Mnangagwa taking us where we are coming from

IN his own words, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said “the voice of the people is the voice of God”. We now hold him to his word. He must start listening to the sacred voice of God and move our nation forward.

By MOSES CHAMBOKO

Simply put, Mnangwagwa appears to have confused Commissariat with Cabinet. He also doesn’t seem to appreciate the real meaning of a “lean Cabinet”. Reducing ministers from 26 to 22 cannot pass as a big step towards a streamlined and efficient government. Yes, he got rid of some useless ministries created by his predecessor Robert Mugabe to accommodate factional interests such as Psychomotor Activities and merged a few others, but broadly speaking, it is more of the same.

He has appointed six unnecessary deputy ministers and 10 unconstitutional provincial ministers, whose practical function is that of provincial commissars. They should be full-time employees of the party not government. Mnangagwa should have shown some respect for the new Constitution by disbanding provincial ministries and installing provincial councils.

Appointing nine non-parliamentarians to his Cabinet against the provisions of the Constitution which allows for a maximum of five, even though he climbed down later, demonstrates the irony that we had a Minister of Justice who did not fully understand the national Constitution.

We now have a Minister of Defence, Security and War Veterans, whose assistant is called Deputy Minister for War Veterans.

This deputy’s role should simply be fulfilled by a department of the ministry, with Victor Matemadanda as the director for that department.

The same applies to the Women and Youth Affairs ministry, where the deputy is only responsible for Youth Affairs. If anything, youth and women affairs should be departments of the Social Welfare ministry. Having a full minister responsible for scholarships is irrational — a typical case of jobs for the boys. Surely, there must be a junior clerk in the Education ministry for this role.

David Parirenyatwa has not done anything notable to improve our health services. Beyond his family name, nothing of substance has ever come out of this minister. Our health delivery system has been in intensive care unit since Parirenyatwa became minister. He has no initiative and he cannot do even basic things like ensuring that patients have food and blankets.

Since he became Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa has been moaning about raising salaries for civil servants, every month.

He has acted more like a school bursar than a Finance minister. Yes, there were times when his efforts were frustrated by Mugabe, but the fact remains that he is not the best person to drive the revival of our economy.

We have Zimbabweans around the world who have successfully held very senior positions in international financial institutions. If the President did not want to select a decent technocrat from within Zimbabwe, he could have looked beyond the borders for the good of our nation.

Appointing a serving general who was spokesperson for the “non-coup” to the critical Foreign Affairs and International Trade ministry remains a mystery.

I would have given that portfolio to a diplomat such as Chris Mutsvangwa or Simon Khaya Moyo as my learned, articulate and analytical homeboy, Alex Magaisa, has also suggested. Deployment of Sibusiso Moyo as the face of Zimbabwe in the international community sends a very poor message both abroad and at home, especially so soon after the developments leading to Mugabe’s resignation.

While there is nothing wrong with generals assuming political office after retiring from service, it is the process and immediate leading events that are questionable in our circumstances. Both Solomon Mujuru and Josiah Tungamirai joined active politics after retirement from the military. We did not see anything wrong with that.

Agrippa Mutambara and Ambrose Mutinhiri are other examples. Elsewhere in the region, Botswana President Ian Khama is a general. The difference is that the moment he opted for politics, he relinquished his military role and fully subjected himself to democratic processes. He also immediately stood down as Paramount Chief of the Bamangwato.

Generally, Zimbabweans have very little confidence in and respect for Obert Mpofu. If Mnangagwa had, indeed, listened to the voice of God, he would never have retained Mpofu, especially in the critical Home Affairs ministry. If I had my way, I would redeploy Sibusiso Moyo to Home Affairs to cleanse the ZRP once and for all.

Zimbabweans at home and in the Diaspora had hoped that a new, young, energetic, professional and technocratic Zimbabwean would be appointed to the critical ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Re-appointing Chinamasa is as disappointing as retaining Dokora at Education, arguably the worst Education minister we have had since independence — undertaker of the education system. We are not excited to note that Dokora has finally been dropped. Rather, we are surprised that he was even considered in the first place.

Unfortunately, there is never a second chance to make a first impression. Mnangagwa seems to have blown his first chance big time. Unless he does something radical in the interim, even if it means a quick reshuffle after the Zanu PF special congress, progressive Zimbabweans will not take him seriously. He comes across as a “client President” who has no option, but to look after his benefactors. This is the difficulty of coming into office through undemocratic means.

Many of us were willing to forgive Mnangagwa and his cohorts for their past transgressions, real or imagined. We even threw our principles and caution to the wind hoping that our own John Magufuli or Deng Xiaoping had finally been born. We have read about sinners who went on to become saints. We thought this was Mnangagwa’s moment. He had a real chance to get all Zimbabweans fully behind him in rebuilding the economy.

Some of us fiercely argued in the past three weeks that we should not prejudge Manangagwa. We went on to say that the composition of his Cabinet would reveal his real agenda and intentions. Now that he has retained and recycled some perennial failures and dead wood in his Cabinet, worse still in key ministries, we have every reason to suspect that where we are going is where we are coming from.

Zimbabweans expected an economic Cabinet, but Mnangagwa has given them a Commissariat, at best a “Command Cabinet”, very similar to the “war cabinet” that Mugabe once put together after facing a stiff challenge from the opposition. It was about personal survival and nothing else.

Before his Cabinet was announced, the new President had raised national hopes so high through his inauguration speech as well as through a statement a few days later that he was going to form a lean government that would focus on performance and delivery. Under-performing civil servants were put on notice in the process. We all thought that, finally, we were getting somewhere. Were we sold a dummy?

The President has missed a perfect opportunity to transform our economy and our politics. While we gave him the benefit of doubt, it appears the honeymoon is over. It is back to the established Zanu PF way of doing things. The only good thing that has come out of Mnangwagwa’s error of judgment is that the opposition has been emboldened. It is time to regroup and take the democratic project forward. While Mugabe is gone, it is now time to focus on remedying the ruinous system he left behind.

The fight is not over yet. 2018 is our opportunity to rid ourselves of the entrenched Mugabeism. We need transformation, not cosmetic change.

lMoses Chamboko is an unwavering pro-democracy activist and secretary-general of Zunde. He can be contacted at chambokom@gmail.com, info@zunde.org, @zundezim. Website: zunde.org.

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21 Comments

  1. tendai chaminuka

    Nhai vaChamboko this was a zanu pf thing they only recalled their leader just like what happened paNdazo nguva yaMbeki iya.Zanu was left speechless by the overwhelming support they got from the general populace.It is time to look at the new zeal being brought by E.D not personalities.Who would think that one day Chinamasa would take a leading advisory role in recalling Bob.

  2. A lot of people joined in the whole zdf hullabaloo thinking things were finally going to change but alas what only changed is the zanoids Leader but everything else has remained very very intact from the suffering to whatever for now, but lest wait couple of days maybe there have repented.

    1. Mhofu Mwendamberi

      Myopic thinking even in your house can you change everything in one-day its very embarrassing that most of the people think change is bringing Tsvangirayi and opposition in government. Allow someone his mandate for the next 9 months and judge him then. if you dont want him thats why there is an election next year vote for your prefered leader at that tim

  3. Brilliant article that had some home truths about country’s recent developments. The cabinet chosen was a real let down and I felt the changes Mnangagwa talked about making was just political rhetoric to win over people as the ‘changes’he promised to make have just been too cosmetic. You also have watch and read the state media to see nothing has much has changed, same old hero worshiping of the president and also the crazy levels of sycophantic congratulatory messages to the president from state enterprises shows Mugabeism is still very much part of the government. Everything is all too familiar to expect much change

    1. I couldn’t agree more with you on the sycophantic fawning from state departments and the ever irritating voice of Reuben Barwe it’s all the same l must say, brilliant article though.

  4. its only 10 days into office,if Bob was the one in charge and changed the whole cabinet with young energetic technocrats would you still applause for him. This is the new beginning for everyone lets give him time and support for the next 90 days then we see.

  5. Pasi nema activist

    Nhai Mr “pro-democracy activist”, personally i have lost respect for these guys, they seem to have their own ideas of how things should be run, apa muchiba mari dzema donor in the name of activism. I dont think you have people of Zimbabwe at heart, you are just some ‘politicians’ who are there to oppose and making citizens loose their hopes for a better tomorrow. Pamwe with this article watowana mari ipapa at the expense of the masses.

  6. vanhu supported the army kungoti mugabe abve chete not to say kuti pane zvachinja ngoma ndiyo ndiyo

  7. Mnangagwa is clueless about the future of Zimbabwe. Let’s vote him out in 2018.Economic coup yaramba saka zvamnangagwa zvatorambawo!!!

  8. Get your facts right before display ignorance onlibe

  9. Nhai VaChomboko kana mashaya zviri productive madii mangonyarara. Its not an issue yekuti vanhu vakuoneiwo muchinyora ma articles mu paper kunyarara kunokunda kutaura. Instead of supporting the president’s efforts muri busy kutaura hogwash. Please shut up and ship out if you cant write anything positive about someone. Ndofunga makadzidza maningi hamuna kumbonzwawo kuti everything revolution is a process. Mungabva ku 26 ministers kuenda pa 10 here VaChamboko?

  10. Stop judging a book by its cover.The truth will soon come out kkk

  11. Chamboko uri chamboko zvacho… still seems kwavari hopes for the nation building are less important than building zanupf. selfishness goes forever in the hearts of our leaders. vakru vasabhaiza mhani. Taka svetuka nemahopes ekuda shanduko mu CBD umo. Kuti taiomberera maoko n’anga inobata mai? asi vote irikuuya. be careful!

  12. Mafirakureva weDiaspora

    Zunde chii kana Chamboko uriani iwe unongoshora? Why are you not patient enough before you make any comments. Jacha you are right he should SHUT UP. This was in a way to streamline the Party so as to bring sanity in the running of the Government which was captured by Grace. I would propose ED should time to time have his Ministers subjected to question time on national TV telling the nation what they will be doing on critical issues, from there the nation can judge who is competent who is not, the inclusion of old ministers form the old government is purely for continuity purposes.

  13. how can we take a fox out and replace by a hyba, this is the same zanu pf nothing has changed, why take military conanders and give them commanding ministries,is that a job well done reward. munangagwa is not for change hz a viper like he alwz is, he wil strike wen we least ecpect. leat gear up zimbabweans and take our zimbabwe to a promised land were freedom is key,were human rights are fundamentals, were raising our voices in disgruntlement is not a tabooo. lets march on in the coming elections and take munangagwa and his cabinet out of our offices.

  14. Iwe mboko Chamboko, kana Zunde yako iyoyo ichinge yahwinha(hameno kuti rinhi),wakasununguka kuita zvawanyora. Maonero eZanu PF akasiyana neyeZunde.

  15. lets not hit hard on chamboko,he gave his own opinion,if you want to give yours apply for space,my opinion mr chamboko is that munangagwa needs people whom he trust he cant put ini becouse i may not waik wim in the same direction,so ithink its too early to criticise him,give him some time

  16. we appreciate every positive effort that lumbers our nation to a better tomorrow and we zero in every setbacks

  17. Cant you just support for once. I mean its only a few days and you are already criticizing, eish media will always be media.You make me sick!

  18. Why is the Army brutalizing the vendor and hwindiz.? is that still restoring legacy.? They are now in corrupt system of collecting bribes from motorist, all that under the watch of Pres ED..im not judgin but ant that worse than cold hearted Bob..but i still hold great faith in the man tho

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