By Wisdom Mumera
Having won legality through the Constitutional Court ruling, Emmerson Mnangagwa now faces the even harder task of meeting people’s expectations.
The lure of Mnangagwa to the electorate was in his perceived ability to usher a new dispensation, reverse the negatives of Robert Mugabe’s reign bringing in the supposed Second Republic.
The stakes are thus very high and fulfilling them will be even harder than winning the elections. Some expectations are more readily expected than others.
- Job creation
With an alleged 90% unemployment rate and youth bulge accounting for about 60% of the total population and lacking jobs, this is an incendiary factor ready to explode if not catered for.
President Mnangagwa has to increase jobs in the agricultural, manufacturing, mining, tourism and service sector as well as infrastructural development projects.
- End the Cash Crisis
The cash problem is an ingrained economic challenge that requires drastic measures going beyond populist promises. Cash problems are the face of the economic challenges the country is facing and failing to deal with them will be a negative against Mnangagwa’s rule. Winning the cash problem will be the ultimate stunt.
- Acts of corruption must stop. Where they occur, swift justice must be served.
Zimbabwe ranked 157 out of 180 nations scoring 22 out of 100 on the Transparency International corruption scale in 2017. It’s an abject performance that however is reflective of the current state of the country. Mnangagwa’s commissioned investigation into illicit foreign currency expropriation was a pathetic dud that signalled lack of political will to deal with corruption. Strong political will and action are required in this area.
- Increase production, productivity and food security
Since his days as Vice President, Mnangagwa has been fronting Command agriculture whose results have been a constant source of arguments. Despite affirmations that the program has been a success food challenges have persisted whilst maize imports from Zambia have also continued. Dealing with these is an easy way to appease the electorate and soften the challenges to his political hold.
- Mending strained international relations, strengthening existing and creating new friendships through re-engagement.
This is could be the defining factor in deciding the trajectory which Zimbabwe could take. Get positive results and the country could be on its way to an economic renaissance, lose it and we are back in the thicket of international isolation blundering about. Mnangagwa began on a good footing seeking for international acceptance and acting the part too. The post-electoral violence and killings, ZEC shadiness and some unvarnished political misdemeanours have killed the re-engagement momentum increasing fears that he may resort to the default Mugabe mode and just look east. For the sake of progress Mnangagwa, however, needs to work his way into the arms of the international financiers. No two ways about it.
- Increase power generation capacity from the current 1800MW against a monthly national consumptive requirement of 2200MW.
It’s ironic but power challenges in the country have been smoothened by the reduced need for the same due to an absence of a functional industry. However for the industries to be resuscitated there is a need for increased power generation. Power cuts are not conducive for an economy seeking to regain its footing.
- Improving health services delivery in line with SDGs by the year 2023 and ensuring an AIDS-free society by 2030
Despite the recent WHO praise the country is suffering an insufficiently capacitated health system constantly in a shortage of medication and equipment, poorly remunerated workforce and poor service delivery that has become a hot political theme. Dealing with all this will earn Mnangagwa much more than political points.
- Rehabilitate all roads in towns and major cities to world-class standards
5 % of the country’s road network is classified as primary roads, it connects the country to its neighbours, and 14 % is classified as secondary roads connecting national economic centres. A World Bank report some years back reported that only 24 % of the entire system was in good condition whilst less than 40 % of the network is in fairly good condition and the same proportion is in poor condition. The rehabilitation of these roads will be fundamental in helping assist economic resuscitation.
- Modernizing border posts in line with contemporary and international trends.
With the government now relying on tax heads such as excise duty and value-added tax (VAT) to meet its revenue targets the impact has been heavy. The Minerals and Border Control Unit has also previously admitted that the country is losing millions due to the porous nature of border control mechanisms and called for amendments to the relevant laws. With the country in an ‘every dollar counts moment’ this is one low hanging fruit to increase the treasury state.
- Harnessing environment for climate change
Severe droughts which have increased over the past years have heightened the need for climate change aware systems and practices to avert constant food shortages. Many NGO’s have invested in raising awareness about climate-friendly farming and energy methods and the onus is upon the government to put its hand and push towards the same. With abundant sunshine and water resources, the country is well placed to reap rewards.