COMMENT: President lives to lead us to economic freedom

The Chronicle

Eighty is a milestone.

Biblically, the number represents the start of a period of freedom from oppression. The Holy Book tells us that Moses was 80 years old when he asked Pharaoh, the king of Egypt to free the Israelites from bondage.  It denotes maturity too.  Moses writes in Psalm 90 that the general lifespan of a person is 70, but if one is strong, they can live up to and beyond the ripe age of 80.  

Therefore, turning 80 is huge especially for someone who, at 18, escaped death by hanging because he was a minor on whom the ultimate penalty cannot be executed.  Turning 80 is big for someone who faced multiple near-death situations later in his life.  He survived more than 10 years fighting the armed struggle to liberate his country. Later on, and now as Vice-President of his country, his opponents intensify their plotting against him, organising public events at which they verbally attack him, live on national television.  He claps his hands as the most virulent, insensitive and humiliating attacks rain on him.    

At 75, he ingests a poison meant to kill him, but he survives. Three months later he is sacked from his position as Vice-President. Knowing his adversaries were itching to take him out, he escapes on foot over scores of kilometres out of his country.

However, after two short weeks, he is back home, the masses rallying across the country to promote him from the position of Vice-President. Perhaps if you escape attempts on your life for so many times, you may have escaped everything there is to escape.

“A true patriot, fearless revolutionary and a veteran of the Second Chimurenga that liberated Zimbabwe from colonial bondage, Cde Mnangagwa has devoted an entire lifetime to nation-building and the advancement of the values of freedom, unity, peace and solidarity in pursuit of the development agenda,” his office said congratulating him on his 80th birthday yesterday.

“Under your leadership,” his party, Zanu-PF said, “our Government continues to accelerate and excel in the implementation of our Zanu-PF People’s Manifesto scoring among many successes inclusive of food security, infrastructure development, economic stability, quality education, fighting corruption as well as championing the promotion and advancement of women and youth and putting Zimbabwe on the global map through the all-round diplomacy of engagement and re-engagement with all nations.  On this day, we also celebrate your philosophy of development that ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/ Ilizwe lakhiwa ngaba nikazi balo,’ and in doing so, we must ensure that ‘No-one and no place must be left behind’.”

President Mnangagwa and his colleagues freed the country from British political domination in 1980, which is commendable. 

However, the oppression was wider than the political. The country still has to attain economic freedom. The people of Zimbabwe must dominate their economy from agriculture, mining, manufacturing, logistics, tourism and so on.  Many of its people must be freed from poverty.  

We see a lot of work in that direction and a number of successes have been achieved since November 2017.

President Mnangagwa’s Government has come up with many policy measures to lift the country into upper middle-income status by 2030. Through devolution, it is investing in infrastructure in a manner we had not seen before. Clinics, schools, dams, power generation facilities, irrigation schemes, hospitals, roads, ports and other essential public infrastructure are being built across the country.  Such massive investment means jobs for tens of thousands of Zimbabweans and more secure livelihoods. The quality of life of the people should improve.  The economy is being modernised.

Yes, we indicated that Zimbabweans must dominate their economy but that does not mean that Zimbabwe does not want investment from abroad. 

Through the President’s engagement and re-engagement policy, an environment in which foreign capital can feel comfortable is being created.  As a result, we are seeing investment coming from abroad into the local mining, energy development, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors.  

The transformation is evident in the country’s education sector as well.  It is being refocused to emphasise on production of goods and services and solving real-life challenges.  Universities and colleges are producing goods and services which are contributing to national development.   

The future will certainly not be plain-sailing.  There will be challenges along the way.  

However, we are confident that the country, under President Mnangagwa’s leadership is making bold steps to consolidate its political freedom while moving towards greater economic freedom.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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