When astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969, becoming the first man to do so, his one-liner “That is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” was immortalised in history as it concisely captured this epochal human feat.
In essence, that small “baby step” by the American astronaut represented an incredible breakthrough — powered by sheer human will — for science and technology, including human endeavour.
It simply means something that is seemingly small can represent an accomplishment that is incredibly huge.
The same can be said about Zimbabwe’s improvement in Transparency International (TI)’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
Latest rankings indicate the country achieved a CPI score of 24 out of 100 in 2019, up from 22 a year earlier.
Similarly, the country’s CPI ranking increased from 160 out of 180 in 2018 to 158 last year.
In short, these rankings connote that perceptions over the prevalence of corruption in Zimbabwe have marginally improved, or, put differently, corruption was perceivably less pervasive in 2019 than it was in 2018.
It is not fortuitous that the new Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), which is chaired by High Court judge Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, was appointed in the same year, replacing the dodgy former commission.
Admittedly, the ranking is still low, which means ZACC still has its work cut out. However, small that this progress is, it has to be celebrated.
Another global ranking — the Ease of Doing Business Index compiled by the World Bank — highlighted the country’s remarkable progress in reforms designed to make it easy for businesses to operate.
In fact, Zimbabwe moved 15 places up the rankings and was considered to be part of an eminent list of top 20 reformers globally.
All these achievements, and more, essentially debunk the idle talk by naysayers that the Second Republic is not walking the talk on reforms and is simply talking the talk.
Since the advent of the new political administration in November 2017, there have been dogged efforts to clothe it in the robes of the old.
All the talk on reforms has been routinely trivialised as empty talk. But these two critical rankings undoubtedly show the incremental progress that Harare has been making over the past two years.
A lot is also happening on other fronts.
Just last week, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Estonia, which have been deepening relations with Harare under the Second Republic, began preparatory work to digitalise patient records in public hospitals, an intervention that will considerably improve the integrity of our local healthcare system.
The efforts add to UAE’s ongoing assistance to the sector.
Last week, Russia also signalled that it would be upscaling the US$400 million Darwendale platinum project.
Zimbabwe is clearly on the move.
However, there is an enduring perception that the pace of reforms is slow, perhaps justifiably slow.
In quarters that are oblivious to the law-making process, such delays have been attributed to Government’s reluctance to follow through on its stated commitments. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Thankfully, the Executive also shares the same concerns.
While officially opening the second session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe on October 1 last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa exhorted Parliament to speed up processes in order to invigorate reform.
“The law must be a universal instrument of development. As such, the slow pace in this august House, which has resulted in a low number of Bills passing through Parliament cannot be allowed to continue. I, thus, challenge honourable members in their individual and collective capacities, to play their part in speeding up our parliamentary processes,” he said.
Clearly, the onus of implementing reforms does not lie with the Executive alone, but everyone — the Legislature, Judiciary, media and ordinary citizens — have to play a part and own the process.
Since our aspirations are the same, we must all work towards a common vision as Zimbabweans, notwithstanding our differences. Scepticism, disunity, slothfulness and corruption will only slow us down.
As a country, we need to leverage on the progress that has been made by Government so far — and duly noted by the outside world — to quicken the pace to the destination that we have set for ourselves.
Most importantly, the progress that continues to be made by Second Republic clearly shows that it is not old wine in new bottles, but new wine in old bottles.
We might currently be making small steps, but we are definitely making a giant leap towards Vision 2030.