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Zimbabwe Briefing - Issue 116
in Zimbabwe Coalition (SA Regional Office)
September 13, 2013
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the Cabinet wrong
On the 10th
of September 2013, 40 days after romping to victory in the disputed
July 31 election, President Robert Mugabe finally announced
his team to drive government policy and program implementation for
the next 5 years. By the end of the announcement, my initial impressions
were that this Cabinet was as new as the President appointing it,
with a lot of continuity on the front line (The Ministers) and just
a little bit of change on the backline (Deputy Ministers). My initial
thoughts were that this was clear madness. Madness here, being used
to refer to doing the same thing over and over again expecting to
get different results. I made the argument to myself that there
was hardly anything new about the cabinet, that only one person
was dropped from the Zanu-PF contingent from the last government
and that a number of people have returned to their pre-2009 ministries.
My initial thoughts were that this is bad for the country and its
economy because these were the people who presided over the demise
of the same prior to 2009.
I however, immediately
checked myself, after remembering that there are many things that
Zanu-PF has done in the past that have closely resembled madness
at first sight, but that almost always there was some method to
the madness. I am convinced that generally there was nothing wrong
with my initial thoughts, except that the reason why most right
thinking Zimbabweans are not imbued with confidence by this cabinet
and are afraid that it will fail, is because they are using lenses
and standards of success, and key performance indicators that are
different from President Mugabe’s lenses.
for Mugabe and Zanu-PF not for Zimbabwe
expected a Cabinet to service the country, what they have got is
cabinet to service Zanu-PF. Where people expected a Cabinet to enhance
the country’s economic fortunes, what they got was a cabinet
adept at improving their own and Zanu-PF’s balance sheet.
No one could
have put it any better than incoming Government presumptive Spokesperson,
Professor Jonathan Moyo, who said:
coming in to do any assignment given to me by my boss. I am coming
in as Team Zanu-PF, and Team Zanu-PF has a Captain.”
would be nothing wrong, and no factual errors with this statement
had Jonathan Moyo been reacting to an appointment to the Zanu-PF
Central Committee. It puts clearly at whose service Jonathan Moyo,
and those he now speaks for in Government, will be. He is in the
service of Zanu-PF not Zimbabwe; he is coming in to serve the person
not the people.
of Information, in his first pronouncements in that capacity betrayed
the fact that we are poised to return to those “good old days”
where the party was the state and the state was party, where Zanu-PF
was the people and the people were Zanu-PF.
If there ever
was room for doubting Jonathan Moyo, the principal himself, President
Mugabe, spoke on inauguration of the Ministers saying;
(to appoint) was based on how much of Zanu-PF you are, how long
you have been with us, and how educated you are.”
It is apparent
from the foregoing that the Cabinet has also been used as part of
a reward system that only entrenches Zanu-PF’s patronage system,
and dares those who have remained outside to be more daring in their
service of Zanu-PF, than those who have been rewarded.
of the democratic reform agenda
One of the reasons
why this cabinet was anticipated was also based on the fact that,
whom Mugabe would surround himself with would give clear indicators
of which direction he would take the country. Our organizational
view was that, depending on who would be chosen it would indicate
whether the President and his government, would, in terms of the
transition, regress, stagnate or move towards further reform and
consolidation of some of the positive gains from the GNU
as announced by President Mugabe is symbolic of the oxymoronic situation
where the way forward is stated as being backwards. The new Cabinet’s
resemblance to the retrogressive, economy wrecking, freedom arresting
war cabinet of 2002 is striking, both in terms of Key actors and
the politics rep-resented.
the Cabinet that the country has been saddled with leaves very little
hope that this government can take us forward in terms of consolidating
our democracy. If anything, the Cabinet is a loud warning shot that
the only consolidation that it is intent on is Zanu-PF’s power
through authoritarian consolidation. This is not a matter of conjecture
but can be read from the strategic deployments that seem to have
been made to stifle reform.
As things stand
in Zimbabwe, given the new constitutional dispensation that this
Government is supposed to preside over, having a “Hardliner”
like Cde Emmerson “Ngwena” Mnangagwa standing guard
at the Justice Ministry, is a sure sign that not only will justice
not be done, but also that any legislative reform that may have
been hoped for will die a quick death. Mr. Mnangagwa himself, is
on record as saying that contrary to popular opinion, he is “as
soft as wool”, but this ministry of Justice (which he is not
a new to having presided over it in the past) and the new circumstances
that he leads it under, present an opportunity for him to show whether
he really is ‘as soft as wool’ or he is as ruthless
as the crocodile that is his totem.
While the above
can easily be put aside as conjecture, a sure fire sign that the
democratic reform agenda is likely to be stalled during the life
of this government can be found in the short but loaded statement,
again by the presumptive spokesperson of Government, Professor Jonathan
Moyo, who on being asked whether there would be media reforms he
not reform anything that is not deformed.”
while telling, and while uttered by the new Minister of Information
is reflective of a standing Zanu-PF belief that, contrary to all
indications everything is alright in Zimbabwe and its body Politic.
Whether this narrative prevails or not depends on how people respond
to this clear statement of intent by the new government.
Visit the Crisis
in Zimbabwe fact
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