Zim-Asset one year on: Successes and misses Vertical integration of agricultural products has best been exhibited by the First Family, as they have dairy cows and go on to manufacture products such as the Alpha & Omega brand (pictured above)
Vertical integration of agricultural products has best been exhibited by the First Family, as they have dairy cows and go on to manufacture products such as the Alpha & Omega brand (pictured above)

Vertical integration of agricultural products has best been exhibited by the First Family, as they have dairy cows and go on to manufacture products such as the Alpha & Omega brand (pictured above)

Nick Mangwana Correspondent
WHEN one takes a shot at a target and misses, half of the time is probably because they are aiming too high or too low. In October 2013 the Zanu-PF Government launched Zim-Asset.

This month is its first anniversary. There have been quite a few shots that have looked frankly wild, a few that seem to have been taken non-committally but thankfully a few bull’s eyes.

This opinion piece is not a eulogy to Zim-Asset, for we are not yet writing its epitaph.

Neither is it meant to be a dissertation on this clearly now boring subject. But who said national programmes have to be stimulating and exciting?

They might have catchy and easy to remember acronyms but when it comes down to implementation they are full of blood, tears and whatever else that makes one lose their morning appetite.

Zim-Asset is one such a programme.

We started so well with a fervent motivation to plug the pilferage holes used for pillaging the national wealth.

The Herald’s exposés got the nation transfixed to the national broadsheet.

Here was something refreshing happening. Maybe this Zim-Asset thing is going to work after all, thought the nation.

It was dazzling stuff. The national mood was that once the corruption tumour had been exposed, the next thing will be excision. What an anti-climax! We just fizzled off.

We talk of economic recovery enablers. Corruption is a hindrance.

Some have said corruption is worse than prostitution. With prostitution it is the punter that gets the disease.

However, with corruption the powerful, the rich and the connected engage in it, but it is the poor common man who gets the gonorrhoea.

What a travesty! This shot has been completely off-target. We need to bring it back into our cross hairs.

One year down the line Zim-Asset has attracted jokes, derision and brickbats. It has also scored successes, failures, near misses and frankly tangential shots. One such shot, we opine, is the management of perception.

People support what they know and understand. Zim-Asset has been met with scepticism and downright negativity. Despite the brilliance of the blueprint itself, it now needs the genius of the Government communicators to bring the people on board and support it. Because a year down the line a few really don’t care anymore.

The mixed messages emanating from the Party and Government departments did not help. A bit more coherence and congruence in departmental articulation could have helped avoid the dismissive wave of arm one gets at the mention of Zim-Asset.

Right now a few readers have just skipped through this piece the moment they saw the that acronym in the title.

But people don’t eat perception. In fact, too much investment in managing perception might have the opposite effect as people feel manipulated and therefore develop a misanthropy.

People eat the type of success Zim-Asset gave us in the Food Security and Nutrition Cluster. The President gave seeds and inputs.

An emphasis was also given to cereal crops as opposed to too much cash crops such as tobacco. The level of shortages of yesteryear became history.

A clear quick win for Zim-Asset. We need the improvement to continue.

For without continued improvement, impoverishment will beleaguer us again. But food without jobs is not sufficient.

School fees, clothes and shelter are some of the things that are needed. In short, jobs can help provide for all those. This is where clusters like Value Addition and Beneficiation come in.

We touched on this cluster last week so we will not bore the reader much further. All we can say is that the platinum processing plant, diamond cutting plant as well as vertical integration of agricultural products has been a partial success.

An example of such is the production of cheese, yoghurt and ice cream as exhibited by the First Family. All these are steps in the right direction but still work in progress.

One of the biggest limiting factors to the success of the implementation of the blue print has been the liquidity crunch. What we say about country and economy determines whether money enters our financial system or flies out.

Partially because of perception and confidence, partially because of economic sabotage, partially because some defeated people raised an unnecessary and unjustified legitimacy issue, there was cash flight from the economy resulting in the liquidity crunch. Zim Asset paid the price but the people paid the ultimate price.

Load-shedding in the energy sector has been a challenge to the industry. Debilitated, inadequate and not-so-fit-for-purpose infrastructure has also been a hindrance to the ultimate success of the blueprint. But this has always been known.

This is where the Chinese, whom some love to hate, come in. Those deals whose details we are all clamouring for are meant to alleviate this particular problem and many more.

Sorry that no bags of cash came.

None were expected in the first place. Good infrastructure is an economic recovery enabler. We might want to see results now. That is understandable.

How can we feed our families tomorrow if we cannot feed them today? That point is always conceded.

However, our patience is the avowed companion of wisdom. Zim-Asset is a five-year programme. For now let us focus on the journey and not the destination.

Success cannot come without a monition. We cannot win without condition. The biggest of our conditions is political will.

When we have done that and all the other clusters have been delivered, only then can we deliver the Social Service and Poverty Eradication Cluster. As long as everything else remains on course, this cluster will remain on target as well.

Zim-Asset has been a partial success, thus far. We have four years to make the difference. This time next year what will we be saying?

Some of the few targets we missed, are we aiming too high or too low?

With corruption we have to aim even higher. In managing public confidence, we still need to aim higher. In producing jobs, do we need to re-calibrate the co-ordinates to this target?

We have done everything else right by focusing on the enablers of economic recovery.

But if we take our eye off the ball by concentrating on political shenanigans, we are setting ourselves up to fail.

But for the Zimbabweans that overwhelmingly restored Zanu-PF to power last year, failure is not an option.

  • Ndavaningi Nick Mangwana is member of Zanu-PF UK

You Might Also Like


Take our Survey

We value your opinion! Take a moment to complete our survey