Now is the time Zimbabwe!


AFTER the ‘success’ of the Arab Spring, there was talk of how a protest movement and the use of social media could be used to mobilise the millions of young people in Zimbabwe to rise up against ZANU PF and the Government.
Unfortunately, for the drivers of this agenda, the protest movement did not bring into fruition, the objectives of toppling ZANU PF from power.
Various reasons have been brought forward to explain why the protest movement failed to remove the Government from power, one of which points to lack of cohesion, among the various players that saw them competing, instead of complementing each other.
Fast-forward to events this past week, prior to the resignation of President Robert Mugabe.
This competitive streak began to manifest itself within the opposition forces in Zimbabwe as they were again divided on how best to deal with developments in ZANU PF.
I saw Priscilla Misihairabwi of the MDC on BBC saying ‘the opposition would not take part in the impeachment process until concessions were made’.
Some MDC-T functionaries also voiced concern, claiming the impeachment process was no longer necessary because the events of the past few weeks had effectively weakened ZANU PF and as such, the MDC-T would have no problem winning at the polls.
Protest movement leaders also had mixed feelings, with some embracing the wave that was sweeping across the nation, while others said they would not take part as this was all part of ZANU PF infighting.
I think one of the greatest lessons from the ‘coup that never was’, was the importance of information dissemination vis-a-vis the growing threat of fake news.
In these past two weeks, Zimbabweans and the rest of the world have been bombarded with false information that ranged from former first lady Grace Mugabe having escaped and sought refuge in Namibia; that the late General Solomon Mujuru has been in hiding in Germany and would be returning to Zimbabwe soon; sighting of Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa and of course to the purported developments in the Operation Restore Legacy.
While I understand and appreciate the need for the military to ensure that its operation successfully meets its goals, and how release of information at every turn would have impeded progress, it is noteworthy that in the absence of official communication, Zimbabweans were left to make do with outright lies and misinformation that confused them and created a negative perception of what was really transpiring.
Operation Restore Legacy provides a study on social media abuse and in my book, makes case for the need of an independent body that would advise Government on how best tackle this threat.
It is not simply a question of legislation that addresses fake news or misinformation, but an awareness campaign to the population at large, on the cost of such criminality.
Anyway, I digress from what I intend to draw attention to in light of developments kumusha.
Zimbabwe has entered into a new dispensation and whoever comes into power, ZANU PF, MDC, PDP, ZAPU or NPP, among others, has their work cut out for them.
Zimbabweans are expecting change in the way the economy is managed, political environment and of course an improvement in their social lives.
The resignation of President Mugabe is not the panacea to the challenges that Zimbabwe has been facing, but it is a starting point. The real work of rebuilding begins with changing the culture in Government and in politics.
A classic example has been the blatant disregard of the country’s economic status by Zimbabwe’s leaders.
The culture of self entitlement which has seen the masses being informed now and again that, ‘this is the standard package for a minister or Member of Parliament in the region’ each time questions are raised concerning the extravagant lifestyles and abuse of Government funds has to change.
A country under sanctions, with unemployment soaring and most people living on a dollar-a-day, has no business being one of the top clients for top of the range German cars.
Members of Parliament are not escaping this one too.
This business of putting their needs before those of their constituencies has become endemic, and it is no secret that Parliament has become a source of employment for some politicians.
For the past three-or-so months, I have been following Parliamentary reports in one of the dailies.
It is astounding to discover that some Members of Parliament are yet to make any contributions in the august House, yet expect to be paid.
Parastatals and State Enterprises have long been exposed as albatrosses on the fiscus, and this cannot continue.
The feeding trough syndrome has prevented the implementation of the performance-based management not just in Government, but in local authorities too.
Zimbabweans from all walks of life will agree that one key issue that warrants attention now, more than ever, is corruption.
For years, there has been talk of fighting corruption, money has been poured into the Anti-Corruption Commission, special taskforces, but to date, nothing has been achieved.
Whoever comes in to lead Zimbabwe has their work cut out for them. Lest we forget, the masses are a fickle lot.
The euphoria that the world witnessed on the streets on Tuesday evening November 21) will soon die down, as reality sinks.
Questions will beg for answers.
The new Zimbabwe where clean water and electricity are readily available, health care is easily accessible, jobs are plenty and the cost of living is reasonable is what the man and woman on the street wants.
Now is the time to take stock, correct and realign policies to ensure that economic growth in the country uplifts the masses and not just the elite.


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