EDITORIAL COMMENT: Let’s fasten our seat belts — a new dawn awaits

march12

WITH the euphoria surrounding the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the country’s second executive President slowly dying away, Zimbabweans should brace themselves for the hard work that lies ahead with the economy set to be the centre-piece of the incoming Government’s priorities. Cde Mnangagwa’s rallying call to the nation when he was sworn in on Friday was for people to let bygones be bygones and unite in a collective effort to kick-start the economy which the previous Government largely neglected as factionalism took centre stage in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

The President has been described as a pragmatist — a hard worker who will certainly hit the ground running and implement policies that will breathe life into the economy. To achieve his set goals, he will need the support of every Zimbabwean and people should be prepared to put shoulders to the wheel and support Cde Mnangagwa and his Cabinet team as they begin the arduous process of getting Zimbabwe working again so that it takes its rightful place in the community of nations.

Without a doubt, Zimbabwe belongs at the top and in southern Africa, its economy should be competing favourably with that of regional powerhouse, South Africa, and this can be achieved through unity of purpose, a new work ethic and a zero tolerance for corruption. There is a lot of goodwill out there in the wake of the dawn of a new Zimbabwe and the country should harness this positive energy and channel it towards rebuilding the nation. President Mnangagwa laid the ground to the birth of a new Zimbabwe with a brilliant inauguration speech that ticked all the right boxes and was warmly welcomed at home and abroad with the international community particularly charmed by his sober approach to issues.

He set the tone for Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with the rest of the world by saying “isolation has never been splendid or viable” and was clear on the need to attract Foreign Direct Investment which is crucial for economic revival efforts. His Government, he said, would implement sweeping measures across sectors to stimulate economic growth and create employment.

Locally, he pledged to tackle cash liquidity challenges head-on, act on corruption, relax export procedures, ensure maximum utilisation of land and protect foreign investments. The President said Zimbabwe was renewing itself and should never remain hostage to its past. “Our economic policy will be predicated on our agriculture, which is the mainstay and on creating conditions for an investment-led economic recovery that puts premium on job creation,” President Mnangagwa said.

“Key choices will have to be made to attract foreign direct investment to tackle high levels of unemployment, while transforming our economy towards the tertiary. The many skilled Zimbabweans who have left the country for various reasons must now come into the broad economic calculus designed for our recovery and take-off”.

There must be mutually gainful partnerships with international investors to exploit the country’s natural resources. The bottom line, he said, is an economy which is back on its feet and in which a variety of players make choices without doubts and in an environment shorn of fickle policy shifts and unpredictability.

Only that way can Zimbabwe recover its economy, create jobs for youths and reduce poverty for all people who must witness real positive changes in their lives. To tackle liquidity challenges, President Mnangagwa said, real solutions were urgently needed and people must be able to access their earnings and savings as and when they need them. “We must shed misbehaviours and acts of indiscipline which have characterised the past. Acts of corruption must stop forthwith. Where these occur, swift justice must be served to show each other and all, that crime and other acts of economic sabotage can only guarantee ruin to perpetrators. Grief awaits those who depart from the path of virtue and clean business.”

On civil servants, President Mnangagwa said it cannot be business as usual and urged them to roll up their sleeves in readiness to deliver. “We have an economy to recover, a people to serve. Each and every one of us must now earn their hour, day, week and month at work. Gone are the days of absenteeism and desultory application, days of unduly delaying and forestalling decisions and services in the hope of extorting dirty rewards. The culture in Government just has to change, unseating those little ‘gods’ idly sitting in public offices, for a busy, empathetic civil service that Zimbabwe surely deserves.”

A new dawn certainly awaits Zimbabweans if they fully apply themselves to the task ahead. It is not going to be an easy road and certainly there will be lots of belt tightening as austerity measures will have to be put in place to aid economic recovery. It’s no longer business as usual and Zimbabweans should be prepared to change their way of doing things to get the country working again.

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