We always get a govt we deserve

Cliff Chiduku

“Every nation gets the government it deserves.”

Guest Column by Cliff Chiduku

These words by philosopher Joseph de Maistre might be sarcastic, but are a sober reminder for introspection today.

Zimbabwe is touted as one country with the highest literacy rate in Africa, but it seems we have nothing to show for it.

The current state of affairs such as tom-foolery, vindictiveness, policy inconsistency, as well as corruption
in almost every sector shows that perhaps, as a nation we continue to delude ourselves as we have for years. The politics of compassion that characterised Africanness has vanished among us. Selfishness has become rampant.

If de Maistre’s assertion is anything to go by, then perhaps Zimbabwe is selling itself as home to small-minded and completely self-absorbed citizens.

Mthuli and Mangudya
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) announced that it will ntroduce a new set of higher de-nomination banknotes to increase physical money supply and curb cash shortages. One wonders how RBZ wants to inject useless money into the system in the absence of massive industrial production and political reforms. Going aback to Robert Mugabe era. Someone must tell RBZ governor John Mangudya, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and Zanu PF that Zimbabwe’s problems are not as a result of lack of cash, but emanate from an inept leadership and governance architecture. Printing worthless dollars will further sink the economy and fuel inflation. Address corruption, governance deficit and implement reforms!

Early this year, Defence and War Veterans minister Oppah Muchinguri made a preposterous claim that the coronavirus was a rottweiler unleashed by God to deal with the United States and other Westerners for imposing economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Speaking at a Zanu PF indaba in Mashonaland West, the party chairperson said: “Coronavirus is the work of God, punishing countries that imposed sanctions on us. They are now keeping indoors.

Their economies are screaming just like they did to ours. Trump (US President Donald) should know that he is not God.”

Sensing danger, President Emmerson Mnangagwa immediately intervened and tried to defuse the controversy sparked by Muchinguri’s utterances, saying: “Pandemics of this kind have a scientific explanation and know no boundary, and like any other natural phenomenon cannot be blamed on anyone.”

At that time, Zimbabwe had not officially registered a coronavirus case. With the country incapacitated to detect the virus, Zimbabwe has so far recorded 37 cases, four deaths and nine recoveries. They say wisdom comes with
age, what she said is not befitting someone of her stature – a minister and a wife of a bishop. Muchinguri is not alone in the basket.

As Mnangagwa announced his Cabinet in 2018, Energy Mutodi, the new Information deputy minister’s name stood out for me.

This is not because he would preside over the media — a sector I have interests in. Having interacted with him on several platforms, I was sceptical because the brat is immature for such a strategic ministry. A colleague confided in me that since he passed through the university mill, he could be a good pick; he deserved a chance. The events that unfolded, especially on Twitter, afterward vindicated me.

If you want to know the thinking of the second republic, then visit Mutodi’s Twitter handle.

Mutodi’s tweets are abrasive and his behaviour resembles that of the new sheriff in town. He easily picks fights on social media.

The sages say once a ndombolo dancer, always a ndombolo dancer. Or maybe, a ndombolo dancer at 40 is a ndombolo dancer forever.

Mutodi seems to think he can get away with it and one would do well to forgive him because he could be speaking the minds of the people at the top of the governance structure.

On Monday last week, Mutodi posted that: “His Excellency John Pombe Magufuli’s Tanzania now has 630 COVID-19 cases with
prayers, but without a lockdown, while His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe only got 31 cases with a lockdown and masks. An insight into how managers can be game changers.”

And the drama that ensued after Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo reprimanded Mutodi for his undiplomatic tweet is testimony that the deputy minister is up to no good. Surely, it should be considered heresy for a government official to thrash scientifically-proven guidelines to curb COVID-19 in favour of prayers in such a manner. The government was forced to distance itself from statements by its own spokesperson. Weird!

Instead, Mutodi and his ilk should be telling us how they in end to improve our local systems so that we meet international standards. This is the nature of ministers we have, who preach patriotism by day and at night they mock the very institutions they should be building.

At one time, the Chigorodanda singer also seemed to mock the Ndebele by insinuating that they were refugees in Zimbabwe. Is that government position?

At some point, Mutodi insinuated that South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters leader, Julius Malema was eyeing an affair with former President Robert Mugabe’s widow Grace, because she was very rich. This doesn’t qualify for political banter.

Mutodi has been picking unnecessary fights with his boss Monica Mutsvangwa and ministry secretary, Ndavaningi  Mangwana — a sign that he could be someone who is difficult to work with.

I have no idea why Mnangagwa sees it fit to keep Mutodi in that position.

Mutodi’s continued stay at the ministry is an indictment on Mnangagwa, as it shows that this is the type of people that he would rather surround himself with.

That he keeps Muchinguri, Mthuli, Mangudya, Obadiah “DJ Biscuit” Moyo, among others, when they have failed to prove their worth, remains a mystery.

One is tempted to ask: Did Zimbabwe deserve Gideon Gono as central bank governor? Did Zimbabwe deserve these 40 years under a government that cannot account for anything, but blame everyone for its failures?

Interestingly, it is the suffering masses who are at the forefront defending their abusers at every turn.

It reminds me of some people in South Africa’s African National Congress, who once declared that they would defend former President Jacob Zuma with everything when the State capture allegations were gathering steam.

Have Zimbabweans been reduced Ato such low levels?

The list of elected and public officials who disappoint seems endless. We might wonder how this happens and who is to blame. The uncomfortable truth is that we are to blame. People always get a government they deserve.

A mid-term Cabinet reshuffle to cast out deplorables would do the trick in the interim, but Zimbabwe yearns for a system overhaul because this has been the case since independence.

Citizens and owners of the struggle, which are the people, have the right to interrogate and question the behaviour of their public officials and put them to task without fear or favour.

Politicians are voted into power by the people and should be held accountable for whatever they do.

Aren’t we tired of being docile? Aren’t we tired of being taken for granted? Zimbabwe certainly deserves a better government than this.