By Itai Michael Preston Choto – Political Analyst.
Birmingham, England (News of The South) – The euphoria over the inauguration of Zimbabwe’s second executive President, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa subsides, it is now time for the new commander in chief to roll up his sleeves and get to the job of delivering for his fellow countrymen, the hopes of a nation rests on the shoulders of the incoming administration.
Hope has almost been reduced to despondency after Thursday’s announcement of the ‘new’ look cabinet which is as uninspiring as the appointment of David Moyes as Manchester United Manager after the successful reign of one Sir Alex Ferguson, and just as Fergie asked of us to rally behind the “chosen one” I also ask you to do the same with the new team, as difficult as it might be. Rebuilding our economy will be an uphill task, immediate action is critical to reduce the deficit to a sustainable level, accelerate structural reforms, and re – engage with the international community to access much needed financial support. This will most certainly be a litmus test as “The Croc” steers the nation towards next year’s harmonised elections, consider it as a trial run.
The President is no stranger to the political landscape having served as an aide to former President R.G Mugabe during the pre-independence era (it does feel a tad bit strange referring to him as our former President). He also served in different government portfolios since independence including as Vice President. My late father (James M Choto) JMC worked with him in Parliament when he served as the Speaker of the House and always described him as a grafter, I think it is fair to say during his tenure he executed his mandate in a nonpartisan and diligent manner. As a primary school friend of mine noted “You do not judge a man by where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but by where he stands in times of controversy and challenge.” This is by no means a conventional political dispensation in the history of our politics, with it comes many hurdles. The President must navigate these turbulent waters, he must deliver, and he should have started by not incorporating dead wood into government, he must have unwaveringly put the brakes on the tried and failed of yesterday. We must however work with the new team and seemingly give them another chance to steer the nation to prosperity.
The events of the last two weeks have been nothing short of jaw dropping, intricate, a tad-bit exciting, perhaps comparable to the hit American series ‘House of Cards.’ And yet I remain hopeful and even cautiously optimistic that those theatrics will shape a more progressive and stronger Zimbabwe. In concrete terms, we should not just hope for it, but should collectively work for it instead. Many Zimbabweans would like to see a more forthright national leadership that is not just serving itself, but one that is representative of the aspirations of its people. This is the time for the incoming government to think strategically at all levels and make politics real and convincing. It is not about the “endangered” politicians or their supporters, no! It is about knowing how to manage the political space and national development. We must not allow ourselves to develop short memory over their contributions to the misfortunes of the country, or ignore the effect of “dropping” those who are no longer suitable for national leadership. Such “going along to get along,” mantra is not a “balanced” approach, nor a ‘sophisticated’ one; it is, quite simply, weak and wrong. I write as a young patriotic Zimbabwean and I am entitled to for it is the people of my generation who will bear the brunt of the change from the trials of the past into calmer channels.
The current situation calls for great and visionary leadership to help steer the country forward. The President should be sure of his purpose; he should be prepared to take clear and difficult decisions in the interests of the people and the country; he should be able to take action without the weakening effects of continuous compromise; a commander in chief who is going to dominate events and not be pushed around by them; above all, a leader who will stand up for the nations’ interests abroad and at home. The task given to the President, is perhaps one of the most challenging any post-colonial government in this country has faced. What kind of a country do we want to be, not just tomorrow but a generation from now, two generations from now? No question demands a clearer answer. No question should command a higher priority from any government. The government under E. D’s guidance should find that answer. The people of this country have a right to expect their government to do so, but equally that government has the right to ask the people to help in putting that answer into practice. In him I hope we have a unique individual with the vision to look ahead, the intuition to point a path and the courage to lead the way. But the people must care enough about the nation to play their own part, to share in those tasks, to realise that a country – this country – stands for nothing unless every one of us individually stands for something in which we firmly believe – to work and to care, to prosper and to share, and to do it all as one country. That has always been the goal and it should always be the goal.
Over to you Mr President…
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