HARARE – Zimbabwe is once again fast-descending into debilitating political and economic chaos, with President Robert Mugabe and his misfiring Zanu PF Cabinet trapped in the deadly jaws of the ruling party’s savage and seemingly never-ending infighting.
The Daily News on Sunday, as the authoritative voice of the voiceless, once again poses the same question we asked last year: where are these people taking us to?
Both political and economic analysts who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday agreed that the Cabinet changes that were made by Mugabe late last year were unlikely to help resolve Zimbabwe’s myriad crises as the country was apparently following “toxic” policies.
In addition, the mooted fresh Cabinet changes said to be in the offing when Mugabe returns from his holiday were also unlikely to help matters as they will be dealing mainly with factional fights more than a quest for development.
As a result, said the analysts, ordinary citizens would continue to pay a heavy price for the ruling party’s lack of prudent policies coupled with the internecine intra party fights — which were seeing them having to make do without basic necessities such as water, electricity and access to affordable health facilities, among many other issues.
“Yes, this old crop of ‘new’ ministers will take Zimbabwe to another level. A deeper and worse level of mediocrity and economic mismanagement because with Mugabe firmly in control, there is simply no room for new thinking or innovation,” political analyst Dewa Mavhinga said.
He noted ruefully that people in Zanu PF were elevated to high positions based on their loyalty to the nonagenarian leader, as opposed to what they could do for their country.
“All these ministers know that political loyalty is ranked higher than the capacity to resolve Zimbabwe’s deep-seated economic problems.
“In any case, it is unlikely that international investors will come to the party because there is no evidence that Zimbabwe is taking a new political path, if anything, the impression one has is that hardliners and bootlickers have taken over,” Mavhinga said.
Amidst all this, government sources say that Mugabe — the only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country’s independence from Britain in April 1980 — is increasingly heavily reliant on members of the so-called “Clean Dozen” to help him resolve the current political and economic crises.
But the analysts and Zanu PF insiders who spoke to the paper felt that the group, that includes Saviour Kasukuwere, Jonathan Moyo, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Edna Madzongwe, Prisca Mupfumira, Oppah Muchinguri, Monica Mutsvangwa, Makhosini Hlongwane, Ignatius Chombo and Josiah Hungwe, had “little to nothing” new to offer the country.
Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya agreed with Mavhinga’s views saying that the “recycling of deadwood” by Mugabe would neither revive the country’s comatose economy, nor bring food on the table — as the same “political crew” had failed to deliver similarly in the past.
“The change that is required is the system the he (Mugabe) governs not the change of individuals. We need to reform the system. There is need for the transformation of electoral laws and the alignment of the laws with the new Constitution,” he said.
Ruhanya also noted that there was need for a complete overhaul of the institutional framework that governed the State.
“This requires that there must be a clear separation between the operations of Zanu PF and the government. As it stands now there is a conflation between the party and the State.
“The State is larger than the political party. How many reshuffles has Mugabe made since 1980 and to what effect?
“The regime of Mugabe is bankrupt of both ideas and money,” Ruhanya said.
He added that Zimbabwe’s problems were also premised on the dichotomy between what he called “the will to power and the will to transform”.
He said some of the government’s policies like indigenisation and the land reform programme were solely aimed at looting by Zanu PF bigwigs and their acolytes.
He gave as a stark example of this the much-criticised evictions of poor families that were currently taking place at Manzou Farm in Mazowe, where First Lady Grace Mugabe is to establish an animal sanctuary.
He said it was clear that the affected villagers had been allocated the land at the height of Zanu PF’s chaotic land reforms, but were now being evicted to pave way for Grace and the animals.
“The change of individuals must be a product of an overhaul of the governance system in Zimbabwe.
“When Zanu PF took over power in 1980, it did not democratise the State,” he said, citing the example of how security and law enforcement agencies conducted their operations in the country.
Ruhanya said the way the law enforcement agencies did their work was not in any way different from the Ian Smith regime era.
It was thus expected that the newly-appointed ministers would not proffer any tangible solutions, beyond empty slogans, to the country’s problems.
“How can they have a solution when their master does not have any solution? Do you think a soon-to-be 91 leader will bring in new ideas? He has reached his political dead end,” Ruhanya said.
Another analyst, Francis Mukora, wryly said while the so-called Clean Dozen members were credited for rescuing the Zanu PF Women’s League congress, by providing food and other logistics, the group lacked the requisite skills and resources to save the country’s economy from collapse.
“Going forward, I don’t see any prospects of progress under the current leadership.
“In fact, the relative socio-economic stability we witnessed during the government of national unity era is quickly evaporating by the day,” he said.
“ZimAsset is yet to kick off, and on the contrary since the last election, we have witnessed massive company closures and thousands of people losing their jobs, resulting in an ever dwindling government revenue base — which makes it impossible for the government to deliver in almost every sector,” he added.
Mukora noted that in an effort to satisfy its leaders’ huge appetite for resources, the Zanu PF-led government would soon introduce more taxes aimed at robbing the poor out of their hard-earned meagre incomes.
“From what we have seen so far, it’s most probable that the poor will continue to be milked even further, through increased numbers of toll gates and fuel levies. Nothing new should be expected this year, or until 2018,” he said.
Over the past 35 years, Mugabe and Zanu PF have transformed Zimbabwe from once being seen as the breadbasket of Africa to a basket case — poverty levels continuously rising and the unemployment rate hovering around 90 percent.