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Reforms, what reforms?

Stir The Pot :Paidamoyo Muzulu LAST week Zimbabwe was in a sort of frenzy politically. Political activists and the embattled President Emmerson Mnangagwa government were all concerned about the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s special envoys that were coming to hear and find more on the country’s problems. Political activists and opposition attributed Ramaphosa’s dispatching of envoys to Zimbabwe on “alleged” success of an online campaign #ZimbabweanLivesMatter. The campaign had received endorsements from South African opposition parties, artistes, sportspersons and activists. Western embassies too endorsed the hashtag. Mnangagwa’s government has been struggling to deliver on social services as well as correcting former President Robert Mugabe’s economic mess. The new dispensation has spectacularly failed after all the goodwill it received despite assuming power via a military coup in November 2017. The Mnangagwa administration has gone on overdrive to consolidate power, crush dissent and upped the levels of public sector corruption. These issues are a recipe for disaster and the opposition and activists always smell an opportunity to push for change. Ramaphosa’s intervention, like former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki in 2007, is meant to avert a contagious political disaster in the region. Zimbabwe has a central place in Sadc, both economically and politically. Any serious political or economic implosion portends danger to the region. In other words, Zimbabwe is walking back in time. It is becoming the proverbial incarnation of the adage — history has a tendency of repeating itself. Zimbabwe is back to where it was in 2007 — a flailing economy, closed democratic space and more importantly an administration clueless on how to walk out of the morass. Mbeki then proposed a series of talks that culminated into a Global Political Agreement and subsequent government of national unity. The Zanu PF and MDC formations coalition then had to implement a cocktail of reforms — both economic and political — but nothing really came out of it by 2013 when the country held fresh polls. The only fruit of the coalition government was a new Constitution. However, the document has been heavily decimated in the past seven years. The country is back to imperial presidency that Mugabe introduced in 1987 — a presidency that is not answerable to anyone, a presidency that influences everything, but remains unaccountable. The reform agenda failed primarily because of elite cohesion and the general populace belief that politicians know best. It failed because we worship personalities — we never ask them to account. And this time around, the reform agenda will fail again because it remains as opaque as it was in 2007. What is the shape and form of reforms that Zimbabwe need? This question has not been answered comprehensively. Whenever an attempt is done, it is buried in euphemisms. No one breaks it down in simple terms and have a conversation with the citizens about the nuts and bolts of the reforms. Economically, discussing the r

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