Zim open for business, not strikes

President Mnangagwa has been very clear in his vision and goal. He has called for collaboration among Zimbabweans, stressing that Zimbabwe’s economic recovery is not and cannot be a one-man job. He has gone further to appeal to outsiders for investment with his Zimbabwe is open for business pitch. So far the country has received investment commitments of more than $11 billion. This is all in less than six months in office, trying to change what his detractors claim was the result of 37 years of former president Robert Mugabe’s “ruinous policies”. In more concrete terms, President Mnangagwa’s goal is to turn Zimbabwe into a middle income economy by 2030. To achieve all these goals, he says we have to leap-frog our development to become one of the most industrialised nations in Africa in the shortest possible period. He has not promised a miraculous recovery, but a product of hard work. Speaking at the official opening of ZITF 2018 last week, President Mnangagwa reiterated his Vision 2030, stating; “To attain this vision, to have Zimbabwe become a middle income country by 2030 — decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, increased investments, free from poverty and corruption — requires collaborative efforts from all stakeholders.

 

He was more specific that he is alive to the bad situation of civil servants. He said civil servants and security forces would have their conditions of service and standards of living enhanced as the economy improved. It is important to repeat that President Mnangagwa has not gone about promising Zimbabweans manna, or instant wealth from the sky; he has gone about it in a practical manner about what industry needs to do, what his government is doing to attract investors and that we as citizens can enhance Zimbabwe’s attractiveness as an investment destination by shunning corruption. To build the Zimbabwe we want, we have to commit ourselves to sacrifice and hard work and disabuse ourselves of the mentality of prophesies and miracles. Yet we have seen of late attempts to play political games, to abuse the freedom of association and assembly to create anarchy in the country, something we find deplorable A few weeks ago it was doctors striking for better conditions of service. Then nurses at public health institutions two weeks ago decided to embark on a strike for better salaries and other conditions of service, ostensibly because the Constitution allows it. We know the Constitution indicates that most of these benefits can be enjoyed subject to Government’s ability to meet them. They cannot be wished from thin air. Now it is teachers. They have threatened to strike when schools open next week. Their demands are not different from those by doctors and nurses. Nobody is saying their expectations are unreasonable. What worries us most and should be of concern to every Zimbabwean is the permanent damage that strikes by doctors, nurses and teachers cause. The first two professions mean people who can be treated are left to die. The same doctors and nurses cannot resurrect the dead even when they get the money they were demanding. How does it feel like to enjoy money you extorted by killing patients who should be under your care? The same applies to teachers. They have no magic of curing the harm they inflict on pupils who miss lessons even after they are paid the money for which they went on strike. In other words the nation is permanently crippled because somebody envied the car next door. It is because these professionals play a key role in society and are held in high esteem that they feel they can hold the nation to ransom and blackmail the Government. It is diabolic But there is something worse. There appears to be deliberate attempts to undermine and derail President Mnangagwa’s vision of a middle income economy by 2030. We cannot attract investors in a nation torn by strikes and lawlessness. We cannot build the economy when we are pulling in different directions. We cannot achieve the Zimbabwe we want through strikes. This is a time for sober minds to prevail, not sabre-rattling and playing political games for the pleasure of foreign powers with sinister agendas. Those who want to join the political bandwagon should come in the open instead of abusing teachers and nurses. Mature and sensible leaders know that you grow the economy first before you enjoy the rewards. That’s the President’s logic — very straightforward and all he needs is time, not disruptive strikes. Happy Workers Day!

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