Candid Comment: What would Mnangagwa’s legacy look like?

Zimbabwe has known only two leaders since independence in 1980

What would constitute legacy achievements for President Emmerson Mnangagwa as he embarks on what he said would be his final term in office?

The very few points I would like to make are:

Fix the currency conundrum. Zimbabwe has been vacillating between its own Zimdollar and multicurrency for the best part of two decades, owing to the collapse of its local unit under the weight of inflation. The Zimdollar is poorly perceived and received by Zimbabweans because of lack of trust between the populace and the people who lead them.

Get the youth active. According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency’s latest quarterly labour force survey for the third quarter, out of every 10 young women between 15 and 34, six are not in school, they are not employed or in any form of training. That is a staggering statistic! Its means that half of Zimbabwe’s young population is idle. If Mnangagwa can come up with programmes that give priority to the young people and get them to start contributing to the economic well-being of the country, his legacy will be secure for generations to come.

Fix the rot in sports. In a poorly performing economy such as Zimbabwe’s, the performance of our national sports teams helps boost morale while sports provide alternative careers for the young people. The ongoing rugby and cricket world cups magnify Zimbabwe’s failures to be a force on a global stage. It is embarrassing that the men’s national football team is forced to play its home matches in foreign countries because the entire country does not have suitable stadia!

Prove that smart cities are not just a fantasy concept. The best known such project in Zimbabwe is the mooted Cyber City in Mt Hampden. If successful, the new city will not only make Zimbabwe standout, but showcase the benefits of 5G technology whose deployment would bring the country into that desired middle-class economy category faster than one can sneeze. The targeted development of smart cities in Melfort, just east of Ruwa in Mashonaland East, Chirundu in Mashonaland West, and Figtree in Matabeleland South would give the country a much-needed lift and prove that dreams are indeed possible and that the only limit, is one’s imagination. Please, give Zimbabweans opportunities to dream.

A peaceful transfer of power. Zimbabwe has known only two leaders since independence in 1980, and the only transfer of power for over four decades is when military chiefs kicked out the late former President, Robert Mugabe in November 2017. Mnangagwa has already told Zanu PF supporters that this would be his final term. If he can ensure a peaceful and democratic transfer of power to the next leader, he would be the statesman who set Zimbabwe on a path to a prosperous democracy.

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