Zimbabwe: Zim Asset Should Work

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Zimbabwe's economy is undoubtedly at a standstill, if not on a slippery slope. For many Zimbabweans, this creates a sense of déjà vu.The unprecedented crisis that pummelled the domestic economy in the decade to 2008 was as unpleasant as it was too ghastly to experience. Any feeling that the country is taking a trajectory back to that unpleasant era is likely to be as depressing as it would be alarming.

Yet that seems to be the mindset slowly creeping into the national psyche: The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says it has noted an unprecedented level of retrenchments of up to 150 per week in the last two weeks of November, and that the figures have risen to almost 300 every week.

Describing the retrenchments as "alarming", the ZCTU urged government to "speedily put in place mechanisms to rejuvenate the economy and arrest a potentially explosive situation".

That feeling is shared by the majority of Zimbabweans, and the foreboding thought that this could get worse is already torturous.

The postponement of the 2014 National Budget presentation, traditionally done in November, and the failure by government to fully pay civil servants promised bonuses last month, has heightened fears Zimbabwe might indeed be facing, to borrow from the ZCTU, "a potentially explosive situation".

Things had slightly improved since political protagonists buried the hatchet and formed the inclusive government in 2009, ending political bickering that had worsened an economic crisis triggered by the expropriation of white-owned farmlands for redistribution to blacks just before 2000.

That inclusive government came to an end after July 31 elections that delivered a landslide victory to President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF, which now bears the exclusive burden of ensuring the economy does not drift back into a crisis.

The nation now hopes that through its Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation document (Zim Asset), a blueprint created to shape the country's short-term economic revival, government will be able to take the country out of the danger zone.

President Mugabe's office has promised that it will take direct interest in the implementation of this economic revival project.

Perhaps that signifies the fact that the country's leadership is seized with ensuring the economy works again, and that jobs are created, rather than lost.

The ZANU-PF party conference, which kick offs in Chinhoyi this week, has anchored its theme around Zim Asset.

We hope deliberations at the ruling party's annual convention will focus on revival of the economy and focus on making sure government rebuilds this country as enunciated by the Zim Asset document.

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