Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a man on a mission, so we are made to believe.
Editor’s Memo Vincent Kahiya
He has already met business leaders and appears to strike the right chord with investors after promising to relax the indigenisation law which has been the bane of foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa has promised to deal with red tape which has seen investors spending half a year to get their projects approved.
The VP wants to position himself as the handyman willing to get his hands dirty in fixing all that has been broken over the last 35 years, ironically, much of it by his peers in Zanu PF
By warming up to business and wooing foreign investors, Mnangagwa is treading a well-worn path that his disgraced predecessor Joice Mujuru also travelled.
When Mujuru became VP in 2004, her quest to make a difference soon evaporated in the heat of factional fighting and the all-too-familiar Zanu PF history of inefficiency and poor service delivery.
Mnangagwa’s crusade for positive change is at the mercy of this same partisan spirit which has over the years spawned corruption in the civil service and parastatals and has created an air of suspicion between government and the private sector.
It is a culture that believes that it cannot fail, but that failure is manufactured elsewhere and injected into the national conscience. This appears to be the Zanu PF way of administration.
Can Mnangagwa break free from the shackles of Zanu PF’s ancien regime which, for a generation, has measured success by the trail of destruction in its wake? It is critical to note that Mnangagwa belongs to a club of men and women who look with glee at state destruction of model agro-estates like Kondozi Farm.
The club speaks with adulation on the success of the land reform programme when Grain Marketing Board silos are empty and the country continues to import carrots, potatoes and apples.
They are not ashamed to portray the indigenisation policy as a major success when industries are closing every day and when vendors cover every square metre of pavement in Harare. The crumbling national infrastructure: power cuts, students learning from tobacco barns and decaying hospitals cannot disturb the victory parade.
We still have people like Youth Development, Indigenisation & Economic Empowerment minister Chris Mushohwe who thinks that foreign investors need Zimbabwe more than the country needs fresh capital.
Also in the team is Joseph Made who believes inefficient new farmers can benefit from land reform by enjoying the bonanza of high maize prices set at levels where it is cheaper to import than grow the crop.
Ignatius Chombo at Local Government is still trying to figure out how to get clean and adequate water in urban areas and to ensure sewer systems don’t work in reverse. He has scored successes in firing mayors and councillors though!
The list is long. In their own right, these are individuals who believe that they head successful portfolios. There are no regrets for the trail of man-made disasters they superintend over.
In fact, some of the destruction has been celebrated as echoes of a revolution.
Mnangagwa, as the perceived heir apparent to President Robert Mugabe, has to demonstrate that he can rise above the exploits of these denizens of a failed system who are way past their best-before dates. He has to break the mould and help his colleagues to redefine success.
The party needs to adopt a new set of values and instruments to measure success.
As a captain of this failed team, he can lead from the front to change mindsets, unless he is content with conformity and blind allegiance to corrosive dogmas.