By Dr. Phillan Zamchiya.
Should the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa withdraw from parliament as a way to protest and demand a democratic order in the context of deepening authoritarianism in Zimbabwe?
Reader, answering this complex question requires a deduction based on reasoning and evidence and not just on emotional flares hence my proposed framework for thought.
In my humble view, the decision to withdraw must be informed by at least five primary factors.
First, is a data driven assessment of regime vulnerability with legitimacy as one variable. High vulnerability locally, regionally and internationally [The West and The East] points to a high probability of regime failure in the context of disengagement. The logic is that a strong regime is more likely to ignore the withdrawal. On the other hand, a weak regime is likely to buckle under pressure and consider some reforms when faced with a ‘boycott’. If there is low regime vulnerability, a strategic temporary retreat for opposition preservation cannot be entirely off the table.
Second, is an evidence-based conclusion that participation in parliament is no longer tenable for an opposition Member of Parliament (MP) to discharge their three primary constitutional duties due to regime intransigence. There will be little reason to stay in parliament if an elected MP is no longer able to: (a) play a representative role that is to air the views of those who elected them and engage in debates that give value to the citizens’ needs; (b) supervise the work of the executive and other institutions and agencies of government and (c) make democratic laws for the good governance of Zimbabwe. Another consideration is whether the regime needs opposition representation in the legislature to function, for example, to make parliamentary committees work, pass bills and the budget.
Third, is a survey of the degree of internal universal acceptance for the uncharted territory of total disengagement within the CCC. In the absence of consensus within the CCC this can erode intra-party cohesion. The danger is to trigger elite defections to a potential formation with a counter view of continued participation. As a result, this will defeat the opposition goal of total delegitimization of parliament as a pariah one-party state platform.
Fourth, is an assessment of CCC’s capacity to trigger a regime crisis and the related political costs. Reader, one established rule of ending authoritarian regimes is triggering a crisis. A crisis here refers to mass demonstrations, strikes, petitions, stay aways, everyday forms of resistance, et cetera that are exercised peacefully. Elsewhere such actions have led to different outcomes such as: the massacre and decimation of the opposition and its prominent activists; breakdown of some authoritarian regimes and concessions for democratic reforms.
Fifth, is a solid plan for the costs of backing down from a public political fight in the event of no results as a worst case scenario. For withdrawal cannot be a permanent condition.
Reader, this is important because where ‘disengagements’ are common in the Middle-East the results are varied. Some resulted in democratic reforms, others led to more autocratic rules; some got favourable responses, others were totally ignored; some triggered regime change as in Cote d’Ivoire in 2000, while others led to consolidation of authoritarian rule and left the regime in an even stronger position and the opposition much weaker.
IPEC worried about funeral assurers’ non-compliance
THE Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) has expressed concerns over the continued non-compliance with the minimum Prescribed Asset ratio by all Funeral Assurers operating in the sector.
The asset ratio measures how well a company can repay its debts by selling or liquidating its assets. It is important because it helps lenders, investors, and analysts measure the financial solvency of a company as banks and creditors often look for a minimum asset coverage ratio before lending money.
In a recent update, IPEC revealed that as of June 30 2023, all funeral assurers were non-compliant with the Prescribed Asset ratio requirement of 10% as stipulated by Statutory Instrument 206 of 2019 with a sector average Prescribed Asset ratio of 0.07%.
“The Commission is concerned by the continued non-compliance with prescribed asset ratio requirements. Only one (1) entity submitted its compliance roadmap, which was approved, and the remaining seven (7) players are yet to develop and submit roadmaps in line with SI 206 of 2019.
“The Commission will be escalating regulatory measures to cause compliance,” the IPEC report said.
For the period ending June 30 2023, the nominal consolidated Gross Premium Written by the Funeral Assurance sector for the half year under review amounted to ZW$8,83 billion, an increase of 444.44% from ZW$1.62 billion recorded for the half year ended 30 June 2022.
“The inflation-adjusted Gross Premium Written increased by 97.44% from ZW$1.62 billion to ZW$3.20 billion for the period under review.
The absolute local currency GPW was ZW$5.30 billion, which was approximately 60.04% of the consolidated GPW. The remaining 39.96% was foreign currency-denominated business.
“For the foreign currency business, the sector recorded a total gross premium amounting to US$1.16 million and ZAR 0.39 million.
“As at 30 June 2023, seven (7) out of the eight (8) Funeral Assurers were compliant with the Minimum Capital Requirement(MCR) of ZW$62.50 million, as prescribed in Statutory Instrument 59 of 2020,” the IPEC report added.