By Tichaona Zindoga
Businessman, pastor and member of President Mnangagwa’s Advisory Committee, Shingi Munyeza, made a powerful statement recently, centred on “breaking strangleholds”.
He argued that the country had suffered 40 years of stagnation and needed to break the strangleholds and allow for a new generation and culture that would lift the country.
His message was key in that he put the idea of transition in Zimbabwe as a precondition of transformation that the country must now achieve given that, at 40 years after Independence from Britain, it is no longer a youth.
The frustrating phenomenon is that, everything, however, appears in place to allow for the continuing of the old order, and with its the stagnation, decay and jinx.
The Zimbabweans State is dominated and controlled by a clique comprising of the military and political hegemons who have the power over national processes and life.
The hegemony has not been a force for good.
It has been a force of repression, plunder and decay, ensuring that Zimbabwe has progressively been pauperised and in terminal decline, bucking the global trends of massive development and exponential growth in the last 40 years for once lesser economies.
Uneasy comparisons are often made with respect to countries such as Singapore, which in 1980 when Zimbabwe had wings to fly off, was no more than a backwater.
The contrasting fortunes between a Singapore that has undergone massive transformation and a Zimbabwe in its terminal decline, tells of the depths that Zimbabwe have sunk and how the hegemony here has been a destructive force.
Not least, Zimbabwe has become the sick man of the Sadc region, a material fact of the economy and how the unstable political conditions have flashed red lights of danger within regional boardrooms.
It comes as no surprise that as Zimbabwe has turned 40, there is that sense of sobriety and reflection of what the country has lost and how.
The country is barely holding up.
It teeters on the brink of collapse. It is not unreasonable to fear that the slightest shock could send the country over the precipice.
The current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic presents this sort of danger: as a destructive force on its own, the disease could easily wipe thousands of citizens off the face of the Earth; and the disease’s apocalyptic nature could change the face of the country for good.
This latter point bears corroboration.
There is quite some sensation regarding what an apocalyptic force could achieve.
People die. People go hungry. People are diseased. People rise. The country implodes. Then there could be new forces that will forge order out of chaos.
This is purely textbook stuff. Or a script of a movie.
Yet things are bound not to be perfect. The chaos could endure more, or baser characters take charge after the supposed Armageddon.
Hence, Munyeza’s idea of breaking strangleholds is well-informed and wise.
Zimbabwe deserves a future that conduces to democracy, openness, functionality and happiness for all.
This is predicated on a new order of a younger generation, as both a material-demographic phenomenon, as a new way of doing things – a political culture.
It is not hard to see that the current leadership and culture have no place in the future.
In fact, one gets a sense that beyond this crisis, there will be new powerful demands for change and this will be a manifest necessity because the old will become more and more untenable.
Sufficient to say, the administration in Harare will find itself in an unprecedented crisis, which, unfortunately Mnangagwa and his team lack the depth and sophistication to tackle.
One gets a sense that the current Covid-19 pandemic is a complex problem that will eventually expose the Government and weaken it.
Inside this dark night of the pandemic, the economy has shaken further; the currency has weakened, companies are closing or finding excuses to send workers home and the old way of living is being changed.
The crisis could explode months from now.
Mnangagwa himself appears to know it: he is putting performances during this Covid-19 pandemic that ought to show leadership.
But he has not been convincing, either.
There are enough signs that the administration is weary and out of ideas.
Munyeza, an honest, forthright man of God (reminds me of an incident at a workshop some months ago), knows the capacity of the administration that he has been trying so hard to assist – in vain.
- Zindoga is the founder and Head of Content at Review & Mail www.reviewandmail.com