What can Emerson Mnangagwa do for Zimbabwe?
Emerson Mnangagwa's personality has been as of late and indeed so on a continuous basis, been diametrically juxtaposed to that of his retired boss, Robert Mugabe, as a different side of the same coin.
The new president has had his political track-record tainted by his direct involvement with the Gukurahundi massacres.
And although he has since exonerated himself from that gloomy period, it seems his is the utmost of Herculean tasks to launch a massive damage control campaign and political rebranding to at best sanitize his image.
He has been vehemently pointed at by the Owl’s-feather in the incessant political purges of Mugabe’s opponents in the run-up to the second round of polls which were internationally watered down as illegitimate.
Mnangagwa, for a long time seen as the nonagenarian’s blue-eyed boy and silent assassin of those that dare stand as threatening voices of dissent prone to undermining Mugabe, has so much in his room to fumigate.
He stands as leader in one of Zimbabwe's most watershed moments- that of the decline of a regime with all the hall-marks of dictatorial substance cherished behind the veneer of nationalist rhetoric.
Critical analysis has tried to at best define this transition within the lines of political legitimacy to such an extent that some have labeled it, End of an ERROR, Beginning of an ERA.
Could it be that this Zanu PF hardliner who has shown himself to be part of the front for Mugabe's dogs of war, has now transmogrified to be the needed Messianic figure of Zimbabwe's political implosion and crippling economic stagnation hovering within the shadow of a pale country-image of its once glorious former self?
His capability to drive a people out of the madness of a banana republic has been met with the most critical and most damning of question marks that at this critical juncture emanate from the commoner, who for the first time since the country's independence has tested what it means to live a day without a tyrant.
Mnangagwa has the urgency of economic recovery as the number one cardinal call that calls him to arms.
He would fall into the abyss of scorn if he is to prove himself new wine in old wine skins.
He has before him the torn and tattered lacerated corpse of a raped country long dumped to the gutter.
And his is the noble obligation to come up with a team that can resuscitate this lifelessness, this death into something that ca kick and cuff and speak the word of prosperity.
Like the biblical valley of dry bones, the president has the mandate before him to oxygenate and speak life to this death.
Yet the president finds himself surrounded by political prostitutes who yesterday jumped into the bandwagon that sought to prop and catapult the infamous first lady, the not so gracious Grace, to the highest office of the land.
He finds himself imbricated with patrons of corruption that have infected the highest offices into havens of plunder and self aggrandizement.
And his worth is to be seen in his ability to tear into his very own political party and root out charlatans and political mal-contents so as to have the A-team that will begin the road-sweeping exercise on this depressed economy and political comatose.
His salt will further be proven if he is to be able to progressively extend his hands to those that diverge with his political convictions to tap into their myriad of abilities.
He has spoken of the need to realise that the reality before this dispensation needs that politicians put aside toxic politics and intrigues to attend to this lifelessness.
He needs a coterie of selfless human machines that understand that the whip-crakes of poverty have been felt deeply by the man on the street, that wealth ought to be built for posterity and be built at the cost of sacrificing personal gain for the collective.
That individuals ought to come first before the individual.
Those that understand that deification of the persona of the president is the harbinger of doomed politics precariously tied to the person of his deified self.
Patronage was the hall-mark of Mugabe and his regime and the public will be there to see if he can do away with this, exalt meritocracy as the basis of political appointment.
The president gave a glorious well manicured speech that is yet to be put into the reality of the blast-furnace of trial and error.
Rhetoric will at this time have to be matched by action.
His semantics, freed from the rot that characterized Mugabe's political grand-standing, landed so well in the itching ear of both the investor and the international community.
It further tore into the hopes and aspirations of both those at home and in the diaspora.
He deliberately shunned partisan lectures and adopted an all-inclusive stance.
He understands that the task ahead of him in the first 100 days of his office will decide how deep the foundations of his credentials go, for a country that has known no other leader.
He has with him a ship with torn masts, voyaging on rocky straits with a compass that had for long been failing to point anywhere.
Can he recuperate? Can he fire up hope and excite capital? Can he really position this country back on its global space?
We think the president needs support from the majority of citizens who also need his support.
That support ought to over-shadow apathy.
The reality is, sanctions ought to go and they can only be dismantled by tipping to the demands of the west.
Yet asymmetrical deals need to be mooted that in the process of seeking a life, we lose not that life to the menace of neo-imperial Philistines and economic Goliaths and hitmen of this world.
He needs to dismantle the head-ache and brain-diarrhea of ill-advised backward looking policies for pro-growth fiscal reform policies that are bolstered by a capable finance minister and a civilian labour force able to push back the frontiers of poverty and streamlining skills to the real economy.
He has to stimulate the service sector, agriculture, tourism and mining so as to create the domino effect that opens industry and create companies that open their doors to 95 percent of Zimbabweans left in the cold of unemployment.
The president has all the time to tone down Mugabe’s bloated cabinet, reduce even the size of his motor-cade and bring down the public wage bill.
He has the advantage of a large sized market, an educated labour force and a country endowed with resources.
The mess in public enterprises is one that needs a man that commands the spirit of a sterner steel, one able to whip into line incompetency for the greater good.
With elections coming this next year, we are of the unshaken conviction that if he is able to hold free and fair elections, then nothing stops him from strengthening the arms of state.
The independence of the courts ought to be exalted as much as that of the media.
Political contestation should be a play of ideas in the jukebox of national progress.
That progress has to be let to play in the hands of a hybrid model that enshrines progressive elements of socialism without kicking capitalism out of the entire equation.
Zimbabwe has the duty to rather respond to the bugles resonating with the question, “What can you do to complement what your country is trying to do for you?”
The time of romantic nationalism enshrouded by veils of past glory has long gone, global competitiveness that pushes against the barricades economic headwinds has now become the focus of today’s hero-statesman.