PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa was three months into his tenure when the familiar anti-Zimbabwe song was reignited by Nelson Chamisa and echoed by his party’s hoodlums in Buhera on February 20 2018.
Then Chamisa claimed that he was the only one destined to lead this country, stressing that he had the keys to the country’s future.
That was of course a lie that he has regurgitated to date, with the recently ended strike by doctors being a case in point.
What started as a normal stand-off between an employer and employees almost degenerated into a catastrophe after it was hijacked by the MDC Alliance which sought to use the doctors’ strike to score cheap political points.
That is one of the fundamental issues that Government has to contend with this year; a nebulous opposition driven by an ugly desire to destabilise the country at all costs.
Utterances from Chamisa’s blue-eyed boys Charlton Hwende and the indefatigable Amos Chibaya are testimony the MDC Alliance will spend most of its time this year on the streets instead of playing their role in the House of Assembly and in town councils.
That will not deter Government from forging ahead with its policies.
Yet democracy is not a right that the opposition should abuse.
They stand warned on that one.
In December, this writer had a conversation with a senior MDC Alliance official who could not hide his excitement over shortages of fuel, soft drinks and cash.
The official was adamant that the scenario presented the opposition with an opportunity to remain relevant and in his own words: “To bring ED to the negotiating table.”
The opposition has been working towards smuggling themselves into Government.
The direction that the country is taking through Finance and Economic Planning Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube’s austerity measures matters little to them.
Forget about the continued lies that they have the brains, the gravitas to turn around this economy.
The reality is that they find governance more attractive, more appealing than their lies of serving the masses.
Who will forget their anger and fury in Parliament last month when they demanded for Toyota Land Cruisers, among other perks?
Let us look at critical sectors and issues that are likely to take place this year.
There is no doubt that the last quarter of 2018 was difficult for the majority, but the picture is on how the austerity measures that Government has taken will unravel.
Already, ZIMRA has surpassed its revenue collection targets and the trend is going to continue, in the process freeing up the burden on Government expenditure.
President Mnangagwa has indicated that while the country is going through hardships, these will ease as time goes on.
That is the essence of the austerity measures — to create space for the much needed economic turnaround.
In his 2019 New Year message last week, President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to build on the positive signs that the economy has been showing in recent times, saying unity is key to the country’s impending success and economic turnaround efforts.
“The value of good governance and integrity are key pillars in the socio-economic development agenda of the country, thus 2019 must mark a turning point and innovative approaches are called for,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Already, we see strong signs of recovery and growth, which the transient challenges we came across this year appeared to be dim. Still, we need to do more, and to remain singularly focused more than ever before.
“With elections now behind us, the time has now come to refocus on improving our economy in order to improve livelihoods and the general welfare of our citizens. We must draw our sense of unity and purpose, indeed on our political maturity, in order to move ahead.”
Mining to spur growth
If there is any sector that could bring quick gains to the economy, it is mining.
Gold production levels hit more than 30 tonnes, with artisanal miners producing the bulk of it.
But it is the Diamond Policy that was approved by Cabinet late last year that has wetted the world’s appetite for investing in Zimbabwe.
President Mnangagwa has already indicated that diamonds will anchor the country’s foreign policy as Harare moves towards reconnecting with the rest of the world.
Writing in his weekly column in The Sunday Mail on December 9 2018, President Mnangagwa indicated that the new policy would be a departure from the past and that the country would seek to tap into the billions of revenue generated annually by the diamond sector.
“Given our past, the diamond policy was always going to be more than a mining affair. It has become a foreign policy issue, both for better and for worse,” President Mnangagwa said in his column.
“On the positive side, it means this policy is a potent tool for our engagement and re-engagement efforts. We make no qualms about this. Our abundant natural resources must lend depth and opportunity to our diplomacy and foreign policy goals.
This new policy protects the national interest, while meeting the expectations of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. The equity structure which the policy prescribes firmly secures our national interest.
So, too, does its interest in and coverage of all stages of the diamond value chain, which are exploration, mining, processing, sorting and valuation, beneficiation and value addition, marketing, capacity building, security and compliance. Indicative global revenues by value chain segment reveal the link between this new diamond policy and our goal of protecting the national interest.
This is the global revenue value at the first stage of the diamond value chain. Polished diamonds, which feature at the second stage of the diamond value chain, and involving diamond cutting and polishing, globally fetch anything between US$20 billion and US$24 billion.
The global diamond jewellery retail market, which stands at the apex of the diamond value chain, calls forth revenues of between US$70 billion and US$72 billion. This is a huge, five-fold jump from the initial US$15 billion.”
Let those with ears listen.