Mugabe’s “dead wood” and the task ahead

via Mugabe’s “dead wood” and the task ahead | The Zimbabwean by Edgar Gweshe 19.11.13

In 2004, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo made sensational claims that President Robert Mugabe was surrounded by “dead wood” – an apparent reference to the cabinet and the top brass of Zanu (PF).

Moyo’s claims were a clear indicator that the nation could expect nothing from Mugabe’s government, as it was made up of people incapable of delivering.

Four years later, Mugabe himself added to Moyo’s sentiments when he described his cabinet as the worst he had had in his political life.

Ironically, Mugabe’s new cabinet is also made mostly of the “dead wood”, including Moyo, and leaves many doubts about whether the new government will act according to expectations.

The government faces an uphill task of meeting its election promises, which include turning around the economy and creating jobs at a time when Zanu (PF) is wary that corruption among its members could hamper their efforts.

Since his victory in the July 31 polls, Mugabe has pledged to fight corruption and the abuse of office by his party’s officials.

The government has pinned their hopes on the ‘ look East’ policy, but analysts are on record warning that Asian investors are gaining at the expense of Zimbabwe, so the country should not expect much from them.

Barely two months after election victory, Zanu (PF) conceded that they would not be able to create the more than two million jobs promised in their election manifesto.

Analysts believe that the fact that Mugabe recycled his dead wood points to a gloomy picture for the country.

Political analyst Shakespeare Hamauswa said that most of the faces in the new cabinet had presided over the fall of the economy and there was nothing new they could bring this time around.

“I do not think that they will be able to turn around the country. We are likely to see a situation where the economy is actually going to get worse. Most of their approaches are still the same and sometimes they even choose to go against fundamental principles of economics because their main worry is the West,” he said.

“Their focus seems to be about political survival and, in doing that, they are turning a blind eye to the economy. Some of them have been in cabinet for close to three decades, so it’s actually tricky for us to expect anything new. Even the highest decision-making body in Zanu (PF) is made up of the same old faces,” said Hamauswa.

Another analyst, Eldred Masunungure, said that corruption, which has of late become rampant in Zanu (PF), was likely to be the biggest obstacle.

“For as long as corruption prevails, it’s not likely that any economic blueprint, no matter how good it is, will see the light of the day. The calibre of the ministers in the cabinet matters, but what is most important is the context within which they are operating.

“The effect of corruption is that we will have policies that are good on paper but will die at the implementation stages,” said Masunungure.

Economic analyst Innocent Makwiramiti, said: “They Zanu (PF) have failed to deliver for the past three years and, if you look at the new cabinet, it’s just recycled staff and I do not think they have anything new to offer.

“You will find out that they have made pledges to rejuvenate the economy but the challenge is where they are going to get money to fund economic programmes. The capacity to fund economic programmes is very limited so implementation will be very difficult,” said Makwiramiti.