By Alois Vinga
ONE of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s advisors has raised questions around the Zanu PF leader’s legitimacy in the wake of an unending economic and social crisis as well as demand that there be political dialogue.
Shingi Munyeza, a businessman and member of Mnangagwa’s Presidential Advisory Council was speaking at a breakfast meeting attended by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, John Mngudya and seemed to question the Zanu PF leader’s legitimacy.
“Where we are is a battle, from the bottle mark. It is a legitimacy issue. Do you have the people’s mandate to take them to where you intend?” Munyeza asked rhetorically.
The business executive was responding to claims by Mangudya who had spoken earlier that insisted the economy was on the mend. However, the gathering made up of senior captains of industry were not convinced.
Mnangagwa’s legitimacy following his victory last year, was brought into question by main contender and opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa who claimed the election had been rigged in the Zanu PF leader’s favour. Chamisa then petitioned the Constitutional Court in a bid to overturn the result but this was thrown out for lack of evidence.
However the opposition leader insist he won the poll. And despite Mnangagwa’s efforts to woo Chamisa Munyeza insisted there should be talks to resolve the crisis between political parties.
Munyeza did not hold back, adding Zimbabwe was suffering from a crisis of confidence and trust between the government and the governed.
“There has to be a buy in. The ability of those in leadership to implement acceptable reforms without the people’s confidence is very difficult.
“There definitely has to be political dialogue where leaders put aside their differences,” he said.
Mnangagwa has created a dialogue platform that includes about 21 of the 23 candidates who contested last year’s presidential election. Crucially though, the dialogue has been snubbed by the country’s biggest opposition party, the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa who came a close second in the disputed poll last July.
Economist Vince Musewe expressed doubts over government’s ability to address the crisis.
“The problems we have cannot be solved by the same minds which created them. Our country still has a colonial economy benefitting a few individuals,” Musewe said.
Musewe added that Mnangagwa’s current policies are detached from the demands by the common man in the streets whose income has been eroded by inflation and austerity measures.
A delegate whose identity was not clarified questioned how the economy was going to be resuscitated when it was being manned by leaders who are failing to understand basic principles of economics.
“We have a superficial appreciation of the economy. When some of these policies were introduced last year, we were informed that in a middle income economy salaries are pegged at US$3500 when in actual fact they begin at US$3900 so how can people be confident?” he asked.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president, Denford Mutashu demanded more details on the ongoing transition policies arguing there is general lack of clarity.
“Transition requires serious buy in, hence the need to explain the measures being taken and why they are being taken.
“There has not been any movement on corruption which continues to take place both in the private and public sectors,” said Mutashu.
Rosemary Siyachitema, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director, weighed in, indicating consumers are living in despair and are surviving on one meal a day while policy makers continue changing goal posts.
“Policies have been introduced and thrown about like comic books forgetting that people are suffering.
“Right now rentals are being charged in foreign currency, yet we insist that the country is using the RTGS$,” said Siyachitema.
“Governor Mangudya, you are asking people to be patient but we have been in these conversations for too long now so when exactly should people expect meaningful results?”