Moyo must take the gloves off

HARARE - Last week, former Industry and International Trade minister, Nkosana Moyo, announced that he will be running for the presidency in next year’s harmonised elections.

He is arguably among the finest brains Zimbabwe has ever produced that became household names at home and abroad, among them Bernard Chidzero, Callisto Madavo, Mutumwa Mawere, Thomas Sakala, and others.

Moyo’s resume can easily hypnotise any reader, the way men drool over Candice Swanepoel — a South African supermodel who has overtaken her competitors because of her unique blend of intelligence, popularity, attraction, success and killing expressions.

He worked at Actis, at the highest level; he was with the International Finance Corporation in Washington DC; served on the boards of companies in the cement, sugar, finance, tourism and food sectors.

Moyo also served on the board of trustees of the Investment Climate Facility; the Africa Regional Advisory Boards of Unilever; the London Business School and is the founder and executive chair of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies. Yet he has always had an appetite for politics after working as Industry minister between July 2000 and May 2001, before disengaging from President Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet unceremoniously, because they simply could not jell.

This time around, he is gunning for the top job, joining the list of technocrats such as Simba Makoni and Enoch Dumbutshena (may his soul rest in eternal peace), who ended up in politics upon retiring from their distinguished careers. Not even one of them has succeeded in politics; the majority of them have been complete disasters. Will Moyo succeed where others failed? It’s a million dollar question that can only be answered in the fullness of time.

At the risk of being seen as too quick to judge, Moyo comes across as a futuristic politician who is saying the right things that any normal citizen would want to hear but at the wrong time. His type of politics will struggle to gain traction in today’s Zimbabwe, which favours aggressive opposition politicians that can toyi-toyi in ghettos, and in far-flung rural areas to mobilise the masses.

Moyo appears to be speaking to the academia, the middle class, and the top class, who constitute a small percentage of the voting population. The real deal, or call it the game changer, is the voter in the rural areas, where over 60 percent of the country’s population resides.

The time for the soft-type politics that thrives on the understanding that elections must be won on the basis of ideas will come at some point, but not before the 2018 polls. If Moyo is to be taken seriously, he must toughen his style, connect with the downtrodden, and join Morgan Tsvangirai and many others in efforts to hammer out a coalition, which presents the only realistic chance of achieving change in governance.

It is a bare-knuckled political fight that Moyo has entered, and the earlier he takes those gloves off the better.

He might as well get advice from Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, who has been brutalised before by Zanu PF thugs, arrested on several occasions, and lampooned in the government-owned press, but is still going strong.

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