Friday, September 19, 2008

(TALKZIMBABWE) Cabinet formation hits a snag? Quick fixes not desirable!

Cabinet formation hits a snag? Quick fixes not desirable!
Fri, 19 Sep 2008 10:38:00 +0000

POWER sharing arrangements require a lot of patience and tenacity. Agreeing on the precise allocation of ministries (and hence the balance of power) was never meant to be a simple exercise.

Nelson Chamisa said to SW Radio Africa yesterday: "Zanu PF wants to take all the key ministries, literally rendering the government exclusive… and we are not going to countenance that approach.”

Zimbabweans need to be cautious in their demands on the principals to come up with a quick fix and the political leadership needs to more cautious in responding to suggestive questions from the media.

In Kenya the feuding parties failed to meet an optimistic deadline set by mediators to convene Cabinet. It took almost two months for that process to be completed and the country is still battling with the aftershock of that exercise.

An ill-conceived Cabinet will produced ill-conceived programmes.

The events of the last few months have wearied the electorate. Supersonic speed is the last thing on their mind. “Tambosvika patasvika sei? Saka tomhanyirei?”

An exhausted and traumatized nation needs a solid Cabinet. An exhausted leadership will produce a sub-optimal Cabinet. Let them take the necessary time, for now. We have endured ten years of acrimony and battling between the two parties. Ten days or an extra week will not kill us. Patience is a virtue.

The Zimbabwean crisis has deep roots and "quick fixes" will bring new problems. We cannot paper over the crisis' deep roots after having achieved so much already.

We have two options: wait patiently or have the leaders’ noses in the trough without resolving deeper issues. I take the former.

I take the former because the likelihood of losing sight of longer-term strategies is minimized.

This recent snag is a brutal reminder of the problems we face in formulating independent policy in Zimbabwe – independent from Western influence.

Whatever else we might choose to say about this, we cannot ignore the simple fact that Zimbabweans have not got value for the investment that has been channeled into the country previously, or the policies that have been drafted from London or Washington.

So when we make the next move, let’s tread with caution.

It's ironic that hitting a snag in negotiation makes most of us angry and frustrated, yet was itself fed, in part at least, by frustration and anger.

It seems that almost every day there are negative stories about the unity deal in Zimbabwe. These stories paint a dark and dreary picture of our affairs in Zimbabwe and the problems grab our attention. We want them fixed and fixed instantaneously. No we shouldn’t! We must focus on them – focus on the real problems, not just the symptoms.

There’s no magic wand in solving our problems, even the critics only criticize and not proffer solutions.

The immediacy of our problems can make us lose sight of the broader picture and the longer term. We shouldn't fall for it. Zimbabweans have suffered long enough since the Pioneer Column and the dark forces have dealt a huge blow on our people.

The resource challenges the negotiators face are enormous. The pain and bad blood that exists “pavana vemunhu mumwechete” have to be fixed before the policy issues are tackled and fixed. The pressure coming from the West is significant, the sanctions are biting (and we all now agree).

As the electorate with a multitude of demands, we cannot have it both ways. On one hand we want long-term strategies and solutions, yet expect politicians to come up with quick fix solutions that score easy political points, on the other.

The irony is that our cynicism as the electorate will only be overcome by a credible process which delivers a genuinely firm foundation upon which to rebuild the institutions and recover our economy.

Our confidence in the political process is already at a low ebb partly because of the effects of previous quick fixes.

If we want to see lasting progress made then we need to allow a serious, intensive and inclusive process to take place which can actually address all of the barriers to the progress of our great nation.

We all know that the structural, internal and external problems which plague our country are still there.

The new all-inclusive Government simply cannot afford to take short-cuts to get the country back on the road, knowing that the wheels will inevitably come off at the next bump.

It would be reckless to attempt to rebuild the economy, without addressing those weaknesses as part of the process.

How cheap and uncaring will the politicians be if the new all-inclusive Government was to opt for the political quick fix?

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