While Government detractors and serial sanctions beggars would want to paint a bleak picture of the situation obtaining in the country, something completely opposite is taking root on the economic front.
Let’s for starters take the efforts being undertaken to capacitate all institutions mandated to enforce and execute the law including cleaning the malfeasance in both the public and private sectors.
As recently as a few weeks ago, a top-notch Ugandan anti-corruption judge was in the country to train Zimbabwe’s judiciary ahead of the establishment of the new anti-corruption courts.
Justice Lawrence Gidudu, who is the Head of Uganda’s Anti-Corruption Court, was in the country to conduct a week-long training attended by judges, magistrates, prosecutors, anti-corruption investigators and police officers.
What clearly came out of the training symposium was that Zimbabwe needs to work towards limiting human contact in daily business transactions. In other words, the Government was urged to invest more in automated systems in critical institutions to limit human contact and manipulation.
Another important lesson was the need for capacitation (both human and financial) of institutions dealing with corruption, with the requisite skills to handle complex economic crimes.
Emboldened by the symposium and other experiences, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has moved with speed to forfeit any property obtained through unscrupulous means.
So far, ZACC has managed to seize 12 vehicles, three mansions and has frozen some bank accounts to recover ill-gotten wealth.
Now that ZACC has been capacitated to forfeit ill-gotten property, the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Asset Forfeiture Unit needs also to be capacitated together with the Attorney-General’s (AG) Civil Division to assist in the seizure and processing forfeiture applications in the High Court.
There is urgent need to expedite corruption cases in courts to instil public confidence in the execution of justice.
But arms of law and institutions dealing with corruption are not in themselves the sole panacea to economic growth. In a move aimed at augmenting the work being undertaken by ZACC and other institutions, President Mnangagwa recently signed into law the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) in a quest to attract local and foreign investments.
Before the coming into being of ZIDA, the One-Stop Investment Services Centre (OSISC) was in operation together with other entities like the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA), the Joint Venture Authority (JVA) and the Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority (ZSEZA).
All investment processes are to be integrated into one entity. Dr Washington Mbizvo, who has been the interim chairperson of OSISC — a precursor to ZIDA — under the auspices of the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) is buoyant that the new integrated unit is most ideal in dealing with investment inquiries and processing.
He alludes to the fact that even before the birth of ZIDA, OSISC had done tremendous work which has seen the opening up of some factories including the setting up of Merken (Private) Limited based in Harare’s Graniteside industrial area.
It manufactures oral hygiene products.
Also, it is most encouraging that other industry leaders are seeing positive prospects of economic recovery in Zimbabwe.
The remarks by the head of the multinational mining company, Anglo-American, Mr Mark Cutifani, that Government’s reforms are bearing fruit vindicates the confidence most Zimbabweans have that the economy will rebound.
In his assessment, Zimbabwe’s economic recovery can further be quickened by tapping into the country’s impressive human capital.
Furthermore, a recent report by a United States-based strategic think-tank, which has strong links with MDC-Alliance vice president Mr Tendai Biti, predicted that President Mnangagwa would “resoundingly win the 2023 elections”.
The report forecasts a ZANU-PF victory in the 2023 plebiscite being predicated on a “rebound of the economy”. It further claims that regime change agents can only dislodge the ruling party from power by torpedoing its reform agenda.
Instead of wishing something catastrophic to happen to Zimbabwe, we encourage every citizen to be guided by national interest.
The economic triumph of Zimbabwe is good for everyone.