Source: Dear President . . . | The Herald August 29, 2018
Davison Kaiyo Correspondent
Your Excellency Sir, allow me to congratulate you on your election and subsequent inauguration as the President of the Second Republic of Zimbabwe, as you said in your inauguration speech that this is a dawn of a new era and that “tomorrow is brighter than yesterday”.
As a young person in Zimbabwe, I have high hopes for the future and I hold on to your words of assurance.
As our listening President, I hope this open letter will explain some of those hopes that young people of this country have, and their desires to see them addressed. Most of these are not new, but this is a repetition for emphasis. We are encouraged by your campaign messages, which you reiterated in your speech.
Already Mr President Sir, there are people who have resigned to fate and are predicting five years of hunger and unemployment. You need to instil confidence in them and prove them wrong by delivering on your promises.
Some chose to be optimistic and I pray that at the end of the five years they will not feel betrayed. You have your work cut out for you Your Excellency Sir, and optimists and pessimists are watching you. And by delivering on your promises, you will win them both to your side.
Now that the elections are over, it is time to work and develop our country.
In the short-term, it is imperative that you instil confidence in the economy, markets, the people and the world at large that indeed this is a new era!
An era of economic development and prosperity for all. Your action in the first few days of your term will shape the trajectory that the country will take in the next five years.
The first action, which is the appointment of your Cabinet and most importantly the men and women who drive the public sector; the permanent secretaries.
Zimbabwe is never short of human capital. We have good brains dotted around the world who I believe are prepared to work for the country for it to develop and these Your Excellency, need to be part of your team.
While acknowledging that your Cabinet selection is limited to Members of Parliament and only five can be appointed outside Parliament, I believe this is an opportunity to set a winning team that will drive your vision forward.
While temptation will be there to reward party cadres who have lost elections, it is important Your Excellency Sir, that you utilise the five slots allowed at law to appoint capable technocrats who will form the core of your lean Cabinet.
These technocrats can then be allocated ministries such as Finance, Local Government, Science and Technology, Education, which I believe are key in the delivery of your election pledges.
The way the stock exchange and the people reacted to your November 2017 Cabinet is the same way they will react this time around. The Cabinet should be able to inspire confidence, unite the people and drive your vision forward. A bloated Cabinet should be avoided just like recycling of tainted elements, because both reduce the people’s confidence.
Merit and competency should be the basis of appointment. While loyalty should be considered, it must not be the key element. Party cadres can be assigned to the party. Your ideas such as making the ZANU-PF Secretary for Administration a full-time employee of the party is a masterstroke.
It will solve some of these reassignment headaches. This move is also fundamental as it will reduce party-state conflation and curb patronage. While taking into consideration gender balance and youth inclusion, the Cabinet should be lean and economic development-oriented, focused on the delivery of electoral promises.
Permanent secretaries also play an important role in driving your vision forward. These men and women are the chief executive officers of the ministries. They are supposed to be the technocrats that run Government business.
We need untainted hands and hard workers as MPs. We also look forward to new faces with fresh ideas to run the public sector. Bring in some of our best brains locally and in the Diaspora to help run the nation. I hope that these technical experts who would be brought in will be given the space to do their work. Many of these folk are very patriotic sons of the soil who are willing and prepared to contribute to the development of the country.
As per your suggestion, I have kept your pledge card that you gave us during the campaign trail and on it there are five key commitments to the people of Zimbabwe. As a young person, I am encouraged that you have prioritised jobs.
Many of my fellow youths are not employed. This is a fact and we are looking to your administration to create an environment that will attract investment and create the much needed jobs. On your pledge card you said more action, not words and we can only hold you to your words.
The past eight months have given the nation a glimpse of what your presidency has to offer. We saw many groundbreaking ceremonies and we look forward to these projects taking off so that we see the impact of these investments in other sectors of the economy. People need to see progress on the ground.
We have seen progress on the dualisation of the Bulawayo-Mutare Highway and we hope that finally the Chirundu-Beitbridge dualisation project will take off. It’s long overdue Mr President.
On your pledge card Your Excellency Sir, you said corruption would not be tolerated and again this you emphasised in your inauguration speech and the Zimbabwean population is looking forward to the arrest of people involved in corrupt activities.
Corruption has been hampering our economic development for a long time.
Investment proposals are scuttled as demands for bribes and kickbacks are made, tenders given to undeserving companies and individuals due to corruption.
Mr President Sir, we hope this will not be seen in the Second Republic and, as you have said, no one is above the law. All corrupt elements must be arrested and fired as you have pledged.
Transparency is another core value of democracy and the fight against corruption. As a servant leader, your administration needs to be as transparent to the citizens as possible as they will hold you accountable. You Excellency Sir, after the harmonised elections the nation is polarised and it needs a unifier. As the President the burden lies with you to unite the nation, which is coming out of a bruising election period and your message of hope both in words and in deeds may help to unite the polarised nation.
As you have alluded to before in your speeches, it is time to focus on the economy and for that we need a united nation pulling in the same direction and focusing on common goals.
The Organ for National Healing and Reconciliation needs to be more visible and active going forward. As a nation, we know poverty is our common enemy. Sanctions, economic stagnation, cash crisis are others. We hope that as a unifying leader, you will bring us all together from diverse backgrounds and political affiliations to fight these enemies.
As you said, you will be President of all, those that voted for you and those that did not vote for you. This is not the time for retribution or for settling scores, but time for coming together and building together.
I know you have five years to achieve all your targets, but like you said in November, “We need to hit the ground running”, and this needs a competent team that will not wait for 2022 to start pushing for delivery of the election promises or is corrupt and causes unnecessary bottlenecks.
The youths need jobs and the bank queues must end. Transform the election promises into real tangible results and I guarantee you, Your Excellency, you will have citizens’ support.
As you have assured us “that tomorrow is brighter than yesterday” we look forward to that. Economic development is all we need. Harnessing all our best human capital, leveraging our mineral resources, investing in technology and modernising our infrastructure and, with your able leadership, Zimbabwe is poised for growth.
When you set your team as the executive, Mr President, be mindful of the fact that this team will make or break your administration.
I wish you all the best Your Excellency in your new term.