The so called “100 days of restoring legacy” were in fact meant to be a springboard to President Emmerson Mnangwagwa’s campaign. The springboard failed dismally to take off, leaving the engineers even more confused than ever.
By Roy Muroyi
Holding on to scarfs designed in 1980, a clear sign of desperation and lack of creativity. The voters are the optimists with no luxury to learn from experience. We want to believe that our politicians will improve our lives. It is only during the post-election period that we are struck by the reality that we believed unrealistic ideologies and manifestos. Time and again we believe that “this time” the outcome will be different. In 2008 in the United States of America, supporters of former president Barack Obama and independent voters alike also got up in this circus, the mass delusion of inflated expectations. Supporters sought miracles from Obama whom they voted into office and when the miracles failed to happen, the supporters cried foul.
I scribe this article from the standpoint of a tormented youth, suffering from the shackles of poverty imposed on by the government of Zimbabwe since birth. Though having been promised employment, better infrastructure and a better and cheaper education within 100 days as part of “restoring the Zanu PF legacy” I still stand guided by no other motive (monetary or otherwise) besides the need to live a “normal life” were my future is secured, my efforts are rewarded and the playing field is always level whether I decide to support the government of the day or not. It is my constitutional right to demand employment from the government of the day. I clearly pour out my heart on the expectations that we as the youths of Zimbabwe had when the coup leader Mnangagwa grabbed power unconstitutionally through the use of a military junta that we supported because we hoped for better days.
In the midst of all the dramatic scenes Mugabe threw at us since 1980, it became clear that the MDC without support of the army was finding it extremely difficult to remove Mugabe through constitutional and democratic means, as Mugabe continued to unleash violence against the citizens, we hoped for an alternative. The President (Mnangagwa) was quick to notice this vacuum in our politics and economy and offered himself as the alternative, at the same time giving himself the unconstitutional hundred (100) days in office to fix the economy. We gathered and watched on our television sets as he went on and on with his “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra. Every politician knows that the key to winning an election is to make great promises. Campaigners always promise to cure the ills of a society including taxes, war, government, corruption and environmental ills. They will promise you the moon at times, the usual rhetoric is that if elected, they will bring about vast improvements in education, employment, infrastructure and the economy. To gain legitimacy Mnangagwa has to win the election and so the 100 days were meant to be a springboard for his election campaign.
The President of the Republic made a national pledge to the citizens of Zimbabwe to fix the economy in his first 100 days in office. Indeed the public cannot expect everything to be up and running at one go, but certainly the public deserves some clear signs of change after the 100 days that they were promised a working economy. I am personally convinced that the public has got every right to vent their anger at Mnangagwa and the junta for again making a promise that they cannot keep. The issue of failed promises has been at the core of Zanu PF politics since independence. Clearly the junta and its leader (President Mnangwagwa) have taken lessons from their “god father” former president Mugabe. Just like Mugabe was very good at making promises to the electorate and failing to keep them, Mnangagwa and the junta are clearly following in his footsteps it is only rational that the electorate take charge and stop this madness.
It is interesting to see how the electorate will react to these shenanigans, now that we are just a few months before the election. Will Mnangagwa be given a constitutional term in office, when he has clearly failed to take advantage of this wave and convince the electorate that he is indeed to be trusted and does not have the same DNA as Mugabe?
Richard Mahomva’s sentiments that “many selectively grasped the coming of employment pronouncements …” reminds me of one psychiatric patient who goes by the name of Psychology Maziwisa, who made himself a laughing stock after he made such sentiments during a public debate forum. I hope my good friend Mahomva is not falling into the same trap, a trap of ridiculousness guided by desperation. We need to disabuse ourselves from the mindset that leaders should be allowed to make empty promises to the electorate and get away with it. The 100 days meant to “restore legacy” have not restored anything except for a few wheel chairs and bags of maize that were supposedly found at G40 members’ farms and were paraded as the loot by the “cabal” that was crippling the economy. The only other change that is very vivid in Zimbabwe is that absence of the police roadblocks on the roads. In a nutshell the 100 days were clearly meant to deal with the G40 members who were opposed to Mnangagwa. The harsh reality of the morning after the promised 100 days is that Mnangagwa has nothing but a scarf to show to the world and the electorate is watching.
It is a matter of public opinion that Zimbabweans were sold a dummy by Mnangagwa and the junta. In a bid to gain legitimacy, Mnangagwa and the junta had to sell the Zimbabwean dream to the people of Zimbabwe. The size of the elected office always seems correlated with the size of the promise. Even at State or local level, politicians in a close race will always attempt to extract a few additional votes by promising to improve a specific problem that an interest group cares about the most. Zimbabweans care about the economy the most, Mnangagwa took advantage of this and promised us employment, better sanitation, infrastructure development and the opening of companies. Going into this election, it is very imperative for every Zimbabwean to understand that the President has fulfilled none of his 100 days of restoring legacy promises.
It is very unfair to claim that citizens must not worry about formal employment and should create their own employment at this juncture. Indeed if the economy was conducive this was going to be possible as Zimbabweans are a hardworking people but as it stands the economy is nonfunctional, therefore, making it very difficult for any entrepreneur to make ends meet. To make this economy functional was Mnangagwa’s job and promise in the 100 days. No amount of blame shifting can change the fact that the player has failed to deliver. Mnangagwa has even gone to the extent of claiming that his military government had managed to return $250 million that had been externalised.
If indeed this these externalised funds had been returned, would we still have people sleeping on bank queues just to withdraw a $20 note today. It takes a responsible government that believes in transparency and accountability to admit that it has failed. History has shown us that a government that does not own up to its failures can never be trusted.
Roy Muroyi is a pro-democracy promoter who also believes in youth emancipation and participation in all facets of governance