Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Makoni Is Now Ahead On Issues

A friend of mine, political analyst Ndaba Njobo, called Simba Makoni a Mafikizolo, in an endearing way, of course.

Omafikizolo, in Zimbabwean politics, are supposed to be bumbling upstarts open to lampooning by the veteran of Zimbabwean politics, President Robert Mugabe.

But this John Come Lately is a whole lot smart. Knowing that his opponents, Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai have had years of preparations with established organisations to back them, he beat them to the one thing very important in any election – the Election Manifesto or Platform.

I have not seen the full document, but what I have read in the media is enough to convince me that Makoni is out of the blocks while his opponents are still lacing up their boots.

The Issues
The issues Makoni intends to tackle if voted into Zimbabwe House are:
To undertake immediate and urgent tasks to resolve the food, power, fuel, water and sanitation problems and develop a policy framework for economic and social renewal, in the short, medium and long term.
To redefine the mandate of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe its relationship to the state as well as improving the bank’s relationship with other financial institutions. “I will restore the autonomy of the central bank as a regulator; remove different foreign exchange rates as a tool for doing away with the parallel market and removing distortions in the economy.”
To institute a people-driven national constitution.
To restore property rights and restore the rule of law in mining.
To institute a transparent land reform programme.

These are the issues in people’s hearts, the issues that will restore Zimbabwe’s respectability in the world. With a promise for economic reforms, transparent land redistribution and restoration of property rights, Makoni is not appealing to Zimbabweans only, he is appealing to the international community too. Take it from me, they are listening.

But most importantly to any candidate, Makoni is the first to have made the declaration to tackle these issues if elected. All that is left for him to do now is explain how he will do it, the funding and the time frames.

On the other hand, Mugabe and Tsvangirai now have the dilemma of coming up with either different platforms or “copy” Makoni’s. Either way, they are doomed. There are basically no other issues that could trump the above and copying only results in them having their ballot knuckles rapped by the voters.

Makoni also has the advantage of not having been in a similar election before so, there is no history for anyone to look back on and say, “oh, you promised this before but you did not deliver.”

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have history. Mugabe’s history being that he never delivered on any of his promises, that’s why people want him out. On the other hand, if Tsvangirai raised these issues before, it was not with the same clarity as they have been raised by Makoni.

This is why many Zimbabweans (and interested foreigners too) wish Tsvangirai could emulate Arthur Mutambara and join forces with Makoni.

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