Victoria Ruzvidzo In Focus
Zimbabwe is a country that has gone through immense challenges over the past three decades or so, particularly since the days of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programmes (ESAP) that destroyed the country’s social support system and left people and the economy at large exposed to the vagaries of ad hoc market liberalisation strategies and next to zero Government support.
One problem led to another and the economy continued to sink until passengers in the ship called Zimbabwe began to gasp for breath, facing imminent death and yet remaining hopeful that God would rescue the situation.
We were remarking yesterday that if you have survived the economic challenges in Zimbabwe then one can survive any situation be it walking in a desert without food and water or in a thick forest somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Zimbabweans can “kiya-kiya (find unorthodox solutions to problems) and that has carried the day for long.
But the people are now yearning for sustainable strategies that will usher them into the land of Canaan.
It is in this regard that many locally and internationally await the harmonised elections to the extent of becoming impatient in some instances.
The elections are expected to give impetus to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery strategies. Whoever wins is expected to bring solutions that will restore the economy. It is as if the key to Canaan is stashed somewhere and will only be accessed once the election results are out.
It is as if the election results will come with billions of dollars in the same envelope and other goodies that will immediately transform the economy.
Of course, the high expectations are quite understandable. People have tasted a bit of what the land of milk and honey is like and the potential that is there once a new Government assumes new power with a fresh mandate from the people.
What makes the expectations so high is obviously the achievements registered over the past eight months that have given people hope that much more will be achieved after July 30.
Before the November process, life for most Zimbabweans was getting tougher and tougher with not much activity in the economy. The factional fights had taken all the attention from Government as those involved jostled to survive at any cost. The economy ws on auto-pilot but heading the wrong way.
But after mid-November, things began to change slightly with hope and confidence slowly returning into the economy. The entire globe shifted focus towards the Southern African country called Zimbabwe. The rays that began to filter through reflected great opportunities that had been hidden by the long and very cold winter that the country had experienced.
The renewed optimism locally and internationally combined well with a more aggressive, focused and re-energised Government that assumed a completely new and almost “foreign” business culture that has seen ministries and Government departments being called to national duty.
Results so far have made Zimbabweans and other stakeholders realise that much more can be achieved if we apply our minds fully hence the anticipation that the elections will give another boost to the economic regeneration process.
A simple check on the dashboard will show that significant progress has been made under the new dispensation. Zimbabwe has approved $20 billion worth of foreign investments across sectors while thousands of jobs have been created directly and indirectly.
Many established companies have managed to retool while new ones have opened as the environment softens.
Such parastatals as the National Railways of Zimbabwe are on the road to recovery.
We have witnessed a previously unimaginable improvement in relations with the West. This has its benefits such as more foreign investments, increased tourist arrivals and receipts and finance facilities with progressive institutions and nations.
This week we got wind that festive holiday bookings in such resorts as the Victoria Falls have become a mission as most hotels and lodges are already fully booked. And this is six months before Christmas. Tourism operators would tell you previously it was not easy to achieve even a 40 percent capacity.
Such developments illustrate the progress that has been made and the interest that the new dispensation has conjured. Many would want to visit, invest and associate with this country as it walks the last few miles into the land of Canaan.
We need to celebrate these positives as we anticipate a stronger 2018 second half.
Of course, we have the eternal pessimists who cry foul and do not see anything good coming out of this nation and its Government. They continue to moan and are blind to the achievements made so far that are there for all to see.
We all celebrate when someone lying motionless in the Intensive Care Unit begins to move a finger and an eyelid because it signifies life. In the same vein we should challenge ourselves to see the flicker of light at the end of the tunnel that says more light is on its way.
It is not a secret that Zimbabweans have endured much but we certainly hope that this has not hardened some to the extent of failing to appreciate the progress that has been made and the huge potential that presently exists in the economy.
Of course, there are many challenges that Zimbabweans continue to encounter on a daily basis. These include persistent cash shortages, rising prices of most basic and luxury goods, and the weakening bond note against the basket of currencies in use here among others..
These need redress as a matter of urgency. The standard of living has to improve but we maintain that we need to clap hands and ululate where results have been achieved.
It is common knowledge that decades of challenges cannot be reversed in a few months but may take longer but then again some of us are inspired by Samaria in the Bible where the economy completely changed in a day when Elisha proclaimed that those that were eating heads of donkeys, bird droppings and even killing their own children for food would, in 24 hours, enjoy a life of plenty.
“Then Elisha said hear ye the word of the Lord thus saith the Lord tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. (2 Kings 7:1)
“And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be tomorrow about this time in the gate of Samaria” (2 Kings 18).
Zimbabwe has not reached such dire circumstances but certainly the economy has turned for the better and with greater resolve more will be achieved sooner rather than later.
Elections are indeed imminent and we pray that the post-election period will consolidate the gains registered so far.
In God I trust!