By Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
Few weeks ago, one of the opposition leaders, Jacob Ngarivhume called for a nationwide protest which were slated for July 31, 2020. Before the plan was even executed, Ngarivhume was already in custody battling to get a bail, together with the leading award journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
Today this afternoon Hopewell Chin’ono was denied bail by the high court. Both Hopewell Chin’ono and Ngarivhume are battling to get bail from the same courts.
When Ngarivhume called for a nationwide protest over rot in the public sector, citing serious corruption implicating the first family and other senior Government officials. The major issue was corruption evolved around Covid – 19 funds amounting to over 60 million and failure by Mnangagwa to take decisive action against his own Ministers and other senior Government officials who were involved in corruption.
Let me say it clearly, as a development analyst, and policy maker, I made an overall analysis, the call was partially accepted, you could easily tell, there is a vacuum even after the call for Ngarivhume to throng the streets of Harare.
Questions were who is Ngarivhume? He is less known within political circles. He is representing who? There were so many conspiracies and theories over the call, with many casting doubts over the man behind this big event, July 31, 2020.
There are so many crowded solutions around Zimbabwe question which remain unanswered. We have so many documents, some call it blue ocean, some calls for transitional authority, some are calling for the ouster for Emmerson Mnangagwa, some are calling for the Deputy President Chiwenga to take over, some are calling for his resignation, and some are calling for Zanu PF to go, my simple question what exactly do you want as Zimbabweans?
We have Emmerson Mnangagwa at the helm of State Power in Zimbabwe, he is in charge of the instruments of power, and he is expecting to finish his term as State President, which is expected to end in July, 2023. So there are clash of events, clash of ideological thinking, clash of strategic thinking, clash of indecisive action, and at the end, it brings unprecedented crisis, over hurried decision.
On the other hand, we have an embattled leader who is trying all by means, at all cost to do whatever he can, to protect his power. Remember this is where his bread is buttered, on the other hand, we have civilians, who are saying we are hungry, and we want the national leader to step down. We have Mnangagwa on the other hand who has to deal with internal pressure, internal rivalry, he has opposition on the other hand, he has Civic society and other pressures around him.
Failure to deal with perceptions, or let me rather say, how to manage perception is fatal blow to Zanu PF. Anything that President Mnangagwa would say, it’s not accepted by the public, not because the ideas are bad, but there is a bad omen around, the way the public perceive him as a national leader.
So what the Zimbabwe leader was supposed to have done is to work around the clock on how to manage perception. It’s a very simple game, look at how Edgar Lungu did it, when he was facing resistance, he had to deal with perceptions around him. Look, ED is around 78, and he has old guard around him, he has two Vice Presidents, who are around between 65-70 years, versus a generation which is always on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. There is a gap, and the gap is too wide, and it must be closed. The gap has to be closed on how to manage perceptions.
You have a 42 year old politician, who pulled over 2 million votes, and to be quite honest, this is a huge following, which cannot be ignored. He is a man who has been shut out of politics, his Headquarters has been taken away from him, here is a man whose close allies have lost their parliamentary posts, and he is a man who has a huge following even on Twitter and Facebook, and here is a guy who controls over 28 councils countrywide, and you easily tell him, you are out of politics, and the door has been shut for you.
The current political and economic stalemate requires the two political leaders to sit down and come up with strategic ways of resolving the Political crisis we have in this country.
On the other hand, we all have to acknowledge that ED is already in office, and he is already in charge, and at the same time, those who are around ED have to acknowledge that there is a political vacuum around the office of the Presidency, and requires tolerance and acknowledgement that solution focused thinking is beyond ED and Zanu PF. With the current state of affairs, it will be difficult to pull through to 2023. People’s lives are at stake, we have over 5 million people who are facing starvation, and this requires leadership. Leadership is critical at this juncture.
There must be a moral fibre to close the gap between citizens and the state. Few elements would fool themselves or deceive the State President, that all is well and pretend, when we have a huge crisis we are facing as a nation.
Let me take you back to 2018, after Mnangagwa’ s controversial win , he quickly set up the Political agreement called POLAD, and it did not carry the much expected weight, and there is still a gap which can be easily felt, a vacuum which can be felt by almost everyone, and leaving out someone who pulled over 2 million votes entails the dramatic monologue entangled around the whole process.
We need solution focused thinking around the issue of dialogue and national engagement. The two leaders, Nelson Chamisa and Emmerson Mnangagwa should meet and resolve the current political stalemate.
We as ZIST, we are pushing for fresh calls to have the two leaders on the table. We have all the crowded solutions around us, we have churches on the other hand, we have political parties we have Civic society, we have POLAD, we have all sorts of engagement, now we are saying bring all crowded solutions, and let’s have solution focused thinking towards the current trajectory.
Way forward :
1. Let’s have all crowded solutions together
2. Solution focused thinking towards the current trajectory
3. Political question remain unanswered
4. Managing political perceptions
5. Dialogue & engagement must be given room to resolve the current political stalemate
6. Roadmap to political & economic recovery
7. National Development agenda must be set as a priority
8. National Advisory Council must be in place
9. Fresh bid to have Nelson Chamisa & Emmerson Mnangagwa on the table
10. Political orientation consciousness is critical in Zimbabwe
As ZIST, we begin to push for solution focused thinking.
Let’s begin the journey, throw your views around this !!!
Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is the Executive Director of Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking – ZIST, and he can be contacted at email@example.com