Please buckle up, this is flight Zimbabwe

EMMERSON Mnangagwa, Joice Mujuru and Sydney Sekeramayi are/were the longest serving ministers in the Mugabe government who have/had been there for 34 years.

Mnangagwa only had a brief stint out of cabinet when he was generously elevated to speaker of parliament after his dislodgement by the MDC’s Blessing Chebundo from his safe haven in Kwekwe. Thereafter, a custom-made constituency called Chirumhanzi-Zibagwe (or is it Zibabwe-Chirumhanzi) was invented specifically for him. The rest, as they say, is history.

Given the close proximity of these three to President Mugabe before and after independence, occupying very senior, it remains a mystery how anybody would realise after 34 long years that his longest-serving lieutenant and a deputy for a decade (Mujuru) is incompetent, corrupt and a witch.

Dzikamai Mavhaire, a long time retired ordinary teacher, was extricated from the jaws of poverty to head the critical ministry of Energy and Power Development with his nemesis Josiah Hungwe posted to minister of state in charge of psychomotor activities, despite reservations by the generality of progressive Zimbabweans. Joseph Made, remains one of the most outstanding ministers in terms of ineptitude. Ignatius Chombo and Obert Mpofu would have long been guests at Hotel Chikurubu if corruption was indeed a crime. The list is endless.

It is this kind of duplicity and dis-ingenuity that Zimbabweans must concern themselves with instead of being carried away by the current goings on within the ruling party which amount to a façade designed to create a political dynasty.

Under normal circumstances, President Mugabe, being the micro-manager he is, would have identified and addressed performance-related issues in his executive many years ago when his mental capacity and physical stamina were more coherent than they are today.

In the corporate world, CEO’s are normally given three to five years to prove their worth otherwise they are shown the door. If companies waited for 34 years to ascertain the performance of a CEO or MD, they would all resemble Cold Storage Commission, Zisco Steel or Zim Alloys as we know them today, dead and buried.

Corruption, incompetence, ineptitude, sycophancy and patronage have been ZANU PF’s DNA since time immemorial. For this reason, President Mugabe has managed to exercise strong and ubiquitous control over his ministers and other appointees including those in civil service and the security establishment. Somewhere in his archives, he has mountains, literally, of evidence against his lieutenants that he waves as and when it suits him. It just happens that this time around, it is Mujuru and her backers’ turn.

Consequently, it sounds bizarre when the opposition is quick to extend the welcome of the biblical forgiving father to the disgraced ZANU PF rejects who have been forced out of power in droves. These men and women are tainted beyond redemption. They themselves know it, President Mugabe knows it and we all know it. They are all part of a sorry and discredited organisational culture that ZANU PF represents in its current form.

Those who used to vociferously parrot sanctions as the root cause of our economic crisis must now hang their heads with shame. The government, for 34 years, has been run by incompetent and corrupt sycophants who are now being purged more for their aspiration to succeed the master than their disastrous and protracted crimes. I don’t know why it hasn’t been obvious to Mujuru and her backers that President Mugabe’s wish, dream and plan is to die in office. This is not without precedent; he kept his visibly ailing deputies Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda, Joseph Msika and John Nkomo until they all dropped dead on the job. What has changed?

While her simplicity, affability, motherliness and non-violent character is not in doubt, Joice Mujuru does not seem to have the intellectual capacity and stamina required for a country trying to emerge from a monumental crisis like ours. Having grassroots support and a decent executive following, on its own, is just not enough. This is where some in the opposition get it wrong. They think grassroots support and public gallery popularity is everything in politics; it is not. Effective strategies and counter-strategies are paramount, especially in this day and age.

Mnangagwa has demonstrated to Mujuru and cabal that a combination of strategy and intellectualism is a big part of the power game. Nevertheless, having been a critical cog in the executive that has systematically destroyed what was once dubbed the Switzerland of Africa, he is equally culpable. What Zimbabwe needs is a new direction, a new thrust, a new leadership and a new agenda; transformative leadership, so to speak. Perpetuation of the status quo is simply untenable.

Those who have been thrown out of the ivory towers and sent home to “grow potatoes” must now reflect seriously on what Zimbabweans have been saying for the past 34 years; which is that the majority of the people have been neglected while “chefs” were busy lining up their pockets. If they start selling tomatoes and mobile phone airtime cards on the streets like other jobless graduates, they will probably come to appreciate our perennial plight and aspirations better. Probably, they will join us in our quest and thirst for genuine change one day. It is never too late for Damascene.

In the meantime ladies and gentlemen, let us buckle up for the strong turbulence ahead. To make matters worse, there is an inexperienced co-pilot in the cockpit while the captain is catching a nap. This is Flight Zimbabwe!
Moses Chamboko is a pro-democracy activist and interim Secretary General for Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE). You may visit ZUNDE at www.zunde.org or email info@zunde.org

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