The Sunday Mail
Retired Major Action Mandingo
SINCE he was declared winner of the August 23 elections, President Mnangagwa has shown that he is a firm believer in the famous statement by former United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”
As has become their tradition soon after each and every election, the puppets in our midst and their sponsors have been trying to seek relevance by talking endlessly about legitimacy and a re-run of the polls.
Nelson Chamisa, a hopeless sore loser, has resorted to posting countless Bible verses on his X account, in the vain hope that his desperate and misdirected pleas for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to overturn the election results will be heard.
On the other hand, a nervous Nevers Mumba is stuck with his SADC Election Observer Mission report that has done nothing but expose the evil machinations of the West and show Zimbabweans that the enemy is drawing closer and closer home.
While the puppets and their sponsors continue barking, President Mnangagwa is already in full swing, executing his presidential duties with vigour and authority.
Just like renowned author and playwright Sholem Aleichem once said, “Barking dogs don’t quite bite, but they themselves don’t know it.”
Chamisa’s reckless hullaballoo and Mumba’s stinking report cannot hold Zimbabwe hostage, but the two still do not get it.
President Mnangagwa has no appetite, no time and no need to throw stones at the barking dogs.
Soon after being declared the winner, he did not even wait for the swearing-in ceremony to get back to work.
While Chamisa was still licking his wounds and hoping that Mumba’s neo-colonial report could save him, President Mnangagwa went to Buhera, where he commissioned the Sabi Star, a multi-million-dollar lithium mine.
This pragmatic and bold move proved that the President was not in the mood to listen to doomsayers and prophets of doom.
He knew his victory would not be contested in the courts because the puppets had been annihilated.
While Chamisa was ploughing through the Bible, looking for verses to console himself, and while Mumba was still wondering what to do with his neo-colonial report, leaders who matter in SADC started congratulating President Mnangagwa for winning the elections.
And then came the inauguration.
What a spectacle!
The National Sports Stadium in Harare reverberated as ecstatic ZANU PF supporters chanted: “ED Pfee! ED Pfee!”
Indeed, the deal had been done and Zimbabwe was gearing for another five years of unprecedented transformation and development.
In his inauguration speech, President Mnangagwa did not disappoint.
The puppets had been put in their rightful place and it was time to talk to the eagerly awaiting and highly expectant Zimbabweans.
“Counter-revolutionary forces and their proxies will never prevail in our free mother country, Zimbabwe. Let us now look ahead with unflinching focus and determination, emboldened by our rich history as a resilient, warrior people. We continue to defy the onslaught of the illegal sanctions, as well as the negative narratives peddled by those bent on stunting our country’s development . . .
“Zimbabwe is surely on the rise. Our national development philosophy, Nyika inovakwa, igotongwa, igonamatirwa, nevene vayo/Ilizwe lakhiwa, libuswe, likhulekelwe ngabanikazi balo, shall continue to be the beacon of our pro-people policies, anchored in Pan-African values and norms.
“Let us now turn our focus back to our collective duty and obligation to build, modernise and industrialise our country. The quality of life of our people, from Zambezi to Limpopo, from Plumtree to Mutare, must be improved. The transformation of the living standards of our people, especially those in rural communities, will be accelerated, while the concerns of those in urban areas will not be neglected.
“Responsive policies, projects and programmes, which began during the first term of my presidency are on course to lift many more people out of poverty and into prosperity.”
After the swearing-in ceremony, the puppets continued barking, but Zimbabweans showed them that the time for mickey mouse business was over.
Instead of talking about Chamisa and his embarrassing loss, Zimbabwe turned to President Mnangagwa, as they were now talking about what kind of Cabinet he would come up with.
It was as if Chamisa never existed.
Once again, President Mnangagwa did not disappoint when he came up with his Cabinet.
He came up with a Cabinet with the right mix of experienced technocrats, seasoned politicians and vibrant youths.
As was expected, the prophets of doom attacked the President for appointing his son David Kudakwashe as the Deputy Minister of Finance and his nephew, Tongai Mnangagwa, as Deputy Tourism Minister.
The puppets thought these appointments could revive them from the political dustbin and so they started barking again, talking all the gibberish about nepotism.
Well, some of us laughed our lungs out.
Analysts call it “majoring on the minor”.
This is when, after an event, people focus on trivial issues and, in the process, miss the bigger picture.
It is as if people had forgotten that President Mnangagwa had won the election and that victory gave him the mandate to appoint anyone into Cabinet, including even his wife, if he wanted. Furthermore, it is as if the children or relatives of presidents are not supposed to hold Cabinet posts, even if they have the qualifications.
There are many examples the world over, including in the United States that claims to be the epitome of democracy, where presidents appoint their children and relatives to influential positions after winning elections.
There is nothing wrong with that at all.
What is wrong is for the children and the relatives to be appointed to these influential positions and sleep on the job.
When President Mnangagwa appointed David and Tongai to those posts, he knew all eyes would be on them and the two also know this.
Let us not rush to attack them before we see them at work.
But the two cannot be the main story about the Cabinet.
The main story is the mandate that President Mnangagwa gave to the Cabinet.
As I was watching him outlining the mandate, something told me that Shumba Murambwi is up to something big in his second term.
He headlined a meeting aimed at developing a common understanding of the Second Republic’s people-centred transformative agenda.
Unlike other political parties, ZANU PF knows that you prepare for elections the day you are sworn into office.
Some people will be quoting Bible verses for the next five years, that is, if they survive the Job Sikhala-Tendai Biti storm that is brewing.
While addressing Cabinet ministers, their deputies and senior Government officials at a high-level retreat held in Harare last Thursday, President Mnangagwa said: “Our people deserve quality, affordable and accessible services. Under our watch, as members of the Executive, more of our people must be taken out of poverty into prosperity, especially the vulnerable, women and youth.
“To achieve this, servant leadership, continuous learning and the responsive implementation of policies and projects remain integral. Further, we must work with a great sense of urgency, unity of purpose and seamless synergies.
“This country belongs to the people and not to us. In whatever we do, let us respect the people, especially elderly people, because their perception of the Government is based on who they come into contact with.
“Hence, if you are arrogant, they will think that we are all arrogant; personally, I am not arrogant. You must be humble and simple. Never abuse the people.
“I will not accept the ‘shef–shef’ mentality. We are servants of the people and must manage Government affairs with humility and servant leadership . . .
“You, the incoming ministers and permanent secretaries, will be measured by the agility and innovativeness towards accelerating our economic growth, modernisation, industrialisation and global competitiveness . . .
“It is not business as usual; hard honest work should be ingrained at every level of our Government. We must collectively implement bold policies to achieve impactful results. It is essential that the public sector now shifts from reporting on activities and tasks, to reporting on results, outputs and outcomes. Our institutions, systems and processes will continue to be strengthened throughout the Integrated Results-Based Management System.
“Silo mentality and turf wars have no place in my administration, the ease-of-doing-business reforms are ongoing to increase both local and foreign investments.
“Government must continue to create an enabling environment for investment. It is my expectation that over the next five years, Government business will be anchored by the ‘Whole of Economy and Society Approach to Development’.
“The open-door policy must be the norm and not an exception. Hence, stakeholder engagement and dialogue have to be promoted.”
Quite a loaded speech!
Exciting five years ahead!
It is game, set and go for the Second Republic!
As the Cabinet ministers, their deputies and permanent secretaries get down to work, they should remember Leslie Odom Jnr’s wise words: “The work you put in when no one is watching will matter far more than the work you do when the cameras are rolling.”
Do not wait for the cameras to roll!
Iwe neni tine basa!
Get on with the work!