Steady progress: Why I’m voting ED

By Sharon Mupfure

When Emmerson Mnangagwa was inaugurated in November, many people around me were over the top in their hope. I was really sceptical. I have changed over time.

The funny thing is that those that were over the top are now Mnangagwa’s biggest critics.

They expected too much. They are now expecting the same miracles from Nelson Chamisa.
For me, the last few months have been a time to take a hard look at my own views about Zimbabwe and politics.

I was tired of Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC. I was even more tired of Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF. These guys had been at it for a long time.

I suffered professional losses too. There was a time when a lot of people in the investment sector lost jobs because there simply wasn’t enough business for everyone. I was one of a lucky few, but had to get by with a pay cut and other things. I still consider myself lucky that I still had a job. This is after all an economy with such high unemployment.

I have never voted ZANU-PF in my life. The last time I voted, I voted for Tsvangirai. I did so not because I thought he had any real solutions, but just because he was not Mugabe.
This time, I have every intention to vote for Mnangagwa. I will not vote for a ZANU-PF candidate for MP. We have a good independent candidate and she looks like she knows what she is doing. I’m not even sure about the council vote.

Why am I voting for ED?

It might sound naïve, but I have seen some progress. Saying this on social media will get you lynched but I’m just discussing my own feeling.

The recent results from tourism companies such as Africa Sun, Meikles, and tour operators in Vic Falls tell me that tourism is growing. This was corroborated by a survey in SA that said that Harare has become the most travelled-to destination from OR Tambo. Taken together with the hotel figures, these are not returning citizens but businesspeople and tourists. Arrivals at Vic Falls Airport are at record highs.

Results from construction companies and agriculture firms also show that there are good signs. I am having more enquiries for investors than I have had at any time. There are opportunities coming up in mining and other sectors. We are now taken seriously by the world as we open up. We are no longer a pariah state really. I like what I’m seeing on road repairs. I hope it can be faster, but he’s cracked the whip at Zinara and it’s waking up.

All this stuff will take time to reflect on the ground, it’s true, but at least there’s some direction. Under Mugabe, that direction was downward, guaranteed.

Things that worry me about MDC Alliance and Chamisa

I know young people who are doing good stuff in farming now. I don’t understand it when the MDC says it wants to compensate white farmers. With which money?

I also read their manifesto. On page 67, they say they want to “liberate” two million hectares from land reform for housing. What do they mean “liberate” land from land reform? It’s not part of the land they talk about on their land audit. So who are they taking this pre-determined land from?

I tried asking this but these days you just get shouted at for wanting to know.

The Americans also say they want MDC to change labour laws to make them more investor friendly. This means they want laws that make it easier to fire you and me from work. It’s one of their conditions for investment. Given that they have worked closely with the MDC in this campaign, this should concern everyone.

It is simple. In my line of work, I want to see predictability and direction. I may not agree with everything ED is doing or has done. But I want a Government that can offer me a stable, rational and coherent administration.

While I have some reservations about ED, I just don’t think the MDC has the capacity to offer me that. Not a chance.

“I don’t know if Chamisa can form a stable Government with all these jackals around him”

Add to it all this latest controversy about Mugabe, and I have even more reason to doubt. There’s far too much that I am not too sure about.

With Mnangagwa, I know exactly what I’m getting; steady and predictable progress. I don’t know who Chamisa is coming with. I don’t know who is in his Cabinet. It doesn’t matter to some people, but it matters to me. I don’t know if Chamisa can form a stable Government with all these jackals around him, the so-called alliance.

There is too much I’m not sure about with Chamisa. What will Mugabe come and ask for in return for his much publicised endorsement?

Is Mnangagwa perfect? Far from it. I’m disappointed by a lot of stuff, such as on corruption. But I’ve looked at the candidates and decided he is best placed to hold the country together and do what needs to be done, however unpopular.

I don’t want to be told that cash will be available in two days. It’s insulting. I want the truth and how you plan to do it. One day you say you will have cash in two weeks, next day you say you will introduce dollars and ban the bond note, then another day you say you will grow exports. In two weeks?

The problems are big. They will need a firm hand. Prayer and wishes are OK but they don’t close budget deficits overnight. In fact the whole religion thing unsettles me a lot although I’m very liberal about people’s views and beliefs. I’m not a fan of the whole Israel and spiritual renewal stuff as well.

A lot of people like to tell us that “Mnangagwa and Mugabe are the same”. They know this isn’t true, deep down in their hearts. That Mugabe came out to rant about Mnangagwa shows that the two are now worlds apart. That was a good sight for me to see. It told me that Mnangagwa will never be Mugabe.

I want nothing to do with Mugabe, ever ever. Under Mnangagwa, this is guaranteed. Under Chamisa, I don’t know what the deal is.

Because I had not expected miracles from ED, I’m not too disappointed. I can see where he’s trying to go. He has set a foundation and I like what it looks like. When he talks economics I get the idea that he knows what he’s talking about. He knows his figures. He doesn’t make things up. He’s comfortable talking business.

I like what’s happening with the Infrastructure Development Bank. I’m encouraged by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency which will bring in agencies such as Zimbabwe Investment Authority, Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority and others under one roof, reducing bureaucracy.

I like the new Investment and Business Facilitation Bill, which will replace all existing relevant laws to cut the time it takes to open a business to just 24 hours.

I like that he managed to go to China and revived deals that had died under Mugabe, such as Hwange and Kunzvi Dam. I like how the construction of Marovanyati has come back on line under ED.

And, yes, I like that he has appointed women to key posts, such as ZIMRA (Faith Mazanhi), the Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe (Vimbai Nyemba), Elizabeth Gwaunza (as Deputy Chief Justice) and reappointed Mildred Chiri as Auditor-General. He did this while others were persecuting their own female leaders.

All these things put together for me are signs of his plans once he gets a mandate.

He is boring as a political speaker and I like that. I don’t want another demagogue.

Some tell me Chamisa is daring us to dream, but it’s just a way to sell his big speeches so that they make sense. They don’t. I prefer pragmatism. Maybe one day, he will be ready. Right now Chamisa is a guy who lies about other Heads of State. He can’t be a Statesman right now. Mnangagwa will be taken seriously by the world. Chamisa, I’m not too sure.

Chamisa has riled up his supporters, which I think is irresponsible. He has shown no respect for institutions, whether internal or Government.

When he takes power, will he all of a sudden start exercising the power he has over his supporters more responsibly than he has in this campaign? It worries me that ZANU PF supporters have so far shown more maturity than MDC Alliance ones.

Change is good. But I need to know what kind of change it is. Chamisa hasn’t showed me what it is. Just speeches.

If Chamisa wins, fair play to him. It won’t be a train smash. I respect him. I don’t hate him. I will hope and even pray that he succeeds. He may turn out to be good, who knows. Unlike Chamisa supporters, I don’t paint a doomsday scenario about another candidate who is not my own winning. They are both better than what we had. I simply prefer one of them.

Right now I just have far too many questions. Too many doubts. Plus I want steady stewardship and I think ED is better placed to offer it than the volatile and unpredictable Chamisa.

That’s my reality. Other people have their own reasons.

I’m voting ED on Monday. And I will be just as cautious as I was before.

Sharon Mupfure is a 34-year who works in financial services