Saturday 8 December 2018
A 4-point agenda that can leapfrog governance and transform ZIMBABWE into an industrial and developed nation in 10 years.
Africa is a great continent rich in resources and labour. Zimbabwe is one of them, a country with more than 60 minerals, vast tracks of fertile lands, beautiful wildlife, preferable climate and above all hardworking and highly educated human resource. Unfortunately, the country had been under poor leadership instead of it using what it has to climb the ladder of development it has been digging its own grave. This article will clearly display 4 fundamental aspects which will leapfrog governance and transform Zimbabwe into an industrial and developed country within 10 years. These aspects are 1. Encouraging and Empowering entrepreneurs, farmers and local project developers, 2. Eliminating corruption and promoting democracy, 3. Respect for human rights and finally 4. Establishing good international relations and having investor friendly policies on the ground.
Encouraging and Empowering entrepreneurs, farmers and local project developers
As a first move towards achieving industrialism and development empowerment of entrepreneurs is the first thing to be done. To initiate development empowerment of the locals should be a priority not an option. In Zimbabwe the groups of people who need to be empowered are entrepreneurs, farmers, local project developers and business owners. There are several ways in which these groups can be empowered.
An entrepreneur is a person who brings forth a brand new innovation or improves an existing one and is prepared to take risks encompassed in doing business. Such kind of people are the cornerstone of development and with them coming on to the surface brings birth to industrialism. Therefore it means that unemployment will fall and the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) will rise. Entrepreneurs can be empowered by offering them grants. A platform such as a national innovation competition can be done and winners offered with start-up costs, the government can offer pitching platforms where it can pick at least 10 best pitchers a year and give start-up costs will enhance industrialism.
Those into the manufacturing sector can be empowered by giving them the export incentive. A person will toil and sweat for something he/she will know is going to get paid for. If an incentive is set manufacturers will sweat and toil to export thus bringing into the country foreign currency. On the other hand the global community will have a different perspective if the country increases its exports. Zimbabwe has unique people in the arts sector with drawings, paintings, crafts and many more if these are exported and sold Zimbabwe will be earning a lot.
The small to medium enterprises (SME’s) are where innovation is at its best in Zimbabwe but they lack money to take their businesses to greater heights. Loans should be made accessible to them so that they can excel and with the export incentive in place they can make Zimbabwe great. In addition to that the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe can help find markets abroad for these SME’s so that they can export their products and the country gain foreign currency as well.
For farmers Zimbabwe is taking a step in empowering them through the Command Agriculture scheme and its working this then can also work with setting targets for the same farmers and those who reach the target will be awarded with agricultural inputs as well as machinery. As said earlier on, “a person will toil and sweat for something he/she will know is going to get paid for.” This will increase the agricultural output and place Zimbabwe back to being the bread basket of Southern Africa.
The issue of exorbitant taxes on business people and miners demotivates and make starting a business more scary. The licences needed and protocols that need to be observed are cumbersome that they drive away the motive of starting something big. However if the country would want to achieve industrialisation and development within 10 years it will have to cut off some of the unnecessary laws, licences (some can be combined into 1 licence) and embracing technology to minimise delays. When that is done it will make the business environment in Zimbabwe more preferable for locals and increase the GDP of the country and usher the state in an era of development and industrialisation.
Eliminating corruption and promoting democracy
The cancer in Zimbabwe that prohibit development is corruption. Simply corruption is the willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or other reward. This has derailed our nation. However the act of corruption has since been raised because of under-payment and the alarming levels of unemployment. Government has to however come up with ways on how they can eliminate this disease from the system.
The main reason why we find our people in the midst of corruption is because of the presence of too many licenses needed for one to get to a certain level in progress. For example the requirements needed to start operating service station the procedures needed to be done are too many and many business people when they have an idea they want it done. That is why people engage in corruption so that the time that would be spent processing the papers gets small. A solution to that is cutting down the number of requirements in the country’s system. At times merging some certificates and licenses for them to be 1.
The other reason why we have alarming levels of corruption in Zimbabwe is because the majority of the civil servants are underpaid. Someone said,” where do they expect us to get the money to sustain our families if they pay us nuts, we have no option except doing the so called corrupt activities.” The above statement shows that workers underpayment has led to a lot of corruption. However If we empower business people, entrepreneurs and project developers, revenue will increase and money will be available for the salary increment of those in the public service thereby helping in eliminating corruption.
Women are precious jewels but only a few leaders recognise that. It has been proven that women are less active when it comes to corruption. Therefore if women are placed in important decision making posts it will help contain corruption in Zimbabwe. In addition to that what a child is taught is what he/she grows up knowing and doing. If dangers of corruption are taught from primary/junior schools level it will help contain corruption.
Another reason why we have corruption everywhere is because our system are failing to adopt change. We are no-longer in the 90s this is the 21st century where technology is at its best. The reason why we have police everywhere in Zimbabwe is because we cannot have cameras in our streets, and this has made them to take the opportunity to be corrupt. Fines are paid to them instead of paying at maybe the police station. What should be done the cameras pick up a car violating the law, the number plates are picked and tracked to find the owner’s residence and details. A ticket is dropped at the owner’s doorstep which if he/she fails to pay before 7 days is to be arrested. Transactions should be done electronically, limited contact of the public and responsible officers will help contain corruption. All the contact should be done electronically. Chile is a good example with its ChileCompra that was adopted in 2003.
The government of Zimbabwe should make a decision to form an anti-corruption intelligence department. Where people are trained secretly and will operate undercover reporting to the headquarters. These will reveal corrupt people and the corrupt individuals will be persecuted publicly for the nation to see that the Republic of Zimbabwe does not tolerate any acts of corruption. On the other hand institutions that are to be found with close to 0% (corruption is inevitable but can be minimised) levels will then be rewarded. This should be after an analysis of the year’s institutions corruption levels. Ministers and government officials found wanting should also be persecuted publicly so that other holders of public offices should stay away from corrupt activities.
In cases where by the state receives some funding or a province or an institution receives some funding. The way it uses the funding should be transparent and the results of the funding should be publicly noted and the expenditure outline should be made public at the end of funded projects. Members from the Secret Anti-Corruption Agent should be monitoring closely on how the funds are being spent so as to help in the annual statistics, and also if they find any corrupt acts those responsible should be brought to book.
In a period of 10 years these measures will contain corruption and once corruption is thrown in the dustbin it then means that state governance will have transformed and will be transparent.
Democracy to Zimbabwean citizens has only been music from the next door. Zimbabweans have rarely tasted what democracy is. However it is in the power of the masses to change what is on the ground. This is because the government serve the people not that the people should serve the government. A change in thinking and mentality should be the number one move in achieving democracy in Zimbabwe.
Those who hold public offices should be taught on how to respect human rights and what it means to be holding a public office. Yes their manifesto is brilliant, propaganda is the best but their knowledge on human rights is close to zero. If a platform is brought forward by the parliament where those in public offices are taught the importance of human rights and how to observe them is the number one key to achieve democracy. Once the government respects its citizen’s rights then they can surely move from autocratic to being democratic.
African leaders have took advantage of the fact that a large percentage of the population is not in the circles of information circulation especially those in the rural areas. So they have made the state broadcaster partisan, and have then monopolised power. This what they have been doing is now at stake as internet is paving way for broad information circulation. Social media platforms are now used for circulating information.
In addition to that local non-governmental organisations should be formed so that they go in the rural areas disseminating information to them. Telling them that they are the ones who employed those in public office and can fire them whenever they want. When the people discover the power they have over the government and learn how to use it then a step towards democracy is achieved.
An environment that allows citizens to express their freedom, and where they can express themselves and be heard is another major step towards democracy. This also calls for those in public offices to socialise and not to mobilise. When there is freedom of expression and freedom of speech encompassed with freedom after expression and speech then the culture of fear is eliminated. Those in public offices should be told that the only chance that they have to be elected into office is to socialise with their people. When they engage in socialising that is when they know what the people want and they act on delivering. Furthermore respect from the people comes through socialising with them, listening to their needs and fulfilling their needs. If a leader does that then how can they not practise democracy.
When Zimbabwe reaches a point where they can remove the democracy on paper and start practising it then at that point we will have had a major step in transforming our way of governance. However most work should be through the speaker of the parliament, NGOs and pressure groups.
Respect for human rights
In Africa the maximum respect for human rights have only been theoretical and not practical. However once democracy is achieved then respect for human rights is also achieved. The major factor that suppresses the respect for human rights is the presence of dictatorship. Once dictatorship is ruled out and then efforts to achieve human rights respect are easy.
Information should be disseminated to everyone in our communities and this can be done by holding seminars, campaigns, roadshows, quizzes in schools, debates, programmes on human rights awareness on social media and mass media platforms such as televisions and radios, fliers, posters and having sports competitions where information on human rights awareness is disseminated.
This will be easy after having steps towards democracy. Once there is respect for human rights and democracy in place then government will have transformed.
Establishing good international relations and having investor friendly policies on the ground.
Being a loner gets one nowhere, even a hunter needs dogs for assistance, and for them to assist him the hunter should be in good books with his dogs. This means Zimbabwe as rich as it is with resources it also needs the international community to help it as well. After political violence is eliminated, steps to democracy are taken (Depositing the ADGEC), initiatives to respect human rights and empowering locals then how can the international community stay away. So after having shown progress in achieving the 3 aforementioned aspects, Zimbabwe will have a better face in the globe and it will gain good international relations and can source aid whenever it is necessary.
However small touch-ups will still be needed so as to attract competent investors in the country. First and foremost a website should be put in place where investors can go and see investment opportunities in Zimbabwe if interested an investor can click on the opportunity’s link and get details of the deal and send an email to the website’s administrators who will then help the investor scoop the opportunity. Such a platform will help investors outside Zimbabwe to see what is it that is in Zimbabwe that which they can make use of.
A similar platform can also be made but this one will be linking investors and entrepreneurs (especially the youths). It will be a platform where an entrepreneur will meet investors online and share his/her idea and then if any of the investors on the line wants to invest in such an idea then they contact the entrepreneur and they start doing business.
The formation of such platforms should be funded by the government as they are means of supporting the Zimbabwe economy and its people.
Exorbitant and unethical taxes on investors should be cut off they should be reasonable. Most requirements to start operating should be sent online and transactions done online. However, ensure that these investors pursue corporate social responsibility as it will end up improving the country’s infrastructure. This will create an investor friendly atmosphere.
In addition to that investor performance appraisals should be done annually and then after a period of 5 years those who have their graph rising will remain but those who are having their performance declining and failing to provide what they promised as well as participating in corrupt acts will be given a 2 year warning which will be accompanied with close monitoring. Incompetent investors should then be left to go, those who have their performance generally rising for 15 years should then be awarded with 99 year leases. By so doing competence, development and industrialisation.
One can argue that major aspects like infrastructural development were set aside, however when GDP rise through empowering local businesses, and bringing in more investors with corruption out of the way then funds for infrastructure development can be secured. It also means the government will have its revenue increased and with good international relations and corruption out of the way donors will find themselves coming in Zimbabwe to help in the health and agriculture and education sectors. Steps to achieve the above mentioned aspects will surely lead to a better Zimbabwe with a transformed government and she as whole being developed and trolling into an era of industrialisation in a period of 10 years.
Compiled and Done By
Mukondo Simbarashe A
Zimbabwean citizen (21 year old)