Stephen Mpofu Correspondent
The Second Republic government of President Mnangagwa has unveiled beacons of hope which, if not sabotaged by indolent or mischievous workers put in office by God to help rule this country, will go a long way in healing ills that bedevil Zimbabwean society and in the process set our nation on the road to a brave new future and — who knows — become an example for other countries to follow in the same way as what Zimbabwe did with the land reform programme.
As a point of departure in this discourse, President Mnangagwa when opening the Ninth Parliament on Tuesday this week presented 27 Bills that cut across the socio-economic and political life of the country and are intended to marshal the motherland forward by transforming the lives of Zimbabweans.
But even before his inauguration after the July 30 elections — when he took over as head of a new dispensation government after the fall of former president Mr Robert Mugabe’s administration — President Mnangagwa launched an ambitious initiative of re-engaging the international community.
This was after years of isolation by the West through illegal sanctions as punishment for the land reform programme.
The benefits of re-engagement are foreign investment and international aid inflows that developing countries in particular need to grow their economies.
Devolved central government power became, and still is, an exciting catch word across the country, as devolution will mean transforming the sticks or the periphery — phrases pejoratively used especially by this country’s former racist rulers to describe rural areas where the majority of Zimbabweans live.
Subsequently, the Zimbabwe Women’s Micro-Finance Bank was set up and should eradicate the stigma of Zimbabwean women as the periphery in our society — people who have for long played second fiddle to men in jobs in the home and in other various aspects of life, as is the case with youths in many African countries where jobs are scarce like water in the desert.
But for the new bank to fulfil the societal role that it is meant to play, the women’s bank should not be regarded by its beneficiaries as an elitist institution for educated womenfolk who speak the language of our former colonisers through the nose, as it were.
Housewives and other women out there in the country should also benefit by banking their income from agricultural produce or from sales of poultry however modest those earnings might be.
Thus, the bank should set up branches closer to villages, at growth points, so that families where men do not hold down salaried incomes, can save the little money that comes their way through various projects they undertake for expenses that include school fees and nutritious food for their families, among other essential needs.
Money lent to other women and youths to start projects of their choice will help to grow Zimbabwe’s economy and it is of paramount importance that no borrower should default on their loan payment in order for others and, ultimately the national economy, to benefit from the bank.
An equally significant beacon of hope is the initiative by the ruling party to compile a database for all unemployed youths in the country, be they educated or possessing nothing beyond functional literacy — reading and writing — so that something both essentially and relatively useful to them may be found in order for their contributions to help develop the economy further.
In rural areas, for instance, youths may be encouraged and assisted to set up farming co-operatives under Command Agriculture or create jobs for themselves under Command Fisheries instead of making beelines to urban areas where jobs are scarce and where the jobless youths might end up resorting to crime to make ends meet, or crossing borders to neighbouring countries where living conditions are hush for foreigners.
The main objective of these initiatives and someone in government recently indicated – is the eradication of any and all “marginalised areas” in this country’s geography.
Then comes devolved power to provincial or metropolitan councils where control is shared albeit unequally between the MDC-Alliance and the ruling Zanu-PF.
These councils should not become battle ground for the recruitment of members by these parties to swell their ranks.
On the contrary, people should be hired only on merit because the councils are not branches of political parties but exist to serve all Zimbabweans regardless of their political affiliation or persuasion.
But above everything else, President Mnangagwa and his aides should do everything it takes to weed out any corrupt tendencies that rear ugly heads among government employees.
Corruption has become the bane of many governments especially in Africa, depriving them of trust and badly needed financial assistance from international donors.
Right now the government of Liberia in West Africa has on its hands a case involving millions of Liberian dollars reportedly printed abroad without the government’s knowledge and then spirited into the country under what is believed to be an act of corruption.
A publisher who exposed the scam claimed to the Voice of America radio a few days ago that he was under threat of assassination by unknown people for going public on the matter.
He added that his children had stopped going to school in fear of their lives and that they spent nights crowded in their parent’s bedroom for protection.
Next door to Zimbabwe, in Zambia, foreign donor money amounting to over US$4 million was reportedly stolen by government employees who used it to buy posh cars and the foreign donors are demanding the money back.
President Lungu’s spokesperson, Amos Chanda, confirmed to a VOA reporter this week that the Zambian government was aware of the disappearance of the money.
Here at home some of the millions of dollars blued out of the country by some people and corporates has been repatriated on orders of President Mnangagwa although some of the money reportedly has not been returned.
But it has not been made public what sanctions have been imposed on those involved or their severity to deter other, potential offenders.
Everyone should know that good governance is God’s will which State or other employees must never ever flout as the punishment that goes with that defiance is beyond anyone’s contemplation.