Zimbabwe – Time to give new administration a chance to work


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Elections in Zimbabwe are disruptive. It does not matter whether these are national or party elections more so where the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is involved. Everything, especially the economy, comes to a standstill.

Zimbabwe was virtually paralysed from March 2013, after people approved the new constitution in a national referendum paving the way for elections. ZANU-PF wanted them as quickly as possible while the opposition wanted time to prepare the ground for the elections. Everything came to a standstill but in the end ZANU-PF prevailed through a court decision, won the elections, but the results were disputed paralysing the country.

Most Zimbabweans thought 2014 would be better and it kicked off on a promising note with the exposure of what became known as salarygate, but it soon fizzled out. Everything was overshadowed by the ZANU-PF youth congress, then by the women’s congress and the battle was on.

The Movement for Democratic Change congress was reduced to a side-show, more like a curtain raiser to the main match. And the infighting within ZANU-PF was so intense that it dwarfed the national elections of 2013. When it was over, 15 ministers and one vice-president were out of jobs. The purge, it appears, continues though the party has called for a ceasefire.

ZANU-PF has so far not been able to implement its economic blueprint the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET) because of the squabbles first with the opposition and then within itself. There should be no excuses in 2015 because a new administration is now in place.

Eddie Cross, one of the top officials in the MDC, says Zimbabwe has entered into a new era. It is now in a post-Mugabe era though the President is still at the helm. As far as he is concerned the succession issue, which has dogged the country for more than two decades has been resolved.

He says something quite poignant. “The new team at the helm knows exactly what they have to do, the only question is will they be allowed to get on with the process?”

While the new administration has a lot of enemies within their own party, especially those who were kicked out, and from outside mainly those who regard them as hardliners, one of the worst enemies of the new administration seems to be the media.

Not happy to admit that they totally misread ZANU-PF politics in the run-up to the party congress, the media continues to fan perceived divisions and infighting with ZANU-PF questioning the ability of the new administration before it had even assumed office.

While it is the role of the media to be a watchdog for society, it is also the role of the media, and is even enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Rights, to report fairly and impartially. But more importantly the media should be able to distinguish clearly whether what it is reporting is speculation, rumour, gossip or fact.

As Secretary for Information George Charamba said: the media should stay above little agendas that will attack its own credibility. He was referring to The Herald, but this should apply to all media.

Whatever the case, Zimbabwe has reached a turning point. One Insider reader even opined: “Through Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF hopes to rebrand itself in much the same way Frelimo did post Machel.”

Singling out individuals, including Mugabe himself, can be dangerous. People should look at the new administration as a team, just like a soccer team. It has a captain but it is the entire team that wins the game.

The new administration has a full three years to turn around the economy without worrying about elections, if as Eddie Cross says, they are allowed to get on with the process.

(120 VIEWS)

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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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