Speed Not As Important As Direction, Mr President

President Mnangagwa
President Mnangagwa

By George Mapope.

Open letter to President E.D Mnangagwa

I have written this letter to you so that you can ponder over these words as you go through your 11th week in office, Cde President.

The 100-day target you set for yourself is fast approaching, and you should self-introspect on some of these targets.

Hard as it may seem, but it could be quite a welcome relief to you that your former boss in the government of national unity, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, had to wake up dead on the morning of Wednesday the 14th, 2018.

Ooh, what joy should have filled heart and that of other senior Zanu PF officials, never mind the “outpouring of sympathy”.

True, the man had really troubled your revolutionary party which,  under his guidance, tasted electoral defeat and lost the parliamentary majority for the first time in election 2008.

Thanks, however, to the state media which went into overdrive to assassinate his character as well as distort what the man stood for.

With the assistance of the ZDF, CIO, ZRP, ZPS, Zimra, Zinara, with even Zesa Holding, Zinwa, together with almost every other institution that begins with a ‘Z’, Mr President, maybe you can now finally inflict defeat on what remains of his party.

Because the young face of the opposition, now additionally inspiring to many youths and other adults who are tired of tired leaders…leaders who belong to yesterday, Zanu PF should surely be sweating under its  armpit.

The young opposition leader knows about your desperate bid to show yourself as a credible democrat before the westerners; on whose benevolence your legitimacy lies. He will give you a good run for your money, with or without rigging; believe me!

Back to the actual intents of my letter Cde President, I want to refresh your mind about this old adage, which advises us to mind our direction more that we mind our speed. Remember you have the highest office in this land and you have too many supervisors; almost 16 million of them. Your inauguration day promises before those 60 000-plus hopefuls were mouth-watering, offering hope to so many hopeless souls. Nevertheless, the desire to achieve quick gains to woo the electorate can be disastrous.

The electorate doesn’t survive on hope, they survive on fat pockets and bank accounts, they won’t give credence to promises anymore. In the process of sanitising the new dispensation’s administration as a development-oriented government, you have tried to facilitate many deals; some successful, some not and some in the pipeline. I want to encourage you to continue seeking as many deals as possible, maybe we can become an urban industrial hub like Germany, who knows.

I heard the Central Bank governor used a bond of natural resources to secure a $1 billion deal? Baba vangu Shava iweee! I also heard you are facilitating a $1.4 billion deal for lithium mining in Zimbabwe, that white gold which was profiled 301 years ago? That’s great news Cde President. But let’s closely dissect this deal if it is a deal at all. The deal Cde President, is not a $1.4 billion deal in the first place. Why? Assuming 100 percent capacity utilization and maximum mineral yield, the projected revenues over an 8-year period amount to 1.4 billion. Of that amount, what is Zimbabwe’s share?

How much goes to fiscus? Government taxes 4 percent of gross revenues for minerals like Lithium and that translates to a paltry $5.6 million per year. That is only 2 percent of what tobacco farmers are raking in per year! What an overrated deal it is! In terms of investment, the allegedly dubious South African company will only bring in a few millions and the plant will certainly be shipped from South Africa or China! For your information Cde President, lithium concentrates with a grading of between 5 percent to 6 percent lithium oxide can be exported at $600 per tonne, but upon beneficiation, it is possible to sell the product at approximately $15 000!

You could have taken advantage of your Davos trip to woo Tesla to set up a battery plant in Zimbabwe Cde. Can we not mobilize domestic resources to recapitalize local pharmaceuticals to manufacture medicines for the mentally ill using our lithium? Surely there are so many patients of dementia and schizophrenia including the former first lady! That must fit perfectly well with our medium-term plan that stretches to 2030. Not only does it create more revenue for government, it also stimulates downstream economic activities.

Maybe I’m telling you stuff that neither the Beijing School of Ideology nor the University of Zambia taught you. If you had simplified your bureaucracy Cde, so many individuals with brilliant ideas could have given you solid plans for this great our country. Zimbabwe Cde, endorsed the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2063 and both are wonderful targets for us. Agenda 2063 Cde, wants to see an industrialized Africa by 2063. Let me assist you to unpack a little bit just in case the Beijing School of Ideology did not do justice.

Zimbabwe needs a solid, budgeted plan to ensure that it achieves industrialization by 2063, if China started in 1980 and is where it is now, it means we can also do it. The first stage of this transformation which runs between now and 2025 Cde, we need to achieve the Malabo Targets for sustainable food security for our people and at the same time, alleviate absolute poverty.

This we can do (of course, not through Command Farming!) if we mobilize enough domestic resources and plan for the necessary fundamentals; there are certain kinds of skills that we will require for our farmers, extensionists is to and private sector players. At the same time, there are certain kinds of physical and virtual infrastructure and services that we will need to make it happen. But as it looks Cde, we are far from achieving that target.

The second stage Cde, can stretch roughly between 2025 and 2038 and by the end of this period, half of our population will be residing in urban areas. That means our farmers will need to feed an increased number of people Cde, our water and sewer reticulation system must accommodate roughly 12 million urban Zimbabweans by then; our roads will need to expand to take care of roughly 4 million cars by then Cde and our railways must do the same.

We will need more properly trained civil engineers during this time Cde, to plan and layout our cities and towns without chaos; most of our major road intersections will need flyovers by this time Cde. Our refuse collection system must be intact by the Cde, or else doom will catch up with us. We will expand our power generation capacity to quench the volt-thirsty industrial machines Cde, and much of it will be clean energy. In the rural sector Cde, roads must be paved and hinterlands will be a thing of the past Cde. A good number of rural dwellers will be rural middle class and our manufacturing must fulfil this new demand Cde. All of the sustainable Development Goals will be fulfilled during this period Cde.

In the third stage between 2038 and 2050 Cde President, we will be setting the stage for more advanced industrialization Cde. We will need a lot of innovators and the crazy large scale public infrastructure projects must be mooted Cde. Zimbabweans will register a lot of patents during this time and forget about the locomotives that you will commission this week will be obsolete; there will be high speed trains everywhere Cde. In fact, Harare and Bulawayo will be linked by a super speed hyper loop Cde, have you ever heard about it? In fact, Samora Machel Avenue will be a subway between Belvedere and Msasa Cde, to evade the busy City. Cde, I hope you will survive to see this stage because all Zimbabweans by then will be truly proud to become Zimbabwean again Cde. Health delivery systems will need to catch up Cde, and deal with the diseases of the affluent by then.

The last stage of our industrialization Cde spans from the end of 2050 to 2063. During this period Cde President, Zimbabwean manufactures will flood the whole of Europe which will be suffering from the effects of population regression. By then Cde, Zimbabwe will be hosting global sporting showcases Cde. That means all our sub-sectors are capacitated to deal with shocks Cde and farming communities will have high incomes enough to purchase urban properties Cde. By then, we will be in the global race for supremacy in many fronts Cde, our football teams will dominate, our car models will be demanded everywhere, our high-tech gadgets will epitomize excellency Cde.

African heads of state agreed that Africa will be industrialized without unpacking it during the time you were Minister of Defence Cde, but I know your predecessor briefed you on this one. To sum up the Agenda 2063 Cde President, Zimbabwe must plan for development and will need specific skill sets at each stage Cde and institutions have to be capacitated to deal with the development challenges of each stage. Development of this stature is very difficult: it takes selfless leadership, needs policy consistency and certainty Cde President plus a little bit of luck, but its possible!

But instead of consulting with our well-educated and skilled citizens locally and in the diaspora, you chose to push as much investment as possible Cde President. Investment is a good thing, but haphazard and desperately negotiated investment is dangerous Cde. Its dangerous because we can soon find ourselves as a colony of those who gave us money when we needed it desperately. Those companies will take our gold, platinum, lithium, diamonds and other precious minerals for next to nothing Cde. And we will be more and more in the spotlight of international media; so another jambanja or hondo yemakambani will not be possible Cde.

I know you needed to deliver so that the frustrated electorate can vote you in; but there was another way of delivering Cde President. You needed to apply one thing Cde, the rule of law! If the law had taken its course Cde President, you’d have taken over many more hearts but alas; its an animal farm! Of all the evil that Zimbabweans witnessed, justified by Operation Restore Legacy, sealed by the resignation of Robert Mugabe and your ascendancy to power, Zimbabwe expected a lot of convictions. Many were going to believe you.

‘Arrests’ began on November 15 but until now, no conviction has taken place…were there really any criminals around President Mugabe? Maybe or maybe not…The take home message is, do not rush to conclude deals with foreign capital Cde in a desperate bid to woo the electorate. The consequences are disastrous in the medium to long term; direction is more important that speed. Good week Cde President! Adios.

George Mapope, an independent development economist based in Harare and can be reached on +263 773 127 525 or mapopeg@gmail.com .Copyright ©️www.thesolutionstower.com , 2018 All Rights Reserved. The  Solutions Tower Article may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission



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