The Post Mugabe Zimbabwe I Envisaged

President Mnangagwa and his mentor, former President Robert Mugabe
President Mnangagwa and his mentor, former President Robert Mugabe

I grapple to forgive myself for believing that the November 2017 de facto coup in Zimbabwe would obliterate all the memories of former President Robert Mugabe’s atrocious 37-year rule. Like many other Zimbabweans, I found myself lost in false hope as I convinced myself that the November 2017 events signified the transmigration or the reawakening of Zimbabwe’s political, social and economic soul. Let me share with you the Zimbabwe I envisaged, a Zimbabwe I still yearn to see.

By Tapfuma Mushayi

The point of departure is the political factor which is the key determinant to all national growth. I argue from the perspective that elections are the single biggest contributor to economic health. It should be noted that when transition to democracy is consolidated, growth is guaranteed. Elections are the key institutional technology of democracy. In modern and developing societies, politics is usually the substructure and economics being the superstructure. These entities are so intertwined in this instance that, it is difficult to dichotomise one from the other. A solid political base premised on credible elections where the voice of the people is supreme is vital as a springboard to growth. It should be realised that a young economy, juxtaposed with a young democracy, should be very careful as it is vulnerable to political instability.

The desire to return to legitimacy through credible elections in Zimbabwe has come to be like a hopeless leap in the dark. The behaviour and conduct of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in the 2018 elections has left many baffled, locally and internationally. The EU EOM Zimbabwe Harmonised Elections Final Report (October 2018) is clear on the absence of independence and impartiality at Zec.

I had envisaged an electoral commission genuinely detached from the past, a Zec not dominated by personnel from the security sector, an independent electoral body independent of State control and manipulation. A different outcome came, and the election was disputed. I can safely say the 2018 harmonised elections are a classic example of the voice of a generation not heard. I will always remind my fellow citizens that the ghost of the 2018 elections will always haunt and frustrate all our efforts at reconstruction from the Mugabe era and the coup of November 2017.

I envisaged the rebirth of a State as well with a shared national agenda. I imagined the emergence of a new Zimbabwe with a national agenda premised on preserving a cohesive society proud of its identity. I still yearn to see a government in Zimbabwe which is inclusive in its approach, integrating all segments of society for the common good as a measure to reinforce political, social and economic cohesion. The post-Mugabe era in Zimbabwe has been one perpetuating the personality culture and the ideology of the ruling Zanu PF party.

I envisaged a post-Mugabe political system that would genuinely create an enabling environment for the economy to grow. I still desire a vibrant economy in Zimbabwe where future generation will inherit a country with a smart infrastructure and no debt. I imagine a Zimbabwe which can properly manage its arrears to the World Bank, African Development Bank, Paris Club and other financial institutions, a Zimbabwe government which can only borrow just to invest in the future.

I desired to see a post- Mugabe government really committed to fighting corruption. The post-Mugabe de facto ruling caste in Zimbabwe is still parasitically surviving on the populace. The appointment of the so-called technocrats like Mthuli Ncube and Kirsty Coventry into Cabinet is just a cosmetic guise tailor-made to maintain favour and to minimise the visibility of parasitism. These technocrats are just playing midwifery to a barren Zanu PF system.

I will close by highlighting the post-Mugabe I envisaged. I expected a government that would facilitate free and uncontested electoral outcomes, a government that would arbitrate between political parties as a measure to generate shared ideology and national agenda, a government that would revamp industry and stimulate economic growth.

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