Zimbabwe needs brains not protests – Mangwana
By Nick Mangwana
In a parliamentary democracy, the role of the opposition is to provide an alternative. They are meant to bring the government of the day to account.
In many cases they are meant to challenge the policies of the Government and produce other options. They should shine the spotlight on the government’s performance failures on behalf of the people.
A good opposition should be able to articulate in detail how things could be done differently to produce a better outcome. Their role is NOT to ensure that government policies fail at all cost. That is the role of saboteurs. The attention seeking protests planned by the opposition and their acolytes fall in the latter category.
One opposition leader was dubbed “Mr Boycott” a decade and half ago.
This moniker was quite appropriate then considering his crybaby theatrics and use of “boycotting” as a weapon of choice. He soon fine-tuned that weapon and transformed it into the “sanction” weapon when he realised he needed to upgrade. He called on the international community to boycott Zimbabwe as a trade partner or investment destination; they obliged putting Zimbabwe under what they ironically baptised as “smart sanctions”.
Under these not-so-smart sanctions Zimbabwe has suffered immensely. Still, that did not give him power. As time would have it, he kept on trying to come back and have another shot. In 2013 he was politically annihilated but he is still in denial and cannot understand what hit him.
There is no self-reflection because as far as he is concerned, the blame lies elsewhere. But we know that reflection, contemplation, introspection and self-enquiry bring insight. And the man with insight has come to terms with his limitations. He is aware of his frailties and does not mask these but learns from them. Therefore past mistakes are not repeated.
When leaders blame everyone else but themselves for their failures then progress is stymied. You can’t keep on blaming your boots for the fault of your feet. And yes, we all know, a good leader takes a little more of the blame and a little less of the credit.
After all, the past boycotts, protests, “final pushes” and so-called crossovers that never were, are we back there again? Does Zimbabwe need any more of these histrionics? We acknowledge the democratic right to express one’s disapproval through demonstrations and protests.
But we also contend that the country right now needs ideas rather than more theatrics. We also appreciate that it’s a Congress Season and during this period people seek political relevance and traction. We just feel the price is too dear for Zimbabwe to bear.
Will taking to the streets rehabilitate factories and give people jobs? If the opposition had presented alternative policies and showed where they think ZimAsset can be made better, wouldn’t that be considered progressive? That would indicate an official opposition showing it has the people’s interests at heart. But no; we are not getting alternative ideas.
Since the “JUICE” staled and soured, all the nation is getting from those quarters is negativity. We remember a shadow cabinet being ordained with much pomp and fanfare. The nation expected them to interrogate government policy in and outside Parliament.
They could offer genuine criticism and suggestions. They have been given an opportunity to prove themselves as a government-in-waiting. But they have failed dismally. For how can the people vote into power a party whose only idea is street protests? A party that would pride itself in bringing anarchy to one of the most peaceful cities in the world.
What are they offering the people as an alternative to what the Government is doing? They have lost every by-election since July 2013. The trend will continue until the big one in 2018. Will the outcome be a surprise? Protests are not ideas and demonstrations are not solutions.
Yes, our government will need to maintain focus on bread and butter issues. But how many investment deals have been signed in the last six weeks alone? Aren’t these deals the investment we all clamour for?
Or is it that they are so besotted with the West to a level that everything that emanates from elsewhere is not good enough? This we fail to understand; you protest for jobs and then what? Will the Herald Classifieds see a longer vacancies list than yesterday because you took to the streets?
We sympathisewith everyone looking but failing to get a job. Our hearts bleed for every job loss and business closure. Jobs do and should remain at the heart of the government agenda. We also hope that soon the employment capacity of industry and commerce will be enabled by all those infrastructural and energy deals.
It is transactions like these that will facilitate the creation of jobs and not street protests. If the opposition have the people’s welfare at heart, they will be offering a different fish for the people to fry but not trying to fry the stewing economy by street protests. There is an economic cost we can ill-afford.
Nick Mangwana is the chair of the Zanu PF branch in the UK. He can be reached at [email protected]