Fear in not an option
Zimbabweans United for Democracy ... Determining our own future ... We demand real change ... Fear is not an option ... Tiri kuvaka ramangwana redu ... Tinoda sanduko chaiyo ... Hatichatya ... Siyakha elakusasa lethu ... Sifuna inguquko yobala ... Asikhethi ukwesaba ...

 

Disappointing Cabinet continued...

As for Perrance Shiri, it appears more like elimination by promotion. However, to give credit where it is due, despite his intellectual shortcomings, Shiri is an affable pragmatist whose performance as the minister responsible for Agriculture might surprise us.

The appointment of Winston Chitando to head Mining and Mining Development seems to be the most reasonable appointment that the President has made. However, the underrepresentation of women and youth in the new cabinet is reprehensible. It appears ZANU PF only thinks about this critical constituency when it is time for rallies and elections. This neglect is nothing but abuse and lack of respect for women and youth.

Zimbabweans at home and in the Diaspora had hoped that a new, young, energetic, professional and technocratic Zimbabwean would be appointed to the critical ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Re-appointing Chinamasa is as disappointing as retaining Dokora at Education, arguably the worst Minister of Education we have had since independence - undertaker of the education system. We are not excited to note that Dokora has finally been dropped. Rather, we are surprised that he was even considered in the first place.

Unfortunately, there is never a second chance to make a first impression. President Mnangagwa seems to have blown his first chance big time. Unless he does something radical in the interim, even if it means a quick reshuffle after Congress, progressive Zimbabweans will not take him seriously. He comes across as a “client President” who has no option but to look after his benefactors. This is the difficulty of coming into office through undemocratic means.

Many of us were willing to forgive President Mnangagwa and his cohorts for their past transgressions, real or imagined. We even threw our principles and caution to the wind hoping that our own John Magufuli or Deng Xiaoping had finally been born. We have read about sinners who went on to become saints. We thought this was President Mnangagwa’s moment. He had a real chance to get all Zimbabweans fully behind him in rebuilding the economy.

Some of us fiercely argued in the past three weeks that we should not prejudge Manangagwa. We went on to say that the composition of his Cabinet would reveal his real agenda and intentions. Now that he has retained and recycled some perennial failures and dead wood in his Cabinet, worse still in key ministries, we have every reason to suspect that where we are going is where we are coming from.
Zimbabweans expected an economic Cabinet but President Mnangagwa has given them a Commissariat, at best a “Command Cabinet”, very similar to the ‘war cabinet’ that Mugabe once put together after facing a stiff challenge from the opposition. It was about personal survival and nothing else.

Before his Cabinet was announced, the new President had raised national hopes so high through his inauguration speech as well as through a statement a few days later that he was going to form a lean government that would focus on performance and delivery. Underperforming civil servants were put on notice in the process. We all thought that, finally, we were getting somewhere. Were we sold a dummy?

The President has missed a perfect opportunity to transform our economy and our politics. While we gave him the benefit of the doubt, it appears the honeymoon is over. It is back to the established ZANU PF way of doing things. The only good thing that has come out of President Mnangwagwa’s error of judgement is that the opposition has been emboldened. It is time to regroup and take the democratic project forward. While Mugabe is gone, it is now time to focus on remedying the ruinous system he left behind. The fight is not over yet. 2018 is our opportunity to rid ourselves of the entrenched Mugabeism. We need transformation, not cosmetic change.

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