Zanu PF, but before finishing the sentence he had jumped on his hobby-horse – denouncing the leader of the main, and probably only national opposition party in Zimbabwe.

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And the interview went further downhill all the way:

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The debate must no longer be about political parties “because they have been a huge embarrassment, particularly those of the big tent inclination….”

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“Now let us go beyond politics. Let us go into the churches, trade unions, students and knit a concise fabric based on principle, values and clarity of the objective of a sustainable democratisation agenda.”

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Let us have leaders who are democratically elected, and some airy fairy stuff about purity of idea and purity in the execution, and so on and so on.

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So what is to be done?

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National Technical Transitional Council… his idea of putting the economy under “economic judicial management,” entrusting the economy to a group of “experts.” What about the government?

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No politics, because Biti has lost the political fight, politics must now be abolished; the game must now be changed from boxing to lacrosse.

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This man is not much unlike Robert Mugabe. They think about themselves only. In the case of Biti he now wants to forget about the millions to whom he has been preaching convincingly that good government means democratic government.

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Now he wants them to surrender the running of government to some technocrats – from what planet? What country, or what part of the country? Appointed by whom? All because Tendai Biti no longer has a political future?

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A man who today says, Zanu (PF) won the last election because it had a good message for the electorate and the next day says that Mugabe stole the election, can only be exposed for being shamelessly power-hungry to the extent of being blind to the needs of the people he claims to want to serve and ignorant of the promises he made to them.

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He said Zimbabweans must demand the abandoned change agenda and not out-source it to political parties alone – repeating for the second time that let us forget politics where he has been beaten.

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He threws around buzzwords like “convergence” to somehow book his place on the agenda of the national convergence process, but does not say that he is in the process.

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Some of his ideas would fit very well into the convergence agenda, not to be adopted as they are, but to be discussed in the contest of formulating a national agenda on which all Zimbabweans agree on the way forward. Issues like:
\nDemanding electoral reforms; who would not want that?

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Proposal for ‘an alliance on electoral reforms’ – suggesting all stakeholders actors unite to fight for electoral reforms – who would not want that, but how do you work with a leader whom you delight in denouncing at every opportunity?

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Political parties have been a huge embarrassment. Yes, because of you.

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Yes let’s go into the churches, trade unions, colleges and universities, not to prescribe to them, but to seek a convergence – a democratic solution, which, when adopted by the national convergence conference will become the basis for the country moving forward, out of the current crisis.

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Tendai Biti, like all political actors should be allowed to participate in the national convergence conference, but not to come into it with his pre-crafted ideas, otherwise what would be the point of a national convergence conference if you are bringing the same old ideas that have been rejected. – Change Zimbabwe