As we begin the year 2017, the bareness of national ideas continues to occupy our policy spaces. And that void has become fertile ground for prophesies, emotionalism and pessimism.
Develop me: Tapiwa Gomo
The December 6 State of the Nation address by President Robert Mugabe, which was supposed to summarise 2016 and lay the foundation for 2017, was as impotent as sowing seeds on dry ground.
We are in limbo.
Even with the local prominent prophets, there is a curious shift. From predicting prosperity and raining of gold and diamonds to the symbolism of the year 2017, most specifically number seven. What more with the country also turning 37? Seven is the key number this year, so they say.
There is also prophecy of political chaos in some Southern African countries that have not been named. But we all know that Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Zimbabwe will be undergoing electoral processes between 2017 and 2019, while Mozambique is already facing challenges with the resurgence of the militant and political movement Renamo.
No doubt that these prophets have learnt the most effective art of investing in people’s fears in order to access their money.
Seeding has replaced investment and miracle is now the hyponym for production, both of which are operating outside the realms of existing regulatory frameworks.
Impunity is now rampant with money changing hands from investment to miracles.
The colonialists, who thought religion helped to peacefully dispossess Africans of their belongings, might be turning in their graves, as the African men and women of the cloth have perfected that art beyond the colonialists’ imagination.
I guess they, too, have learnt from our politicians that, like policy positions and promises, prophecies that are measurable, are not good for business.
Remember, the nation was promised an economic boom in 2016 by the same prophets and that story never materialised.
None of them prophesied drought, typhoid and the cash crisis. But then, it is not their business to lay national policy positions.
Whether the prophecies come to pass or not, or if the prophets are true or false is neither here nor there.
We are in this problem because we have a government that is not worried about anything, but power.
Some people wish the end of their reign occurs now to usher in a new era, while others are calling for a guarded National Transitional Authority (NTA) to manage the exit of the ageing train.
It is these factors that will unfortunately shape the 2017 agenda; a system that wishes to die riding its people into abject poverty, a group that still believes and invests in barren elections and a citizenry that cannot agree on what approach to take to lead Zanu PF to its hospice earlier than expected.
We have fast become a politically dysfunctional society. Zanu PF’s ability to govern diminished to unsalvageable levels a very long time ago, but they are happy to stay in power for their personal gains and milking what remains of the economy particularly when their stay is regularly legitimised by perennial losers, who have preferred elections as a means, albeit ineffective, to remove Zanu PF from power.
The discord on the NTA is the manure Zanu PF needs to strengthen its resolve before elections.
The underlining factor here is nothing, but a serious lack of leadership. We have many people with so many ideas, but we just don’t have leaders. Period!
Leaders rise above occasions and don’t impose themselves on people, but are identified and chosen by the people.
Good leaders acknowledge and recognise their peers’ strength and not undermine them.
The myriad of political parties in the country and factions within major parties, while the status quo remains intact, epitomises our weakness.
Our inability to unite for a purpose is one of the reasons we have not been able to fester Zanu PF and foster change.
The opposition MDC has disintegrated over the years because everyone there thought they were leaders, even though it was clear none of them had leadership credentials.
The splinter parties from the MDC have not made any meaningful sense, with some opting to return to the “big tent”.
Similarly, the talk of coalitions has been futile because people rush to jump onto leadership positions before defining their purpose.
The succession drama in Zanu PF, too, has been protracted for the same reasons.
No one in that institution has the guts to tell the system that Mugabe has done his part and that it is time for him to see off his remaining years peacefully at home with his family.
They have spent their time stabbing each other, as if they do not know what or who the problem is and what needs to be done.
They have enacted their cowardice with deceitful intellect and utter dexterity, putting on some brave faces while their bowls express the fear that is their true selves in the presence of Mugabe.
I pray that 2017 is not going to be another barren year of political campaigns. Our children need a future in their country.
Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa