Fellow Zimbabweans and Friends; Here are some things which will not be changed by any ruling of the Constitutional Court on Friday: the main urban councils with their broken infrastructure and services will still be run by the MDC A. Rural councils in the communities where the majority of Zimbabweans live will still be run by ZanuPF which will also have a 2/3 majority in parliament. Over 72.5% of our fellow citizens (over 10 million out of 14 million Zimbabweans) will still be living below the poverty datum line.
Our crippling public and private, foreign and domestic debt at $18.4 billion or 95 % of the estimated GDP for 2018 will not magically disappear. Over 60% of the treated water will steal leak from Harare’s broken pipes. Zimbabwean hospitals and pharmacies will not suddenly have the essential drugs our people need for their basic health needs. Over 80% of the people of Matebeleland North, one of the richest provinces in natural resources, will still be living in abject poverty.
We will still need to deal with 90% unemployment. We will still need to revive our dead provincial and rural economies. We will still need to create pathways out of poverty for Zimbabwean women, vendors and for people living with disabilities. This is just a part of the reality that will face not only the person who will be our president by Monday, but all of us. If we don’t decide to work together for the common good we are doomed.
None of us choose the times nor the places into which we are born. The gift of being human is that we were not created to be helpless subjects of time, place and the elements, but to turn deserts into gardens, to turn the power of raging rivers and the sun into the energy that drives our industries and provides opportunities for our people to live up to their potential and promise. We will build a country whose greatness will be measured not only by the standards of Africa but of the world if we recognize that we were fearfully and wonderfully made even for such a time as this and we choose to work together regardless of who is in State House or which party controls local government or parliament.
It’s critical to understand as Africans that the world is not going to wait for us to sort out our messes. We are going to miss out on the best the 21st century has to offer if we still cannot do something as simple as making sure we have elections whose outcomes our own citizens can trust and which don’t create impasses that harm us more than they do any enemies we might have. The lessons incumbents and those aspiring for office must never forget is that credible elections are in everyone’s interest. Without them, no leader can have the level of trust of the people and the goodwill of the international community to effectively deliver on the promises they make to the electorate.
Let me suggest that the best time to fight for electoral reforms is now. The worst time would be during the election season when everyone’s motives are suspect. In addition to giving us electoral outcomes we can trust, reforms will ensure that the personal and professional reputations of those who are appointed to work for institutions such as ZEC, public media and even the security services are not needlessly destroyed. The most competent people, citizens with the most integrity must want to work for these institutions. Having served, they must be able to walk away with their integrity intact, their professional experience enhanced and enjoy the respect of a well-served and grateful nation.
It will be extremely helpful for the future of our country if the ruling of the Constitutional Court does not deny any of the contending parties their deserved or just victory. It is unlikely however that what the judges will say will please everyone. Our commitment to our country must however be greater than any feeling of disappointment we might feel. Wherever we are, our commitment must be to be the change we demand of others, the hope we expect others to give us, and the best citizens we can be.
Again, we were fearfully and wonderfully made for such a time as this. Personally two goals are going to be my focus going forward: Fighting for reforms and fighting and winning the war on poverty. I look to partnering with many of you.