As Zimbabwe marks a year since the dramatic events which led to the departure of long-time leader Robert Mugabe, Makamba Online looks at the key events and changes in the post Mugabe era.
It is a year since Zimbabwe’s army staged a coup or in other words a diplomatic coup to force President Robert Mugabe out of power.
One year on, and the country is still wrestling with his 37-year legacy.
His successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, won an election then again it was disputed and the authorities insist they are making progress to end the country’s political isolation and a long economic slump.
The government is promising a new era of transparency and accountability, and what it calls painful reforms to balance the national budget. That means new taxes, privatisation, and drastic cuts to the civil service wage bill.
But many Zimbabweans are doubtful. Why? The local surrogate currency has collapsed in value, sending prices for many basic goods soaring. People believe the government is simply not up to the task of transforming the country and reviving its shattered economy. Still, Zimbabwe is a calmer, less fearful place right now.
Are there government changes?
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new cabinet signifies his determination to “reset the government’s compass”, as he hopes to turn around the country’s deteriorating economy, an analyst said.
According to Daily News, University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure believed that the president was now “his own man” and was not beholden to the military chiefs and Zanu-PF heavyweights who assisted him in gaining power last November. The report quoted Masunungure as saying that Mnangagwa was now “flexing his muscle” and also dispelling views that he was weak.
Masunungure said Mnangagwa had earned his legitimacy after the July disputed polls and was now asserting his authority.
“He is now his own man as he has earned his legitimacy. He is no longer beholden to those who launched the military intervention and those who supported him during the era when he was down,” Masunungure was quoted as saying.
Mnangagwa made changes in the ministries of finance, defence and home affairs, but left untouched the key posts of foreign affairs and lands, held by retired army chiefs. He fired several ministers who had become “permanent fixtures” in former president Robert Mugabe’s government.
The government structure changed.
The economy and the future
It remains a tough battle for Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube. He set out drastic and tough measures. Increased the tax and is planning to cut down civil service employees and salaries in order to have a manageable expenditure. It is a step in the right direction for a country that is not getting any credit lines and a country that is not exporting much. People have questions, they ask. Is he not going to work hard the Zanu PF comes and takes the money and use it where it was not budgeted for? On this note, President Mnangagwa promised a new path of governance that is transparent and credible. Only time will make the masses believe in this government.
Investment deals were signed and published on state media broadcasters especially before elections. The country wants foreign direct investment. Zimbabwe’s industries closed shop during the Mugabe era, a few still operate. We have seen the revival of the National Railways of Zimbabwe and project to increase electricity in the country among other things. Progress is there.
Progress is there from within the country. Why are investors not coming? Why are the masses not happy? There was a hype that the country will be in a good way after elections, there was a hype when Mugabe was removed. The international community observed the elections and they were not impressed by the post-election violence especially the shootings. The election results credibility is also a major concern. Is there a way forward for the people of Zimbabwe? There is always a way. When an election is disputed it affects the economy, it affects investors. They look at the safety of their investment. It will be good if political parties work together. It will help the country transform the economy. The Mnangagwa government is currently doing well but l believe a transitional government will work swiftly well if politicians are more concerned about the masses.
Author: Staff Writer