Second Republic marred by litany of unfulfilled pledges
WHEN President Emmerson Mnangagwa got into power in 2017, a lot of promises were made, creating the impression that Zanu PF was ready to give Zimbabweans a fresh start.
Four years later, it seems Mnangagwa is travelling along the same ruinous path that the late former President Robert Mugabe traversed. Ironically, the Mnangagwa faction had accused Mugabe of failing to properly run the country.
“Give him a chance,” was the mantra of the day, but Mnangagwa has failed to deliver even on the low hanging fruits that his government promised to deliver.
On his return from South Africa on 22 November 2017, Mnangagwa pledged to serve the people and ensure peace and unity, but he has instead proved to be a dictator keen to mutilate the constitution to ensure he entrenches power.
“I pledge myself to be your servant,” Mnangagwa said among cheers.
“I appeal to all genuine patriotic Zimbabweans to come together. We work together. No-one is more important than the other. We are all Zimbabweans.”
People now wonder whether it was all deception and lies or that he lacks the capacity.
In March 2018, Mnangagwa said: “It is my view that if we are all united and if all of us feel we are patriotic to our own country and if we have channels where we vent our grievances, there is no need of firing rockets at government institutions. I think that there are channels where one can vent one’s concern or complaint. I am going to make sure that barrier is removed”.
During his acceptance speech on 24 November 2017, Mnangagwa also preached tolerance and diversity, but in power he has presided over arrests, abductions and victimisation of dissenters. Six people were killed on the streets of Harare in August 2018 and 17 more were killed in January 2019 during demonstrations.
“Here at home, we must, however, appreciate the fact that over the years, our domestic politics had become poisoned, rancorous and polarising. My goal is to preside over a polity and run an administration that recognise strength in our diversity as a people, hoping that this position and well-meant stance will be reciprocated and radiated to cover all our groups, organisation and communities. We dare not squander the moment. At the end of the day, whatever we do or chose to do must be intended to benefit all our people,” Mnangagwa said.
Mnangagwa also made many promises on eradicating corruption, particularly in the government.
However, some of his family members and business associates continue to be named in dodgy deals and corruption activities.
Moreover, political elites continue to evade conviction and jail time.
“As we focus on recovering our economy, we must shed misbehaviours and acts of indiscipline which have characterised the past. Acts of corruption must stop forthwith. Where these occur, swift justice must be served to show each and all that crime and other acts of economic sabotage can only guarantee ruin to perpetrators. We have to aspire to be a clean nation, one sworn to high moral standards and deserved rewards,” he had said in his speech.
While Mnangagwa promised that his government shall not flip flop on policies, investors continue to criticise the lack of consistency, including in terms of the ever-changing policies around foreign currency.
This is despite Mnangagwa’s statement that: “The bottom line is an economy which is back on its feet, and in which a variety of players make choices and fulfill roles without doubts and in an environment shorn of fickle policy shifts and unpredictability”.
The Zanu PF 2018 election manifesto also contains a litany of unfulfilled promises.
The party promised to create jobs through the resuscitation of closed mines such as Ziscosteel, value-addition through entities such as the Diamond Polishing Company, retooling and new mining ventures and formalisation of artisanal miners.
It also said it would capacitate the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and revamp the railway infrastructure including the signals, targeting the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo-Harare-Mutare; Somabula-Rutenga-Chicualacuala/Beitbridge; Bulawayo-Plumtree and Chitungwiza-Harare routes.
Instead, the government has badly handled deals and failed to revamp the NRZ. What they have managed to do is to bring back coaches used during the colonial era.
Other promises which have turned out to be just words on paper were to build 2000 schools by 2023, establish at least one new hospital per administrative district by 2023 and deliver at least 1.5 million affordable housing to the people by 2023.
While there were promises that people’s homes would not be demolished, several people have lost their homes, including this year to demotions by the government.
Other unfulfilled promises include provision of electricity to all rural areas, complete elimination of load-shedding, reduction of fuel prices and tollgate fees and other motor vehicle levies.
In the health sector, public medical facilities continue deteriorating, amid a lack of equipment and drugs.
There is no health for all, and the country is far from becoming a regional health tourism hub. In fact, the elite, including Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health minister, still seek medical attention outside the country.
There are no educational loans for students at local institutions of learning. The Zanu PF government has also failed to achieve gender equality, starting with the executive, cabinet and cascading down to government departments.