ED must do the right thing now

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been declared president after winning the presidential election by a lean margin.

His main challenger Nelson Chamisa, who lost the poll by a whisker, put up a valiant fight against all odds, and has the backing of almost half this country, going by Zec’s official results.

Now, Mnangagwa must dispense with the winner-take-all notion and come up with an inclusive Cabinet in the interest of national healing. Of course, he is under no obligation to do this, but as a Statesman imbued with wisdom, he must reconcile this country.

After all, besides bagging the powerful post, his party Zanu PF has also won a two-thirds majority in Parliament, which is the threshold for big constitutional reforms. On the campaign trail, Mnangagwa successfully sold himself as an uncompromising reformer, articulating an audacious vision that included reigning in fiscal indiscipline, stamping out corruption and nepotism, arresting criminals and immediately revamping the economy. But he also ran on a surprisingly sober business agenda overlaid with flashes of economic nationalism.

Now he has the mandate from the people after initially ascending the throne through a soft coup, and he must now help Zimbabwe overcome its entrenched poverty, its glaring inequality, its cancerous corruption and fix its stuttering economy.

Even a resurgent Zanu PF, cannot fix the economy alone. He needs to name a new Cabinet made up of competent professionals. There must be a technocratic shift in ministerial recruitment. We hope Mnangagwa doesn’t once more fumble Cabinet appointments by retaining serially under-performing careerist politicians.

He must infuse his Cabinet with decent and upright people not the kleptocratic cabal responsible for vandalising this economy. He must ditch the untouchable, thieving old guard. It’s up to him to chart a new path for this country. His incoming team in this delicate transition process must be done right because people feel deeply and passionately about the direction this country is going to take. He needs to overhaul his government’s image, test old assumptions and re-examine the old ways of doing things.

He needs to bring in younger faces to the Cabinet, technocrats and even look for talent across the isle in the opposition. He was ferocious in the election battle but must remember to be magnanimous in victory.

He must have a plan hinged on broader strategic objectives such as stabilising the economy based on launching a trajectory optimised on an inclusive government to woo back the international community and allow for internal cohesion to rebuild national unity and healing from election-induced wounds.

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