Opinion & Editorial

OPINION: President Mnangagwa what is our problem?

By Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo:

We are the second largest platinum producer in the world, we have gold reserves around the country, we have chrome, we have alluvial diamonds, we have best human resources skills, we have land and natural resources related to governance, my simple question is what is our major challenge?

Few days ago, South Africa witnessed Cyril Ramaphosa launching an 18 Billion dollar investment into the mainstream economy. Few months ago, we witnessed Zimbabwe leaders receiving bandages and other medicals from Botswana, and where is our chrome? Where is our platinum, and where is our alluvial diamonds?

Few days ago , we read about Edgar Lungu of Zambia launching a 10 Billion dollar Energy project, apart from that, Zambia has established energy plants to cater for energy sector to avert loadshedding. Back home, we are facing massive loadshedding, and from the time Chasi left Energy Ministry, Gata is now back at the helm of ZESA utility board, and tarrifs have risen, and we are in serious power shortages.

During this past week, disturbing images of school pupils were circulating on internet, where children were practising drug and sexual immorality. Teachers are demanding decent wages before they resume their duties.

On the other hand, we have seen Pfumvudza project is on the overdrive, to me this is a good iniative, but I will come back to this one. Where is Command Agriculture initiative, where over 9 Billion ( USD), was spend for the past three years? Where are the results before we focus on the Economic implications of Pfumvudza?

Few days ago, I was following ZTV closely as a Policymaker, and a Researcher, and I have few comments to make over your countrywide tour on duty.

Three days ago, you were in Chimanimani launching a housing scheme, and later on commissioning a classroom block, and other hostels, to me I have few questions regarding these trips.

You need to apply two critical techniques around your Presidency

(1) You must have a strong PR team which manage your diary. It’s not every trip which may be necessary to go. Some of the trips can be avoided and delegate junior Ministers or even local legislators. People close to you are not being frank with you on which trips to embark on.

(2) Manage perceptions – some of the problems which our country is facing many not be necessarily economic or political stalemate, but it is how your adminstration deals with public perceptions. Questions around this which should be answered ;

  • What do people say about this?
  • Is it necessary to do this?
  • How do I correct this situation?
  • How to correct people’s perceptions towards the Administration is very important and it should never be ignored

Here is my two cents advice :

  1. You need Strategic Thinkers around you, to strategize on how to turn around the economy using best business class model to run the country.
  2. We need Business model to run the country. All these projects , Pfumvudza, Command Agriculture, they must be regulated by local financial institutions, banks, and they must be under Ministry of Agriculture.
  3. Farmers must go and borrow loans from banks, and the Government must play a role to look for foreign and local markets.
  4. Government must work on title deeds for farmers, so that farmers ca borrow money from banks.
  5. Individuals must stop running Government schemes, this will promote corruption, and this will bleed the fiscus. Ministry of Agriculture has enough manpower to deal with these initiatives and Government schemes
  6. Zimbabwe needs a sound development policy which targets critical sectors of the economy such as Education, mining, Agriculture, Industry, tourism, health and infrastructure development
  7. Government through Finance Ministry, must redirect expenditure towards critical sectors of the economy, to creat jobs, widen tax base and also regulate fiscus measures. This improves the GDP of th country.
  8. This idea of donations or handouts to Communities must not be tolerated. Citizens must be empowered. People don’t need handouts, they want employement. Pour money into the industry, creat jobs and people will pay tax to the Government, and this will improve service delivery.
  9. Foreign missions must be cut. You need to reduce the size of the foreign missions. We don’t embassies in each and every country, for what? We must remain with Strategic foreign embassies. For example, South Africa embassy can cater for Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Malawi since there is advance technology where people can use online service.
  10. Deputy Ministers must be removed. Ministers can work directly with Permanent Secretaries. This reduces the wage bill which can be used to redirect expenditure to main critical areas of the economy
  11. Merge ministries. We have a bloated Government. Eg you can merge Ministry of ICT and Information Ministry to cut costs.
  12. Size of the cabinet must be reduced to 13 or 15
  13. Inclusive dialogue which must involve all political players is critical for our country.
  14. We must shelve politics, and incorporate inclusive ideas for strategic planning
  15. I’m of the idea that you need to remove senate. It is draining the fiscus.
  16. Privatization of state entities is critical. Some of the state companies are not necessary, they are bleeding the economy. They have created patronage and unnecessary fiscal expenditure
  17. Corruption
  18. The plight of citizens must be taken into consideration.
  19. You need strategic Thinkers in key areas of Governance. Fresh blood is important
  20. Political acumenship is important. Your leadership must be felt on the ground through the following :

(a) Be firm and stamp authority on key decisions

(b) Policy direction of the country

(c) PR stance of the Presidency

(d) Political decisions must come from political wave

(e) There is a de-link between the Government and citizens, and that gap must be closed

Last but not least, there is life after Presidency, and Legacy is important !!!

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is the Head of Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking – ZIST, and he holds a BA from Solusi University, MA from University of Lusaka, Zambia, Post qualification in Project Management, University of Zimbabwe PhD from Women’s University in Africa and B science in Development ( Candidate), and he can be contacted at [email protected]

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