South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko and black consciousness icon once said, “It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die”.
President Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has just brought to Zimbabwe the idea of the Second Republic, something that is gaining currency in the political nomenclature.
And what a better way to express an idea than to action it!
President Mnangagwa’s Second Republic is truly a new political and economic order primarily driven by political tolerance, peace and love.
It is an all-embracing culture ready to transform its citizens from the shackles of the past political dispensation.
His message has not been just a political mantra meant to sway voters.
No! It is a message that inculcates hope and confidence in us as Zimbabweans first and the rest of the world in general, a message that the President is prepared to die for.
It is a message that every Zimbabwean, irrespective of political attachment, should embrace with their eyes wide shut.
He took this message to the ongoing 73rd United Nations General Assembly meeting aptly themed, “Making the United Nations Relevant to all People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies” .
The United Nations General Assembly summit has all the trappings of a community of global economic shapers anxiously waiting to hear first-hand what President Mnangagwa has to say in his maiden speech as President of the Second Republic.
So far ED, as he is affectionately called, has not disappointed on the international stage, much to the chagrin of Zimbabwe’s doomsday preachers.
One interview after another, ED has remained focused on the tone he set during his inauguration on August 26, 2018.
Resolute and unflinching, he laid bare what his vision for Zimbabwe is and the role that other countries can play in the rebuilding of the “Zimbabwe We Want”.
Experienced and war-hardened journalists such as Christiane Amanpour can testify to this after the “soft as wool” President articulated explicitly what he stands for and the way forward for Zimbabwe.
It is an open secret that Zimbabwe has been a pariah state for an unprecedented time, suffering from lack of balance of payment support from key international and multilateral lending institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
The international community lacked confidence in us for a number of political reasons, most of which the President has embarked in addressing.
Thus it naturally follows that in order to gain confidence of the international community, Zimbabwe must exhibit consistence on its vision and mission, bolstered by the team that constitute the Cabinet, formulate policies that stimulate economic growth and safeguard foreign direct investment (FDI).
To this end, President Mnangagwa has passed with flying colours.
It is deplorable for a country like Zimbabwe, endowed with over 60 different minerals that include diamonds, platinum, gold and lithium, to remain economically stagnant. No.
We can’t continue on a sliding barometer when we have the best minds in Zimbabwe and over three million scattered across the globe.
The business community must step up to the challenge of rebuilding Zimbabwe.
The idea of “Rebuilding the Zimbabwe We Want” is not for political leaders to champion. The business community must be on the same pedestal and steer the economy.
In his inauguration speech, President Mnangagwa said “Our economic policy will be predicated on our agriculture which is the mainstay, and on creating conditions for an investment-led economic recovery that puts premium on job-creation.
“Key choices will have to be made to attract FDI to tackle high levels of unemployment while transforming our economy towards the tertiary.
“The many skilled Zimbabweans who have left the country over the years for a variety of reasons must now come into the broad economic calculus designed for our recovery and take off.”
He further went on to emphasise that, “Our system of economic organisation and management will incorporate elements of market economy in which enterprise is encouraged, protected and allowed just and merited rewards while gainfully interacting with strategic public enterprises run professionally and profitably, all to yield a properly run national economy in which there is room and scope for everyone”.
In light of the above proclamation, it becomes imperative for the business community to come up with strategic interventions that speak to the President’s policy pronouncements.
The President was very clear as to who he is going to be — “the listening President”.
To further buttress his support for the unheralded local economic players — the SMEs — the President, during the official opening of Parliament, averred that “SMEs, women and youth have an important role to play in the modernisation, growth and subsequent industrialisation of our national economy.
“These groups are equally essential in increased job creation, innovation, environmental sustainability and more inclusive growth.
“My Government will hasten the improvement on the institutional regulatory framework for this sector, through deliberate and sensitive policies, which tap into the entrepreneurial zeal and business dynamism of these important groupings.
“We will be consolidating their access to finance through the Zimbabwe Women’s Micro- Finance Bank and Empower Bank, among other instruments.”
It is incumbent upon the Business Member Organisations and the business community to earnestly support the President’s vision and mission.
On the local front, Domestic Direct Investment must be expansively lobbied for, while international investors contemplate on the level of support they are prepared to lend and the terms thereof.
Dr Keith N Guzah is the Executive Chairman of KRMS (Pvt) Ltd, Founder President of the National Business Council of Zimbabwe, Past President of the Affirmative Action Group,