WHEN President Emmerson Mnangagwa swept to power, he branded himself as a “listening President” with ears on the ground to hear every concerns of the Zimbabwean citizenry and act on them. Whether or not he has lived up to that billing is a matter of conjecture and subject of debate for another day.
But what is certain is that the meeting with business and labour held on Thursday under the auspices of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) provided him with the golden opportunity to demonstrate his sincerity as a leader keen to see the transformation of the economy, which has been in a tailspin ever since he became President.
Some of the most sticking issues around the economy were raised at that meeting, particularly around currency issues, believed to the albatross around the economy’s neck. If, indeed, Mnangagwa is a listening President keen on seeing the economy rebound, then that is going to be demonstrated by his response to the concerns raised by business and labour.
One inescapable reality is that Zimbabweans have increasingly become impoverished under Mnangagwa’s watch, and he has insisted that there was no going back to the multi-currency system, but humility, a mark of a true leader, must compel him to do an about-turn and facilitate the implementation of policies that are going to work in the favour of the economy and the citizenry.
The economy is desperate for investment, and as long as this currency crisis persists, we are highly unlikely to see investors setting up shop in Zimbabwe under such an environment. It is important for Mnangagwa to ensure that an environment conducive for the smooth operation of business and attractive to investors is created in the economy as a matter of urgency.
What is quite clear to everyone – perhaps with the exception of Mnangagwa and some of those in his inner circle such as Finance minister Mthuli Ncube – is that the Zimdollar has failed as a currency and should just be dumped.
The recommendations made by the business sector should be considered and implemented. These are the key players in the economy in a purely business sense, unlike many politicians whose presence in the business sector is just courtesy of patronage because they are not businesspeople per se.
Government’s hopes that the local currency would stabilise now appear dashed, and the only option is to reconsider another currency as suggested by business. If the government really feels for the people, it should appreciate that the re-introduction of the Zimdollar has impoverished people, and what used to be basic commodities are now luxuries for the majority.