Is this the lull before the storm or the lull before the lull? The Kgosi saga is all set to go on and on as with the sordid NPF affair. But is there anything more on the immediate agenda?
The review of the alcohol levy will take time, but a local newspaper speculated, perhaps accurately, that there is to be an imminent change in the BDF’s leadership. The current BDF commander had expressed unqualified support for the purchase of the Swedish jet fighters maintaining that the country needed them, an opinion which clearly indicated where his personal loyalties lay. Simple, straight forward compliance, I suppose. Do what I want or lose your job. That particular leadership style appears to have been a characteristic of the last 10 years with compliance being the key word.
Bit by bit we are going to hear a great deal more about those who complied – are there any who didn’t? – to be followed by an inevitably growing list of those who didn’t know and can therefore not be held responsible. It is going to be fascinating to see how this all works out especially as the relationship between the current and past President must by now have hit absolute rock bottom and beyond. It has to be assumed that the former completely misread the latter. But how was that possible? So, who will make the next move? The ex-president is the Democratic Party’s Chairman and can still presumably do much damage to Masisi’s reforming agenda. But how is this to be fought out? Is it to be a no-holds-barred work out between the two with a winner takes all? But what kind of an, ‘all;’ might that be? The restoration of the monarchy, perhaps? Total control of the party or control of part of it with each bit backing their preferred leader and the five-party opposition assisted to sweep the next election. Or simply to an attempt to keep the lid on Pandora’s box? It may not come to this.
The two protagonists recognising that huge risk, may well find some other way of putting the differences between them to rest. But from the little that we know of events during the last few weeks, it is difficult to believe that the ex-president will not be seeking some way of achieving retribution. In a way, the enactment of this kind of situation seems almost unavoidable. How can anyone adapt to a situation where, having been on BTV every night for the last 10 years, there is almost no coverage of him at all. That could be tough. But whatever moves Masisi makes to alter, or roll back the ex-President’s 10-year initiatives are bound to cause offence if only because so many of them were so thoroughly personal. The ex-president is no Obama who wisely sits tight whilst Trump does everything he can to unpick his initiatives. He cannot respond because to do so would bring him down to Trump’s level. This would not be clever.
But then again, Obama’s were policy initiatives. The ex-president’s initiatives here were so often snap shots, unresearched gambles or flights of fancy. It follows that we have no obvious precedent to provide a guide as to what may happen next. We can assume, however, that there is currently much back stairs maneuvering as was suggested by the recent statement of the old BDP stalwarts that they could coup Masisi at the next party congress having presumably taken control of the party.
Presumably, all those involved, both party and non-party members, are being lined up on one side or the other. We can only wait and see what happens next. But right now, with the drastic raising of the price of fuel, we are experiencing the first effects of the NPF scandal. Out of nowhere we are now suddenly learning that there were to be five such reserves not just the one at Rasesa! But let’s stick to one aspect of this disaster – the new spur railway line from Rasesa to the Tsele Hills storage deport. It would seem that much of the work has been completed and that all that is now required is the laying of the new track. And that is where everything has come to a stop. The contracting firm presumably pulled out when it discovered that it would not be paid if it continued work. And is now preparing to sue. Here we go again. But there are other concerns that will need to be addressed, not least, youth unemployment. The new President has said this is to be his priority, but might want to how many new jobs were created in the last 10 years and how many lost?
I refer, of course, to the rejection of so many work and residence permits of those who had businesses and employed significant numbers of people. The problem is that there can be no going back. The evicted and dispossessed white Zim farmers are never likely to return there. Nor will those who were told that they were no longer wanted and could pack their bags after being resident here for 10 or 20 years.
At best, that kind of rejection leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. At worst, it generates a bitterness about this country that has now been spread worldwide. There can be no knowing what damage that bitterness is still causing.