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Assuming power is one thing, shifting economic fortunes another

Now that the political euphoria that had gripped Zimbabwe in the last few weeks has come and gone, the aftermath period will easily prove to be a time of reckoning.

Now that the political euphoria that had gripped Zimbabwe in the last few weeks has come and gone, the aftermath period will easily prove to be a time of reckoning. MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa’s electoral challenge against the now sworn-in Zanu PF presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa came to a crushing halt when the Constitutional Court dismissed the challenge with costs.

Guest column: Learnmore Zuze

Chamisa, nonetheless, remains resolute that he won the election and won’t rest to ensure his case is recognised. A lot has been written and said regarding the merits and demerits of the case. It would be walking a heavily travelled road to delve much into the matter of the impartiality, or lack thereof, of the courts of Zimbabwe.

To be precise, the courts demanded primary evidence which, apparently, the MDC Alliance could not satisfactorily produce, but the question endures: Was primary evidence necessary when the secondary evidence presented was enough to warrant the nullification of the results? The case’s allegory would be that of a man who comes from outside the country after having been away from his wife for 13 months to come and find her six months pregnant.

Upon taking her to court for cheating, the judge demands primary organic evidence of her having been caught physically cheating. The judge further asks whether there are videos of her cheating, much to the dismay of the man.

The crux of the MDC Alliance case was that the figures forwarded by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) constituted ample evidence that the election results were not representative of the will of the voters. Needless to say, the courts insisted they wanted primary evidence.

It is without doubt that opposition stalwarts are aggrieved by the judgment, but that is the reality staring Zimbabwe in the face. The opposition case was dismissed despite its palpable merits. It was dismissed with costs to add salt to the injury.

Now turning to Zanu PF, the old party that has been granted a further five years to preside over the nation’s affairs, the truth is that constitutionally, they are Zimbabwe’s governing party. We have seen the ululations and celebrations and a flurry of congratulatory messages to Mnangagwa.

No one would fault the Zanu PF faithfuls for celebrating their party’s victory, but it must be understood that a much bigger battle awaits the ruling party.

Indeed, they may congratulate themselves for being victorious over the opposition, but Zimbabweans, no doubt, would be immensely grateful if the party would emerge victorious over the economy.

Vowing to mend the economy is one thing, and mending it is another.

In the same breath, let it be known that winning the election is one thing, and winning over the economy is another. There is no one thing that has dominated talk in Zimbabwe more than the state of the economy in the last decades.

In fact, the emergence of a formidable opposition — MDC in 1999 — can be squarely attributed to the free-falling economy back then. It was the troubled economy following land invasions and the war veterans’ gratuities that precipitated the economic downward spiral. This economic paralysis, resultantly drew many Zimbabweans, including the youths who, previously, had cared little about what happens in politics.

The turbulence in the economy, for the first time, raised massive political consciousness.

Then President Robert Mugabe became a loathed man for destroying what was formally regarded as a jewel of Africa. The point I am making, without digressing is this: Mnangagwa must appreciate that fixing the economy is the only thing that would help sanitise his time in office.

In the absence of a functional economy, no leader can enjoy peace. And he is no exception.

Let it be grasped that the time for the catchy slogans and rally rhetoric is now gone.

Zimbabweans no longer care so much about which symbols or colours identify with the MDC or Zanu PF. Zimbabweans care to hear about a revived industry. Zimbabwe wants to hear talk of real democracy.

They want an end to living in a country where the State is fingered in the sponsoring of terror. Zimbabweans require an accountable army that does not murder but defends its citizens.

It is incumbent upon the President to assemble a team that will win the election; while it may have taken assembling a different team to win the election, it requires something totally new to win this economic war.

It is not time for cronyism neither is it time to reward sycophants. The country needs to surge forward.

As I conclude, let it be highlighted to the powers-that-be that the economic war is what Zimbabweans require.

Learnmore Zuze is a law officer and writes in his own capacity