Will Mugabe deliver?

The silly season of free cell phone vouchers, gallons of scarce cooking oil and free goats is over. Promises were made and now they must be kept.

Although it took very little to convince those in Mazarabani to vote for Zanu (PF) and act illiterate, some of us in the urban areas are now waiting with much expectation after our disappointment and utter shock. His Excellency President Robert Gabriel Mugabe must now deliver to us to soothe the pain. That is the least he can do.

We have all mourned and I think the time has come for us to accept those things we cannot change and focus on those we can. We can indeed change how we feel about the future and how we must engage the incoming government.

We can shape the future; yes we can! We must make the best of the worst. We must choose to stand up and be counted as we shape our country over the next five years with Zanu (PF) in charge, whether we like it or not.

It is now evident that the challenges we are facing can never be captured in a popular political manifesto. Nor can they be fathomed by a politburo of yesteryear. Despite our downheartedness, we dare not revert to our past behaviour as passive participants in our country of birth. The quality of leadership we get will define who we become, but more important will the quality of followers we become.

In listening to the President’s inauguration speech, I am convinced that he is aware what has to happen, but I wonder whether he has available to him the resources required and the character of men and women who must assist him. Time will tell. It cannot be business as usual.

Despite the fact that our country has so many talented people, politics unfortunately has a tendency of closing out people based on their political loyalties. Because of that, we have tended to operate at a less than optimum level. However, ordinary citizens must now reject this, and ensure that we all contribute positively to our future and apply our skills.

The revival of agriculture cannot happen while the majority of our farmers expect seed hand-outs from the government every year and operate their businesses like tuck-shops. It cannot happen when we shut out farmers who have the necessary experience and know-how, simply because they happen to white. We must feed the nation.

The revival of our mining sector will not feed us until participation in this industry is broadened so that it is not only the “chefs” and their hangers-on who benefit. We expect the government henceforth to account for resource earnings and remove political barriers to entry for all. The delivery of services to citizens through local government will not happen as long as we have a minister who manages by decree. We must refuse to comply.

Indigenisation will result in the concentration of wealth in a few hands as long as it remains a political process not driven by the private sector. Our ideas must be implemented to our benefit.

Zimbabwe will not have adequate skills available as long we shut out those in the Diaspora and those who may differ with the world view of our politicians. We are tired of party politics and the disregard of skilled Zimbabweans because of their race or political affiliation. We must expose this.

Zimbabweans not only want peace. Morgan Tsvangirai offered a new chapter, a new beginning and the challenge is now for Zanu (PF) to prove us wrong. As long as we have dark streets in Highfield, clinics with no medicine and the stress of finding clean drinking water, as long as we have graduates selling airtime vouchers and uncollected rubbish in Mbare, we shall forever wonder how things could have been.

If, in a little while, nothing has fundamentally changed, then we shall know that the promises made to us by the President are empty.

The only thing exciting about the future is that we can shape it. I therefore encourage my brothers and sisters that it is time to wipe our tears and stand up and be counted.

Now is not the time to hope and wait. It is time for concerted effort by all of us to create a new democracy and, if necessary, to force matters so that we ensure Mugabe delivers. I am ready are you? – Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare. You may contact him on [email protected]

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