via Mujuru or Mnangagwa – take your pick | The Zimbabwean 22.05.14 by Vince Musewe
I have found it most intriguing and entertaining that almost every political development in Zimbabwe must for some reason emanate from either the Mujuru camp’s machinations to ascend to the throne or the Mnangagwa camp’s attempts to derail this effort.
The tragedy of it all is that while this happens, the economy is regressing with no sustainable solution in sight. But Zimbabweans have learnt to ignore those things they think they can’t change and have chosen to focus on their daily survival.
It is rather a narrow view of the future but we cannot be stopped from speculating. Whether they are right or not of course does not matter because our people thirst for change. They now occupy their minds with what is likely to happen until December 2014, the date set for the next Zanu (PF) congress.
I for one do not expect the anticipated fireworks at that Congress, as this has happened over and over again. We always have high expectations of significant political changes and we then end up with boring ceremonies from Mugabe and no significant leadership changes.
But I do think the rise of Mnangagwa could be good for the country. This is, of course, because of the singular lack of choice facing us – which is regrettable. However, ignore his past for a moment and consider what kind of leader he could be.
What is important is that he has the respect and probable support of the security forces. This creates a high possibility of stability, as he is likely to protect their interests. We need peace and stability before we can begin to tackle our economic problems. I know this is high on the agenda of regional interests.
He also could instil some lost discipline in the public service and possibly reign in corruption and improve our risk factor – thus attracting foreign direct investment. Mnangagwa could buck the trend and begin to establish some sort of accountability in government and open up the economic opportunity space – especially the emergence of a black bourgeoisie class to drive economic revival.
I suspect he fully understands the issues in agriculture and that they have to be resolved no matter what. Mujuru, on the other hand, would maintain the status quo. But there could be some issues with regard to the respect and support she would get from the security forces. We cannot ignore that the security forces will continue to play a central role in the state for the foreseeable future.
I do not think she has the depth of intellect required to turn our country onto a new developmental trajectory. I do not think that she will get the respect she may deserve from our business sector as I do not see her as pro-business. She will also have serious conflicts on interest based on the investment portfolio she inherited from the late Solomon.
Having said the above, I have quickly learnt that in politics it is best to predict the future once it has already happened. We could get Sidney Sekeramayi ascending to the throne as means to immunise the potential tensions that will obviously arise if one of the two camps prevails at the expense of the other. I must confess that I have no clue what he stands for or how he thinks. He strikes me as a calculating and rather secretive individual. I think he could make a good president as long as he works hard to change the rhetoric and the old victim narrative. But I could be wrong.
Of course there are other emerging alternatives, but I am not keen to speculate on those and am rather distressed at some of the names being bandied around – especially given their history.
Our political discourse has become rather boring for me because every conversation invariably ends up being thrown into one of two boxes – Mujuru or Mnangagwa camp. The interesting thing is that even the interpretation of the MDC-T split has now suffered the same fate. The international community has also been split into these two camps, with Europe preferring that Mujuru prevails and China reported to be siding with Mnangagwa. The media and the public service have also suffered this dichotomy of political discourse and power play.
I also know that after reading my thoughts here, many readers will attempt to define my views by which camp I may belong to. Let me be very clear I think that Zanu (PF) has done irreparable damage to Zimbabwe and its people. I will work for change – but until we can have reforms and free and fair elections, our best option is to work with someone from Zanu (PF) who can at least save our country.
From the two limited choices we may have, I prefer Mnangagwa. But I worry about the alleged Chinese connection. However I have no problem with eating humble pie if things go otherwise.
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on email@example.com