Zim optimism not misplaced

HARARE – Still marvel at how Zimbabweans got together in a show of disapproval to the Robert Mugabe regime on Saturday, November 18.

Obviously, this day will go down into history books for being the first of its kind, in support of yet another first by the country’s military in the whole world. Led by one hero of the current struggle — Defence Forces commander General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga — Zimbabweans were on course to making one of the greatest episodes in their chequered history.

General Constantino Chiwenga

General Constantino Chiwenga

Having been led by only one man since independence from Britain in 1980, nobody ever thought the Mugabe regime would collapse in such humiliating circumstances. Obviously, Mugabe expected the military to be violent in the process of executing their intervention which started on November 15.

The appearance of Major- General Sibusiso Moyo — now affectionately known as SB in many circles that were no doubt astounded at his level of composure and confidence given the task at his hand — on national television gave hope to a nation that had been kept captive for the past 37 years.

The Mugabe dictatorship had entered new levels, destroying any source of disenchantment as he pushed his wife — Grace — up the ladder of power in the party Zanu PF while her entry into government had now turned into a question of when rather than how.

In the background lurched another hero of the struggle, in the form of current President Emmerson Mnangagwa — Mugabe’s deputy whom he had fired from both the party and government slightly over a week earlier.

Already Mnangagwa is proving to be the exact opposite of his former boss.

In his address to permanent secretaries, Mnangagwa indicated that he would be coming up with a leaner Cabinet by merging certain portfolios as a way of cutting costs as well as avoiding functional duplicity.

Calls to have a smaller Cabinet had always fallen on deaf ears during Mugabe’s tenure as the then president would instead create new ones probably to accommodate some of his hangers-on.

Perhaps the president’s call for all those who externalised funds and assets to return these within a three-month ultimatum shows that he is keen to correct a number of wrongs that were done by the well-heeled. If they heed his call, the country could be on course towards addressing obtaining cash shortages.

Mugabe’s penchant for travelling was known by all and sundry. On the other hand Mnangagwa seems to have kept his head above the water and has not been drowned by the excitement of the privileges his new office offers.

Unconfirmed reports say he turned down an invitation to attend Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration in the east African country, arguing that he had pressing commitments needing his attention at home.

We certainly know without the slightest doubt that Mugabe would have jumped onto the first plane to Nairobi as it had become common practice that he would attend even conferences that he could delegate to ministerial directors.

During his inaugural speech last Friday, Mnangagwa was very clear about his priorities, emphasising economic recovery as the key thrust of his approach.

His stance on corruption, a cancer that had almost entirely eroded the Zimbabwean moral fibre, is commendable.

Motorists would be the first to admit that what was happening on the country’s roads had gone out of control, because graft had been institutionalised.

The most important thing, however, is whether the president will walk his talk on corruption but at least he has acknowledged how the cancer had destroyed Zimbabwe’s potential.