Nick Mangwana View From the Diaspora
If a vision lacks realism, it also lacks credibility. Any father can come to their children and promise them the most fanciful toys envogue but a credible father will not come with fanciful promises when he knows his circumstances cannot back their delivery. But it is only a credible parent who sits down their family and tells them their circumstance realities. We don’t choose our parents but we can choose our leaders. Let us make the right choice.
The harmonised elections have two front-runners. It is a choice between a political leader who has no known skill except demagoguery on one hand and a proven and credible administrator on the other. Credibility comes from known skill and competence. This is what President Mnangagwa offers. On the other hand, his main rival offers no credibility but youthfulness.
This might sound partisan but the voter should ask themselves what is Mr Chamisa’s legacy as Minister of ICT for all those years?
What is the legacy of his three terms as a Member of Parliament in terms of initiated and sponsored legislation or even constituency development? When someone cannot deliver in a microcosm why do you fancy him to deliver in a higher post?
President Mnangagwa has delivered every national agenda or programme he has led. He can be trusted. He is being pitted against someone that symbolises deceitfulness.
The nation is looking for signs of trustworthiness. What the nation is being offered is duplicity, dishonesty and chicanery. The nation is urged not to give power to people that lack scruples. People that are so obsessed with grandstanding, who seize every given opportunity to play to the gallery. The lack of political maturity is just astounding.
Zanu-PF and all other stakeholders who have taken part in the multi-party liaison meetings have had enough. People come to meetings; they discuss and agree on issues but the moment they get out of the door they look for the loudest vuvuzela to bellow fabrications, distortions and disinformation. But we have to give it to Chamisa, though. In the years that he has been in politics he has mastered the art of dramaturge and generously deploys it.
Credibility is the political capital needed in this election. EU Chief Election Observer Herr Elmar Brok told us that Justice Priscilla Chigumba is credible. Not that we needed him to tell us that. Our Parliament had already deemed her thus; the Judicial Service Commission had also already concluded the same thing. It was just the icing on the cake to get it from an external observer whose organisation was not allowed to observe past elections because of their perceived bias. So that settles it for the umpire. Let’s go back to the players.
President Mnangagwa has always had a healthy stock of political capital but somehow he has never been bothered too much with the optics and perception. He has always felt that cream will rise to the top and water will separate from the milk on its own. It is only now when people are beginning to see that his interest has always been in substance and not optics or perception.
On the other side, we have lies, exaggerations, fake promises and political somersaults. Many have been left aghast with shock and disgust. Chamisa does not have enough political capital to influence decisions at either the local or international stage. This is the reason he has no friend or ally in the international community except a friend he inherited from the late Morgan Tsvangirai known as Raila Odinga.
President Mnangagwa is not a phenomenal orator. He might not blow you away with his speeches. But are we looking for rhetorical flourish? We have already experienced that for 37 years and it led us here. What President Mnangagwa will give you is his hard skill. He has technical competence to see his policies through.
As Leader of the House he showed his grasp of issues across to all departments. Week in, week out he stood in for absent Cabinet colleagues to account for their departmental actions and Government policies. He has highly rated transactional qualities. In a rare show of talent and experience President Mnangagwa has managed to present a compelling vision to a team which hitherto had been perceived as a coterie of hardliners and they bought into it and are running with it.
When a retired general was appointed chief diplomat even before his military fatigues had been placed in the washer, a lot doubted the wisdom of that. This is the man who had announced a novel military operation a couple of weeks before and now he was being appointed Zimbabwe’s face to a world Zimbabwe was trying to engage with? Credit goes to the whole team but more to the leader who was able to spot talent and present a compelling vision. That is what is called soft skill. So Zimbabwe has a leader who possesses both hard and soft skills.
A lot of Zimbabwe’s policy reforms are 180 degree turns. These needed serious skill to convince colleagues and comrades that this was the right thing to do. The capacity to influence that kind of ideological shift is exceptional. A lot of relational capital had to be deployed. It looks like a miracle but it’s prodigious skill for a country to undergo this level of economic and political reform and still remain this stable.
Nobody else among the current presidential aspirants has such a skill and relational capital that can keep Zimbabwe stable whilst going through a serious transformation. What we are talking about here is what is called serious political resources. Mr Chamisa simply does not have them. Voting him is gambling with our children’s future. His aspirations are magazine based.
Whilst on the face of it there is nothing wrong with someone visiting a country or reading a magazine and then seeing something there and wishing it for his country. That is what magazines are there for. But when one opens a magazine sees something nice or novel in there, and at the next rally they start to promise to buy or construct that is now an aspiration of the people, that turns our country into a popcorn nation. It betrays lack of credibility and having a character with no believability.
The leader’s wishes should match those of the voters. When the current wishes of the voters as expressed by them areto be able to access decent health, education and social amenities for their children coupled with the simple desire for jobs to absorb their children when they finish tertiary education, it’s lacking credibility to come promising fanciful stuff like bullet trains to one struggling for the next meal. This is where people lack the connection with the voter and therefore cannot build or muster enough relational capital upon to be safe hands to lead the nation.
The reason why a lot are showing trust in the efforts of the new Zanu-PF Government is because the leadership has shown that it knows what is going on and has both the right diagnosis and the right treatment.
They have not embarked on a single populist idea.
Despite a serious election challenge they have not been tempted do attention grabbing antics which could give them ephemeral gusto in the run-up to July 30.
They have identified problems but are pragmatic enough to focus on long-term solutions.
An example of this is the cash challenges bedevilling the country.
If there is anything for which the Government of Zimbabwe should be considered safe hands, it is the rational and sober way they are handling this challenge.
They have diagnosed that the problem is production and a current voracious appetite for foreign currency.
Their solution is electronic money in the long and short term, a roadmap for bringing local currency in a responsible way by building reserves, production and confidence.
They have avoided the highly exaggerated claims of resolving fundamental issues using superficial solutions.
Anyone who promises to solve Zimbabwe’s cash challenges in two weeks’ time lacks credibility and voters should be wary of him.
Zimbabwe needs a leader who is prepared to take tough decisions which sometimes would not be very popular but good for the country.
A country is not run through referenda on every single decision. That’s why when people vote it’s a show of confidence in somebody to take decisions on behalf of the people but still remain accountable to those people. A genuine leader does not lead a ragtag unstable outfit.
Governance is a term that denotes co-operating networks. Complex government or national programmes depend on the coordinated interactions of these networks to work together to deal with challenges and come up with solutions. But when a presidential aspirant believes he is the master key, or when he thinks that he simply needs to take power and that act alone is the panacea to Zimbabwe’s problems then he is a fantasist.
0That’s displaying a highly inflated sense of self-worth (grandiosity). A leader who cannot be trusted by other leaders locally and internationally who shows both megalomania and demagoguery is not what Zimbabwe needs right now. Zimbabwe needs someone with both competency and trustworthiness regardless of their age.
The type of leader we need is one who can be trusted by our own business community and is credible to the foreign investor community.
That leader should have the confidence of the body of students that their future is safe and commands enough respect among the civil service and security sector to direct reform and they remain in concord.
This leader should have a pragmatic appreciation of how the world works and not just a shopping wish list.
This leader must be caring, competent and trustworthy. It is time for Zimbabwe to make a responsible choice. A nation is not a pop band.