Is Mnangagwa’s New Dispensation indeed new?

WHEN President Emmerson Mnangagwa came into office through a military-assisted transition, he immediately called his government a Second Republic or New Dispensation.

It is critical to have an appreciation of what a dispensation or republic is. With that in mind, I have two or three key interventions that I would like to make as we try to unpack what all this means to the ordinary citizen.

A dispensation is something new, a distinctive arrangement of governance. This means new faces have been brought at the forefront.

It could also imply a new approach to doing government business. Where there was corruption, poor performance, there is now a robust mechanism to protect the public good.

In the Zimbabwe case, Mnangagwa’s government is made up of the bulk of ministers who served government since independence with a few coming along the way. The approaches and the system remains as it was — insensitive and unresponsive to the citizens’ needs and rights. The pace of reform is not as fast as anticipated.

The new system of governance prevailing now is not yet instilling confidence in the citizenry that it is caring, responsive and passionate about serving the citizens’ interests. What makes the system to be weaker is that ministers say a lot of things, but when it comes to implementation, there is a snail’s pace.

Things are bad, but the government could lessen the burden by being more sincere, realistic and stop pretending to be nice. It is better to be lied to by a known liar than to be lied to by a person over-emphasising that they are honest and good for the people.

As said above, it is futile to say Zimbabwe is under a new dispensation. It is still the same old story. ■

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