Let me start by thanking you brother Hopewell Chinono for the thoughtful articles on Zimbabwe in Zimeye and Nehanda Radio. I hope many Zimbabweans out there will take the time to read and digest them.
“Mugabe punched above his weight and with disastrous economic consequences to the country and citizens,” you said in one of the articles.
“Our government has been talking politics for far too long. It now needs to talk business, commerce and trade. …. It is only commerce and trade that will see the realization of a new and successful Zimbabwe. That is the only language our political actors should be talking for now. We have had 17 years of experience to know that ideological outburst are just that, outbursts.”
There will not be many Zimbabweans out there would disagree that former President Robert Mugabe punched way above his weight; one blast of ideological nonsense after another, mostly; with disastrous economic and political consequences to the nation.
Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown has seen the country fall from its perch in 1980 as the jewel of Africa with robust economy, the breadbasket of the region and with the potential to be the South Korea of Africa. Today the country cannot even feed its own people, unemployment has soared to 90%, most basic services like education and health have all but collapsed, etc. ¾ of our people now live on US$1.00 or less a day.
Zimbabwe people are the poorest in Africa!
The only reason why Zimbabweans could not shut Mugabe up even when we all knew the “ideological outbursts are just that, outbursts”, is because the tyrant had usurped the people’s basic freedoms and human rights including the right to free and fair elections and even the right to life!
The people of went out in the street to celebrate on 18 November 2017 when they learned Mugabe had resigned; just the thought that they will never again have to hear any more of the nonsense was a welcome relief! But that was nothing more than everyone celebrating the first rains to mark the end of a particularly long drought. We have work to do!
Whilst I acknowledge that we need to do everything to revive the economy as quickly as possible I am, however, minded to point out our economic meltdown itself a consequence of our failed political system. We could not remove Mugabe and his cronies from office even when it was self-evident the regime was corrupt and incompetent. For us to therefore focus on the economy and fail to address the political dimension will get us nowhere!
“The President’s clarion call is that Zimbabwe is open for business, how he will deal with the German issue (farms seized from the German nationals) will show whether Zimbabwe is indeed open for business. Most western diplomats are convinced that Zanu PF will win the upcoming general elections. It is what it will do with that mandate that will determine whether we have indeed put the Mugabe years behind us,” Chinono argued.
“Open for business will be determined by a free media, respect for the rule of law, an independent judiciary, adherence to constitutionalism, prosecution of corrupt government officials and so on. Capital is afraid of flowing where all the above are missing.”
I agree that capital will shy away if the country does not address the democratic deficiencies that has earned Zimbabwe the pariah state status all these years. The point is we should insist in having all these democratic deficiencies addressed now and not after the elections.
President Mnangagwa has promised free, fair and credible elections and yet he has done nothing ever since coming to office to make this possible.
He was not just a senior member of Mugabe’s government for 37 years, he was the tyrant’s second in command when it comes to the political shenanigans to undermine the country’s democratic system and he carried out most of the vote rigging, political violence and the looting to finance the regime’s dirty political activities. President Mnangagwa does not need reminding on what democratic reforms are required to ensure free and fair elections; he knows them all!
If President Mnangagwa does not implement the democratic reforms necessary for free and fair election, then the people of Zimbabwe must refuse to participate in yet another flawed and illegal electoral process. There is only one reason why President Mnangagwa and his Junta partners will not want to implement the reforms and hold free, fair and credible elections – they, like Mugabe before them, do not want the people to be held them to democratic account!
The people of Zimbabwe must demand the full restoration of their freedoms and basic human rights including the right to a meaningful say in the governance of Zimbabwe.
Economic recovery is tied to good governance which in turn is tied to free, fair and credible elections. How President Mnangagwa deals with the German issue is important but, without the reforms, that would be wilfully inadequate.
Zimbabweans have waited for good governance and the first free and fair elections for 38 years they is no excuse why they should have to wait for another day!