Winning a people’s confidence is gaining their trust. The people are inspired by hopeful grandiloquence.
Confidence is the buzzword!
When you have their confidence, they invest their faith in you. This is basic Politics 101. All the political rhetoric on the road to elections during campaign rallies is to become the people’s favourite.
But the problem with some African politicians is that they abuse the trust. Key studies of how some countries prosper because people have confidence in their leaders are Rwanda. Kagama may not be saint but he manages to see to it he blinds people by prioritizing healthcare something Zimbabwe missed in Post-Coup National Budget. Basing this observation on Zimbabwe, I noticed this in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ascension to power.
His entrance after the coup breathed hope with his speeches which people which people did not care about saying soaring speeches are not compared to quiet deeds.
Many Zimbabweans expected him to take the blame on behalf of Zanu PF for causing them pain for 37 years, They expected an apology. Had he done that probably things could be better.
Those who lost their relatives in the Gukurahundi expected an apology as well but all they got was Let Bygones be Bygones. The same statement of Bygones being Bygones was used to try to mend mangled relations with foreign countries like US, UK to mention but the few. It was uncourteous of him to propose bygones when they are the ones who wronged the masses. Bygones in this case were to be proposed by the wronged parties.
ED’s promise of putting the economy first before politics, fighting corruption, creating employment for the jobless, among other things was noble and to be put to the test. He gave himself a 100 day timeline to fulfil his promises. Government ministries and departments were given the same timeline . Zimbabweans waited but there was nothing to show for it. All they received were excuses that he needed more time. That the economy could not be rebuilt over time.
He toyed with the people’s trust earned when Zimbabweans marched in November leading to Robert Mugabe’s ultimate resignation. Creation of social media accounts to mention but the few communication strategies were employed. One good thing which deserves him some slack is the freedom of expression on social media and offline.
Largely active on Facebook and Twitter, ED would rarely comment to people’s posts. He even opened a WhatsApp account.
In the run up to the elections, ED promised real change he failed to deliver as caretaker President after the coup. Colourful billboard messages, vigorous election campaigns on social media and Zanu PF controlled press were employed. He would go around the country doing election campaigns.
On July 30, elections were held only for Zimbabweans to be allegedly duped by Zimbabwe Electoral Elections which announced results they did not know. Zimbabweans felt cheated.
With the continuous delay of announcing the remaining awaited results, feeling cheated, angry MDC Alliance supporters took to the streets on August 1 demanding announcement. Sadly, some trigger happy members of the Zimbabwe National Army shot dead seven innocent bystanders.
On the fateful night, ZRP justified the killings saying they had invoked the Public Order Security Act for they were outnumbered by the angry mob which forced them to call on the army’s assistance.
These killings of innocent bystanders by the army whom they celebrated with on the November March, destroyed confidence in ED, ZNA and Police to some extent.
He tried to redeem the confidence by announcing a commission of enquiry composed of locals and foreigners.
Zimbabweans looked forward to a cabinet which inspired hope. They wanted a cabinet of Zimbabweans with knowledge and expertise to drive the nation forward.
Interestingly, on the wishlists circulated on WhatsApp was one Professor Mthuli Ncube who was expected to get the economy out of the woods.
The wish was his command as Prof Ncube got the Finance and Economic Development Portfolio. This was to be ED’s trump card for the ailing economy. His loyalists cheered him for a keen eye on talent. Kirsty Coventry was another surprise on the cabinet list to head the Youth, Sport, Art and Culture ministry.
ED regained the lost confidence for a while. The trust was to be eroded by Prof Ncube’s austerity measures which he expected Zimbabweans to endure. He instituted a 2 percent Online Transaction Tax for every dollar which received a loud public condemnation. He slightly gave in to the cries and revised to two percent per every $10 transaction. He also separated RTGS Bank Accounts from US$ accounts.
From this announcement, fuel has become scarce, prices of basic commodities, medicine shoots through the roof. Cooking oil is hard to come by. Shops have separate prices of US$, and Bond Notes/Ecocash or Debit Card transactions.
Seeing this blunder I remember posting on my facebook timeline that when one enters into office a famed technocrat, it is under this current political dispensation of Zanu PF that he or she turns out to be bomboclat (Jamaican Cuss word.) The rhythm in bomboclat and technocrat has made the statement popular across Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
The shortage of basic commodities triggered panic buying. This panic buying showed uncertainty of what the future holds. There is this fear gripping the public who have lost confidence in the current leadership. Worse yet, Ncube’s proposed panacea proving to have fatal side effects pushed him out of favor within the Zanu PF party.
As if this is not enough, the recent appointment of Ace Lumumba to lead the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development’s ‘communications taskforce’ has further corroded the faith placed upon him by some known ED’s loyalists joining hands with non-Zanu PF supporters. For the Zanu PF loyalists, it has dawned to them that the person with a psychedelic resume whom they placed too much faith on has betrayed them to the core.
They demand the resignation of Professor Ncube. Fingers are crossed hoping for a better Zimbabwe with some losing hope that things will get better. Time will tell.
What Zimbabwe needed was not an operation restore legacy but an operation restore confidence. I am not trying to de-campaign Mnangagwa’s Government but truth be told the angel we do not know could have done better with the promised bullet trains, spaghetti roads and several socio-economic commitments.