Let's get Zim to work again

HARARE - The 21st of November will go down in memory lane as one of the most important days in the history of independent Zimbabwe. It’s a day long-serving president, Robert Mugabe, left office under pressure from sectors that for so long had been the centrifugal forces coalescing around him to deny Zimbabweans their freedoms.

Today, Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as President, inheriting a nation that started with so much promise in 1980, before degenerated into one of the poorest countries under the sun, battling stratospheric unemployment, unbridled corruption, a negative balance of payments position, and having no currency of its own.

This is despite its many advantages — natural and unnatural.

Zimbabwe is endowed with many natural resources, from minerals to a good climate suitable for farming and all year tourism. Its wildlife, now under threat from poaching and uncontrolled harvesting due to lawlessness, is unbelievable. The human resource base is acknowledged the world over as educated and hardworking.

As said by Ian Khama, the President of Botswana, Zimbabwe has the capacity to not only be a regional powerhouse, but an international one by harnessing the potential at the disposal of Mnangagwa’s leadership.

How we came to have his leadership is well-documented. It is what happens from now that must be the overriding thought in the minds of all Zimbabweans — the “morning after”, so to speak.

As Mnangagwa gets down to business, it is important to remember that it is not the lack of resources that caused Mugabe’s downfall, but a deficiency in political will to get the economy to work again and his reluctance to involve all citizens in realising the Zimbabwe dream.

Henceforth, it will be folly for the new leadership to think it can succeed on its own without involving other stakeholders in the running of the country’s affairs.

An inclusive approach will foster a sense of ownership, togetherness and belonging amongst all Zimbabweans we get down to clearing Mugabe’s mess.

The credentials of those who will make up Mnangagwa’s Cabinet will, to a large extent, also impact on how the progressive world is going to perceive Zimbabwe.

As it is, hordes of Mnangagwa loyalists think it is payback time, and would want to be rewarded for their efforts with the best Cabinet posts, despite their apparent limitations. To get the job done, Mnangagwa must steer clear of the “jobs for the boys” approach by identifying performers capable of inspiring confidence among locals and externals to invest in the country’s economy.

There is also no substitute for a lean, mean, technocratic Cabinet, commensurate with the size of our economy.

The quick economic wins for the new administration going forward are in the mining, agriculture, tourism and energy sectors.

The world cannot get enough of our minerals but to produce at the level expected of us we need competent and committed personnel — supported by the right policies — to revive the resource sector, to start with.

The Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) must be revived immediately so we can start exporting iron and steel again. Hwange will be central to the revival of Zisco so is the National Railways of Zimbabwe.

To make all of them work, we need enough power and energy, which is why it is important to have a competent minister of Energy and Power Development.

Next is agriculture.

Because we have abundant land, it is the tenure that has to be addressed. We need to put our best foot forward in agricultural production, which means getting the right people on the land.

The tourism infrastructure is in place already and just like a choir it has singers with voices but lacks a good choir master who can coordinate the voices for a melodious sound.

The climate is in our favour, a natural wonder in Victoria Falls, wildlife and many other factors. Businesses must be invited to set up shops around the recently completed Tokwe-Murkosi Dam, among other initiatives that could be pursued to unlock value in tourism.

Activities around Kariba must be promoted to boost our internal and external tourism.

We surely can’t go wrong.

While the importance of culture is often underplayed, it is the cornerstone of building a new society. It is thus critical that our politics takes a new trajectory from one premised on statements such as “down with so-and-so”, or “forward with so-and-so”, which are in themselves not so bad if they are used to describe inanimate objects. When they are used as precursors to label opponents or enemies before an attack on them, they become destructive.

If the use of the “down with” word is restricted to things like poverty, corruption, ignorance and underdevelopment and never targeted at a person or group of people, it may help take our country forward.

Comments (2)

vanhu wese vachada mabasa mese pa ques......nemapapers enyu nechitupa chako pakambani iyoyo for all labourers everyone is equal starting now....vachatyora mutemo makanzw zvichitaurwa ukamangarwa mutemo uchapedzerana neve asipo haapo...macompanies achavhura iwa uripo usa sarira the new zimbabwe is born.....

dofo - 25 November 2017

The economy is a shambles. Personally think it would be best to give the white farmers the land back, and start earning money for the country. This is where it all went wrong since 1998 approx. It was all designed to keep Mugabe in power. Sure, there were issues that would have to be settled with black landlessness, and land take from them. Zambia was only too happy to take the white farmers. In Zimbabwe once the white farmers start earning money for the country, the government has options available to purchase the farms of them. They promised to compensate white farmers for taking the farms of them. Where would the money come from?. Let's be the breadbasket again of southern africa, they way we once were, and providing employment for thousands of farm workers. My big concern is that white farmers would want to come back to beautiful Zimbabwe, they would need to know that the title deeds are safe. Zimbabwe the lucky country with so many minerals, fertile soil. Hope it is going well, all the Zimbabweans deserve a lot better. The living standard is well below, it once was, before independence.

Pedro Gonzalas - 29 November 2017

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