Thoughts On Building A New Zim

In the natural course of things, a 42-year-old country should have some reasonable accomplishments under its belt. They don’t have to be extraordinary, but they should show signs of progress, improvement in people’s lifestyle and a sense of order. If the country is in a worse situation than when it started, it will raise questions about the quality of leadership governing the country.

Zimbabwe’s 42 years as a free country is essentially a story of two halves. It inherited a fully functional country and economy in 1980 and was struggling by the year 2000. The second half from 2000 to 2022 saw the manifestation of bad leadership, corruption, and lack of accountability. The effects of this are a dysfunctional country and breakdown of trust between leaders and the governed. The premise on which the country became free is detached from the reality on the ground. Clearly, the country has been going in the wrong direction. What Zimbabwe needs is to go back to the drawing board and start afresh.


Before any country can select who will govern, it’s expedient to build a foundation on which the country is built upon. The foundation will determine whether the country can navigate the vicissitudes of politics and government. A weak foundation could lead to horrendous experiences as is the case in Zimbabwe.

The mistake that Zimbabwe made when it became independent in 1980, was not constructing a constitution right away. This could have clearly defined who Zimbabweans are and what they stand for. It seems with hindsight that the leaders had no intention of accommodating everyone in the new country. The country was theirs and their few friends. Governing the country without a constitution and for the few, meant the seeds of Zimbabwe’s dysfunction were sown at inception. These seeds, from the year 2000 up to now, have been producing a harvest of thorns.

The current constitution was made 9 years ago, and it has not been fully ratified. There are elements within the constitution that the governing party (Zanu PF) had problems with even though they were vital for governance purposes. Drawing inferences from their reluctance, it appears as if the governing party did not want to be restricted by constitutional provisions they did not adhere to before. Presidential term limits were an issue that the previous president Robert Mugabe struggled with. At the time he had been president for 33 years. He could not see the logic of term limits while professing the country to be sovereign and democratic.

The current president Emmerson Mnangagwa who became president in 2017, told the country he’ll still be president in 2030 contrary to the term limits provided by the constitution. He has already contradicted the constitution by extending the Chief Justice’s tenure beyond retirement age. He intends to grab more power and extend his own time in power. In 42 years, Zimbabwe had 2 presidents. In functional democracies, they normally have 4 presidents in the same period.

The way constitutionalism is currently structured in Zimbabwe is detrimental to the country. It allows personal ambition to override the interest of the country. The term limit provision must be written in stone for it allows fresh blood to come in regularly as compared to the damage caused by one unaccountable person, with the intention of ruling forever.

Individual Rights

It is not a coincidence that countries that give their people real freedom, tend to do well. Humans are born with a sense of freedom, a desire to live life without restrictions. The idea that you can do whatever you want, dream big, pursue your goals and be as ambitious as you want is a powerful driving force for the advancement of a country.

Zimbabweans don’t really experience freedom in its pure sense. They exemplify the saying that they are “born free but everywhere else they are in chains.” Many countries are reaping the rewards of talented Zimbabweans who cannot fathom living in a country that stifles their aspirations. Many gifted Zimbabweans are seen as a threat by their own government. How is it that a country can create a system where the least competent, can rise to the top and dominate while the gifted are chased out?

Zimbabwe must respect its people’s rights and stop using the legal system to persecute them. Sending people to prison without trial in 2022 shows how backwards the country has gone. Leaders who find pleasure in the misery of their own people should never be close to power. The number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in jail shows how intolerant the government is of different views. Government is about ideas and freedom to express those idea.

The government should bring people together. The country has not been united in a long time. There is a sense of one man for himself. There is no sense of community anymore. The village does not raise children anymore. People have been pushed to be selfish by the government’s dividing strategy. This needs to stop. Other countries are flying high by uniting and empowering their people and giving them incentives to be innovative.

Zimbabwe needs human rights grounded in the constitution and all the leaders must uphold them and respect them. A country cannot achieve anything of significance when its people are not free. It’s impossible.

Checks and Balances

It is well known that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” There is enough evidence from the last 42 years that giving one person too much power is not a good idea, especially in the absence of a strong constitution. There should be checks and balances that ensure the president is not operating above the law. Power has a way of revealing who people really are. It’s better to be cautious, put safe mechanisms in place than to experience the effects of a president who cannot be challenged.

In this light, separation of powers is paramount. Power should never be entrenched in one person. It’s a recipe for disaster. Julius Caesar wanted to change Rome from a republic to a monarch so he could become King. His trusted colleagues felt it would be detrimental for the country. Sadly, they assassinated him. Brutus justified the assassination by saying “Not that I loved Caesar less, but I love Rome more.” He thought absolute power in one person would lead to wars, confusion and he was not prepared to lose his country.  

It’s vital that state institutions should function independently without the influence of the president. The Judiciary should be able to make decisions in furtherance of its constitutional obligations, not to harm the constitution. When a president or government makes unlawful decisions, the Judicial should be prepared to challenge the government. That is its duty. When election results are disputed in the Constitutional Court, people expect Judges to be guided by their expertise, moral courage, and duty to the constitution. A compromised Judiciary is a threat to democracy. The independence of the Judiciary must be put in its right place. This is essential in rebuilding a functional country.  

At the moment, the president has controversial powers to make laws through Statutory Instruments. Almost every week, the president is producing these instruments to dictate the price of goods in the marketplace. Instead of consulting parliament for the purpose of making laws, the president prefers to make laws on his own. The Judiciary should challenge this illegal law-making process.

Clearly, the president has no regard for both the Judiciary and Parliament. He never goes to parliament to answer questions. To him, Parliament is practically dead. It’s important that those in parliament should respect parliament and honour what it represents. In addition, those in parliament should endeavour to exhibit standards and behaviour worthy of parliament.

The Police and the Army should not be deployed to stop people from demonstrating. The police should rightly focus on law and order. What we see now is the police force is captured by the governing party and hamstrung by corruption. People can get away with crimes if they are able to pay a bribe.

The army should be used strictly for protecting the country and fighting wars. It should not be used in domestic politics especially when people are challenging rigged elections. The constitution should make it crystal clear that the army should not be seen to favour one political party or be an instrument of the president.

When Donald Trump challenged the results of the US 2020 elections, the army and former Defence Ministers refused to get involved on the basis that it was not constitutional. The reason why Trump did not continue as president is simply because strong state institutions stopped him. They all had a duty and they refused to be compromised. If Trump were in most African countries, he would still be president.

Social Contract

One of the biggest problems in Zimbabwe is leaders who don’t understand the purpose of power. They see power as an opportunity to dominate their people. The idea of an empowered people is alien to them. Zimbabwe needs space for people to speak and debate freely. In debates, people learn from each other and expand their perspectives. Competition should be encouraged, free and fair competition where people rise on merit not bribing their way to the top.

What leaders don’t realise is, it’s better to work in partnership with the people. In an ideal situation, people would choose a government of their choice in return for good governance of the country. This is a sensible approach that works in normal countries. That is how normal countries cause “brain drain” from failed states. They are attractive to talented people who feel they deserve better or those who fear being persecuted for their gifts.

What Zimbabwe has failed to do over and again is provide an economic system that allows people to take a chance on starting a small business or pursing their dreams. The economic system is restrictive and designed to empower those who don’t play by the rules. If an economic system is not designed to empower its people, then it’s not fit for purpose and those governing under such a system must not be in power. 90% unemployment is a frightening statistic.

The ideal situation is for a fully functional economy where people have a choice to get a job or go into self-employment. A high number of employed people, means more tax payments that the government can use to upgrade the country’s infrastructure, roads, sewage, water, electricity etc.


Zimbabwe needs a brand-new country, but it can’t happen without a strong constitution. The seeds of dysfunction that were planted at inception must be removed, and they should be replaced by seeds of separation of powers, rule of law, democracy, human rights, checks and balances and a strong constitution.

Why President Mnangagwa Should Step Down And Respond to Allegations Made By Susan Mutami.

The President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa is facing a huge scandal that could potentially topple his government. Serious allegations have been made that he had a sexual relationship with a minor. Susan Mutami alleged that she was 15 years old when she started having sex with the current president and it went on for several years. On Twitter spaces, she had a record number of 13 500 listeners who were captivated for 4.5 hours. She gave a chronological explanation of her encounter with the president beginning in the early 2000s.    

In the early 2000, her father passed away and the current President of Zimbabwe offered to help her with her school needs. This gesture was meant to alleviate the burden caused by the passing of her father.  

Eventually she moved into the president’s family home where she helped the house maid with house chores. She didn’t need to worry about her school fees anymore. She said the sex continued and she knew of other women the president had relationships with.  

At times, she would breakdown while narrating her story. She mentioned many names in government or connected to the government who she said took advantage of her.  

Years later, the then President Robert Mugabe, heard of the story and he was horrified. He instructed senior investigators in government plus his wife to meet with Susan. Mugabe feared for Susan’s life in case word got out that investigations were being done. As such, he made provisions for the meeting to be done in China. Susan gave her version of events to investigators who drafted statements from her testimony. She said the first lady, Grace Mugabe, could not believe that she went through such a dreadful experience and the story made her cry. 


Politicians from the governing party in Zimbabwe are never held accountable. They practically operate above the law. The few that end up in court are often under punishment from their superiors. There was one exceptional case in which the current President took away the Vice President post from Kembo Mohadi. The Vice President’s phone call was leaked to the media in which he could be heard asking a young woman for sex. This case is rare because proper accountability measures were enforced. President Mnangagwa thought his Vice President had fallen below the expected standard.  

Now it’s the president who is facing extremely serious allegations as compared to his Vice President who lost his job over a phone call. Many Zimbabweans on social media were saying the President must resign as the allegations could not be ignored or swept under the carpet. We live in the days of the #metoo movement which shook Hollywood when women reported how powerful men were sexually abusing them. The #metoo movement has spread around the world and is making men think about how they behave. The downfall of powerful men in Hollywood sent a message to the world that sexual abuse must not be tolerated.


The magnitude of the allegations are so serious that President Mnangagwa cannot possibly carry on as President without clearing his name. What the President must do is address these allegations directly and immediately. Susan shared her story on Friday afternoon, but the president has not responded. This is not a matter that he can view as beneath him or as not worthy to be taken seriously. He must give it the seriousness it deserves by stepping down and commit to a process where justice can prevail.  

The office of the President is already in disrepute. There are criminal law hurdles that the President must overcome and only the criminal court is fit for such a case. No right-thinking person would say it’s normal for a President to discharge his constitutional obligations while on trial in a criminal court. 

This matter is about the standards people expect from their leaders and the duty they have to the country. This is not an ordinary duty, but a higher duty by virtue of the responsibilities given by the constitution.  

It’s impossible for any President to go round the world representing his country under such circumstances. It’s a story with an international factor that the President could potentially get arrested abroad, face demonstrations or humiliating protests.  That’s why he should take some time out by resigning and come back once cleared by a court of law.  

It’s not normal in Zimbabwe for a President to be held accountable. The politicians in the President’s party have a duty to tell the president that he cannot carry on without clearing his name. It can’t be business as usual. If these politicians or parliament protect the President from accountability, it will reflect badly on them and on the country. Who would want to come and do business in a country where leaders are above the law and not accountable for their actions?


In a democracy, the governed give their consent to be governed so that those who govern them can exercise that power responsibly. Hence there are checks and balances to ensure that abuse of office does not happen. Zimbabwe cannot afford to look the other side when serious allegations have been made against the president. The law must take its full course and justice must be seen to be done. There is a case to answer. Zimbabwe must ensure that Susan is heard and that no harm will come her way.

The Parliament of Zimbabwe must create a code of conduct that is designed to address the issues raised by Susan. A code of conduct where reporting abuse is easy and where action can be taken swiftly. This requires a new way of thinking. A new kind of politics. Modern and transformative leadership

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