BY kudzai kwangwari
When President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from former president Robert Mugabe (may his soul rest in eternal peace), there was widespread consensus that it was the right move.
There was jubilation and celebration and for the first time since 1980, members of the military and the people had a renewed cordial relationship.
The people celebrated not so much because they liked Mnangagwa than they disliked former president Mugabe.
It was celebrating the demise of Mugabe than it was a celebration of the ascendancy of Mnangagwa to the throne of power.
There was local, regional and global goodwill and positive anticipation that things were going to improve particularly on the economic front, where high levels of corruption, unemployment, poverty, and general suffering of the people had reached alarming levels.
Regardless of how he got into power then, the people seemed to believe that life was going to get better.
The people seemed to be saying nothing can be worse than how Mugabe was doing it.
In his inaugural speech, he promised a number of positives which for a moment, made the generality of the populace forget that this is one man who had spent almost his entire life supporting and working with Mugabe.
He promised economic reforms, political reforms including free and fair elections, democracy, rule of law, media reform, security sector reform, addressing corruption, national reconciliation, peace building and conflict transformation.
Mnangagwa promised to embrace everyone including international re-engagement, mending relations with the West and those countries whose relations with Zimbabwe had gone sour.
The new Zanu PF leader promised much more improved health service delivery system, food security, and political pluralism.
He promised to open an inclusive society, where the desires of the majority and rights of the minority and marginalised would be respected by all.
The president promised real independence anchored on real principles of ownership, control and access to key resources, especially land. He promised to respect the rights and freedoms of all.
He promised to come up with a cabinet, which would not reflect just political patronage and corruption, but one that would reflect a desire to turn the fortunes of our country.
However, as history has it, no sooner did he win elections than he started killing members of the opposition a day after the election day on what is now referred to as August 1, 2018 tragedy. An estimated six people died.
This was against the promise and expectation of citizens, who had invested trust and confidence in his leadership.
The expectation that there would be a departure from the Mugabe way of governing did not materialise.
The setting-up of the anti-graft body, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), inspired some public confidence with the hope that the cancerous corruption was going to be addressed once and for all.
However, it all amounted to the now popular catch-and-release gimmick. While the body targeted suspected former members of the G40, even then, these would still be released, a development, which further reduced the public confidence in Mnangagwa’s administration in dealing with corruption.
And as the opposition kept challenging the election results and the Mnangagwa presidency, things deteriorated.
The economy suffered.
There was a marked reduction in public confidence in the banking sector, the cash crisis worsened, inflation ballooned, shortages including fuel, power, clean water, and cash persisted.
Against this background, the economic policy did little to assist the situation and tellingly the situation has been worsening.
The socio-economic and political environment has remained toxic with reduced investor confidence, which reduced the likelihood of the much-needed foreign direct investment. The much-expected rescue package became a dream.
So, with all this then the administration engaged in a kiya-kiya (trial-and-error) approach to managing the affairs of the state, including the economy.
This approach is normally associated with people who find themselves in a desperate situation requiring intervention, but lack the knowledge and capacity to do something. There is nothing as desperate as having to do something, but not sure what or how to do it while the situation is worsening.
So, the administration has been touching anything including dangerous buttons. Coming up with policies, which worsen the situation. They have tried to instill fear through arbitrary arrests, abductions, threats and intimidation, but still things are getting worse and the economy is sinking. It’s bata-wabata nechibatabishi nhaka yamakozho (confusion), no one seems to know what needs to be done.
All this has resulted in public disengagement with government where citizens have lost confidence in the administration’s capacity to address their problems, in much the same way a child who realises that his/her parents are useless explores his/her own survival means.
In the same analogy our administration is similar to a parent who is not only irresponsible, but careless, and citizens now pursue their lives like orphans.
Similarly, we scrounge and scavenge for the basic necessities from food to health, to education, jobs to clean water.
So we have at this stage no reason to believe that the Mnangagwa administration has the capacity to do anything in our interest.
And it is important to appreciate that even as they may be interested, there seems to be no capacity to address our challenges.
Either we have to realise that we are on our own, or we try an alternative.
And by alternative, we must be clear that it mustn’t be just about something different, but a clear proposal on the way forward.
No longer can we hope that a Zanu PF government preoccupied with self-preservation can be a source of our solutions.
Mnangagwa and Zanu PF are concerned with how the government serves the party and not the people.
Zanu PF is about itself and not about us. For Zanu PF, national resources committed to assist citizens are being wasted.
For Zanu PF, the national resources are wisely utilised if they are serving personal interests of the political class and the ruining Zanu PF.
Having said this, it is apparent that continued pestering and demand for sound economic management and governance systems by citizens from Zanu PF is a mere waste of time.
Any meaningful effort should be one designed to remove Zanu PF from power by whatever means because they have failed us.
Anyone who doesn’t participate in efforts to remove Zanu PF from power is either selfish or just careless.
Otherwise, the most legitimate and useful public intervention is one that can assist Zimbabweans to reclaim our country and its resources for public good.
This country cannot afford a day longer with the Zanu PF government with over 90% of the people living below the living and above the dead. It’s our country too.
l Kudzai Kwangwari writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted on email@example.com