By Nkululeko Sibanda
For the ordinary Zimbabwean, struggling to put food on the table, the election now seems a distant memory. It has been overtaken by the realities of life, yet everything we are going through now was determined by that election and the stolen result.
Firstly, and unfortunately, the election ended with an imposed outcome. ZEC announced numbers that it could not stand by for any considerable period. Changing them every day.
Then the Constitutional Court depended on the discreditable ZEC pronouncements, in complete disregard of figures. This produced a new reality. A Zimbabwe which is now run by a blatantly illegitimate government.
The Mnangagwa Presidency has just one source of governing authority, which is his precarious hold of and capture of state institutions. This is how ZEC and the courts become very notable players in ensuring that only he would be President.
The current president of the republic does not and will likely never enjoy the level of legitimacy that even is predecessor Robert Mugabe enjoyed in the earlier years of his rule over the country. This indeed is shameful for a government that has wanted to project itself as representing progress from Mugabe’s ruinous 37-year rule.
This government was not just rejected by the people of Zimbabwe, the economy rejected Mnangagwa with a sharp downturn after his inauguration.
As if this was not enough, when he appointed his cabinet, the economy responded with a negative nod. This situation disregarded the splendid public relations stunt he performed in appointing two unusual names. He thought he had a poster girl and poster boy for his cabinet.
As poster boy, for purchasing some legitimacy on the cheap, Prof Mthuli Ncube did not meet even the lowest expectation. The economy did not respond positively to his arrival.
This is the same for the Honourable Minister Coventry. However, in every cloud there is a silver line, Minister Coventry has been the first to produce positive news in Mnangagwa’s cabinet. It is indeed great news that she will soon become a parent. We congratulate her, her husband and family.
As Mnangagwa spoke on Tuesday, the Zimbabwe economy was in the intensive care unit. It needs to be rescued and its greatest challenge is that of an illegitimate government.
To add salt to injury, individuals at the highest levels of this government are believed by many to be potentially some of the most corrupt people on earth.
Although we are not making this allegation, we are saying that such perceptions are like a secondary infection on a patient who is already in an unstable condition.
This economy will need some oxygen in order for it to recover. An illegitimate president and government will not be able to provide the necessary confidence.
Zimbabwe needs maturity and a bipartisan approach to leadership which would allow all hands to be on the deck. Zimbabwe requires a leader who would have been willing to be a statesman. Someone who could bring this country together, with one purpose, to unite and rebuild.
If we had not been cheated in this election, today there would have been no shortages and rationing of fuel. There would be no shortages of bread and pricing would have stabilised with a downward trend.
We were going to achieve this by following our smart policies that would have quickly allowed for all and the best brains to be working on the economy. Zimbabwe already knows that President Chamisa has a strong reputation for identifying talent and the best brains, from far and wide.
A President Chamisa government would have stabilised the economy by engaging all political players to help give life to the idea of unity in building the economy. Putting everyone to work building our economy would have been the first job and first line for him.
The President would like to encourage the illegitimate President Mnangagwa to realise that he stole the election. Because of that theft he was then declared President. Because of this, he must stop being in a perpetual campaign mode, one cannot govern like a candidate. He must become Presidential. His poorly read speech sounded like a rumbling stump away from the houses of parliament.
In the interests of our economy and our nation, this country does not need grandstanding and a self-serving attitude from its appointed president. The national post-election political agenda for political parties, business, church, labour, students, civil society and Zimbabwe must be the establishment of a national dialogue on the best way forward for the country, not a laundry list of irrelevant bills.
Zimbabwe requires that all stakeholders adopt a cooperative approach, to give the economy some breathing space. President Chamisa’s government would have immediately adopted an all-stakeholder participation framework for government affairs and work towards unbundling party-government conflation.
Zimbabwe should transform, prosper and create opportunities for her people. The current state of illegitimacy does not help the situation and Mnangagwa runs the risk of never obtaining internal political legitimacy.
Because of the situation, national aims, in the short and medium term must be anchored on moving our country towards:
• The respect of the true outcome of this election and holding of truly free, fair and credible future elections
• Return to legitimacy and normalcy
• Resolving the national economic question
• Macroeconomic Stability – the nation must have fiscal discipline and resort to cash budgeting
• Creation of an inclusive growing economy – this country has the capacity and must create a hundred-billion-dollar economy within 15 years at an average of 7 percent growth per annum.
• The country needs major capital projects, industrialisation in a major shift from the traditional extractive model.
• Attracting FDI and domestic investments – the country must create a conducive environment for investment, that is, the total repeal of the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, the respect of property rights, the rule of law and constitutionalism
• Financial Sector Stability and Liquidity – the country needs urgent demonetising of the bond note, joining the Rand Monetary Union in the medium term and ring fencing of the US dollar balances to avoid a further loss of value in the accounts of the Zimbabwean people.
• National healing and nation building
• Political, constitutional and institutional reform – all the Chapter 12 and 13 institutions must be strengthened and the implementation of devolution of power must be urgent to ensure even development with decision making vested in devolved tiers and spheres.
• Respect for the rule of law
• An end to international isolation – the country needs to deal with the debt question and negotiate a martial plan aimed at reconstruction.
• Good governance
This state of the nation, for President Chamisa is about the economy and the politics that lead to it. Part of the solution to this situation includes a commitment to making sure that the government gives full effect to the Constitution.
There are a few areas of special legislative agenda that are important going forward:
1. Local governments must be empowered by legislation on devolution, freedoms of association and assembly and the rights to free and fair elections and results must become a reality and guided by new Acts of Parliament.
2. The Law must provide for local authorities to be autonomous with the ability to run their affairs without interference from central government. This would mean that capital investments, like sewage works are done on time and that the State does not find itself owing million of dollars to the Harare City Council.
Given the economic decay that we experience, given the outbreaks of cholera and typhoid, given a government that lacks legitimacy, given an election that was stolen, with a government that recently found an excuse to kill six citizens, which it must have protected and finally witnessing a government that is afraid of its citizens, today the state of the nation is a broken society staring an economy meltdown.
President Chamisa, therefore, encourages Zimbabweans to remain steadfast and resolute as we face the future. Zimbabweans know that we won this election and that we must now work on making sure that electoral theft never happens again. They are aware that we must now work to improve the conditions of our people.
President Chamisa has already begun the process of reuniting our politics for the good of our country. He recently reintegrated Alliance members into the MDC. This government must learn from what President Chamisa is doing – unity of purpose.
May God Bless Zimbabwe!