2013: Tough year ahead

HARARE - The year 2012 has come to an end in the process recording its own share of mishaps, bad and good moments.

Given that 2012 had lots of unfinished business, the bulk of which seemed thorny, carried over into the new year, 2013 promises to be a tough year.

In looking back at 2012, there is need to examine the major players including ourselves with a view to making 2013 and indeed the others that follow better years for both current and future generations.

Politically, 2012 was dominated by endless squabbles over the constitution-making process with the major political players haggling over what should and should not be in the document.

A process that began with all the ingredients of a people-driven outcome has lately been the centre of controversy between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, who are the architects of the inclusive government, itself a product of the 2008 Global Political Agreement.

Zanu PF has brought forward amendments they want made to the document before it is put to a referendum, while the two MDC formations had preferred to have the document put before the people who they feel should decide to adopt or reject it.

As things stand, the draft is with a Cabinet committee which has essentially failed to agree.

Talk about elections in 2013 has also been topical throughout the year.

Zanu PF had originally declared the polls would be held in 2012.

Their new demand is that the decisive polls be held in March with or without a new constitution.

It is discernible that the e former ruling party is not worried about the circumstances that led to the disputed 2008 elections.

Holding another election using the same Lancaster House Constitution, in an environment in which very little has been done in terms of implementation of key reforms is concerned, will lead to another disputed poll.

Electoral and media reforms, as well as security sector realignment among a raft of other key reforms agreed on in the Sadc-guaranteed GPA remain critical if a free and fair election is to be held in the country.

On the economic front, nothing really has been taking place.

The marginal gains made after the adoption of the multi-currency regime have largely remained so.

The formulation and implementation of controversial policies have not helped the situation either.

Youth and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere has pushed through an indigenisation law which flies in the face of calls for foreign direct investment.

The latter was expected to generate jobs, among other potential benefits.

Threats to indigenise all foreign-owned firms, including banks, coupled with election talk, have resulted in growing uncertainty on the economic front as potential investors hold on to their cash.

The Zanu PF conference held in Gweru also emerged with a resolution to bring back the Zimbabwe dollar, a decision many feel is not only ill-timed but one which is likely to erode all that has been gained so far.
Very little has been realised from diamond activities in the Marange fields as little diamonds revenue has been trickling into national coffers.

As a result, a resource that was applauded as having the potential to turn the country’s fortunes around has not been able to do so because diamond resources have continued to benefit a few.

In a move worthy of praise, the police took on mandimbandimba head-on bringing relief to terrified commuters.

Mandimbandimba, with links to the Zanu PF vigilante group Chipangano had previously wreaked havoc on innocent travellers.

The operation cleared commuter ranks of touts, but with the police moving a gear lower chaos is gradually creeping in again.

The 2012 festive period recorded more deaths as compared to the same period in 2011.

Over 160 people perished on the country’s roads.

A restive civil service has threatened, throughout 2012, to go on strike citing poor salaries and working conditions.

Admittedly, their demands are not without base and maybe government will be able to address their plight as a matter of urgency this year.

Local authorities have continued to struggle to provide safe drinking water to residents leading a typhoid outbreak that affected mainly Harare and Chitungwiza.

The same urban centres are staring at a likely outbreak of the deadly cholera, a disease that claimed thousands of lives in 2008 if their approach to the provision of safe water and their erratic refuse collection methods are not improved on.

Local authorities must put their priorities right.

Service delivery comes first before they consider parceling out hefty allowances to each other.

Nolbert Kunonga, the defrocked Anglican cleric who had wrestled church properties, including schools from the mainstream church after breaking away from the CPCA, finally lost in the Supreme Court.

The controversial clergyman, who threatened to shoot journalists covering his fall from grace, has on several occasions claimed he enjoyed the support of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The country’s football was rocked by a major scandal which has come to be referred to as Asiagate following allegations of match-fixing in matches that the Warriors and certain clubs played in the Far East between 2007 and 2009.

Consequently, several players and officials have been banned for life or suspended for their involvement in the scandal masterminded by jailed match fixer Raj Perumal.

Zimbabwe’s national football team once again failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The final qualifier, played away to Angola with a comfortable 3-1 lead achieved at home had raised the expectations of a soccer-loving nation.

Again it was the same old story of “so near and yet so far”.

As the nation awakens from the festive slumber, 2013 seems to hold a lot of promise as long as the leadership let the citizens exercise their will in a violence-free environment.

Elections must only be held if the political landscape has been rid of the hurdles of the 2008 polls.

As Zimbabweans, we should strive to be tolerant of each other’s views no matter how different.

Some nations actually thrive on the basis of diversity and we should learn to harness our own diversity and turn it into opportunities for the development of the nation.

Political maturity only occurs when people begin to accept each other irrespective of how different their ideas or beliefs are. - Eddie Zvinonzwa, Chief Sub-Editor

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