ONE critical area that damaged the previous government’s image was the issue of staffing governance strategic areas with activists and party cadres.
Guest column Tinashe Muzamhindo
Activists and cadres are there to make sure they destroy everything that is there. They are worried about their stomachs, and they only care about selfish gains and their solutions are temporary. I’ve seen so many Presidents going down because of people surrounding them.
A president is someone who carries a political face of the whole country, therefore, he should preserve his dignity by appointing professionals in strategic positions.
It is very important and critical to make sure that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is surrounded by academics and policymakers to ensure sanity in all areas of governance.
Illiteracy and inexperienced people in government will dampen the spirit of progress and they will never understand the language of nation-building and strategic governance. Why do you allow party cadres to issue Cabinet positions or government positions relating to policy matters? I still feel that culture should be dealt with and allow relevant people to deal with those matters.
Ministers must be given targets and they should be evaluated by the public. I suggest the President should have suggestion boxes so that the public can be able to communicate with him and, at the same time, performance forms should be given to the public to rate ministers.
For the current government to meet their set targets and fulfil all requirements, it is very important to have strategic people in critical areas of the economy.
For example, we have so many Zanu PF cadres in State companies acting as chief executive officers and directors when our population has more than 330 000 graduates from several institutions of higher learning and such people can contribute towards the positive growth of our economy.
How do we perform as an economy when we have more than 200 000 ghost workers on the payroll of the civil service? I think Mr President, you need to work on this area.
Currently, our governance structures are very weak. We produce poor results because of incompetence.
Since elections are around the corner, I know Zanu PF people and most of the cadres are so much concerned about elections instead of addressing important issues that can contribute towards nation building.
We have critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture, mining, tourism and infrastructure development and it is important for your government to consider the issue of performance when recruiting in such strategic areas of the economy.
It is also important to get rid of activism in government operations in order to bring sanity in every institution.
Most State companies are under liquidation and we have several challenges in failing to account for ill-gotten wealth.
My question will then be: How then do we account for the loss of revenue in State operations? How then are we rated?
I would cite an example of the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat). It is a government institution responsible for compiling data for research purposes and planning. If one goes there, you will get stale information. There is a wide gap in research, especially on Zimbabwe.
During the course of the year, I went to ZimStat to get information on poverty and women, and I was shocked that they didn’t have any copy of the material. The information they had was backdated to 2011. And this is a building with more than 300 people, seated in well-ventilated and air-conditioned offices failing to give the public adequate information about their own country.
Why then does the government afford to pay such people when they can’t even deliver efficient results?
Ministers should be able to perform their duties efficiently and if a minister fails to perform, then definitely, that person deserves to be kicked out of the government.
We need people who are strategic
This issue of just issuing political statements before weighing the consequences is uncalled for. Our country’s poverty levels have reached an alarming level and it is high time we should be careful how we relate with the outside world. We need to be careful how we paint our country. We are in need of investors and foreign currency, so it is very important to exhibit a remorseful heart.
As an academic and policy researcher, I have nothing to do with Zanu PF affairs or MDC affairs, but I think the appointment of Lieutenant-General Engelbert Rugeje as Zanu PF national political commissar has sent shivers to the international community that, indeed, the 2018 elections outcome will be seriously contested.
Mr President, you have the potential to make a good name by making careful appointments to protect your legacy. If you remember well in 2008, the same Rugeje was accused of being involved in several torture cases.
Policy direction of the country
We witnessed several ministers clashing in areas of policy clarification. I remember former ministers Patrick Zhuwao, Saviour Kasukuwere and Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa clashing along factional lines over the indigenisation policy.
It reflected the position of two separate governments, and these sent wrong signals to the international community. This has to be corrected to avoid investors guessing our position.
I think areas which need more clarifications and amendments are empowerment laws, draconic laws, property rights and other areas.
There is need for Parliament to ratify such laws so that investments can flow smoothly. We have a problem of policy inconsistency, we have a challenge as well in our foreign policy and I think Mr President, you can quickly tackle that one.
Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes in his personal capacity as the head of Southern Institute of Policy Analysis and Research – SIPAR TRUST, which is responsible for policy analysis and research. He is also an academic and researcher. He holds a BA, MA from Solusi University, and he also holds a Masters of Development Studies from University of Lusaka, Zambia. He is currently enrolled at University of KwaZulu Natal University in South Africa (PhD in Development Studies). He is also an adviser to many financial and political institutions within and outside Zimbabwe. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.