By Shakespear Hamauswa.
Following the stepping in of the military into Zimbabwean politics and the installation of the new president, lost hopes for a new Zimbabwe have been renewed, yet the announcement of the interim cabinet is nothing more than a sign of a bleak future.
It is the intention, therefore, of this article to make some reflections on the newly announced cabinet in order to unpack its meaning and relevance to the general populace.
In doing so, there are five critical observations: the new cabinet has proved the coup was about power and class struggles within Zanu PF; it is an aberration of the reform agenda the president has promised; based on an “exclusive inclusivity”; it is premised on making a balance that would minimise threats to the new prince and it offers a rebirth of hope for the opposition, especially the Movement for Democratic Change.
First, the new cabinet shows that the primary purpose of the so called “smart coup” was just a continuation of Zanu PF factional wars through other means. Mnangagwa was politically defeated by the G40 and brought in by the army. The army stepped into the fight to help the then vanquished crocodile. As a result, the army and the crocodile had no agenda to reform the Zimbabwean political system.
Possibly, they had no plan or idea of the new Zimbabwe that should come in the post Mugabe era. As reflected in the newly announced cabinet, the stepping in of the army was meant to create political positions for themselves and fishing out the G40 through military strategies following failure of the crocodile’s political tricks.
Second, it follows that the much vaunted reform agenda is now an unfulfilled dream and dashed hope shuttered at the altar of political power. The hope he preached were just words based on bucking, “kuvukura” and nothing materialised. Notwithstanding, all the signs of hope embodied in his speech at his inauguration, what is coming out from the newly appointed cabinet is that what the president said at the Zanu PF headquarters is what saw the light at the end of the day.
In other words, the much anticipated reforms are now under siege from the president who is under “office arrest.” It is clear that President Mnangagwa is not a man of his own making and Lacoste is not yet a political brand. It is not clear what kind of reforms the likes of Perence Shiri, Matemadanda, Obert Mpofu, Kembo Mohadi and Pupurai Togarepi will bring. In such a foolishly selected cabinet, announced at midnight, the president has killed the hope that the people of Zimbabwe had developed.
Third, as a corollary of the above, the new cabinet is base on what I can call, “exclusive-inclusivity”, where only those within Zanu PF’s Lacoste team were appointed to senior political positions. This is a clear sign that there is nothing for the Zimbabweans in it The cabinet was made without a focus on reforming the atrocious and toxic politics the people of Zimbabwe have endured over the past 37 years. It is neither a lean nor a hope rejuvenating cabinet.
Fourth, the president had to make a balance between various sources that would be sources of threats to his throne. Being cognisant of the transient nature of this interim position, Mnangagwa knows the major forces that would be critical for his election in 2018 and that as much such forces might be the sources of his power they are also a threat to his continuation as the Zanu PF leader.
He had to reward the army who are now regarding themselves as the kingmakers and obviously they expected rewards commensurate to what they had given. Major General S. Moyo, for instance, had put his life on the line by going on national television announcing that the situation in the country had gone to another level. If, during the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), those who participated came back with hefty packages what more for those who fought for Zimbabwe. But this was not the best the president could have done. He could have granted them immunity and possibly allow them to join politics through guaranteed safe seats in the Parliament.
Fifth, the interim president’s failure to live up to the expectations of the Zimbabweans has reinvigorated the hope for a true new Zimbabwe coming through the opposition especially the MDC Alliance. It is evidently, clear from history that the MDC is the only part that can strike a balance between the needs of the old, the new and future generations. That connectivity is totally absent in President Mnangagwa’s cabinet. The only best way for Zimbabwe, is for the people to register to vote. Refuelling of energies towards dismantling the entire Zanu PF system is the way to go. In this regard, the opposition should take advantage of some cosmetic changes being brought by this current administration to prepare for elections in 2018.
Finally, it can be noted that President Mnangagwa has failed to come up with a well thought out cabinet that would have cement the feeling and hopes among the Zimbabweans that a new dawn has arrived. In fact, the new cabinet clearly shows a return to the trenches. The coup was about Zanu PF and for Zanu PF and nothing for the Zimbabweans. It is, therefore, that the spoils belong to the victor. As a result, the president is clearly under “office arrest”, putting all the hopes for a new political system under siege. This monumental failure to show seriousness towards reform through a well thought out cabinet has rechanneled the people’s confidence for a new era to the opposition where it rightfully belongs.
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