Beyond Robert Mugabe: Looking into the future

Obert Chaurura Gutu Special Correspondent
Whichever way you look at it, the recent death of the former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, was an historic and momentous event. This opinion piece is by no means an obituary to the late Robert Mugabe because I don’t consider myself well-positioned and well-informed enough to undertake such a task.

My intention is to unpack and unravel Zimbabwe’s political and socio-economic trajectory in the post-Robert Mugabe era.

Inasmuch as we can’t run away and ignore our history, it is a fundamental fact of life that we can actually learn from our past as we seek to design and structure our future.

Thus, the knowledge of our history is a key cornerstone in sculpturing the future that we would want to have, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations that will come after us.

A lot has already been written about the late former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.

Writers on opposite sides of the political and ideological divide have written and, indeed, continue to write about how they idolised him or how they loathed him.

This is a debate for another day. My immediate purpose herein is to peek into the future rather than to get lost in the mist and puzzle of the past.

As such, I will be deliberately futuristic in both my thrust and exposition. Suffice to state that the late Robert Mugabe was an enigmatic personality who invoked feelings of deep admiration and adoration as well as deep hatred and loathing in equal measure.

I sincerely hope that the intellectual that he definitely was, the late former President of Zimbabwe left behind some written memoirs that will be collapsed into his posthumous autobiography in the not too distant future.

Surely, it is only fair and just that we should read about the late enigma in his own form and language. It would be great to read his story from the horse’s mouth and not from third parties and ghost writers.

In November 2017, the late Mugabe resigned from office during “Operation Restore Legacy’’. I am inclined to believe that the legacy that was being referred to here was the legacy of both the Second and Third Chimurenga since it was apparent that some of the late former president’s long-time political comrades and associates had become thoroughly disillusioned by the trajectory that the Zanu-PF political party and the Zanu-PF Government was taking towards the end of Robert Mugabe’s long and rather controversial reign.

Let me hasten to add that I have got absolutely no brief for the prime movers and shakers of “Operation Restore Legacy”.

I’m writing this opinion piece simply in my capacity as a Zimbabwean patriot who is keen to see the political and socio-economic resurgence of his beloved country. Put bluntly, I have got no dog in the fight between those who approved of “Operation Restore Legacy” and those who passionately opposed this operation.

Going forward, it is not an overstatement to say that the majority of Zimbabweans are looking forward to the crafting and creation of a genuine and well-constructed Second Republic that will completely dissociate itself from all the political baggage, corruption, intolerance and repression that characterised Mugabe’s old order.

Granted, it is not going to be easy to completely unravel and dismantle the political and socio-economic pillars of the behemoth that Mugabe built. It is not going to be a walk in the park. But then, there can be no substitute for a complete overhaul of the old order, warts and all, if the Second Republic or the New Dispensation as they prefer to call themselves, is to really make a positive impact on the general governance of the country.

Is the Second Republic ready and willing to have a complete and systematic break with all the vices and ineptitude culture of the old order or is it simply going to be a case of putting lipstick on a frog, a matter of conjuring new tricks that will put attractive make-up on what is essentially an old face?

The expectation of the majority of Zimbabweans is to have the New Dispensation boldly and emphatically putting into place genuinely progressive and economically sustainable policies in place in order to extricate Zimbabwe from despair and desolation.

The New Dispensation has its work cut out.

Difficult decisions must be made to discard deadwood within both Government and State-owned enterprises. The ghost of corruption in both the public and private sectors has to be ruthlessly dealt with and exorcised if the national economy has to stop haemorrhaging.

There is a brand new Sheriff in town in the form of the new chairperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, and her team of recently sworn-in commissioners.

Justice Matanda-Moyo has already shown that she is capable of packing a solid punch and here’s  hoping that ZACC will continue to be resolute, non-partisan and effective in the discharge of its constitutional mandate.

Looking into the future, it’s certainly not all doom and gloom for Zimbabwe. With the right focus and determination by the New Dispensation, the Second Republic can and, indeed, should be able to turn the corner.

Austerity measures are currently in place and the ordinary people are suffering. There’s a need to quickly design and adopt an exit strategy for these austerity measures because millions of people out there are already becoming agitated and restless.

Some of the people have actually started to develop a rather bizarre and puzzling longing for and affinity for the old order. The New Dispensation must put all its ducks in a row. Going forward, it shouldn’t be business as usual or else doom is certainly looming on the horizon.

Obert Chaurura Gutu is the MDC-T vice president and a practising lawyer in Harare, Zimbabwe. He is also the founder and executive director of the Negona Legal Consultancy & Public Governance Institute LLC.