Mnangagwa and Chamisa perpetuate the strongmen mentality


Two popular but toxic slogans dominating Zimbabwean politics are: “ED 2023” and “Chamisa chete chete”.

They are chanted, sometimes innocently, at every rally or political gathering but they are toxic in the sense that they perpetuate, what former United States President Barack Obama said was Africa’s problem- having strongmen as opposed to strong institutions.

Addressing the Ghanaian Parliament a decade ago, shortly after being elected the United States’ first black president, Obama said: “Africa’s future is up to Africans….

“Development depends upon good governance. That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long.

“That is the change that can unlock Africa’s potential. And that is a responsibility that can only be met by Africans.

“Repression takes many forms, and too many nations are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers.

“No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end….

“Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.”

One can equally argue that Zimbabwe does not need strongmen. It needs strong institutions. It needs strong political parties.

For 37 years supporters of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front convinced themselves that there could be no ZANU-PF without Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

They slowly but surely nurtured him into a demi-god until they realised that he was going to take the country with him if he died in office.

The United African National Council died with Abel Muzorewa. So did the Zimbabwe Unity Movement which died with Edgar Tekere.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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