THE Zanu PF politburo convened in Harare on Wednesday this week, creating a grotesque spectacle in the middle of a devastating Covid-19 pandemic as focus shifted to politicking instead of addressing destroyed livelihoods.
It was yet another reminder that Zimbabwe desperately lacks the three important ingredients of any civilised society: leadership, social trust and state capacity.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, donning a multi-coloured jacket emblazoned with his portraits, set the tone for the politburo’s 348th ordinary session.
This is the type of regalia the party bigwigs often flaunt during noisy election campaigns. But why is Mnangagwa in perpetual campaign mode, even in the middle of a presidential term? When will he stop grandstanding and start governing?
It is noteworthy that he read out a long list of Zanu PF heavyweights who have succumbed to Covid-19 and proceeded to lead the observance of a minute of silence in their memory.
There was no minute of silence for the 1 400 Zimbabweans who have lost their lives to this deadly pandemic. This sends a subliminal message to the masses: You are on your own.
The Zanu PF leader went on to instruct his minions to go out there and see to it that the “political consciousness” of ordinary citizens is changed in line with the dictates of the party.
Many people found it astonishing that Mnangagwa would choose the middle of a ravaging pandemic to launch his political campaign for the 2023 general election.
Exhorting the Zanu PF mandarins to fight the opposition MDC, he demanded “a resounding victory” in 2023.
He said his party must “reclaim dominance in all of the country’s provinces, including urban areas”.
Mnangagwa then proceeded to accuse the opposition of failing to deliver social services through the councils it controls.
“It has become obvious that the opposition-led councils have failed to deliver…We must vote them out.”
The President’s empty posturing is unhelpful. He lacks the performance legitimacy to accuse the opposition of incompetence.
The economy is in tatters, extreme poverty is endemic, corrupt cartels have captured the state, foreign direct investment has slowed to a trickle, international diplomatic re-engagement is dead, and human rights defenders are under siege.
What is Mnangagwa’s performance scorecard?