AS Zimbabweans, we get too intelligent and over-complicate a situation for no reason. Many life solutions are practical, not intellectual. The government tried to change currency to securities, that is bond notes and bearer cheques. The Zimbabwean economy has been in turmoil since 1980.
The gross domestic product has not grown much post-independence, and this has nothing to do with white people — there was simply a stagnation of economic output and now ideas were implemented. Toxic politics distorted the economy.
Zimbabwe needs political solutions. We are not talking of rocket science. The Government of National Unity from 2009 to 2013 is a clear example of pragmatic political solutions. Zimbabwe cannot proceed without the mainstream MDC and Zanu PF sitting down and engaging in constructive dialogue to take the nation forward.
Belonging to Zanu PF or MDC is immaterial. We are all Zimbabweans and must share ideas as fellow countrymen. Cabinet ministers are Zanu PF, but they have a national mandate. Most urban local government representatives are MDC, but they have a duty of nation building. One’s political party does not matter; what is important is fulfilment of the citizens’ wishes and aspirations. It is futile to dwell on political party logos or slogans; what we need are good ideas to take the nation forward.
Our politics lacks a focus on prosperity but amplifies the self-interest of individuals rather than nation-building. It is like a volcano erupting on a daily basis in our economy. The challenge Zimbabwe has continuously faced since 1980 is the government’s lack of commitment and implementation on economic reforms.
Commitment means the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etcetera. We will never have economic reforms without commitment.
Galloping corruption is the main culprit which has led us to where we are today in the country. We can blame the Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) and yes, sanctions have their own effects, but the main stumbling block is the mismanagement by some elites who are in government and have turned the state purse into self-sustaining pocket money while the whole country is wallowing in poverty. The plunder and looting in the mining industry is rampant. The government needs to act.
Zimbabwe needs to deal first with toxic politics to gain confidence and trust from the masses. The standard of living of the citizens has been deteriorating.
Workers are underpaid. Zanu PF is failing to fulfil the promises it outlined in the 2018 election manifesto. Failure to deliver erodes confidence and trust.
Zimbabweans need a conducive environment which promotes freedom, peace and policies that will facilitate business. President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to be different and to provide economic solutions to this crisis but the masses are at the receiving end no matter their political affiliation. Zimbabweans have endured suffering for a long time. Yes, patience is a virtue. The suffering is now unbearable. Political solutions are needed for economics wheels to start moving.
The mechanics of economics determine war, peace, boom and bust, prosperity and poverty. The economy will only start growing when we begin realising the importance of agriculture. No region of the world has ever attained to industrialised economy status without a transformation of the agricultural sector. No region of the world has ever moved to industrialised economy status without a transformation of the agricultural sector.
Agriculture, which contributes 16,2% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Africa, and gives provides employment to over 60% of the population, holds the key to accelerated growth, diversification and job creation for African economies. The main goal for the government is to support massive agro-industrial development across Zimbabwe. When that happens, the country would have taken its rightful place as a global powerhouse in food production.
At this point, the economic transformation that we are all working for will be complete if we invest in agriculture. We need agriculturalists who are innovative.
A unique agricultural research station is needed to work with the farmers from all regions to develop strains of crops best suited to our climate, water resources, and soil conditions, and test new techniques for growth. Mining and manufacturing are really second-tier industries. The primary industry is agriculture.
Command Agriculture is a Zimbabwean agricultural scheme aimed at ensuring food self-sufficiency that was introduced at the start of the 2016-2017 farming season following a drought in the previous season. The scheme was introduced as Zimbabwe struggled with economic problems. What was needed in this initiative was a holistic approach. The issue of corruption and mismanaging of Command Agriculture funds erodes confidence and trust.
Only a few farmers are fully utilising the land. Some are leasing the same farms to the white people they seized the land from. The same people, who are failing in agriculture, also want to be involved in every sector of the economy. We cannot rebuild our country as long greedy people are in charge of vital economic sectors. Integrity is the answer to the revival of our economy. We need to work and stop pocketing public funds at the expense of delivery.
Zimbabweans need to find each other. There is need for the restoration of social services and the civil service. We have resources in this country, both human and natural, to make a difference. We must allow professionals in their areas of expertise to provide solutions instead of prioritising partisan politics everywhere. There is no substitute for dialogue in Zimbabwe.
Enos Denhere Journalist and social entrepreneur. — firstname.lastname@example.org