By Tinashe Muzamhindo.
Against all the odds, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has made it to State House. Within 48 hours he will be sworn in as the second republican President of Zimbabwe. Remember Zimbabwe has never experienced the road to democracy and all eyes are on ED. The man went through rough patches of life, suffering humiliation from all the cameras of the world, from Mugabe’s hostile wife, then poison saga and later his sacking from both party and Government. His dramatic return into the mainstream politics. ED must deliver and every eye is on him. No excuses and we need to give him time. I hope he will find time to go through this piece whilst he is coming up with plans to set up a transitional mechanism. We are all Zimbabweans after all, and there is no reason to fight one another. Mugabe’s end was very sad given the node that he destroyed his own legacy. It is very important for leaders to take not of what is on the ground. Mugabe’s system was giving him wrong advice and information and his own dynasty that he created ended up consuming him. We don’t even know how many times we gave Mugabe advice, but he used oppressive laws to attack opponents and Zimbabweans never enjoyed the monopoly to create a democratic environment. This is a big lesson to ED to correct that, or else he will go the same route which Mugabe has used. There is need for ED to pay attention to people’s concern and accept constructive criticism so that he will leave a good legacy. ED is known for Gukurahundi crimes and other massacres but he can use this opportunity to create a democratic environment and at the same time. There is need for a transitional mechanism which will deal with a number of issues before we rush into another disputed poll. ED was part of the system that created Mugabe dynasty using oppressive laws, what has only changed is the face, but the system remains the same. He need to improve and show the world that he is different from Mugabe. There is no need for him to return 32 ministries, and deputies at the time when the Government is failing to pay its civil servants. He needs to deviate from issues of corruption, and open avenues of democracy, by opening more airwaves and removing draconic laws, and also allow people to express themselves in a more and democratic manner.
Zimbabwe has a history of holding disputed polls, of which Mugabe was the architect and ED was part of the architectural plan. How then do we differentiate ED from Mugabe? We may still have to wait and see how ED will begin his rough journey to State House. After these frustrations and demonstrations people have higher expectations from the incoming new leadership. It is high time ED should allow electoral reforms to take place. For a decade Zanu PF was known for many rigging tactics which led to disputed polls and civil unrest. In 2008 the opposition MDC lost more than 500 supporters after the same army used terror on the opposition activists’ in order to retain Mugabe into office by hook and crook. Is it the same Chiwenga who declared war on Tsvangirai and his supporters in 2000? Zimbabweans expect electoral reforms. Tsvangirai should not be blinded into joining the transitional authority without a clear objective, there is need for the opposition to come up with clear objective on how to achieve their electoral agenda before embarking on polls.
This country is experiencing economic turmoil and it is very important for the inclusive Government to come up with stern measures on how to steer economic growth and recovery plan to enhance development. More than 90% of our population has resorted to vending and there is need for creation of employment, coming up with good and sound policies that can attract investment. The major problem Mugabe was absorbing thieves in the Government, and he was involved in a lot of corruption deals to an extend that it was difficult for him to fire them. One of the major weakness that Mugabe has is cancer of corruption. Mugabe never fired anyone since independence, despite protest from several corners of the society, he would stick to his guns. The likes of Jonathan Moyo was looting state funds through ZIMDEF facility was untouchable, and he was protected by Mugabe himself. This is a lesson to ED who should show the world that he is different from Mugabe.
APPOINTMENTS SHOULD BE DONE ON MERIT
ED should not just hand pick to please his supporters or close allies but he must consider quality and professionalism. For example people like Chinamasa should never be allowed close to the president, because he is a very selfish man who was giving Mugabe wrong advice and he has double standards, he was in both factions sitting on the fence. The same applies to Sydney Sekeramayi and Simon Khaya Moyo, he was used to fire Mujuru and he survived the purging, he was used to fire ED from Government and party position, right now he is the same person used to bring ED back to the Government and party. My question what is Khaya Moyo after? Is he after money or bootlicking? Or he has double standards. We expect delivery and good results there for it is very important for ED to retire all these old guards and bring in new and young faces in the Government. People like Wadyajena should be roped in Government and Luxon Zembe they can deliver. I think he can also return Makhosini Hlongwane he can also do better, he performed well in the sports ministry. People Mutambara can also be considered in Science and Technology area he can also deliver or higher education. We can also have the likes of Mutsvangwa in the energy or industry ministry he can deliver, the likes of Matemadanda he be deployed in foreign services, because they fought a good fight. The moment ED appoints cadres in Government he is already a finished guy and he will go the same way like Mugabe, and his departure will be very sad.
SIZE OF THE CABINET
Tsvangirai can come in as the Prime Minister with executive powers. We need a small size of the cabinet. I think 12 ministers with no deputies is good. Permanent secretaries can do a good job in their respective ministries. Our country has no money, so he can consider that route as well. He can also cut the number of representatives outside the country. He can also re-align the civil service and remove ghost workers which were used in previous elections to terrorize people and drawing allowances from the national coffers. There are some ministries that can merge e.g. finance can merge with economic development, that one can be given to Mutsvangwa, energy and transport can be merged with psycho motors and this can be given to Elias Mudzuri, information and publicity can be given to George Charamba and this can be merged with ICT ministry, defence and Home affairs can be merged and can be given to Douglas Mwonzora, Finance Ministry can be given to either Tendai Biti or Luxon Zembe, then Foreign Affairs can be given to Nelson Chamisa, then youth Ministry can be given to Wadyajena, then all these provincial ministries should be removed and be replaced by provincial councils from respective parties.
RE-ENGAGEMENT PLAN AND INCLUSIVENESS
I think ED has a very big task to prove to the international community that he can deliver. Remember he came in through some compromised ways, and it is ideal to start to show the whole world that he can work with everyone. There is no reason to attack foreign powers and he also needs to be very careful on how he is going to adopt his foreign policy. He must be accommodative and he should do away with hostility towards the west. He should look east and west as well. He must be an accommodative leader who should be prepared to work with everyone even across political divide. It is high time he should work with the likes of Tsvangirai, Mujuru and other like-minded progressive minds. We need to pay tribute to our war veterans who fought hard to accommodate the opposition even in the recent demonstrations, as a sign that Zimbabwe is for everyone.
Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes in his personal capacity as the Head of Southern Institute of Policy Analysis and Research – SIPAR TRUST, which is responsible for policy Analysis and Research. He is also an academic and researcher. He holds a BA, M.A from Solusi University, and he also holds a Masters of Development Studies from University of Lusaka, Zambia. He is currently enrolled at University of KwaZulu Natal University in South Africa (PHD in Development Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org