There is too much clutter in this new dispensation

develop me Tapiwa Gomo

LEADERSHIP is about setting strategic goals for a nation or society and motivating individuals to effectively conduct assignments in service to those goals. In modern day democratic societies, leadership is acquired through elections, a formal and organised exercise where citizens choose individuals for political offices. In a free and fair environment, the person or party with the best policy ideas often wins the elections.

Zimbabwe underwent the process of elections in 2018 which saw incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa being controversially declared the winner by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and confirmed by the Constitutional Court after a petition by the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance. Based on these processes, questionable as they may be, and the assumption that elections were free and fair, it can be theoretically inferred that Mnangagwa had election winning policies.

Once a winning presidential candidate is sworn in and takes oath of office to lead the country, the task that lies ahead is to implement the policies that he and his political party promised the nation during election campaigns. To do so, he has at his disposal the executive comprising his appointed cabinet ministers and government institutions to execute policies and enforce law; the legislature (Parliament) to steer governing activities and approve national policies and budgets; the judiciary to interpret, apply national laws and ensure justice and the rule of law.

Within the parameters of the executive, the sitting president enjoys the privilege of appointing ministers and advisors as part of his cabinet. Outside these, there is another hierarch within his ruling political party, in this case Zanu PF, whose ideas are supposed to inform the national course of action. Technically, President Mnangagwa is deployed by his party to implement Zanu PF policies as promised during election campaigns. This is the ideal situation in most countries. However, with all these structures in place, one would be forgiven to think that Zimbabwe has all the necessary wheels in place and ready for economic takeoff, but alas!

On January 31 this year, President Mnangagwa announced a 26-member Presidential Advisory Council (PAC), an additional structure, “to advise and assist him in formulating key economic policies and strategies that advance Vision 2030. It was introduced as a “sounding board” on key economic reforms, issues and initiatives and it meets quarterly. That may mean that the Zanu PF structure is dry of such advice hence the need for the PAC.

Drawing on new and innovative ideas from outside existing structures is a noble move, but creating new structures undermines existing ones such as the executive, legislature and the ruling party, but most specifically the ruling party as authors and custodians of the current policies. Why not bring in new people with new ideas through the executive and your ruling party? This may not be happening possibly because the President is wary of rattling and shuffling the culture of politics of patronage that obtains in his party, government and attendant cartels. For that reason, new structures abound to cover up for the weaknesses in the existing structures. This is happening at the expense of the tax-payer.

As if that is not enough clutter, there is a new baby in town called the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) launched by President Mnangagwa on May 17. Its genesis lies in church leaders and prophets. Yes, our leadership is gullible to the whims of these. According to those who evangelise the POLAD, its role is to stimulate a culture of peaceful political engagement among Zimbabweans.

In a context where the 2018 elections were perceived to be conclusive, which means that the responsibility to move the country forward now lies squarely with the current President, there is no ostensible need for such a structure to exist. Its presence can only mean admission of leadership failure to lubricate the existing institutions of democracy whose responsibility is to ensure freedom and fairness on matters of political engagement.

The POLAD is unnecessary, a waste of taxpayers’ money and must be disbanded with immediate effect for the reason given above. If it has to exist, it may do so within the confines of a non-governmental organisation. The money spent gathering those political losers in hotels can buy medicine and save lives which is good for politics and development. POLAD will achieve nothing other than rewarding those political losers while encouraging a bad culture of political opportunism. At this rate, with Zanu PF demographic support base waning and their insatiable desire to use whatever means to retain power, the list of presidential candidates for the next election will be longer, if this

POLAD creature is allowed exist.

POLAD’s irrelevance is not only limited to political expedience by President Mnangagwa, it is both duplicating and undermining the National Healing and Reconciliation Commission, established through an Act of parliament in 2017. The role of this Commission, among others, is to promote national healing, unity and cohesion in Zimbabwe and the peaceful resolution of disputes and to facilitate dialogue among political parties, communities, organisations and other groups. The commission is struggling to execute its functions due to limited resources and yet political losers are being hosted in hotels under the guise of national dialogue.

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