BY WILSON CHIPANGURA
The famous old adage by German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, which states “we learn from history that we don’t learn from it” seems to be something that has become a permanent mark in our daily lives everywhere.
It always appears like human beings with all their assumed intellectual ability are the most mulish of all the species that exist on this beautifully crafted mother earth.
If one would go a step further to distinguish a certain group which is even worse from the rest, it will be politicians, especially African ones.
Since taking over the reins in November 2017 through a de facto coup, which marked the end of Robert Mugabe’s long rule, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed most litmus tests that have come his way.
Mnangagwa has been a big disaster on many fronts that sometimes one will be forced to feel sorry for him before seething with anger because of the path which he has chosen to take in his journey of no return.
It is not a secret that Mnangagwa’s administration has presided over some of the worst human rights violation in the 21st century which arguably stands at par with autocrats such as Blaise Campaore, Idi Amin, Sani Abacha, Omar al-Bashir and Slobodan Milosevic, among others.
What is more appalling is the manner in which Mnangagwa has been going about his business with more reckless tenacity and no ambition or strategy.
He has become the infamous judge, jury and executioner with only a motive to ferociously silence those who are trying to redirect him to the proper radar.
A number of citizens have stood up to point out the governance crisis, abuse of state apparatus to settle political scores, the unprecedented corruption levels, and human rights abuse through use of brutal force on assumed opponents.
All who have had the guts to stand tall have been dealt with mercilessly and that has been saddening.
Mnangagwa and cronies have failed to see that what the citizens are demanding is not anything that should be a bane to their ambitions of holding on to power, but something that will be a catalyst to the realisation of that dream.
Dealing with these issues decisively would have brought trust between the regime and the citizens, something that any government needs to stay in power without any nightmares.
The citizens have demanded conditions that will enable them to have a decent life with proper meals, jobs, access to standard basic health care and education.
These demands are not made in heaven but influenced by the sad plight of the citizens.
The majority of the citizens are suffering and living in denialism for the regime is something that is beyond the word dangerous.
Zimbabwe is on the verge of an implosion and for Zanu PF to continue blaming the Western countries instead of trying to clad themselves in humility and find a way out of this mess will only prove to be detrimental with time.
Zanu PF is busy picking up fights with everyone who dares to show them that they are taking the wrong path and even their accustomed friends have been dismissed as puppets of the imperialists.
Mnangagwa is isolating himself at a fast-tracked level with every wrong move he is making and bad policies implemented each and every day.
African Union has become merchant of the USA and European Union according to Zanu PF and their darling Economic Freedom Fighters has suddenly become pseudo revolutionaries while the church has been labelled genocidal with the Roman Catholic bishops being the latest targets.
Zanu PF is borrowing from Benito Mussolini’s script, II Duce ha sempre regione which implies that Mussolini is always right.
Zanu PF is always right and anyone who dares to correct it suddenly becomes a prime target.
Mnangagwa has seen himself as an immortal, who cannot be challenged in any manner.
He has placed himself above the constitution and more shockingly above the Creator as he once professed his government was better than the one in heaven.
This is the man at the helm of the country who squandered the opportunity to reform Zanu PF and consolidate his legacy for years to come.
Zanu PF has proved it is beyond reform and the way it is currently scoring own goals is just embarrassing.
The country is no longer functioning in a normal way with the military running the day-to-day business in all sectors while the police have been reduced to by-standers when it comes to law enforcement.
The courts are captured and the outcome of the judgement is known even before proceedings.
Corrupt figures are just left moving around freely after going through the “catch-and-release” session while those who expose corruption like Hopewell Chin’ono are tormented and silenced.
It is even bamboozling to see Mnangagwa bragging about how he deals with his opponents decisively when he is going down like this at hyper-kinetic level.
The current situation in Zimbabwe is alarming as the government continues to ignore the concerns of citizens while the latter’s anger continues to be aggravated.
There is a big possibility a revolution will break out since there is no longer a social contract binding the government and its citizens while the economy is going down at lightning speed with no assurance of working solutions being implemented by the authorities.
The other possibility is that a military intervention will be necessitated again as the security forces try to save Zanu PF from being elbowed out of power through a people driven revolution.
It will be proper if this option is avoided as it will result in a bloodbath and may not offer the proper platform for change or even the future of the country and peace.
In almost 27 years at the helm of Burkina Faso, former president Blaise Campaore ruled the country with an iron fist and just like Mnangagwa, he eliminated his opponents at will, with no ambition to improve the welfare of the Burkinabe, but eventually he was deposed through a people’s revolution backed by the army.
What is more worrying is Mnangagwa is doing the same mistakes in a short space of time and it will be a surprise if he will last even seven years in charge of the country.
It looks too late for Mnangagwa to make any amends but he can still try to do what he should have done from the onset in November 2017.
At the height of the November 2017 coup, then Major General Subusiso B Moyo announced in a famous televised communique that their mission as the army was to target the criminals around the eventually deposed Mugabe in a mission code named “Operation Restore Legacy”.
Moyo’s statements set in motion a ray of hope for citizens, who had been vanquished by Zanu PF’s looting spree and its load of incompetence.
These were the kind of assurances the nation always expected from top echelons, whether in government or in position of influence.
Upon his return from exile, Mnangagwa also delivered a powerful speech in which he vowed to be a reformer and a different beast from his predecessor.
All this went in vain when Mnangagwa started to appoint some of the corrupt individuals in strategic positions and shielded them from prosecution by setting up a captured judicial system and anti-corruption unit in the name of Zacc.
Mnangagwa lost the opportunity to gain the trust of citizens through his canning stance on corruption.
Since November 2017 a number of corruption cases have been reported with the notable ones being the command agriculture fund scheme, Prisca Mupfumira’s NSSA scandal and Obadiah Moyo’s Covidgate issue, which have all further dented Mnangagwa’s reputation as well as igniting citizens’ anger.
Mnangagwa can try to solve this cancer even though it may be too late.
Tackling the corruption cancer will help stabilise the economy since the funds being siphoned out or externalised will be available in the national treasury for use on essential things and maybe enhance production.
The problems of Zimbabwe look huge from a distance but one key area that needs urgent fixing is the corruption cancer, which has grappled the nation for a long time and there is need to bring sanity to public spending.
Zimbabwe is a wounded nation, which is in dire need of healing from those atrocities which have taken place since independence.
There was need to put a closure to the Gukurahundi genocide, land reform controversy and the political violence that has erupted over the years.
Mnangagwa had the opportunity to correct those mistakes even if it meant owning up and the fact that people were willing to forgive and map a new chapter for Zimbabwe was something that any sane leader would not have taken for granted.
Zimbabwe needs reconciliation instead of taking a path of vengeance but the so-called ‘New Dispensation’ decided to pursue their nemesis in the name of G40 cabal even when it was no longer necessary.
If there is one thing which was essential, it was to reconcile with those G40 officials.
All signs have been there since day one that Zanu PF is missing some key figures especially their accustomed spin doctor Jonathan Moyo.
Zanu PF has been left in fixes and sixes as opponents are running it over at will because of ideas deficiency which has led it to be militant even when citizens are raising genuine concerns.
The path of reconciliation will help to bring the nation together especially after Mnangagwa created a new mess through the August 2018 shootings and the January 2019 bloody protests which have been left unresolved just like the previous dark events.
Inclusive dialogue and not this tomfoolery called Polad is what President Mnangagwa needs to embark on if he is to save himself.
Time seems to have ran out for voluntary dialogue but miracles can happen and this is what Mnangagwa needs to save his power.
A dialogue, which involves Mnangagwa and the biggest opposition party MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is what is needed with other figures in politics and civic society also allowed to have their voices heard.
There is only one reward for continuous sidelining of Chamisa when he is the nearest rival to Mnangagwa and that is a divided nation which is a good recipe for pandemonium.
The winner takes all cannot work because the 2018 elections were tightly contested with a very small margin separating the disputed winner and the nearest rival.
Dialogue may address the economic crisis and save the possibility of an impending bloodbath that is looming.
Genuine dialogue will map the way for reforms and may throw a lifeline to Zanu PF to extend their stay in power something which is currently a fading hope.
The recent reports that Mnangagwa blocked the South African envoys from meeting opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and others is something that is disturbing and a further blow to the man in charge of this sinking ship.
If there is one thing Mnangagwa and his cronies dissipated, it is a chance to reform. Zanu PF was going to lose nothing by reforming in the correct way, instead it would have consolidated their grip on power and weaken the opposition.
The chance was there to implement the constitution instead of amending it to create a one centre of power.
Respecting the constitution would have turned Mnangagwa into a darling of the people for years to come but he chose to throw away that chance.
Repealing some draconian laws such as Aippa and Posa while upholding the rule of law could have made things easy for Zanu PF to deal with its perceived enemies without the use of force or even propaganda.
Reforms were going to boost the confidence of investors both at home and abroad.
Economic reforms were also very essential especially promoting the ease of doing business.
Mnangagwa came with a powerful statement of intent that ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and there was need for genuine reforming to buy trust from those who hold the keys for a functional commercial value chain.
Time seems to have ran out for Mnangagwa but he can throw the last dice and show genuineness to reform especially after a disputed July 2018 elections.
This is one key issue that can grant Zanu PF a lifeline, but the problem is they are immune to reforms and will eventually learn the hard way when just like in Sudan and Mali, people power will determine their fate.
l Wilson Chipangura is a passionate writer and a member of the Pan Zimbabwe Society. He writes here in his personal capacity.