By Tafadzwa Masango
ON July 30, the people of Zimbabwe spoke.
On August 24 the highest court in the land affirmed that voice while the will of the people carried the day and not the whims nor tactics of an immature politician who proved he was ‘in it’ for his personal glory.
In his inauguration speech, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said that Zimbabwe had turned onto a new path; “… a path a full of freedoms, democracy, transparency, love and harmony; a path of dialogue and debate; a path of unity, peace and development.”
His speech takes off from his pre-election statements where he spoke of peace and unity.
In a marked departure from his predecessor, President Mnangagwa has insisted and proved that he is a listening leader.
In a country where many have felt that their voices were not being heard, their voices had been shut out, or that their voices were drowned out by those nearer to the citadel of power, engaging people from all walks of life was certainly a step in the right direction.
Economy, economy, economy
We have heard it over and over again: “It is no longer business as usual,” and now it is time to see whether President Mnangagwa will walk the talk and lead from the front.
The President has said his Government will focus more on the economic challenges facing the nation in line with his vision to “…transform Zimbabwe into a middle income economy, with increased investment, decent jobs, broad base empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030.”
The one thing President Mnangagwa has going for him is that during the election season, he spoke about sensible projects and explained to his audiences how Vision 2030 is going to come into fruition.
It was not just a matter of excitedly promising manna from heaven, bullet trains and airports at every homestead, the President’s interfaces with students, women, youths, the Diaspora and business, among others, were to hear what each stakeholder had to say and come up with mutual resolutions and actions that foster a win/win situation for both Government and various sectors.
Agriculture our main stay
For the man/woman on the street, the grocery list of what they believe the new Government should immediately address is an open secret; jobs, cash, purchasing power, decent housing, service delivery and security.
A recent report indicated that tobacco earnings have hit the US$1billion mark.
Over the years, Zimbabweans have been punished for undertaking land reform.
A section of the black population was hoodwinked into believing the hype that land was better off in the hands of a small white minority nokuti munhu mutema haangazvigoni.
Two decades down the line, the bold and the brave who ventured into this uncharted territory are reaping the fruits of their hard work and perseverance.
When you strip all the propaganda and bias against the black farmer, you realise that agriculture is central to Zimbabwe’s economic success and development.
Those who long for the good old days of commercial farms never mention that small scale tobacco farmers, who mostly started from scratch (with nothing but few resources and knowledge) are the force behind tobacco being one of Zimbabwe’s top foreign currency earners.
Critics seem to always have relative amnesia when it comes to the successes of the Land Reform Programme and yet now, more than ever, many young people are applying for land.
As some politicians learnt in the last few weeks, Zimbabwe is not Harare, but it is the men and women spread across the rural areas who understand land not just as a possession, but as a source of income.
These men and women do not take kindly to attacks and insults thrown at Government when it undertakes projects that seek to empower them.
Irrigation material, dams, tractors and other farm machinery are part of the ingredients to bumper harvests. So when naïve politicians from Harare stand on pedestals and rubbish farm mechanisation initiatives, insult nations which are exporting farming equipment to Zimbabwe, attack the ZANU PF Government over the LRP, they surely cannot expect the very beneficiaries of these projects to vote for them.
There has been no truer saying than, ‘mari iri muvhu’, and the men and women who religiously deliver their produce and crops to the auction floors, the Grain Marketing Board, abattoirs and markets are confident that the new Government will continue to support them and protect them from crooks within and without the country.
Change will certainly not come overnight, but there are low hanging deliverables that Zimbabweans are hoping to pluck in the coming months, viz, timeous delivery of farming inputs, an improved service delivery, minimising the influence of the black market on the flow of money in the country and reorientation of the civil service.
The commencement of the work on the Harare-Beitbridge Highway stands as a measure on whether or not President Mnangagwa will walk the talk.
The time of politicians who talk and talk about development and then fail deliver is over.