President Emmerson Mnangagwa is riding the wave of popularity after replacing the reviled Robert Mugabe after a military takeover last month. The euphoria is understandable because Zimbabweans had struggled for years to remove the 93-year-old ruler through democratic means.
Mugabe had become very unpopular, especially after introducing his motor-mouth wife Grace into politics in 2014. Almost everyone wanted them out and Zimbabweans were prepared to overlook the way Mnangagwa came into power in the hope that he would get to work to revive the economy and return the country into democracy as he promised.
Even after unveiling a Cabinet largely composed of recycled deadwood and soldiers, many still insisted on giving him a chance. This was despite the fact that Mnangagwa’s new team was not permissible in terms of the Constitution, as he had appointed more than five ministers from outside Parliament.
He duly corrected the anomaly yesterday by dropping Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora and making newly appointed ministers Christopher Mutsvangwa and Clever Nyathi special advisors.
Again Zimbabweans did not question why such a blunder was possible given that the president has an army of legal advisors around him. The people were happy that Dokora, who is accused of arrogance and imposing a lot of unpopular changes on the school curriculum, was gone like Mugabe. They believed Mnangagwa had listened to the people.
This is how prepared Zimbabweans are to give Mnangagwa a chance to prove himself as a leader who listens and works for the people. For him not to squander the goodwill, the president has to make sure that he makes good his promises to change the business as usual approach to business by the government. Zimbabwe has been almost at a standstill since the army takeover on November 14 and the cost of that inactivity on the economy is massive.
Now that he has put in place a Cabinet, flawed as it is, the president has to start translating all those nice words into action and time is not on his side. There is already a lot on his plate from anticipated electoral reforms to the alignment of a plethora of laws with the new constitution.
Many Zimbabweans also expect him to push reforms that will have an instant impact on the performance of the economy and end cash shortages. – The Standard