This week’s dramatic political events which saw the ouster of vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa may have provided some comic relief to segments of Zimbabwe’s long-suffering population, but there is no denying the fact that the country’s battered economy is suffering heavy collateral damage of President Robert Mugabe’s obsession with vacuous politics.
Mugabe and his wife Grace were highly animated as they executed Mnangagwa’s downfall, as if the nation has anything to benefit from factional squabbles. Zanu PF’s internal fights have no ideological or policy value; they are nothing but a vicious power grab by a coterie of privileged elites battling for money and to protect their loot.
The fall of Mnangagwa can be summed up in two words: power and money. As Mugabe’s sunset years unfold, there is an undignified frenzy at the feeding trough as everyone scrambles for a piece of the national pie. These endless battles have nothing to do with the interests of ordinary citizens.
What is shocking is that although Zanu PF is convening countless meetings all over the place, there is nothing constructive emerging from the gatherings. The economy is imploding, yet the leaders who are expected to formulate solutions are focussing on self-serving politics. From the cells, districts and provinces, all the ruling party organs are expending their energies on political bickering, sectarian posturing and tribal intrigue. When will the madness end?
If Zanu PF invested just a fraction of this level of attention and energy on the country’s economic revival, Zimbabwe would be in far better shape than the wasteland it has become. Instead, valuable time and resources are wasted on pointless fights that do not address the rampant company closures, high unemployment, widespread poverty, cash shortages and low investment inflows.
The tragedy is that the political opposition is not much better than Zanu PF, when it comes to aimless squabbling and majoring in minors.
You would expect the opposition to take full advantage of the ruling party’s incompetence by robustly communicating its alternative policy framework to the public. This is not happening, of course. What we see, instead, is scandalous obsession with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s failing health.
The opposition is fixated with endless coalitions, elitist deals, cheap point-scoring, ad hominem attacks and a whole lot of mumbo jumbo. We find it amazing that Tsvangirai, after weeks of non-appearance in the public arena, has found it prudent to comment on Zanu PF factionalism. Is he saying Zanu PF factionalism is more important than the comatose economy? The policy paralysis is astounding. It has created a dysfunctional government.
This is highlighted by a recent decision by the authorities to place 16 basic commodities on a “pricing and availability monitoring list”, which is the latest manifestation of a government that is living in denial and has perfected the retrogressive habit of tinkering with the symptoms of economic malaise instead of addressing the fundamentals.
Zanu PF is obsessed with power politics, while the opposition is mesmerised by the chaos. Who will attend to the economy?