How much time does this leadership need to prove their ability?

It is now more than 12 months since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office in November 2017. The general feeling among Zimbabweans is that nothing much has changed since both the coup and the July 30 2018 elections. In fact, due to the challenges being experienced currently, some are of the view that the situation has deteriorated. Just how much time does this leadership need to prove that good times are even possible during our time?

develop me: Tapiwa Gomo

This feeling among most people suggests that the new administration has failed to deliver on its promises and confidence is waning. We cannot blame them given the cacophony of policies and positions. Multi-currency and multi-exchange rates do not inspire confidence and neither do they demonstrate leadership. Economic instability and unemployment continue to be the order of the day.

But then, just like in any situation, there are more sides to a story. In politics, failure is sustained by excuses. For example, those on the side of the new administration think it is too early to judge the current government, given that they inherited a tattered economy which they helped destroy. They argue that the policies put in place after the 2018 elections are yet to bear fruits. I once toed this barren line based on what we knew as Mnangagwa’s shrewd leadership character. But it turns out today that these are lame and mundane excuses as old and feeble as the sanctions excuse.

To demonstrate that a determined leadership does not need as much time to prove their ability to transform their nations, I use the example of the late Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika and current United States leader Donald Trump. Malawi is described as a third world country, while the US is a first world country. Both leaders’ tenures faced numerous moral challenges and global pressures which threatened their economic growth agendas.

Mutharika was the President of Malawi from May 2004 until his death in April 2012. He took over a country ranked among the poorest in the world and a government that survived on donor funding.
Malawi experienced food shortages due to economic and climatic factors since its independence in 1964. Upon assuming office in 2004, he launched his agriculture reform policy aimed at increasing agriculture production to spawn the country’s economic growth.

The launch of the agriculture policy was not without its own challenges. International finance institutions refused to provide funding and they opposed the policy, so did other major donors.
Mutharika had a choice to drop the policy due to pressure and lack of adequate resources or to proceed. He chose the latter and went ahead with the implementation of his policy with the little aid his country secured, mainly from the Scandinavian countries.

Twelve months into office, the rolling out of the agriculture policy programme had commenced and Malawians got busy in the field tilling the land, sowing and fertilising seed. During his first term in office (2004–2008), Malawi had achieved a high rate of agricultural production and food security and benefited approximately 1,7 million resource-poor smallholder farmers. The upward trajectory continued into the 2005/2006 cropping season, when Malawi achieved a food surplus of more than 500 000 metric tonnes, which would reach 1,3 million metric tonnes by 2008/2009 planting season. The effects of those four years, saw the share of Malawians living below the poverty line fell from 52% to 40%.

If Mutharika was of the same calibre as our leadership today, he would have safely used the excuse that the international finance institutions had refused to provide credit lines. While Mutharika’s success story was short-lived due to the emergency of bad politics, it gives credence that the economic transformation of a country can be experienced within 12 months, something that is a far cry from our current situation.

A similar situation can be seen in the United States, where Trump assumed office on January 20, 2017. Despite his controversial policies, his time in office thus far has seen the American economy achieve feats most critics thought impossible. He, too, had a myriad of excuses at his disposal. The Russia investigations continue to threaten to cut short his tenure, if they decide to impeach him. He took over at a time when the global economy was shaky, with China, Russia and India threatening to overshadow the US economy.

Faced with all these and many other challenges, Trump has remained strong and unrelenting. By the time he clocked 12 months in office, there were telling signs that the economy was on a positive trajectory. By mid-last year, the numbers were already coming together. Gross domestic product grew at 3%. Unemployment rate was at its lowest in 50 years and the stock market spike to nearly 30% as corporate profits surged.

The similarities in these two leaders, which make them different from ours, lie in how much they value performance and results. Mutharika had a choice to pocket the little aid he secured from the Scandinavian countries and feed Malawians with excuses that the international community derailed his policies as the reason his people were hungry. But he chose to perform and produce and he got the results.

He was both rewarded and awarded. Trump, too, had a choice to blame Democratics for waylaying his economic growth policies through their push on the Russian investigation. But no.

He, too, knows that nothing brings clean political support than a growing economy. It’s all about performance and results.

5 Comments

  1. True,,the problem we have is that Zanu pf is too political in nature such that economics will always play a 2nd role. For example a Dr Strike for pay which is justified is easily dismissed as MDC, hike in prices MDC,
    such thinking will never yield results for us,,Mthuli is not even in control,,look at what he used to say before appointment as minister of finance? but he is doing totally the opposite

  2. Thanks Tapiwa for trying but what you are saying makes no sense at all unless you feel that Ed is both a genius and a miracle worker. How would you expect Mnangagwa’s government whose budget after being given his real mandate was only anounced towards the end of last november to perform the same as what Mutarika achieved between 2004 and 2008 which you surprisingly refer to as 12 months? Did United states impose anything similar to ZIDERA on Malawi? I wonder!! The fair thing is after giving Mutarika time between 2004 and 2008, why not also give Mnangagwa time between August 2018 and August 2023 to make a fair comparison? That is what I personaly had in mind when I voted for Mnangagwa. As for Us, I can’t make any comparison. The difference between these two nations are just to enomous and in too many aspects for that mater.

  3. Bikela Bikaz Janana

    Stop giving us crap Farai Nhire.It is those excuses like ZIDERA ,Sanctions etc that the writer is saying can only come from chaps who are not result oriented like your dear president.What else do you want to see happening for you to appreciate the fact that your dear president is not even fit to be a Burial Society chairperson?It is people like you who fall hook line and sinker for a mortal being and even throw away the fact that he is capable of leading the nation astray and can even make very stupid mistakes that are costly to the economy.Having been in zanu pf under the shadow of zanu pf cannot be used as a yardstick to measure good leadership as some blinkered idiots would want us to believe.Which institution or ministry has he run with pleasant results?What criteria did you use to come up with the idea he is a good leader?Or was it out of sympathy that you chose to support him after he had been haunted out of the country through illegal crossing points by old Bob?Lets not just support blindly even when it is crystal clear that the emperor has no clothes.

  4. Bikela Bikaz Janana

    Stop giving us crap Farai Nhire.It is those excuses like ZIDERA ,Sanctions etc that the writer is saying can only come from chaps who are not result oriented like your dear president.What else do you want to see happening for you to appreciate the fact that your dear president is not even fit to be a Burial Society chairperson?It is people like you who fall hook line and sinker for a mortal being and even throw away the fact that he is capable of leading the nation astray and can even make very stupid mistakes that are costly to the economy.Having been in zanu pf under the shadow of zanu pf cannot be used as a yardstick to measure good leadership as some blinkered idiots would want us to believe.Which institution or ministry has he run with pleasant results?What criteria did you use to come up with the idea he is a good leader?Or was it out of sympathy that you chose to support him after he had been haunted out of the country through illegal crossing points by old Bob?Lets not just support blindly even when it is crystal clear that the emperor has no clothes.

  5. Naive, Nhire, sounds much like a virgin in a pub dominated by Zanu pf male drunkards that are dressed like nuns..and believing it hook, line and sinker! You win first prize for blind, loyal, faithful and unflinching support. The reward is a bottle of 38 yer-old sand under Zanu pf rule to celebrate ‘getting back our land”.

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