By Guthrie Munyuki
The last few weeks heading into this month, have seen some shades of the gloom and doom which once characterised Zimbabwe and its people during the hyper-inflationary era — a period which forever will be rightly used to highlight former president Robert Mugabe’s ruining the once prosperous country.
There is no escaping the fact that Zimbabwe’s inflation ran into astounding figures in the period leading to 2008 where supermarkets shelves were empty and fuel garages ran dry.
To sum it up, desperate Zimbabweans scoured the neighbouring countries for basic consumer goods which were no longer available in our empty supermarkets to the extent that those who had forex ended up importing bread, eggs and butter for their own consumption!
Under Mugabe, during that period, eating eggs and bread had become a luxury.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s interview with a French news agency, in which he admitted the economy had collapsed under Mugabe, summed it up.
Chinamasa is optimistic that the country will turn the corner after the crucial national elections on July 30 where he tips President Emmerson Mnangagwa to win.
“I’m very confident that our president, Mnangagwa, is going to win resoundingly. Zanu PF also is going to win resoundingly.
“We thank the former president for sticking it out in order to resolve the land question. We paid a price, and the price was that the economy collapsed.
“Now the task before President Mnangagwa is to recover the economy and that is what he is doing now by re-engaging not just economically, but also politically, so that we normalise political relations.
“We don’t want aid, we don’t want donations what we want is access to capital — if we can get that overnight, you will see miracles being performed.
“As we re-engage, that is… our expectation, to have access to capital. If we have that, this country will lift up,” Chinamasa told AFP.
Indeed this is every Zimbabwean’s wish.
The July 30 elections, therefore when put into context, hold so much for weary Zimbabweans who have had to endure years of economic pain under Mugabe’s depressing and oppressing 37-year rule.
To achieve economic transformation, it is important that the opposition parties treat these elections as an opportunity to move Zimbabwe forward — whether they win or not.
These elections should not be viewed as career defining but an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past which were orchestrated by Mugabe.
Mnangagwa and his administration, equally, need to make sure that these elections are delivered under a genuine environment which promotes credibility, fairness and freeness.
Unlike previous years, the Zanu PF-led government has broken with tradition by allowing international observers, monitors and inviting the opposition parties to witness the printing of the ballot paper.
Disagreements and brinkmanship will always be part of political elections and these should not deter Zimbabweans from participating in these historic elections which hold the key to a new era.
The current furore over the ballot paper and voter’s roll should not be in anyway seen as either soiling the credibility of the election or characterising the opposition as being overly unreasonable.
This is part of a long process aimed at righting those wrongs of the past where violence, thuggery and outright cheating like what happened in the 2008 plebiscite, defined Zimbabwe’s elections.
The opposition has a right to voice concerns and the Zanu PF government must act on them.
Changes that have been made so far are part of the concerns previously raised by the opposition. It must be said that at times you need to disagree to move forward.
Building a true and mature democracy is a process whose pace is not certainly in the class of a cheetah.
This is why the country’s opposition, represented by a record 128 parties, accepted to participate in these elections even if there are still outstanding issues.
It is out of the realisation that the future of Zimbabwe is reposited in the hands of Zimbabweans who have to make Zimbabwe work again. Daily News