By Obert Chaurura Gutu
More often than not, action speaks louder than words. Zimbabwe finds herself in a situation wherein the major political actors have been very long on talk but, unfortunately, extremely short on action,regarding the new trajectory that our beautiful country should be taking.
Old habits are dying hard. As the Italian Marxist philosopher and communist politician, Antonio Francesco Gramsci, once said: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born, in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”
Zimbabwe is at the crossroads.
As the Government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa is desperately seeking to break with the past and start off on a new slate of openness, transparency and accountability, there is a vicious and powerful under-current of resistance and retrogression.
This is a virulently insipid, vapid, rabid but extremely tenacious and deeply-rooted under-current of negativity and darkness.
This is a force that is pulling in the opposite direction at every turn. The inconvenient truth is that this apparently strong and powerful under-current is located within well-placed Government bureaucrats at Munhumutapa Building and also in various Government departments.
President ED has got his plate full, literally.
Here’s a President who is passionately trying to create a new culture of governance where meritocracy, transparency and accountability will underpin his administration but at the same time he has got to contend with erstwhile comrades and colleagues who are apparently pushing a completely different agenda.
This is a group of people who are still steeped in the old order of indolence, laziness, opaqueness and corruption. In fact, this is the biggest challenge facing President Mnangagwa right now.
ED’s monicker is The Crocodile. Essentially, the crocodile is a very sly and patient reptile that can lie low and even play harmless if not downright dead but when the right opportunity presents itself, a crocodile strikes with chilling and devastating accuracy and precision.
I have observed that the President is quietly putting all his ducks in a row. His body language is extremely difficult to read.
For a man who hardly shows his emotions in public, it is very, very easy for many people to underestimate the President’s scheming and planning capacity. But, I’m absolutely convinced that ED knows what has got to be done in order to put things in order.
This is an intricate game of chess where patience and strategic planning are critical components. I will not be surprised if, one of these fine days, the President pulls off his Joker card and plays a sucker punch that will completely and utterly surprise and confuse even some of those Government bureaucrats who work with him each and every day.
The socio-economic challenges that Zimbabwe is currently facing are immense. There is turbulence within the financial sector and prices of basic goods and commodities are rapidly going up, literally on a daily basis.
The local currency is yet to gain traction as wheeler dealers still continue to manipulate the illegal foreign currency market. I am not an economist and as such, I am not going to attempt to proffer a holistic solution regarding currency reforms.
Suffice to state that those people who argue that Zimbabwe must adopt the United States dollar or the South African rand as its official currency are hopelessly and dead wrong.
The Government has got to address the cause of the disease rather than simply rushing to cure the symptoms of the same.
That there is a clique of powerful politicians and business people who are virtually controlling Zimbabwe’s financial markets is beyond debate.
That is the real problem that President ED and his Government must immediately address if we are going to experience any sanity and stability within our financial markets.
There is a small group of powerful politicians and business people that is raking in millions of United States dollars as a direct result of manipulating and controlling Zimbabwe’s financial markets, particularly the foreign currency market.
If this powerful clique of politicians and wheeler dealers is not promptly dismantled, even if we obtain a Finance Minister and a Reserve Bank Governor from heaven, our financial markets will remain forever in turbulence.
This is where there is need for a drastic and definitive paradigm shift.
For daring to speak truth to power, in certain political circles, I have been routinely branded an ED bootlicker and even a latter-day Zanu-PF activist but yet nothing could be further from the truth.
I am just a patriotic Zimbabwean who is passionate about establishing a truly democratic, progressive and socio-economically stable country.
Nothing more and nothing less. I am a private citizen who isn’t in Government but that will not stop me from fearlessly speaking out my mind as well as articulating what I think is good for my country.
Going forward, I expect President Mnangagwa to crack the whip and to instill some discipline within Zimbabwe’s financial markets.
A certain political school of thought is arguing that the national economy is distressed because President Mnangagwa lacks legitimacy, whatever that means. This is utter nonsense, complete and unadulterated hogwash.
There is no crisis of political legitimacy in Zimbabwe. There is a socio-economic crisis, yes.
And for anyone to still childishly and rather bizarrely argue that President Mnangagwa isn’t the legitimate President of Zimbabwe is tantamount to whistling through a graveyard, there shall be no answer. Some people have even argued that we need a funny creature called a National Transitional Authority to run Zimbabwe. That, again, is rubbish.
The Zanu-PF Government has got the electoral mandate to run Zimbabwe until the next harmonised elections that are scheduled to take place in 2023. Anyone dreaming of a so-called Government of National Unity before the 2023 harmonised elections are held is, of course, simply power-hungry and day-dreaming.
The political and socio-economic challenges that Zimbabwe is currently facing are not insurmountable. They can be fixed. For now, we are eagerly and desperately waiting for drastic action to be triggered from the seat of power at Munhumutapa Building and No. 1 Chancellor Avenue, Harare.
Obert Chaurura Gutu is the MDC-T Vice President. He is also a practising lawyer in Harare and the founder and Executive Director of the Negona Legal Consultancy & Public Governance Institute LLC.