ZIMBABWE: GNU’s Identity Crisis- A Stumbling Block

By Ron Muvevererwa – Since the signing of the historic Global Political Agreement of September 15 2008 as it became to be known, bringing some form of parity between the warring political parties following the disputed elections of 2008, the coalition government has been dogged into a serious quagmire, wondering in the wilderness about the execution of its mandate. It is doomed by an engulfing crisis of assuming an identity and throughout its fragile life  span this has been the Achilles hills threatening its existence.

Analysts have coined expressions to describe the coalition government with some calling it a ‘marriage of convenience’, some have called it a grandiose beast and most apparent is the fact that it has been described as a union of fragility.  Irrespective of all these attempts to describe the coalition government there is one thing that has remained constant among the beleaguered electorate, who after having endured a painful plebiscite of the worst conditions claiming innocent lives, they have been denied an outcome of a government by the people, for the people by the people. Expectations among the electorate to see a real change from the government has not been fulfilled.

One thing that has taken centre stage since the ushering of the new government formation under the GPA- instead of it being a journey to deliver service and transformation to the people of Zimbabwe it has been characterized by a fierce power struggle of a domineering force to determine the DNA of the coalition government among the three political parties ZANU Pf and the two MDC formations. The endless talks and negotiations between the principals to the GPA even with the assistance of the SADC guarantors of the deal have failed to bring a character, identity and the much needed culture among the three parties seeking assertiveness over each other.

Those in the coalition government were meant to step out of their partisan shells, relinquish their old garments first before putting on the new ones and assume a new identity that is apolitical but driven by the need to carry out the task at hand- most importantly to transform Zimbabwe from everything bad that had come to be synonymous with our brand- rampant human rights abuses, corruption by government officials, rigging of elections, undermining of the rule of law, oppressive legislation, denial of fundamental freedoms, culture of impunity. Above all, the most important task that was to determine the measure of success for the coalition government was to stir the country on a path of transition towards a democratic society but unfortunately the prevailing identity of the GNU or lack of it is a stumbling block to a democratic Zimbabwe.

What do I mean by the identity? It is shocking and yet a reality that amongst the components making up this ‘beast’ GNU are some clusters for partisan reasons who have deliberately refused and become contempt to efforts towards democratic reforms for their own selfish convenience. They have been defiant towards changing a mindset and sought refuge in remaining in the past seeking to ignore the inevitable winds of change and voices calling for change. Still on groups, there are those who passionately sought to be in government but once it become a reality they have become oblivious of their task at hand and have stayed in their comfort zones accepting the unfolding realities. They are also those who with zeal and passion have tried to be agents of change but have suffered a great deal of persecution from their adversaries.

Moving away from putting partisan tags on the individuals in government, it is regrettable that it is a bag fool of assorted components with no definite reconciling form or common national ground. Some are looters seeking to enrich their bellies, some are serving narrow partisan politics of patronage, corruption is the order of the day as the national reserves are looted with impunity, some are simply incompetent and not conversant with the capacities of

the offices they find themselves in, and some are not leaders but have been thrust in robes hanging loose like a giant’s robes on a dwarf .

Having a government that is made up of all this rot in the absence of mechanism demanding transparency, accountability and most importantly performance monitoring and evaluation systems means that the electorate is always on the losing end-short exchanged. Its classic dramatic irony of a government through the tax payer’s money is sustaining government officials who in turn are supposed to sustain the nation.

Ultimately even if a few cylinders might be firing, they cannot cover up for those rusty and outdated ones in need of replacement, the predictable resultant effect being that our government at the present moment perplexing as it may is operating at below 50% capacity due to lack of effectiveness and efficiency. . The burden is further compounded on the taxpayer in that we have the largest bloated cabinet with huge operation expenses to go along with it.

The recent reshuffling of cabinet ministers by the president of MDC and right honorable prime minister of Zimbabwe has sparked a lot of controversy, caused an upset among the reshuffled ministers themselves and debate among analyst. The act of reshuffling cabinet ministers should not be a shocking event but actually its something that should be done periodically by those manning the performance and responsibilities of ministers designated national duty. Being a minister is not a status that one has to enjoy as a fixed privilege but it’s a functional position that should be sustained by delivery of service effectively, efficiently with the ability to cope with ever changing challenges and dynamics at play. Unfortunately in our case there is no accountability mechanism.

The exercise of reshuffling is testimony that some evaluation and systematic monitoring has taken place leading to the interventional action of making the informed decision of acknowledging that an overhaul is needed to improve output, outcomes, impact and sustainability.

The paradox of our government is that the law and systems of the state scoff at an attempts by those seeking to expose corruption by government officials at the expense of the public. At the height of unspeakable corruption which has become institutionalized in some state bodies, the law literally protests the interest of a few high profile thieves/criminals and persecutes those doing a noble role of advocating for sanity.

What Zimbabwe needs above all things are patriotic dedicated persons especially those assigned into offices of national duty before one is given a political tag. Changing of mindsets should start by the individuals serving in government before the same can cascade to change the mindset of the political institutions to which the government officials belong to. Government should be characterized by a cross cutting working culture that is performance and function based among those in office. We need people of integrity who are selfless not plunderers, looters and green eyed monsters to carry out national duties. A culture of respecting human rights is a pre-requisite requirement for everyone serving in national duty.

It’s time to move away from politics of patronage and put the interests of the people first, positions of national office should be open to qualified persons with relevant skills and experience not by favour.

Our leaders should do self introspection and find it within themselves to answer if their input is enough visa vee what the nation is requiring at the moment. If the answer is no then it is honourable to step down for someone who can do better.

We need God fearing leadership that is obedient, servient and accountable to the nation at all times.

For Peace, Justice and Freedom