No more monkey business

HARARE - Enough of the jubilation. Let’s get down to serious business.

Our new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and his administration, have their work cut out.

Mnangagwa inherited a badly damaged economy, which was on the precipice of total collapse. 

The country — once a thriving nation and a shining example in the region — is dogged by myriad challenges.

These include an acute liquidity crisis, high unemployment, depressed aggregate demand and almost nil investor confidence, to mention a few.

Apart from all that, at the hands of long-ruling former president Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe was now existing and operating in isolation.

It was divorced from the international community.

All those wrongs need to be corrected.

And of great priority is re-engagement and regaining the lost investors and Zimbabweans’ long lost confidence. Zimbabwe remains full of great potential.

While it took many years of bad management, stubbornness, arbitrary decision-making, politicking and ill-advised policies to get to where our economy is, with the right approach, Zimbabwe can be back on track in a couple of years.

But what is crucial in achieving that is for the Mnangagwa administration to be able to speak, accept  and do the right things.

The lack of capacity to speak and accept the truth was a major factor that contributed to Mugabe’s demise.

The 93-year-old was surrounded by yes-men, who fed him lies for self-preservation.

They praised Mugabe by hiding the truth from him.

They suggested and supported policies they knew too well were mere trial and error, only to cause untold suffering to the innocent and defenceless masses.

On the other hand, Mugabe conveniently turned a blind eye to the truth.

Not only did he ignore the truth, he demonised the few who had the courage to bite the bullet and be brutally honest with.

Without mentioning many names, former War Vets minister Tshinga Dube was a casualty of speaking the truth.

Tshinga Dube

Tshinga Dube

That approach was bad. It was grossly unprofessional and very retrogressive.

And Mnangagwa must change that culture.

Good leaders — in society and even in business — lend their subordinates an ear.

Good leaders do not hide their views. While they listen to everyone’s views, they are forthright and honest.

Good leaders do not make judgments and decisions based on grapevine, as had become the norm in the squabbling Zanu PF. No!

Good leaders promote honesty, transparency and integrity.

This speaks to the respect of the rule of law, particularly the respect of property rights.

No leader’s word should turn into law. No one must be above the law.

Creating an environment which fosters open debate and dialogue is the culture and approach we want.

By addressing that, Mr President, you would certainly quite easily regain the lost investor confidence.

Investors will then commit their capital with fear of the uncertainty.

Without belabouring the point, we need to focus on the future, starting today.

There many lessons from the past and in the recent political drama, which we hope many learnt, especially those in the corridors of power.

We all know what got us to where we are as a nation today.

But what is crucial is we — both the ordinary Zimbabweans and the new leadership — have been granted another chance. 

Achieving the Zimbabwe we all yearn for requires the right political climate.

The archaic political arguments of sanctions and all that mantra must be left behind in the dustbins of history. Always remember, the truth can never be harmful. Those few who risked telling Mugabe the truth are today vindicated.