The Sunday Mail
Dr Gift Mugano
Zimbabwe enters into a new era notwithstanding the violence witnessed on 1 August 2018, those events are regrettable. However, it is beyond reasonable doubt that those events cannot discredit the credibility of the election process.
The same can be said on the entire election process.
Zimbabwe has come of age. We must salute His Excellency President Mnangagwa for providing the environment for credible, free and fair elections.
However, the big question is what does this electoral outcome mean for Zimbabwe? The electoral outcome has significant meaning for Zimbabwe from a number of angles.
First, from a policy consistence and credibility perspective, the President has built confidence in Zimbabwe and around the global community in his leadership. This is rightly so because the President, right from his inaugural speech, clearly spelt out that his Government will provide an environment for credible, free and fair elections.
He preached peace and tolerance from the beginning, something he has continued to hold on to this day despite situations which were highly provocative. I have no doubt that he earned trust of genuine democrats. Trust is key in international development.
Second, he has been given his own mandate by the electorate in a dignified manner. The legitimacy of his Government is unquestionable if the general observations by both local and international observers as well as our own experience is anything to go by.
Hence, from a governance perspective, the fresh mandate given to the President is key in attracting foreign direct investment as well as expansion of domestic investments.
Third, the combined effect of being the champion of credible, free and fair elections and actually walking the talk together with the endorsement of the same by election observers build a fertile environment for economic take off. There is no doubt that Zimbabwe has just opened windows of massive opportunities. It was clear from the beginning that investors are ready to do business with Zimbabwe. To date, there has been investment commitments worth close to $20 billions. These are now expected to come into fruition since most investors were waiting for the conclusion of the elections.
My observation is that the election signal is very much positive.
lt is important to note that positive election outcomes are a necessary requirement for economic take off. However, they are not sufficient on their own. More work needs to be done in dealing with the multiplicity of problems facing the country.
Over the last few weeks, I was running with a message to the winning candidate. l stressed the need to appoint a cabinet made up of energetic and pragmatic ministers who have a track record of success in their past portfolios and the need for a national development plan.
Since we now have a new President, let me take this opportunity to repeat the sermon here again, well on time before the appointments are done.
Lean and pragmatic cabinet ministers. The new President must appoint a lean cabinet with ministers who have a track record of experience in the field linked to the ministry he or she will be presiding over. The same must apply to permanent secretaries.
Yesteryear appointments, which were merely on the basis of political consideration at the expense of merit, should be the thing of the past. Any minister who presides over a ministry which is not linked to his or her professional calling always suffers from technical inadequacy and will always see blanks. The world over, governments put their best experts who are renowned professors and leaders in various sectors of the economy in strategic and key positions. This is the approach we want to see the new Government taking. Undoubtedly, our success in addressing the challenges facing the country today depends on the calibre of men and women in Government.
In order to achieve the middle income status, the Government must come up with a National Development Plan Vision 2030 which clearly articulates how we will get there in a logical and pragmatic way.
As part of the National Development Plan, Government must expedite reforms on doing business and state-owned enterprises. Without going to detail of what the National Development Plan should be, what is key is that its development should be inclusive, consultative and must tape into the brains of Zimbabwean experts, from think tanks, academia, civil society and the business community.
It must never be a party thing, but a national project.
Dr Mugano is an author and expert in Trade and International Finance. He has successfully supervised four Doctorate candidates in the field of Trade and International finance, published over twenty — five articles and book chapters in peer reviewed journals. He is a Research Associate at Nelson Mandela University, Registrar at Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University and Director at Africa Economic Development Strategies. Feedback: Cell: +263 772 541 209. Email: [email protected]