NOW that the elections are over and the country is waiting for a new cabinet to give it policy direction, President Robert Mugabe must focus on fulfilling his electoral promises to the people.
Zimbabwe Independent Editorial
Although the elections outcome was characterised by accusations of vote manipulation and rigging, the reality is Mugabe, who still faces legitimacy questions, now has the tacit consent of the governed.
For if the people live in a country not facing civil disobedience or an uprising, even if they are discontented they are deemed to have consented to the rule of the government.
This is actually the African Union and Sadc’s logic in endorsing Mugabe and Zanu PF’s disputed victory. That is why it was unstatesmanlike, and in fact a disgraceful and irresponsible act of vengeance, for Mugabe to threaten to disown and not serve citizens of Harare and Bulawayo for voting for the MDC-T.
The fact is Zanu PF made huge promises –– perhaps hyperbolic and even ridiculous –– and since it has won the elections, albeit controversially, it must now deliver.
People want results, not excuses. So far Mugabe has been sabre-rattling and talking tough, offering nothing concrete. However, people are focused on what he is going to do to take the country forward. That’s why his new cabinet is critical.
According to his party’s manifesto, which contained vague ideals and generalities as well as specifics, his government will create value of US$7,3 billion from the indigenisation of 1 138 companies across 14 key sectors of the economy.
It will also create over US$1,8 trillion from the “idle value of empowerment assets” unlocked from parastatals, local authorities, mineral rights and claims, and from the state to capacitate Agribank with US$2 billion to finance the stimulation of agricultural productivity.
It will also commit to capacitate the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe with US$3 billion to finance the rehabilitation and construction of physical infrastructure; and US$2 billion for social infrastructure and to capacitate Sedco with US$300 million to fund women and youths.
It said these initiatives will create 2 265 million jobs and contribute to export earnings, food security and to the fiscus, enabling government to build houses and other things.
In addition, Zanu PF said its indigenisation programme will see an average GDP growth rate of 9% by 2018, 250 000 low income housing units will be built; 1 250 public houses and buildings will be rehabilitated; 2 500 shell factories, flea and vendor market stands will be created; 310 clinics and 300 schools will be built and a new parliament complex will be constructed in Mt Hampden.
These are massive promises, some say utopian, but we must give Mugabe and Zanu PF a chance to prove themselves. If they fail, as they will certainly do,they must pay the price in the next elections.
However, it is clear even if we suspend belief for a moment, their promises are preposterous, a pie in the sky. It would need a leap of faith to take them seriously.
But even then people must hold them to account. Despite their record of broken promises, they must be pressed to deliver.