I IMPLORE you all to declare that NEVER AGAIN should the circumstances that have put Zimbabwe in an unfavourable position be allowed to recur or overshadow its prospects. We must work together, you, me, all of us who make up this nation. — President ED Mnangagwa
The last two weeks have been life changing and historical in every sense of the word for Zimbabweans the world over.
With the inauguration of the second executive President of Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, came the promise of a new Zimbabwe that requires all its citizens to play their part in rebuilding our beautiful nation.
Much has already been said about what reforms need to take place in creating this “never again’’ ideal the President spoke of but allow me to be slightly controversial in addressing some “not so obvious” reforms and points.
Firstly, the rule of law needs to still be upheld even when dealing with suspected economic saboteurs who seemingly were detained during the military operation.
To start our new page with a tainted record of justice would be a direct contradiction to what Mnangagwa said during his inauguration address.
Justice need not merely be done, it must also be seen to be done
The resignation of Robert Mugabe will leave and has already left a lot of people out of jobs and out of the limelight.
Since a lot of parties and political careers were premised on the idea of Mugabe rather than on policies and substance, I suspect a lot of organisations and activists will find themselves being irrelevant in the new Zimbabwe.
I have always advocated for activism and politics to be premised on substance and concrete policies rather than personal arguments, but the tragedy of our political landscape is that there is very little substantive engagement on policies.
Our policies and selling points were largely premised on what I would term “Anti-Mugabe politics” — the idea of simply blaming Mugabe and then advocating for his removal.
Now that he has left office — what happens?
It’s good news for those of us in policy formulation and drafting but it is probably going to result in the country going through another phase of personality politics where other individuals are targeted and blamed for the failure of one thing or the other.
The time is now, for these organisations and individuals to formulate solutions that can resolve our issues.
Better yet, if political parties and individuals have the interests of Zimbabweans at heart, then these solutions should be shared with the Mnangagwa administration.
If our opposition leaders and activists are as sincere as they claim to be, then they will have no issue with doing this even if they do not receive the credit for the work done.
While some may argue that it is illogical for them to do this — now is the time to put aside party politics and self-ambition in favour of the wellbeing of the Zimbabwean people.
In this rebuilding stage, we must not be naïve enough to think that everyone will suddenly become positive about our new order nor should we expect them to.
Some activists, politicians and parties only existed because of the issues created by the previous administration.
Put differently, it is the very crisis we faced in our nation that brought some parties into existence and propelled some individuals to relevance.
For others, it did not just bring fame and name, it brought wealth.
It is wishful thinking to believe that some of these groups or individuals will now preach a message of good hope and a better Zimbabwe even if things do change.
The reason for this is simple, the recovery of Zimbabwe is a threat to their livelihood and relevance.
I am not suggesting that this is the case for everyone and every political party, but this will be true for some. We must expect this but also guard against joining the bandwagon — at least until we have confirmed and analysed the facts for ourselves.
I am also not suggesting that we should not be critical of the new government — we should and indeed those that hold government accountable must continue to do so fearlessly but at the very least, let’s give the administration the benefit of doubt as they start off.
We must accept that some mistakes will be made which is to be expected of anything with humans in it, if these mistakes are not calculated, deliberate threats to the values and provisions of our Constitution.
Finally, as we rebuild, it is important that our new dispensation is premised on principles and not personalities.
We must stop looking for political and economic messiahs because in time they too will become like those we sought to remove.
Principle must lead the man and not the man leading principle. We must resist the desire to elevate any human to demi-god status where they become more important than the collective.
The tragedy of Mugabe’s final years in office is that we created the man that he became by making him the centre of power and hero-worshipping him even where he was clearly wrong.
This cannot be repeated going forward, we owe it to ourselves not to create another tyrannical regime.
As one wise man recently reminded us, iwe neni tine basa let us all work together and rebuild Team Zimbabwe.
Paul Kaseke is a legal adviser, commentator, analyst and sessional law lecturer with the Wits Law School & Pearson Institute of Higher Education (formerly Midrand Graduate Institute). He serves as director and current group chair of AfriConsult Firm. He writes in his personal capacity. You can give him feedback via email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @paulkasekesnr