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Reviving the 'New Zimbabwe' dream in 2019

02 Jan 2019 at 14:07hrs | Views
As Zimbabweans enter 2019 from a forgettable festive season, probably the worst in the past decade, uncertainty abounds about Emmerson Mnangagwa's government.

Zimbabweans are deeply concerned about the rapid deterioration in the economy since November 2017. But what would have been the national reality had the 2018 presidential elections not been pilfered?

An Igbo proverb, popularised by Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, goes: "A man who does not know when the rain started to beat him cannot know where he dried."

As the Mnangagwa government blunders in the dark towards the cliff, what was MDC president Nelson Chamisa and the democratic movement's alternative dream for Zimbabwe in the 2018 elections?

A tired Zanu-PF regime's perennial theft of elections has robbed Zimbabwe of fresh-minted ideas and fresh hands to run the country.

The late Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Morgan Tsvangirai, died in February 2018 a wasted national asset and moment, whose transformative contribution to the country would have been much bigger, except autocrat Robert Mugabe and crew stayed at the helm through coercion, beyond their usefulness.

The repercussions of Tsvangirai's stolen election victory and presidency in 2008, of failed Sadc mediation, are that Zimbabwe has remained trapped in a vicious circle of political illegitimacy and dysfunctionality. The 2017 coup and 2018 stolen elections are a sequel to that fraudulent legacy.

Under a different government, the investment climate would have been rather different and more bullish than the current stagnation caused by the illegitimacy question, the tired leadership, fossilised State institutions, and the August 1 massacre of civilians by soldiers.

Given Chamisa and MDC's SMART manifesto's promise to scrap the bond note, there probably would not be price hikes, no forex black market and speculation, no fuel queues, and no doctors' strike, which are symptoms of zero confidence in the government.

The poor would not be bleeding through the nose because of Finance minister Mthuli Ncube's "austerity for the poorest."

To use the language of economics, the opportunity cost (roughly cost of choosing one product over another) of having a Mnangagwa government, instead of a Chamisa government, has been unfathomably huge.

The historical betrayal started by Mugabe continues.

Under Mnangagwa's administration, the national independence, has further lost its democratic and economic promise for the ordinary people. It has given place to a vacuous rant about ideologically bankrupt nationalist remnants ruling in perpetuity, a scandal fuelled by the "Chinhu chedu" mentality.

Whereas newly-independent Zimbabwe had many years ago, the strong footing, chance and potential to do exceptionally well on many fronts, it has become just another failed country in violation of former Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere's sunlit praise of "a jewel" of Africa.

Mugabe proved a less enlightened statesman than his early years promised. Over the past 38 years, Zimbabwe has experienced State-led genocide, plunder of natural resources, massive corruption, blood-cuddling dictatorship, record-breaking economic collapse, and a military coup.

The Judiciary's endorsement of the coup suggested two further dangers, either the country's Constitution fails to insulate against a coup or the Judiciary has failed to protect the country against one, or both. The coup has birthed a less popular and less enlightened leadership, an undemocratic election, a brutal crackdown on civil protest, militarised State institutions, and poor economic stewardship.

The confidence of the civilian leadership after the coup is doubtful and weak, hence the reality of a silent and absent presidency, a centre that cannot hold amidst the economic miasma.

So Zimbabwe is not exceptional after all, except all this old African political script of a post-colonial state in failure, is replaying in the post-Cold War period, well, into the 21st Century.

Gifted with a good climate, intelligent and hardworking populace, natural tourist wonders, vast mineral resources, and the residues of colonial infrastructure, Zimbabwe has been deficient of servant leadership. It is the hope of better leadership that Zimbabweans yearn for, and the democratic movement holds for Zimbabweans going into the future, the hope the regime determines to extinguish using force. As 2019 begins, it is this true new Zimbabwe vision which Zimbabweans must reflect on and doggedly pursue.

*Gwede is a pro-democracy activist.

Source - dailynews
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