Mnangagwa must not be overly optimistic

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Our politics have entered very interesting times with social media, as usual, going into overdrive peddling any form of lies that can be imagined, most casting aspersions on specific persons in political office.

By Eddie Zvinonzwa

Scary stories of mabhinya (murderers) — alleged to have been terrorising the country’s southern provinces — to the juiciest political narratives have all been fed on the Zimbabwean audience.

But perhaps what is important is where all these are leading Zimbabwe as a country. The regime of long-ruling despot Robert Mugabe is long gone and there is no way Zimbabwe will retrace its steps to that period of tyranny without trepidation.

However, Mugabe himself still thinks he is relevant in determining not only political direction but discourse as well like he used to do in his ruinous 37-year reign.

The former president is indeed entitled to his opinions, but honestly, trying to respond to his claims at this juncture for Zimbabwe is a waste of precious time.

Who does not know for a fact that the old man left the country to go on auto-pilot with his ambitious wife Grace and several hangers-on calling the shots.

Sadly for the majority of Zimbabweans, there was nothing for them in this regime that superintended over the country’s well-chequered drift  towards total failure since the attainment of independence in 1980.

Mugabe’s populist policies, at times inconsistent ones for that matter, corruption which he let spread like a veld fire, poor governance in State-owned entities among a host of other ills, have been the chief reasons why Zimbabwe is in the economic abyss the country is in today.

For President Emmerson Mnangagwa — who took over following Mugabe’s resignation in November last year after a military intervention code-named Operation Restore Legacy — the presidency will not be a stroll in the park.

Already, crisis-weary Zimbabweans are showing signs of disenchantment with the way things are going.

Predictably, it was going to take long for Mnangagwa to get the country back on track following decades of destruction.

However, what Mnangagwa must avoid in the future is to forget that Zimbabweans have brains and can see that things have not yet moved much.

What the majority is looking for is not textbook explanations of economic revival, defined in purely abstract terms, but something tangible with the capacity to alter the lives of Mai Marwei in Dotito Mt Darwin, Sekuru Mhlanga in outlying Chipinge or somewhere in Chilonga — the real owners of Zimbabwe.

The cash shortages, a health care delivery system that is struggling with the smallest of supplies, unemployment, a manufacturing sector operating below capacity among other problems inherited from the Mugabe regime.

The looting that had been going on in the diamonds sector as well as State-owned companies just has to stop.

The first step in addressing these should have been from the very top, close to the president himself before moving down to the other crooks abetting illicit operations nationwide.

There has to be political will in tackling some of the outstanding cases of clear unprocedural processes that have been widely reported in the energy sector. Why is it taking forever to get to the bottom of these?

These are the stories that must dominate our reading today not the trash being uttered by a 94-year-old, most of whose colleagues are now confined to old people’s homes or are being taken care of by their great grand children.

In short, Zimbabweans should not lose sleep over Mugabe’s recent utterances as these have nothing to do with the country’s aspirations but derives from a strong sense of denial from someone who felt State power was for him and him alone.

Instead, Mnangagwa should go ahead and do what is right for Zimbabwe. – This article was first published by the Daily News