'Mnangagwa must stop divide and rule governance'

 'Mnangagwa must stop divide and rule governance'
Published: 18 August 2019 (121 Views)
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has to stop his divide and rule governance approaches when it comes to rewarding civil servants, political and social analysts have said.

This comes after Mnangagwa last week pledged to pamper the country's military with salary upgrades and other benefits to cushion them against the skyrocketing cost of living, while urging the rest of the civil servants and hard-pressed citizens to remain patient as his government attempts to fix the economy.

Speaking at the Defence Forces Day commemorations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, Mnangagwa said: "My administration remains committed to improving the conditions of service of our armed forces. My government is aware that our defence force is equally affected by economic difficulties faced by the general citizenry. Efforts are at an advanced stage to reintroduce the military salary concept."

Analysts however said the socio-economic challenges being experienced by military personnel are the same socio-economic challenges being experienced by the rest of the nation, hence separating them and making them appear superior will only weaken the status of the military in the eyes of the ordinary citizens.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said the events of November 2017, when the military intervened decisively in Zimbabwe's politics to topple President Robert Mugabe, are fresh in the minds of everyone, including Mnangagwa.

"Pampering the army with salary upgrades may very well be a way of appeasing the army to keep the soldiers happy in the hope that another military coup will not happen. Put differently, this can be viewed as a brazen attempt to bribe those who wield the guns and, therefore, the real political authority," Mavhinga told the Daily News on Sunday.

"Other civil servants have been left out because they do not have guns and are viewed as less of a threat to the political authority of Mnangagwa. It is a politically calculated manoeuvre which is unlikely to help much, although it may work in the short term."

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson Tabani Moyo said this is the behaviour of a hostage leadership and a knee-jerk in approach in as far as addressing the national crisis is concerned.

"Zimbabwe has a structural challenge, a system that is not fit for purpose so to speak, to attend to symptoms is missing the point by wide margins. Address the politics, the economy and social service delivery and then you can say we are leading.

"Otherwise, the country is burning and the leadership fiddles, cherry picking areas to pay homage to at the expense of long term, inclusive and sustainable growth," said Moyo.

Political analyst Piers Pigou said Mnangagwa realises he must insulate the military from the shock-waves of his economic policies or face potential disquiet.

"His elevation to power was contingent on military support. His continued stay in office may well require their acquiescence. With limited funds to play with, this move exposes the importance to Mnangagwa of maintaining stability. While this should not surprise anyone; it does reflect a stark pecking order of priority. It is unlikely though that the military are the only prioritised beneficiaries."

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said Mnangagwa  like all other bad rulers who come to being via coup or electoral fraud — his biggest fear is another coup, the biggest threat is the military in that case, hence hopelessly trying to endear themselves with the army by pampering them to ensure allegiance and reduce the risk of a military coup.

But that is old school like politics, he said.
"Recent events elsewhere have shown that the people and not the army are supreme — Sudan, Algeria and Egypt are cases in point. No matter how much he pampers the army, as long as economic fundamentals are not right the military won't forestall a people's revolution whose time has come."

Political analyst Vivid Gwede said the government is making sure that there is divide rule between security forces and the rest of civil servants in order to contain the simmering unrest over salary erosion.
"The government is making sure that there is divide and rule between security forces and the rest of civil servants in order to contain the simmering unrest over salary erosion.
"If fact, the government banks on having the workers in the security institutions at the forefront of suppressing their fellow workers in other sectors and their unions for example the education sector.

"Thus, the old clarion call that workers of the world must unite regardless of where they work cannot have been more appropriate than now in Zimbabwe," said Gwede.

Social analyst Rashweat Mukundu said: "The pillar of Zanu-PF is the military and its interests are taken care of above all because without the military the ruling party would collapse."

Political analyst Admire Mare said it's clear that the army are being given more priority over other sections of the civil service.
"One can postulate, it may be to do with the role in the military assisted transition but also it's possible that for the maintenance of law and order the government feels that the army deserves more attention especially in light of calls by the opposition for citizens to take part in elections.

"Obviously, it would be foolhardy of us to expect equal pay and treatment among government employees, their packages are likely to differ based on sector and other considerations.

Lawyer and politician Obert Gutu said he is inclined to believe that Mnangagwa, being the shrewd businessman that he is in his other life, is fully appreciative of the fact that the prevailing socio-economic challenges are affecting the whole spectrum of Zimbabwean society and not only members of the armed forces.

"The security forces are a vital cog in any country that wants to maintain peace and stability. That's why you find that the budget of the United States military is colossal. Even the budget of the Russian military is enormous. Peace and stability don't come cheap.

"What the Zimbabwe Government should proceed to do immediately is to implement policies and measures that will make the lives of all citizens, including members of the security services, affordable and comfortable.

"The military doesn't exist in isolation. A happy and well-fed military, complemented by a happy and well-fed civilian population, is a prerequisite for political and socio-economic stability," said Gutu.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been criticised for seemingly siding with the security sector and rewarding it handsomely while overlooking other civil servants.



- dailynews

Tags: Mnangagwa,
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