Zimbabwe is a country undergoing a period of great turbulence.
What makes it worse is that the powers that be that are expected to take the country out of the doldrums appear at wits’ end.
Instead of coming up with solutions to fix the economic woes facing the country, those at the helm of the Ministry of Finance are gallivanting across the globe with a begging bowl. They are clueless and hopeless after their traditional friends, the Chinese, declined to extend more loans to them because they don’t repay them.
Ordinary people in the country are having sleepless nights worrying about their future; wondering whether companies they work for will still be operating by the end of 2014 and if so, if they will be able to keep their jobs; not sure if responsible authorities will be able to weed out corrupt elements that are bleeding the country dry; praying that service delivery will improve; surmising whether electricity and water woes will ever be a thing of the past and wishing that their children live better lives than their own misery.
Over 3 000 people at Chingwizi in Nuanetsi are living like refugees in their own country. They have been forsaken by the government after being dumped in the open in Mwenezi. Their pleas to get compensation or to have direct audience with President Robert Mugabe have fallen on deaf ears. No one seems to have a clue about where the country is going. Many dread a return to 2008.
The government seems to be depositing all of its hopes of economic revival in the injection of foreign direct investment into the country. It is no longer looking for help just from its friends from the East, but from any country that is willing to do business with Zimbabwe.
There even seems to be an indication that the government may consider to ease up on the indigenisation policy that currently requires foreign investors to cede a 51% stake to locals (a requirement that has alienated investors and which many economists consider ludicrous).
For now, investment is not forthcoming, and the “Western-imposed sanctions”, as well as some major outstanding debts means lines of credit from global lenders are not open to Zimbabwe. So unless the government has an ingenious solution to the country’s problems that the rest of us ordinary people do not know about, Zimbabwe is in big trouble.
While it would be a very good thing if investors would return to Zimbabwe, it is not going to come as quickly as it is necessary. Anyone still pinning hopes of the country’s revival on the coming of investors might need to do a reality check. We need investor-friendly conditions which do not exist in Zimbabwe now.
But it is when a country is going through such trying times that the true character of its people is tested.
There are some, during this period of uncertainty, who will place self-aggrandisement above the country’s well-being. They will loot as much as they can and live in luxury at the expense of the majority.
What Zimbabwe will need the most during the time when uncertainty reigns supreme, is women and men that are patriotic; people that will place the welfare of the country and the millions of people in it, above their self-interests.
It will need people that are proactive and who do not wait for the government to come and correct every little thing that goes wrong, but do all they can to help make the situation better not only for themselves, but for the communities they live in.
It will need leaders who do not want to rule until they die, leaders that give way to others with fresh ideas badly needed to rescue this country from the cesspit it is currently in.
Zimbabwe will need companies that will take on corporate social responsibilities in the areas in which they operate and help make a change. It will need doctors and nurses that do not let daily pressures get in the way of how they discharge their duties, but save lives even under the most difficult of circumstances.
It will require leaders that invest in local hospitals where they would be treated when they fall ill.
Zimbabwe will need teachers that do not abandon their students when they are on the verge of writing exams, just because they haven’t received that long-awaited increment and government ministers who do not pursue policies that are detrimental to the education system.
It will need diamond companies that mine the precious stones for the good of the nation, not for the selfish interest of a few fat cats.
What Zimbabwe needs more are patriots who are willing to make sacrifices for the common good.