Cabinet must deliver on mandates and break the shackles of sanctions
Peter Harry Wilson
President Mnangagwa’s newly appointed cabinet for 2023 brings with it a renewed sense of hope for Zimbabwe’s future. With a diverse array of ministers tasked with vital responsibilities, the nation eagerly awaits the results of their collective efforts. However, this moment also presents an opportunity to confront one of the most pressing issues facing Zimbabwe – the burden of illegal economic sanctions.
Zimbabwe’s economic challenges have been exacerbated by a series of sanctions imposed over the years. These sanctions have hindered the nation’s growth, hampered its access to international financial institutions and caused untold suffering to ordinary citizens. It is a complex issue but it’s one that President Mnangagwa’s cabinet must confront head-on.
First and foremost, we call upon the ministers to be unwavering in their dedication to their respective mandates. Honourable Mthuli Ncube as Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion, holds a critical position. His leadership must prioritise the resuscitation of Zimbabwe’s economy, focusing on fiscal discipline, investment promotion and job creation.
Honourable Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, as Minister of Defence, plays a vital role in maintaining peace and security. A stable nation is a prerequisite for economic growth. She must continue to ensure that Zimbabwe remains a haven of tranquillity.
Honourable Jenfan Muswere, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, has the responsibility of bridging the information divide and fostering transparency. The Government must be open about its policies and progress in order to earn the trust of its citizens.
However, the challenge doesn’t end with the ministers’ respective portfolios. To address the sanctions issue, Zimbabwe’s cabinet must embark on a diplomatic offensive. They should engage with the international community, appealing for a re-evaluation of the sanctions in light of the nation’s commitment to progress.
The ministers should seek to build bridges rather than walls, forging partnerships with nations that have influence over the sanctions. It’s a long and challenging path but it is one that can be navigated through diplomacy and dialogue.
Zimbabwe should however leverage its vast resources, including agriculture, minerals and tourism to attract foreign investment and mitigate the impact of sanctions. A well-managed, transparent and investor-friendly environment can help offset the adverse effects of economic restrictions.
The cabinet should also prioritise empowering Zimbabweans through education, skills development and entrepreneurship programmes. An educated and skilled population is the backbone of a resilient economy that can withstand external pressures.
Indeed, as we challenge President Mnangagwa’s cabinet to tackle the issue of illegal economic sanctions, it’s imperative to stress the importance of home-grown solutions and self-reliance, drawing inspiration from nations like China and other Asian countries.
Countries such as China have demonstrated that while international cooperation is essential, relying solely on foreign help can have limitations. Zimbabwe possesses its own unique strengths and resources that can be harnessed for development. The cabinet should prioritise the development of a robust and self-sustaining economy.
One avenue for achieving this is by promoting innovation, research, and development. Encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting local industries can lead to economic diversification and reduce dependency on external resources. Asian countries have shown that investing in education and technology can be transformative leading to rapid economic growth.
Additionally, the Government can foster partnerships with private enterprises and create a conducive business environment. The cabinet should work to streamline regulations, improve infrastructure and ensure that the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe is competitive on a global scale.
In the agricultural sector, the nation should learn from China’s success in modernising farming techniques and boosting food security. Supporting smallholder farmers and promoting sustainable agriculture does not only enhance food self-sufficiency but also contribute to economic resilience.
Zimbabwe should explore opportunities for intensified regional trade and integration. Collaborating with neighbouring countries can provide access to larger markets, facilitating the export of goods and services, which can, in turn, help offset the impact of sanctions.
While diplomacy and international engagement remain crucial in addressing sanctions, the Government must not lose sight of the need for self-reliance and home-grown solutions. The lessons from Asian countries and China, in particular, serve as a valuable source of inspiration for Zimbabwe’s journey towards economic prosperity.
In the face of adversity, Zimbabwe’s cabinet has the potential to lead the nation on a path of resilience, innovation and self-sufficiency. By harnessing the nation’s resources, supporting local industries and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, Zimbabwe can break free from the shackles of sanctions and chart a course towards a brighter future, driven by its own determination and ingenuity.
Mr Peter Harry Wilson, is the leader of the opposition party, Democratic Official Party. He writes in his personal capacity.