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Eric Bloch: Vision for Zimbabwe

AT Cabinet’s insistence, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara last week organised a workshop on a “Shared Vision for Zimbabwe”.

 Participants came from diverse sectors of society, ranging from politicians from not only the three parties comprising the “inclusive government,” but also several other parties, to the clergy, action groups, societal representative bodies, proponents of women’s rights, the business sector, diplomats, and many others. 
   Inevitably many of the views expressed focused almost exclusively upon issues pertinent to the particular fields of interest represented by respective speakers, but most sought to address the broad spectrum of characteristics envisaged for the Zimbabwe of the future.
This columnist was one of the many accorded the privilege of contemplating what the Zimbabwe of the future should be. In doing so recollection of the “I have a dream” speech of the renowned activist, Dr Martin Luther King, more than four decades ago, flashed to mind — albeit with the very necessary recognition of being devoid of both his remarkable intellect and his profound eloquence. Nevertheless, as is so for almost all who love Zimbabwe, I too have a vision of the Zimbabwe that should be, the Zimbabwe that its extraordinarily wonderful people (with regrettably some very great exceptions, but fortunately a minority) deserve.
Whilst a dream is, more often than not, the unreal or mystical, a vision can become a reality, and that will surely be so of the right vision for Zimbabwe, notwithstanding the hell that it has undergone for at least 11 years.
My vision for Zimbabwe is for:
lA Zimbabwe in which poverty is the extreme exception — not the norm for most!
lA Zimbabwe free of any and all discrimination on grounds of gender, faith, race or tribe, the sole discrimination being between the honest and the dishonest, between the good and the evil, between the capable and the incompetent.
lA Zimbabwe of sound, diversified and ongoing economic growth and wellbeing, enabling self-sufficiency for all.
lA Zimbabwe positively interactive, collaborative with and respected by the entire international community, save for those countries that abhor international norms of justice, human rights and free exercise of will (within the parameters of internationally recognised and accepted criteria of ethics and morals, communal interest and justice).
lA Zimbabwe respectful of the rights of all.
lA Zimbabwe where corruption is the exception, not the norm.
From the depths to which Zimbabwe has sunk, almost wholly of its own making, converting that vision into reality requires radical transformations of policies, of actions and substantive reversals of much that has characterised the last decade, or more. Achieving the vision requires:
lZimbabwe unreservedly espousing, and unequivocally pursuing, genuine and total democracy;
lAbsolute adherence to respect for, and maintenance of, human and property rights, justice, maintenance of law and order (in a just and humane manner);
lProbity and thrift being the overriding criteria of fiscal policies, and of their implementation;
lAny, and all, Zimbabweans being entitled to land, with complete security of tenure and entrenched collateral value, that entitlement being constrained only by an obligation of continuing meritorious, productive usage;
lCreation and maintenance of an investment welcoming, conducive and incentivised environment for both domestic and foreign direct investment (with especial emphasis upon mining, manufacturing — and particularly encompassing value addition to Zimbabwean primary products — tourism, information technology and services);
lFacilitative policies of economic empowerment available to all who do not abuse those policies, and applied free of discrimination, favouritism and nepotism, those policies being focused upon economic development and growth, inclusive of the SME sector;
lEducation and healthcare, of the highest standards, available to all;
lConstructive, non-confrontational, collaborative action internationally (regionally and abroad), Zimbabwe taking a rightful place within the international community, and being responsibly internationally interactive;
lForward looking, instead of a recriminatory endless focus (oft distorted) on the past.
Converting the vision from wishful thinking to reality will not be easy, for it necessitates abandonment of most of the policies and actions that have been vigorously and obdurately pursued, impliedly acknowledging the errors and disastrous consequences of that pursuit.
Also required will be to remedy and rectify much of the great harm and injustices of those policies and actions, including requisite compensation in many instances.  It will also necessitate continuance of the admirable efforts of the inclusive government — in the last few months — to restore the once very good and strong international relations enjoyed by Zimbabwe, so grievously damaged and eroded over the last decade.
This does not require subjugation, but some genuine contrition. More importantly, demonstration of genuine and enduring acceptance and implementation of international norms of justice and equity, of protection of human rights, of compliance with international agreements, of respect for others, and that this will be an ongoing, lasting stance of Zimbabwe, and not a transitional one of convenience.
When the vision for Zimbabwe becomes a reality, and it surely will, the nation of Zimbabwe will, notwithstanding being relatively small in population size, be one of the world’s great nations.

BY ERIC BLOCH

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