HomeOpinion & AnalysisGoodbye 2020, welcome 2021

Goodbye 2020, welcome 2021

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Today, 140 major Acts of Parliament have been amended and brought in line with the new Constitution.

 

Eddie Cross

All the new institutions designed by the authors to protect the rule of law, human rights, to curb and deal with corruption have been formed and their activities controlled by boards selected through an open process dictated by the Constitution. Is it perfect, by no means, is it progress, for sure?

The 2018 election was probably the most democratic held since independence and certainly was much more in line with international practice than virtually any election that I took part in, either as an MDC activist or as a Member of Parliament myself.

When the opposition challenged the result, they made fools of themselves by the paucity of their evidence and it was thrown out by the highest court in the land.

Mnangagwa won re-election by the skin of his teeth — but he won with a majority vote. Was it a hallmark event? No, but my goodness the President gambled everything on the outcome.

Then came the Transitional Stabilisation Programme — 328 pages long, none of us read it, but it was the President’s roadmap to 2021.

Unlike all the administrations before his, he stuck to his plan and administered the medicine we all had to take to restore the ship of State to a condition where it would be stable, have enough ballast in the bottom of the boat and be able to start to sail to 2030, where he said he wanted Zimbabweans to become a middle-income country.

On day, one of the new government he faced fierce opposition from elements in his own party — the G40, the Mugabe old guard, disgruntled elements in the security services and in civil society and near total scepticism in the international Community.

He took over an economy that was on its knees — a 40% budget deficit, a massive current account deficit, a totally overvalued currency called the Real Time Gross Settlement — one of the first of the world’s new electronic currencies.

Seventy percent of all food being imported, 6% of the population in paid employment, massive over-employment in the civil service, bankrupt local authorities and two-thirds of the population on food aid.

On top of this he made the mistake of over promising reform and when his own grip on power was threatened, he had to crack down on dissent.

When opposition to his reform agenda inside the power structures of the country halted the reforms or even reversed them, he lost all credibility with the international community and in the multilateral institutions. His critics asked: “Is he really in charge?”

But despite all this he stuck to his stabilisation programme and the benefits are now slowly coming to fruition. We have got the budget under control, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is following, our fiscal affairs are in order and we now have a small, but significant balance of payments surplus.

There are no shortages of anything in our economy and our domestic business sector and exports are growing strongly. In my view, with the changes made to agriculture in the past two years, we at last can look forward to once again feeding ourselves.

On top of all that, we have started to reform our civil service and with it right sizing and are now a stable member of the African community of States.

I see no reason why 2021, should not see more of the same and the fruits of the sacrifices made in the past three years now coming to the people of this long-suffering little country.

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