The former Herald Editor Tichaona Zindoga took the time to pe these 5 things that the president ought to do to better the lives and livelihoods of Zimbabweans in 2020.
Zimbabwe’s domestic and foreign policies are, to put it bluntly, a dog’s breakfast. The key domestic issues revolve around economic administration. The economy is in a state of breakdown because there has not been any meaningful development of a programme that stimulates growth, revive industry, expand exports, create jobs and compete internationally. In the absence of the above, government has tended to rely on taxing citizens to the death, eyeing shamelessly the exponential growth of the informal economy.
Zimbabwe has blown hot and cold regarding tackling corruption. Addressing corruption is supposed to cleanse and aid the administration of government, while ridding society of thieves and looters…At the end of the day, the current anti-corruption drive is nothing but a joke. Nobody is being fooled, including investors. It becomes worse when officials use, nay, abuse, institutions such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to settle personal scores. If criminals, including those in government, are made to account, a new hopeful vibe will be felt.
3. Political reforms
There is an established correlation between freedom (democracy) and prosperity, as well as free enterprise. The enjoyment of civil and political rights by the people will ensure a society that is more peaceful and stable. Zimbabwean authorities like to throw in caveats regarding enjoyment of freedoms and rights such as assembly, speech and expression. The government appears afraid of the people. The people are afraid of their government. Mnangagwa would do well to change this climate of fear – on mutual sides. It takes real leadership to do that, and if he succeeds to do that in 2020, it will be a positive sign. The proviso being, if the government addresses people’s needs, it takes away incentive for rebellion and its own fear of the people.
4. Economic empowerment
…Only Mnangagwa has not put an alternative policy that addresses the anthropological aspect of empowerment, and its creation of a movement of people who can lay claim on the economy through grassroots and localised initiatives. This is especially key for black people who ought to dream that they can own mines, factories and banks. In Mugabe’s time, people once dared that dream. In the absence of such a smart, revolutionary movement, is it coincidental that we have seen the growth of the so-called Mashurugwi, a made-in-Midlands phenomenon of gangs of young people who move across the country hacking people to death with machetes in search of gold? Mnangagwa must revisit the idea of an economic empowerment drive that will be organic and national in nature, appeal and impact.
5. Listen … and act!
Mnangagwa has suited himself as a “listening President”. In 2020, he will need a lot of listening, and acting – this time – and address issues that are affecting ordinary people, including issues enumerated above. A key skill will be reading, as well. He should read the mood of the people and read signs of the times. The latter cannot be emphasised enough