Zimbabwe Shall Rise Again!

  • January 23, 2018

‘Zimbabweans are free today.’

‘We expect a change. We don’t want to live the way we used to (live) in this country.’

‘I put my faith in him.’

‘We’ve already seen from his work as Vice-President that he’s a man of action, so I’ve no doubt that he can turn things around and create more jobs for us young people.’

“We are just so happy that things are finally going to change,” Togo Ndhlalambi, a hairdresser, told the AFP news agency.

“I am the happiest person under the sun right now because I always believed that Mugabe was going to step down in my lifetime and it has happened,” human rights activist Linda Masarira told the BBC.

As the people of Zimbabwe articulate their hopes for a better future, all eyes are on Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa to resurrect the ailing nation. People have entrusted their faith on the new leadership to give them a nation they had all dreamt of; will he be able to live up to the aspirations of the citizens and the world at large? Only time will tell!

 

The swearing-in ceremony

More than 70,000 jubilating supporters, danced with enthusiasm while holding placards that read ‘Thank you Zimbabwe’, ‘Dawn of a new era’ and ‘No to retribution.’ They had gathered at the National Sports Stadium, Harare, to witness the fall of the world’s oldest leader and the rise of a 75-year-old former liberation fighter.  Chief Justice Luke Malaba administered the oath of office to Emmerson Mnangagwa and the former Vice-President is officially sworn-in as the third President of Zimbabwe. ‘I would protect and promote the rise of the people of Zimbabwe and I will devote myself to the well-being of Zimbabwe and its people. As we focus on recovering the economy, we must shed misbehaviours and acts of indiscipline which have characterised the past. Acts of corruption must stop,” he had said at the swearing-in ceremony. In attendance were Botswana’s President Ian Khama, who was warmly welcomed following his repeated calls to Mugabe to step down, former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba and founding President Sam Nujoma as well as current Vice President Nickey Iyambo, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu, along with Zambia’s former President Kenneth Kaunda. Also present was Rory Stewart, Britain’s Minister of State for Africa and the first British minister to visit Zimbabwe in two decades. Before the ceremony, Stewart had described in a statement the change in leadership as “an absolutely critical moment” after Mugabe’s “ruinous rule.” Notable names in absence included former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe, as well as President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who was represented by his telecommunications minister, Siyabonga Cwele, as Zuma was hosting a State Visit by Angola’s new head of state, João Lourenço. Mnangagwa, nicknamed ‘Garwe’/ ’Ngwena’, or ‘the crocodile’ for his uncompromising approach to politics has to shoulder the responsibility of fixing exorbitant government spending, crumbling public facilities, and a disastrous 95% unemployment rate in Zimbabwe.

The five-week conundrum

‘Disloyalty, disrespect, deceit and being unreliable,’ were reasons cited in a statement issued by the country’s information ministry as former President Mugabe on November 5, 2017, ousted his long-time ally Mnangagwa from the post of Vice-President. Emmerson Mnangagwa is the man who was tortured in detention in Rhodesia (as Zimbabwe was known in the 1970s) and could have been handed the death penalty had he not been below 21 years of age when he was sentenced. This is the man who had spent ten years of his life in prison but on release qualified as a lawyer after studying at the University of Zambia and the University of London. He is emblematic of the force that played a pivotal role in the freedom struggle for Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s decision to fire Mnangagwa saw severe backlash from senior members of the Zimbabwe National Army. Though, it was evident that the real reason behind this political tactic was the strong backing of supporters enjoyed by Mnangagwa, who was considered the most-suited ‘heir apparent’ to succeed Mugabe and thus, a threat to the former first lady, Grace Mugabe’s path to power. His sacking fuelled speculations that the road was now clear for Grace Mugabe to elevate to the most coveted post. The general sentiment after this political upheaval was that no one was too big to be fired under Mugabe; that Mnangagwa was an ‘ordinary man’ after all. Was he? The next turn of events certainly proved otherwise.

On the evening of November 14, 2017, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) took control over major parts of the capital Harare, including the state-controlled broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). Tanks were seen on the outskirts of the city, soldiers at the international airport, heavy gunfire was heard near Mugabe’s residence, and Mugabe was nowhere to be seen. However, there were no violent crackdowns or street curfews. The military insisted that it was not a coup d’état, but a step to deal with the “criminals around Mugabe responsible for the socioeconomic problems of Zimbabwe”. When South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma phoned Mugabe, he was told that Mugabe “was confined to his home but was otherwise fine.” On November 15, 2017, military spokesperson Major General Sibusiso Moyo appeared in a dramatized television broadcast on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp.

World’s strangest coup and the most awaited resignation letter!

This was the strangest military takeover to have ever occurred in the world – with military leaders insisting it was not a coup, protestors posing for selfies with soldiers, and the ‘captive’ casually chatting with his ‘captors’.

(In an image taken a day after the military had seized control in the capital, Mugabe was seen in a sitting room with army leader Commander General Constantino Chiwenga, two South African envoys, and Catholic priest Fidelis Mukonori).

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On the face of it, one could hardly sense signs of a military conquest, as Mugabe unexpectedly emerged to attend the graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University, Harare in a blue and yellow gown, two days after the nation witnessed the political turmoil. Initially, Mugabe had refused to step down. Soon, tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of Zimbabwe demanding his resignation; his own ZANU-PF party sacked him, expelled his wife, and gave Mnangagwa the mantle of new party chief. Mugabe could clearly hear the echo of his political demise. However, one needs strength to leave power, to pave the way for a new leader. Ignoring the open defiance still, Mugabe in a televised address stood firm on his decision to hold onto command. On November 21, as Mugabe refused to accept the growing calls for his resignation, the Parliament gathered to start the impeachment process and Mnangagwa, for the first time since the military intervention, asked Mugabe to pay ‘heed (to) this clarion call.’

Members of Parliament turned out for a special joint session. The speaker Jacob Mudenda read out a letter from Mugabe, “Following my verbal communication with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda at 13:53 hours, 21st November, 2017 intimating my intention to resign as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, in terms of Section 96, Sub-Section 1 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, hereby formally tender my resignation as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect. ‘My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power that underpins national security, peace and stability. ‘Kindly give public notice of my resignation as soon as possible as required by Section 96, Sub-Section 1 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. ‘Yours faithfully, ‘Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.’

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For Mnangagwa, however, Mugabe remains “a father, mentor, comrade in arms and leader,” as he had mentioned during his speech at the swearing-in ceremony. The two leaders have shared the good, the bad and the ugly together – as compatriots who were exiled together during the 1970s war and as guerrilla fighters who together saw their country emerge from the shadow of the white minority rule.

All hail the new President!

Many see Mnangagwa as the cultivator of stability. His appointment as President thus infused a considerable amount of confidence in the economic system. “My government is committed to open Zimbabwe out to investment by building a free and transparent economy which benefits Zimbabweans and is welcoming to outsiders,” he told a joint sitting of the country’s two houses of parliament recently. “On individual cases of corruption, every case must be investigated and punished in accordance with the dictates of our laws. There should be no sacred cows. Economic developments require a clean government,” he said. In his new cabinet, he appointed General Sibusiso Moyo as the Foreign Minister and Head of Zimbabwe’ Air Force, Air Marshal Perence Shiri as the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs. Head of War Veteran’s Association, Chris Mutsvangwa is in-charge of the information ministry. Mnangagwa has retained Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpefu from Mugabe’s cabinet. Retired army boss Constantino Chiwenga and veteran politician Kembo Mohadi have been appointed as party Vice Presidents. As a pro-business policy to attract companies, Mnangagwa has already scrapped Mugabe’s indigenisation law, which forced foreign firms to cede 51 percent stakes to locals, except for diamonds and platinum.

Regaining the lost decade

‘The economic situation in Zimbabwe remains very difficult,’ Gene Leon, International Monetary Fund’s mission chief for Zimbabwe had said in a statement to Reuters recently.

‘Immediate action is critical to reduce the deficit to a sustainable level, accelerate structural reforms and reengage with the international community to access much needed financial support,’ he added. The macroeconomic environment of a country directly influences the overall growth of that nation. The development plan of Zimbabwe must focus on its structural measures, such as regulatory reform, privatization, civil service reform, improved governance, trade liberalization, and banking sector reform. The ten years from 1998 to 2008 are dubbed as the lost decade in Zimbabwe. Mnangagwa will have to hit the ground running and move aggressively to galvanise masses and government machinery. Through direct modes of communication, such as radio, he should address and reach out to the people, generate confidence in them and understand their concerns. Now that the political situation is stable, an enabling investment environment can be created. The land reform policy that was embarked upon could be rephrased, if not revoked.

Banking on bank reforms

According to a report by ResearchGate publication, 65% of the Zimbabwean population lives in rural areas while 35% lives in urban areas (Zimstat 2012) of which 40% are aged between 18 and 30 years whilst 48% of the population is in the 31-60 years age group. Majority of the people are in the economically active range of 18 – 60 years and in need of financial services. Thus, making banks accessible to the common man is fundamental for financial inclusion. Since giant banking infrastructures cannot be erected immediately, alternatives such as employing banking correspondents in rural areas, introducing and aggressively promoting mobile banking can catalyze banking reforms. Penetration of technology and products such as Ecocash and telecash to the remotest corners of the country can fast-track financial inclusion. Opening bank accounts will release avenues for savings and institutional credit and usher transparency by directly transferring benefits or subsidies by the Government to the people in need and the developing rural businesses.

Improve Liquidity and access to credit

As per the Observatory of Economic Complexity, Zimbabwe is the 83rd largest export economy in the world. The total value of exports as of 2016 was US$ 2.83 billion. However, the total value of imports during the same time was US$ 5.2 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of US$ 2.37 billion. Firstly, Zimbabwe needs to avoid importing raw materials that can be produced in its own premises locally, such as vegetables including lemons, tomatoes, potatoes and onions. This will also prevent unnecessary wastage of foreign currency. Though fuel imports are unavoidable, alternative fuels such as ethanol that can be manufactured from segregated waste and biomass can be considered. About 100 such industries would require major investment, but it would have a multiplier effect on the economy as it will create about a million jobs and reduce import subsidies. It can become cost-effective within a few years of operation and is absolutely pollution-free.

Open the shut factories, start the start-ups

Harness the Entrepreneurial Energy – If there is a small business, infuse energy and money to expand it, so that it can employ more people. Re-open the scores of shut down factories to employ thousands of stranded workers could be a good start. Support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), make it easy for doing business, develop industrial corridors and smart cities with high-speed communication and integrated logistic arrangements. Since 80% of Zimbabwean’s economy is informal, this structural problem must be dealt with immediately be bringing all the sectors in the mainstream to increase production.

Digitisation to increase transparency for ‘Ease of doing business’

Every economy runs on taxes. Hence, when revenue collection is streamlined, the wealth drain of the economy will turn into wealth gain. Reducing human interference by allowing digital technology to penetrate into governance and business can bring credibility into the system. Digital solutions can decrease the number of tax defaulters by providing a control mechanism for preventing malpractices in payments. It can maximise revenue of the economy and encourage people to become more tax compliant. This will prevent revenue leakage, increase the precision of audit central systems, save huge revenue losses – money that the government can use for carrying out developmental works. Implementing an online single-window system for the approval of business plans, simplifying FPI (foreign portfolio investor) norms for investing and reducing export and import border compliance costs will help in creating the right business environment while maintaining security standards and simplifying logistics issues. *At present, the ease of doing business rank for Zimbabwe is 159 and the trade across border rank is 153, as per the World Bank Group.

Focus on manufacturing, agriculture, mining and tourism

Agriculture, it is said, is the wisest pursuit of human being. Millions of small family farms spread across the country have the potential to become the main source of food, employment and income.

A wide array of local and regional stakeholders of the farming community must be brought together to form a mutually beneficial value chain. A strong agriculture performance and related value chains, increase in capacity utilisation and competitiveness of local products can boost the manufacturing sector. Tourism was the arm Zimbabwe could always rely upon and will continue to be so as the number of international tourist arrivals in the country rise by 8% to reach 58 million. Mining is the key player in Zimbabwe’s economy contributing around 13% of gross domestic product and 68% of Zimbabwe’s total export receipts. The country’s 800 mines having a capacity to earn US$18 billion per annum.

Human capital Zimbabwe may be lacking working capital, but it remains the wealthiest in Africa as far as human resource is concerned. There was a time when literacy rate in Zimbabwe was as high as 97%; the good news is it is still above 90%. Hence, make investments in research, skill development and transfer of technology to leverage this capital.

Vigorous foreign policy and a positive global profile

Cement relations with neighbours and regional organisations such as Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Zimbabwe must put itself in places of global governance through a robust foreign policy. The world leadership profile of Zimbabwe must rise, fully in keeping with its economic and security objectives. As foreign policy develops and economic growth takes place, one will automatically feed into other. It is thus indispensable to negotiate, strengthen partnerships and build alliances.

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The anomaly of Zimbabwean trajectory

‘Change, they say, is the only constant.’ However, Zimbabwe almost lost faith in this adage, as Mugabe became their only constant since the nation gained independence in 1980, until recently. However, the country has lived up to its motto ‘Unity, Freedom, Work,’ quite literally, where the army and the citizens have in the past united to achieve freedom for their country to make it stand on its feet and work for its progress. This has happened on two occasions – First, on April 16, 1980 when the nation fought the British colonial rule and then more recently, on November 21, 2017, when the country saw an end to what earlier seemed to be an endless dynasty of one man. Under immense political pressure post a military takeover and expulsion from his own ruling ZANU-PF party, Robert Mugabe reluctantly resigned after nearly four decades in power. The trajectory of Zimbabwe differs from other African countries in the sense that while other nations slowly but steadily inched towards progress in some form or the other, Zimbabwe, which was once the ‘Bread basket of Africa’ turned into the ‘Basket of the Borrower’. Thus, H.E. Emmerson Mnangagwa requires more than just a policy change; he needs to transform the system implemented in the last 30 years.  Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe!

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WHO IS IN ZIMBABWE’S GOVERNMENT CABINET UNDER EMMERSON MNANGAGWA?

Source: The South African

Patrick Chinamasa: Minister of Finance and Economic Planning

Obert Mpofu: Minister of Home Affairs and Culture

Perrance Shiri: Minister of Lands, Agriculture, and Resettlement

Lazarus Dokora: Minister of Primary and Secondary Education

David Pariyanyatwa: Minister of Health and Child Care

Kembo Mohadi: Minister of Defence, Security and War Veterans

Ziyambi Ziyambe: Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs

Sibusiso Moyo: Minister of Foreign Affairs

Kazembe Kazembe: Minister of Sports, Art and Reacreation

Mike Bimha: Minister of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development

July Moyo: Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing

Sithembiso Nyoni: Minister of Women and Youth Affairs

Amon Murwira: Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Development

Super Mandizanwira: Minister of Information Communication Technology

Clever Nyathi: Minister of Labour and Social Welfare

Jorum Gumbo: Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development

Winston Chitando: Minister of Mines and Mining Development

Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri: Minister of Environment, Water and Climate

Prisca Mupfumira: Minister of Tourism and Hospitality

Simon Moyo: Minister of Energy and Power Development

Chris Mutsvangwa: Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services

Simbarashe Mumbengegwi: Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Government Programmes.

Voice of TOA: “AS DEMOCRACY IS PERFECTED, THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT REPRESENTS, MORE AND MORE CLEARLY, THE INNER SOUL OF THE PEOPLE. ON SOME GREAT GLORIOUS DAY, THE PLAIN FOLKS OF THE LAND WILL REACH THEIR HEART’S DESIRE AT LAST.”

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