The Sunday Mail
“Last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice,” once remarked British poet Thomas Stearns Eliot in his famous book, “Four Quartets”.
He summed up this verse by saying: “To make an end is to make a beginning”. And indeed as 2017 makes an end today, 2018 makes a beginning. This has given Zimbabwe an opportunity to be hopeful, not only because of the New Year, but also because of a new political order which was ushered in on November 17, 2017.
To capture the national mood, The Sunday Mail Society talked to farmers, teachers, businessmen and residents among other members of society giving them a platform to air their expectations in the coming year.
Wonder Chabikwa, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union
As farmers we expect a prosperous year because the Budget improved this year and this is something which we had not experienced in a long time.
The African Union’s resolution that governments should dedicate at least 10 percent of the total budget to agriculture has helped us a lot. We are also expecting that the weather will remain good in 2018 as forecasted. If we have normal to above normal rains then our season will be good.
We hope for improvement in the supply of cash, the golden leaf will be on the market soon and we expect this to result in the improvement of liquidity so that farmers can access their cash whenever they want it. We are also expecting more involvement and consultation from the new Government in strategic planning as well as the rest of the value chain unlike in the past when ministers would just go it alone.
I am also hopeful that the menace of the fall armyworm would be arrested in 2018
Tafadzwa Goliati, Passengers’ Association of Zimbabwe
We are hoping for proper policing from ZRP to help curb accidents on our roads. About 65 percent of public service vehicles are not insured and have been getting away with it because they were paying bribes.
We expect this to stop because when these vehicles are involved in accidents, victims cannot be compensated.
We are also hopeful that a proper public transport system will be put in place because the current one is violating passenger rights. We want buses and trains to come back into the picture because they are safer and more efficient. So mass transport systems are the way to go because kombis are involved in accidents on average between every five to 10 minutes.
We are also hoping that roads will be rehabilitated because the ones that we have at this moment are old and are contributing to road accidents. We are also appealing that accident victims should not be made to pay in hospitals, it is insurance which should cover all of that.
Mufundo Mlilo, Combined Harare Residents’ Association
Our major expectation going into 2018 is that of service delivery, we want to see an improvement in water quality as well as water supply. At the moment the city is struggling to meet water demand and this has resulted in recurrent water-borne disease outbreaks.
The issue of public infrastructure should also be looked into, particularly roads. Our roads are in a sorry state and they should be rehabilitated to improve the standards of living for residents. We also expect local authorities to improve their disaster preparedness because often we are experiencing outbreaks such as cholera and typhoid and we are failing to deal with them.
We are also hoping that the City of Harare will resume comprehensive city planning in 2018 because this gives the city the direction it should take.
Comprehensive city planning was last done in 2004 and we are saying this practice should continue to give council direction. Corruption should be dealt with severely at Town House because this is what has brought the city down to its knees.
If corruption is not dealt with, then residents will continue to default. While some have remained sceptical, there are already plenty of signs of change to give people hope. The cost-cutting measures in this year’s Budget, capital injection, the gospel of unity and the willingness of the ruling party to put the economy first has brought hope to many.