By George Mkhwanazi
Just when Zimbabweans were grappling with the ignominy of an unelected President, a new cabinet is appointed and immediately reshuffled. Its profile and size emphatically banish any remnants of hope which had been recklessly invested in a political dispensation characterised by equivocation and irony. For all intents and purposes, our democratic status as a country becomes officially confirmed as that of a military junta. The unelectable new President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s choice of cabinet ministers is effectively the worst ever to grace our government since independence especially as it boasts of the highest concentration of military elements with a dark human rights records coupled with corrupt individuals who were named in the UN Report on the diamond looting spree in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1990s.
When former President Robert Mugabe used the opportunity presented by the cabinet reshuffle in October this year to deal with factional interests within the ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party castigated him for failing to address the country’s pressing economic challenges. Like his predecessor, Mnangangwa neglected dealing with a plethora of national ailments afflicting Zimbabwe opting instead to service the interests of the so called Lacoste faction within the ruling party whose grip on the government levers of power has been consolidated.
As the PDP under the able leadership of Lucia Matibenga we reiterate the position we voiced against Robert Mugabe’s cabinet reshuffle in October which we totally rejected for lacking both the necessary fiscal creativity and the political gravitas to turn around the economy whose collapse it presided over in the first instance. Despite the euphoria of optimism that gripped many people in the light of Robert Mugabe’s removal from power, PDP insists that even under the new leader, Zanu PF still remains a wrong vehicle for national transformation which should result in the industrial resuscitation, cash liquidity, infrastructural renewal, reversal of astronomical unemployment levels, alleviation of high levels of poverty, eradication of corruption as well as the arrest and redemption of our domestic and foreign debt crisis. Mnangagwa and his cabal have demonstrated that they are not committed to giving the long suffering Zimbabweans a fresh breath at the birth of new Zimbabwe delivered through the midwifery services of the military but are committed only to themselves and their avarice.
By recycling the same old and tired deadwood that Mugabe had always relied upon, Mnangagwa exhibited a disturbing lack of originality as he failed to facilitate Zimbabwe’s break from the past. He literally squandered a wonderful opportunity to get the economy functioning again by appointing men and women whose credentials would have attracted the much desired foreign direct investment into the country through a lean cabinet that is driven by the desire to renew national hope and arrest the current economic downturn. The technocrats did not have to come from Zanu PF per se or parliament as there is a constitutional provision for the appointment of five such persons at the disposal of the president. How on earth does the reappointment of Patrick Chinamasa as Minister of Finance and Economic Planning herald a new beginning? How on earth does the elevation of a blood-soaked genocidal personality like Perence Shiri assist the country to deal with its national scars inflicted by the man and those he commanded? Such brazen disregard for the people’s pain is a vicious act of sadism which will only work to irrigate the beds of bitterness in the garden of retributive justice.
As PDP under the stable of the Joice Mujuru led People’s Rainbow Coalition we refuse to be blindfolded with empty rhetoric of an expanded democratic space when the reality on the ground shows its usurpation by the military. As we look forward to the next elections, we have every reason to suspect that the pending electoral reforms will remain unattended to so as to maintain the same skewed conditions that have always favoured Zanu PF and resulted in the miscarriage of democracy. We want the repeal of all unjust laws that are hostile to democratic practice and the realignment of the country’s laws to the provisions of the new constitution which have remained suspended since 2013. We want a free and fair election which will give people a truly new and Zanu PF-free dispensation under which the country will experience true national healing and enjoy economic security and prosperity. This can never be achieved under a Zanu PF administration no matter how well they disguise themselves. That the new cabinet had to be reshuffled 48 hours after its appointment reveals not just President Mnangagwa’s unbridled zeal to please members of his cabal but also hid lack of attention to details of the constitutional provisions governing such an exercise of presidential powers. This is definitely a bad start.