PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa presents his State Of the Nation Address today at a time the country is facing its biggest economic challenge in more than a decade.
Ironically, today also marks exactly a year after the government removed the bond note 1:1 parity with the United States dollar as well as introducing the much-criticised two percent transaction tax among a raft of other economic policies contained in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
Regrettably, Zimbabweans are now far worse off than they were when Mnangagwa announced his Cabinet in September last year — with inflation reaching nearly 1 000 percent, amid debilitating shortages of foreign currency, fuel, electricity, potable water and critical medicines — due to a tanking economy.
A lot has gone wrong which the struggling populace had not anticipated, especially considering the goodwill that Mnangagwa and his government had initially enjoyed, before and after the historic July 30, 2018 elections.
Sadly, what had been hoped to be a beginning of a new start, after the ouster of the late former president Robert Mugabe, has gone off rails — leaving the country on the precipice.
Long-suffering ordinary Zimbabweans and bleeding companies are hoping that Mnangagwa would have thought long and hard about mending the now shattered economy.
On November 24, 2017, he promised to chart a new path but the way things have unravelled since October 1, 2018 are a reflection of big troubles in trying to bring relief to millions of Zimbabweans who might be forgiven for thinking that Mnangagwa has failed them.
This is Mnangagwa’s first year of a full five-year-term but the struggling nation is fast disagreeing with him in as far as being given time to turn things around is concerned.
Mnangagwa must give a sneak peek into what his second year in office holds for the majority of Zimbabweans wallowing in abject poverty.
They expect his Sona to address the issues of looming famine, preparations for the new agricultural season, how to end the ever-present fuel shortages, power cuts and water and sanitation challenges stalking almost every city and town.
This is a humongous challenge but which he needs to deal with decisively as his first year in office has been disappointing and unflattering.
Time is of the essence and certainly it is not on the 77-year-old’s side.
He cannot continue to plead for time to turn things around because the country is in desperate need of a huge economic upturn.