Everything must start at home

HARARE - President Emerson Mnangagwa and his colleagues in government have been trying hard to convince sceptics that they have what it takes to steer the country forward despite the huge economic problems currently being experienced.

Mnangagwa, since coming into office on November 24 last year following the fall of long-time former president Robert Mugabe, has been making positive statements, which have raised expectations both from locals and the international community.

But the problems that Zimbabwe is facing, after years of economic mismanagement and corruption, are so big that they are not going to disappear within two months of a new dispensation, no matter how well-meaning the new government is.

The economy remains on its trajectory towards the south, with acute shortages of foreign currency and water cuts affecting local industries.

Nearly dysfunctional water and sanitation infrastructure has hauled Zimbabwe back into the spotlight as preventable diseases such as cholera and typhoid continue to stalk our impoverished communities.

There are more problems that are shadowing Mnangagwa’s government but, of course, these are all inherited.

However, for millions of long-suffering Zimbabweans, Mnangagwa and his government need to reverse some of these problems by showing action more than the promises.

This is why it is so important for the Zanu PF leader to use Zimbabwe’s presence at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, as a platform to relaunch the country as a viable economic destination.

For the past 20 years, Zimbabwe has been viewed and treated by investors as a high-risk pariah state in the league of countries such as those perennially at war. To his credit, Mnangagwa has used this maiden appearance at the WEF, to unite with captains of industry, who are part of his high-powered delegation. This should be the norm.

For Mnangagwa to set the tone for genuine economic recovery, he needs to have a deep understanding of local industries and the problems that are afflicting them.

He appears to have shown an appetite to understand them and also on the other hand, opening his government to interaction with them. Consistency should now be the new norm for Mnangagwa and his government if indeed they want to achieve meaningful turnaround of the economy in the period between now and elections. And it must be said that everything must start here, fixing the broken ties with business, before we can say to the outside world that Zimbabwe is open to business.

 

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