When President Emmerson Mnangagwa chaired his first Cabinet meeting on December 5, he implored Government officials to identify projects that are implementable within a 100-day cycle, until the 2018 harmonised elections. This was a Cabinet team appointed on November 30 and sworn into office on December 4. While the President has been in office for 35 days to date, it will be 26 days for his Cabinet, and two days for the two Vice Presidents.
“As time is of essence, we thus need to pursue high speed programme execution. I now wish to challenge you to think outside the box and come up with quick-win projects for implementation by each of your ministries in order to achieve the goals of my vision. . .”, said President Mnangagwa.
To some people, the 100-day cycle is a conundrum the President unnecessarily set for his administration. This is what happens when people are used to doing business in an ad hoc manner, including setting targets and timelines they never meet.
That is why they think President Mnangagwa’s administration will not meet its targets in the first 100-day timeframe. The arguments we see flying about also demonstrate that people do not fully understand the whole concept of the 100-day cycle, although it is the norm in many countries.
It is understandable that with the myriad challenges the country faces, people expect tangible results in the shortest period possible. They are not interested in ensuring that those deliverables are being derived from a solid foundation, which the 100-day cycle seeks to build. Thirty days into office, on December 24, President Mnangagwa’s critics were out guns blazing. They were judging his young administration’s successes and/or failures after just a month in office.
Maybe it was the sudden skyrocketing of prices of basic consumer goods that made some to wonder whether the 100-day cycle will meet people’s expectations. There was little room for reflection and realisation that the President as coach was leading by example. Cabinet and other major appointments were done soon after he assumed office, with the two Vice Presidents being sworn into office yesterday. There remains a few appointments, but this has not affected the smooth running of Government business.
Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa presented the budget as scheduled; so too did the Zanu-PF Extraordinary Congress happen. President Mnangagwa also presented his maiden State of the Nation Address and went on a one-day working visit to South Africa. He continues to demonstrate that it’s not business as usual as he shows his work ethic: punctuality and diligence.
The unfortunate thing is that his critics continue to be too local in their perception. The international community that praised the transition that saw the ushering in of a new era have commended President Mnangagwa and his team for instilling confidence that had been eroded over the years.
Zimbabwe is not an island. When our neighbours commend us, we should strive to do better; when they criticise and/or proffer suggestions, they should be taken in the same spirit, unless we want to remain cocooned.
Despite the fact that the MDC Alliance recently went to the United States to seek more sanctions against President Mnangagwa’s Government, it was pleasing to hear the US top diplomat in Zimbabwe Harry Thomas Jnr tell an eNCA TV reporter that President Mnangagwa “is a legitimate leader.”
He added; “I think what really has been astounding in the last few weeks has been the number of people who registered to vote. . . That means Zimbabweans are really interested in who rules their country.”
Registering to vote might not look like a deliverable since people want tangible things, but when President Mnangagwa spoke about the 100-day cycle, it was within the context of the forthcoming harmonised elections.
It must also be a new normal that when remarks are made about how we conduct business, we introspect even if it is Eddie Cross who said President Mnangagwa has “the capacity to turn around the economy and ‘deliver the results’ in record time.”
Now that the Vice Presidents are in office, and the festive mood will soon be over, it will be back to real work. We hope that Government will quickly unveil its policies in all areas, in order to give direction on its vision.