Victoria Ruzvidzo In Focus
Today every Zimbabwean, resident and non-resident, the young and the old and many around the globe wait with bated breath for the outcome of the Constitutional Court ruling in a case in which MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory in the harmonised elections held last month.
All eyes are on Zimbabwe and, for many, the clock appears to be ticking too slowly for their comfort.
A lot hinges on the outcome but in this instance allow me to focus strictly on the economy. Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a recovery path over the past few months while investor interest has been rekindled to previously unimaginable levels. Billions of dollars worth of investment deals have been signed over the last few months while hundreds of jobs have already been created.
Former Ziscosteel workers have been afforded a smile on their faces once more, with prospects of the giant coming alive again. In other instances, those that have been unemployed for a long time have kept their fingers crossed hoping the opening of a new business or the expansion of an already existing one brings employment prospects.
Prospects of the economic engine firing again have been made possible and almost real.
But hopes are pinned on Chief Justice Luke Malaba and his team to tell the world who will superintend on a more sustainable economic recovery and growth trajectory from this afternoon going forward.
Things have slowed somewhat in the past week or two as economic players became preoccupied with the goings on on the political arena over the past few weeks. A few projects have been held in abeyance as they await direction once the verdict is announced this afternoon.
Naturally President Mnangagwa and Chamisa are the most curious to know which one of them will occupy State House from tomorrow but rest assured, business is more than keen to see if their investments and projects will receive impetus from this afternoon’s outcome.
Zimbabwe’s economy is expected to grow by 4,5 percent this year but whether this will be achieved, surpassed or missed depends heavily on who will occupy the apex office along Samora Machel Avenue.
The economy certainly needs all the attention it can get going forward. Although a lot has been achieved in terms of employment creation, import substitution, export growth, availability of productive finance facilities at concessionary rates and many others, it is still fraught with immense challenges that need immediate attention.
Ease of doing business initiatives such as faster project approvals, more harmonious policies and eradication or at least alleviation of corruption need to be attended to urgently. The elusive bond note or dollar needs to become more available on the market with people more excitable about having a choice of whether to use plastic money or actual notes and coins instead of just the latter which still has its problems.
Investors, both local and foreign, need a more predictable environment in which to operate so that they can make correct projections and decisions.
A stable and potent political environment forms the basis on which an earnest economic regeneration drive can be launched and sustained.
Elections and controversies around them, real or perceived, often create uncertainties and fears that usurp energy from the economy hence Zimbabwe needs to get this over and done with. The next few hours are worth the wait given what could lie ahead once its all systems go.
We have witnessed in the past few weeks that some investors have been unperturbed by the elections euphoria and went about their businesses hence they have not lost out on time and opportunities presented while those that wanted to make sure that all was in place are now set to roll once a name to occupy the presidential seat is announced.
Who will the courts declare winner after considering what Advocate Thabani Moyo and team presented, what Advocate Lewis Uriri and team and the witty Zimbabwe Electoral Commission lawyer Tapiwa Kanengoni argued?
This remains the trillion dollar question and the economy awaits the answer to this, too.
As stated earlier, the winner will immediately want to get down to business to salvage the economy.
Of course, one of the first deliverables will be the appointment of a capable Cabinet that will drive the economy and the country as a whole. The Finance and Economic Development Ministry and other economic portfolios will require incumbents who understand the state of the economy and have within them the stamina and wherewithal to confront challenges and bring about solutions that will take this country to the proverbial Canaan – a land of milk and honey.
These portfolios do not need timid, myopic or blinkered individuals but require those that will rise to the occasion and take the economy forward. We will, of course, not proffer any names at this juncture as this will largely be determined by the name that will emerge victorious this afternoon.
The rest of Government should also be run by selfless individuals who are not just keen to line their pockets and those of their relatives but are actually passionate about their country and are ready to sweat for it in a manner that will bring real results to the table.
The economy cannot afford anything less than total commitment from individuals that will be assigned to improve the state of the economy and ensure people’s livelihoods improve significantly.
Many await that time when they will be able to earn a better living from their work and businesses and thus afford their families a decent life.
Firms in all sectors of the economy desire to increase their production capacity and with it more profits.
Banks are keen on lending to businesses and individuals who are able to repay and keep funds in circulation while oiling the economic engine in the process.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is obviously spoiling for improved business activity and a widening of the revenue base so it can collect enough to fund Government’s expenditure while reducing the country’s huge debt.
This country is not a Mickey Mouse establishment. It is endowed with a solid natural resource base which is the envy to many. It just requires the right policies and determined leaders to direct the path.
There is so much that lies underground in terms of gold and other minerals that the country is still to exploit. This country can be a trillion dollar economy any day if all minds are applied to it. This is no fallacy or wild imagination but a real possibility that requires a sober and determined people to realise the potential that is quite evident all over the place, be it in mining, manufacturing, tourism and other sectors of this potentially vibrant economy.
Such economic ulcers as corruption must have no place at all. Those caught with their hands in the cookie jar will need to be dealt with in a deterrent manner.
Ministers and Government officials should have terms of reference and performance appraisals that should make it easy for any failures to be shown the door. Easier said that done but we feel it is about time that this country means business if we are to achieve the prosperity we so desire for ourselves and for posterity.
It is possible. It can be done and it must be done. The announcement of the next President of Zimbabwe this afternoon should signal the beginning of hard work to build and rebuild in some instances a Zimbabwe that will make a significant impact in the lives of its citizenry and on the global economic stage.
We wait … we pray … and we are ready to pop the champagne!
In God I Trust!