HomeOpinionLet's Shelve Business as Usual Approach

Let’s Shelve Business as Usual Approach

I AM part of the inclusive government.

It is a creature of abnormal circumstances. We are a product of the Sadc dialogue process. But why did we have to negotiate?

Lest we forget, we were forced to talk to each other in this manner because we had problems with our elections, to put it politely.

If we are to be candid and brazen about it, we have to accept that we had fraudulent elections on March 29 2008. What is worse is that the run-off presidential election on June 27 2008 was a complete farce, a nullity.

Understanding this background allows us to clearly articulate the agenda of our inclusive government. This means that creating conditions for free and fair polls is the overarching duty and obligation of this inclusive government.

The question is then how do you achieve this?

This is done by carrying out radical political and economic reforms underpinned by five key activities; healing the nation, adopting a new constitution, resolving the humanitarian crisis, recovering and stabilising the economy, and transforming our economy.

Our people went through trauma and brutality in the June 27 2008 elections. The national healing process must achieve a never again framework.

Never again should Zimbabweans slaughter each other over political differences. Never again should Zimbabweans question each other’s patriotism because of political affiliation.

Most of the challenges that confront us as a nation are due to a dysfunctional constitution. In adopting a new constitution, it is important that the process of developing it is as important as the final contents.

Hence, this inclusive government seeks to facilitate the development of a truly people-driven democratic constitution, with a total buy-in, and ownership by the entirety of civic society, in particular the NCA, ZCTU, the student movement, the churches, the business community, and other political parties not involved in the GPA.

By definition a constitution is a consensus document, and not a contested piece of paper produced by three political parties.

In addition to the constitutional reforms, there must be other political reforms including the removal of Aippa and Posa from our statutes and drastic media reforms. Our local media should be sufficiently empowered to report freely without bias.

The international media, such as BBC and CNN must be immediately allowed back into the country.
On economic recovery and stabilisation, we are stepping in the right direction with Sterp.

Beyond recovery and stabilisation we must seek to transform our economy through establishing a long-term economic vision and strategy.

Let us lay the foundation for this ambition during the tenure of this government.

There are three themes that we must grasp in order to deliver on the agenda that I have outlined. The first one is that change has come to Zimbabwe and we cannot behave as if it is business as usual.

All of us, Zimbabweans and those external players interested in the matters of our nation need a paradigm shift in the way we think and operate.

The days of a unitary government driven by one party are gone. We now have an inclusive government with three political parties in cabinet.

The new dispensation also means we cannot continue with the destructive behaviour of politicising national institutions and activities. For example, you cannot have the organ of one political party determine and declare national heroes.

When you do so two things happen: you undervalue and cheapen the heroism of the recipient of the status; and more importantly you leave out other deserving heroes.

Going forward, we want cabinet to develop a policy on the determination and declaration of national heroes, and set up a cabinet committee that will consider potential recipients of such honours. The value system that informs and drives our polity must change.

The second theme we have to embrace is that in whatever we do, Zimbabweans must take charge of their lives.

We must be masters of our destiny. This should be the clarion call. The primary financing of Sterp, our recovery plan, must come from us through improving exports, increasing capacity utilisation, economic growth, revenue generation, increased trade and then collection of taxes and tariffs.

In any case, in the long-run, it is investment-driven economic development that will sustain our radical transformation into a globally competitive, prosperous and democratic nation.

This brings me to the thorny issue of sanctions.  It is my considered view that there are two types of sanctions.

There are sanctions we impose on ourselves and those imposed on us by others.

For the past 10 years Zimbabweans have been imposing sanctions on themselves through corruption, poor governance, incompetence, mismanagement, fraudulent elections, political violence, and the breakdown of the rule of law.

Before we even begin to ask others to remove whatever measures they have imposed on us, we must remove these sanctions we have imposed on ourselves.

Charity begins at home. As I am speaking right now, there are fresh farm invasions, abductions, illegal arrests, disregard of court orders, wanton violation of the rule of law, violence among our supporters, the language of hate and division, and general disregard of the rule of law.

To add insult to injury, there are unresolved outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA.

The matters involving provincial governors, permanent secretaries, ambassadors, and the appointments of the RBZ governor and the attorney-general have not been resolved nearly two months after the Sadc communiqué of January 27, which consummated the GPA.

This is disgraceful. All these nefarious activities mean that the current inclusive government is actually imposing new sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe.

Let me make this very clear and unequivocal. I am the deputy prime minister of Zimbabwe.
My government is guilty as charged.

We are behaving like an irresponsible and rogue regime. We must address these matters urgently.
We have an obligation to build credibility of, and confidence in, this inclusive government.

If we do not, we will then not have any moral authority to ask any nation to remove any measures imposed on us.

Even if the allegation that there are fresh farm invasions is false, the perception is very damaging. In any case, perception becomes reality.

We must deal with whatever is leading to any such perceptions.

Having taken a clear position on what we need to do as Zimbabweans, I now turn to the second type of sanctions.

We are saying to the international community we understand why you imposed sanctions on us, and why you have not removed them. We understand your scepticism.

However, we are also saying we are clear on the challenges we are facing and the transgressions that we are committing.

We are determined to solve these matters. As they say, a problem realised is half solved. We believe these challenges are not insurmountable, they are teething problems.

We are determined to overcome them. We are working day and night. As we do this, please help us help ourselves.

Here is our message to the US, the British, and the Europeans: you must remove all sanctions, any type of measures, call it what you may, that you have imposed on our country. You cannot adopt a wait and see attitude.

Even the so-called targeted measures do not make sense. For example, (Justice minister Patrick) Chinamasa and (Foreign Affairs minister) Mumbengegwi are now an integral part of the PM’s team, how do you apply restrictions on them without undermining the PM?

We must take note that, if the government fails because of lack of support, it is the people of Zimbabwe who are the biggest losers. More importantly, it will not be Mugabe who would have failed.

He has failed dismally many times, and he cannot fail any more. It is in this context that we denounce in the strongest of terms the extension by one year of sanctions on Zimbabwe by President Barack Obama. It is my view that this unfortunate decision was based on ignorance and arrogance.

There was one long-term solution, the effective medicine, to both types of sanctions that I have discussed, in this House.

This takes the form of rebranding our country. We need to work on the image of our nation and be known for different things.

We must seek to be known for the following: effective unity and inclusiveness, political stability, a hardworking population, outstanding human capital, adherence to laws, observance of the rule of law, respect for property rights, business confidence, a safe destination for investment, high technology hub, a transportation and services hub, a broad industrial base, and a strong exploitable resource base.

We must also make sure that our personal and corporate brands are aligned with the aspired national image. This country branding initiative is a 20-year journey that should start today.

Once we embark on this national imaging task we will effectively shake away both types of sanctions.

The third and last theme I will discuss is the case for “institutional creativity and innovation rooted in imaginative thought leadership”.

There is need to think outside the box. There is need to exercise our minds as if there is actually no box. We need to rethink our understanding of leadership, institutions, governance and their respective roles.
We need to embrace transformational and servant/leadership styles.

Leadership is about making others leaders. It is about creating leaders, and not followers.
Leaders should seek to serve, and not to be served.

The ultimate test of leadership is whether you can effectively make yourself irrelevant, by empowering others.

If you are a CEO of a company for 20 years and you have not produced a number of CEOs you are not a leader.

*Mutambara is the Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. This is an edited version of his address to parliament last week.

BY PROFESSOR ARTHUR MUTAMBARA

 

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