© THE recent devastation caused by Cyclone Idai has created untold havoc and suffering on the affected communities. Lives and limbs have been lost and the damage to property has never been seen before in Zimbabwe.
The overwhelming response from Zimbabweans, both local and in the Diaspora
is quite refreshing.
We have seen an outpouring of donations both in cash and in kind from all
sectors of our communities.
The apparent death of institutional capacity and clear deficit to deal
with any sort of disasters over the years has awakened the citizens to the
need for active involvement and participation by everyone concerned.
It is the realisation that we all can pool resources together, both
financial and skills to better manage our everyday challenges.
Previous examples, where there had been demonstrable lack of institutional
capacity include the slow reaction to accidents and fire by the fire
brigade throughout our municipalities; recurring medieval diseases like
cholera and typhoid which killed hundreds; slow reaction to floods like in
Muzarabani and the Chingwizi disaster.
Econet deserves special mention in the manner it has come out to help
victims of Cyclone Idai. The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed concern is
currently mobilising donations, worth millions of dollars.
The recent Econet-led initiative is a harbinger of bigger things to come
as citizens become more involved in the economy.
What is becoming clear is the credibility of the characters involved.
These are men and women of good social standing and with an untainted
This should serve as an encouragement for more people of good standing to
come on board. The Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa is just providing the
positive leadership that has galvanised both corporate and individuals to
contribute in cash or kind.
But this effort is basically targeting basic infrastructure destroyed and
creation of new structures. Pursued to perfection, we will end up with
better and more modern infrastructure than was previously obtaining.
The potential impact of the new infrastructure to the future of tourism
industry in the province should be cultivated into the current reboot
In my travels throughout the whole country I have observed huge talent in
the rural areas (both experienced and college fresh) that is going to
waste because of lack of economic activity.
These include but not limited to the following: plumbers, electricians,
bricklayers, draughtsman, builders, teachers, nurses, Red Cross-trained
personnel and foresters. The list is endless.
These public works will potentially engage all these people on a paid or
voluntary basis now and into the future.
Cyclone Idai has created a new culture of volunteerism in this country. We
have had a good response from citizens participating in the mobilisation
and distribution of aid as volunteers and at no labour cost.
This momentum if spread around industry will ultimately boost CVs of all
participants while boosting production and output. This will boost
industry while contributing towards the overall GDP.
No doubt this huge project will be successful as it rests on bedrock of
professionalism, patriotism and accountability. And it is riding on raw
emotion induced by the level and scale of devastation by cyclone Idai.
The poser for NGOs is that any foreign or local benefactor will more than
likely put up their funds with this initiative as it transforms
communities in a clearly measurable way. A realignment of the local NGO
community will likely emerge.
The slogan-chanting politician will certainly lose relevance in such
communities. These communities will shift attention to issues that impact
on their livelihoods in a positive manner as will happen in Chimanimani
and other areas.
This creates a window for the Diaspora community to channel their
resources back home especially in areas of decent financial returns that
may include BOT projects like road infrastructure, residential and
commercial building projects, dams’ etc. they just require working
structures and institutions as well as transparency.
New leaders will emerge from this initiative and some may branch into
active politics through creating new political outfits that are linked to
active economic participation of citizens. Good politics is all about
creating a good citizenry that feels empowered to do more for the country
through harnessing their desire for a better life.