The full weight of Zimbabwe’s hopes for better times rests squarely on President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa’s shoulders.
The principal challenges for the President are undoubtedly the state of our economy and the need to tackle head-on acts of misbehaviour and indiscipline by both individuals and corporates.
It is a fact that Zimbabwe has been in the throes of economic crises for approximately two decades. The wheels of industry have come off and unemployment is very high, coupled with sharp cash shortages and crumbled social services.
Gladly, President Mnangagwa recognises the major challenges and told the crowd at the Zanu PF headquarters: “We want jobs, jobs, jobs!” He also knows Zimbabwe cannot succeed in isolation and was quick to implore the Western world and the United States to reconsider their economic and political sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Indeed, whatever happened in the past should make way for a new era. The President underlined this when he stated that “We need the co-operation of our neighbours in SADC, the co-operation of the continent of Africa; we need the co-operation of our friends outside the continent”.
President Mnangagwa, in his inauguration last Saturday at the packed national stadium, warmed up to the expectations of people that have suffered for too long when he delivered a refreshing speech full of hope and promise. He plainly demonstrated that he is on a mission to bring back smiles on the faces of the majority of the people.
Most importantly, he undertook to curb externalisation of foreign currency and the smuggling of goods, crack down on corruption, strengthen the pillars of democracy, rebuild the country, attract foreign investment, and to hold elections as scheduled in 2018.
True to his promise, the President has hit the road running and made the first significant and bold step towards fixing the liquidity challenges by granting a three-month moratorium within which individuals and corporates that externalised money should bring them back.
During this amnesty period, which is from December 1 to February 28, 2018, Government will neither ask questions nor prefer charges against those that will be repatriating the money or assets. It is quite clear that the President is acting on facts.
There are obviously known individuals and corporates that have violated the laws of the country by committing economic crimes. They will only have themselves to blame should they get arrested and prosecuted for failing to comply within the amnesty period.
Amnesties like this are not strange to Zimbabwe. Other countries have done them with resounding success.
The President was forthright when he stated during his inauguration that: “People must be able to access their earnings and their savings as and when they need them.” Standing in bank queues everyday and in many cases sleeping on pavements in order to withdraw paltry amounts of one’s savings is taxing not only physically but also mentally and should not be allowed to go on forever.
Bureaucratic bungling has cost Zimbabwe a lot. President Mnangagwa made it crystal clear to civil servants that it is no longer business as usual in the new political dispensation under his stewardship.
The President has sent a strong warning: “Gone are the days of absenteeism, days of endured delays and forestalling decisions and services in the hope of extorting dirty rewards – those days are over.” It is therefore, important for all to take heed and cultivate a new culture in all Government business, especially on decision making.
Without a doubt, it will be painful in the short-term but our patience will pay off in the end as Zimbabwe stakes its claim on the global arena.