‘ED must hit ground running’

Following the conclusion of the July 30 harmonised elections, businesses are likely to flourish as the economy turns around, businessman and former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Calisto Jokonya has said.

In an interview on Capitalk FM last Friday, Mr Jokonya said everybody should now gain confidence in the leadership of the country.

“Politics is about power and controlling resources or influencing decisions in a nation and I think once that is understood by many at the end of the day, it must be done peacefully,” said Mr Jokonya.

President Mnangagwa was elected into office for a five-year term, getting 50,8 percent of the votes. The win allows him to continue with his progressive economic policies that saw the country opening itself up for business.

At the last count, the country had already received more than $16 billion worth of investment commitments.

President Mnangagwa, in just eight months in office, also managed to unlock funding, including the US$1,4 billion investment from China for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station.

Zimbabwe mooted the expansion of HPS in 2010 but the project could not gain traction as China demanded that Harare must first honour its US$217 million arrears from various loans extended to Government, the Harare City Council and Zesa.

Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Huang Ping said it was during His Excellency, President Mnangagwa’s State visit to China in early April this year that Chinese President Xi Jinping made a special decision of delinking the financing of the three projects, including the Hwange Power generation project, from the debt issue.

Mr Jokonya said while President Mnangagwa has covered enough ground in revitalising the economy, top on the list now is to unite and assure the nation that he is a President for the whole nation and that he will defend everyone’s rights.

“That to me is paramount for all of us to invest in the nation and to be assured that we don’t have to look elsewhere. This is what God has given us, Zimbabwe, and we have to take care of it.”

Mr Jokonya stressed the importance of employment creation.

“We have always been waiting for someone to do it for us. We are a nation that wants employment. There are plenty of opportunities in this country and we must look for them and decide how to exploit them.

“We are a blessed country that has got vast fertile land, we must develop and create businesses. Creation of jobs is key, we must create jobs at an individual level. We must ask ourselves what we can do. Ask yourself, where do I see a gap? The fill that gap up,” he said.

Mr Jokonya said one does not need a lot of money to create work or start a business.

“With that idea you can start a business with any amount. Jobs are key but let’s not just sit back and say someone else must do it for us. The President alone cannot do that, he is only going to provide leadership.”

Mr Jokonya said while the country boasts of vast resources and is open for investment, the President should safeguard them for the benefit of the nation.

“External investors will come into this nation, and they are welcome, but we must never forget these are our resources and Zimbabweans must benefit from them. So whatever deals we sign, they must be there to produce results for the nation.”

He said there was need for the President to engage more and make sure the nation feels confident that resources won’t be exploited for a song.

Mr Jokonya also said in addition to the President’s focus on business, there is need to eliminate corruption.

“Corruption must be eliminated at all cost,” Mr Jokonya said.

President Mnangagwa has already put this into action through the establishment of a Special Anti-Corruption Unit housed in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

Two week ago, President Mnangagwa suspended Prosecutor-General Advocate Ray Goba from office to pave way for an investigation into his suitability to continue holding office. A tribunal has since been appointed to investigate the PG on charges of failing to prosecute high profile graft cases and general abuse of office, among others. Mr Jokonya said the nation would like to see such kind of action.

He said when he (the President) acts on corruption, that will open more doors for investment.

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