Lawson Mabhena News & Politics Editor
The President Mnangagwa-led administration is now in the third 100-Day Cycle of the Second Republic buoyed by tremendous gains registered in the first two cycles.
The neo-liberal path chosen by President Mnangagwa in making Zimbabwe a modern day democracy is dependent on representation and accountability. Citizens must know what is going on and they must be able to hold Government accountable.
In line with this new trajectory, Government has implemented a raft of political and economic reforms to promote democracy and restore economic stability.
The 100-Day Cycle is, therefore, an essential management tool in implementing and achieving strategic priority projects. It is part of good governance and a “must have” in neo-liberal democracies.
Good governance is a major tenet of economic development. The maintenance of peace and stability, eradication of corruption and optimum use of natural resources for economic development can only be achieved through good governance. According to the Asian Development Bank, economic governance is at the core of sustainable development.
Lack of sustained development in a number of Third World countries can be directly linked to poor governance.
Previously, under the First Republic, poor governance made it difficult for any solution to work in Zimbabwe. Externalisation, corruption and continuous printing of hard notes undermined any recovery efforts.
In the Second Republic, Government has become more accountable, transparent and has applied more thought into creating a suitable economic environment before re-introducing the Zimbabwe dollar.
The first 100-Day Cycle of the Second Republic began on November 19, 2018 and ended on February 27, 2019.
Under this cycle, projects identified for implementation were grouped under relevant pillars of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP): governance, macro-economic stability and financial re-engagement, inclusive growth, infrastructure development and social development.
Ministries, their departments, agencies and parastatals implemented an average of five projects with “high impact on the livelihoods of the general citizenry” in 100-day timelines.
Utilisation of the Electronic Executive Dashboard and introduction of monitoring and evaluation focal persons and project team leaders allowed for better oversight.
“The need to embark on a journey towards transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030, with increased investment, decent broad-based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption, prompted the Government of Zimbabwe to adopt the 100-Day Cycle Programming as a new way of doing business in Government,” wrote President Mnangagwa in his foreword to the first 100-Day Cycle report.
The second 100-Day Cycle of the Second Republic began on February 28, 2019 and ended on June 7.
A total of 91 projects were implemented during the cycle across 19 ministries, departments and parastatals.
The cycle was, however, hit by a myriad of challenges, chief among them inflation and price distortions.
“The economic reform process, meticulously articulated in the two-year Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) is now well advanced. International buy-in for that home-grown austerity-for-economic-recovery blueprint led to the signature of a Staff Monitored Programme with the IMF — itself another key step towards arrears clearance and a return to ‘good standing’ with major financial institutions.
“We are approaching the first anniversary of the launch of the TSP. Progress has been impressive. Fiscal targets have been met. Government expenditure has been brought under strict control. Basic fundamentals are healthier than at any time in the past two decades and have permitted the monetary policy and currency reform process leading to the re-introduction of our own Zimdollar sometime later this year or early in 2020,” Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo wrote in an article to mark the end of the second cycle.
The only way Zimbabwe can remain relevant or ahead is by picking up the pace in reform. The 100-Day Cycle Programme has been useful in this regard as the country which is recovering from decades of political isolation now seeks to be a formidable global competitor.
For example, the reforms leading to enhanced ease of doing business were an urgent necessity as regional competition in implementation of such reforms reached fever pitch.
Doing Business, a project which monitors 190 economies and selected cities, notes that a number of gains have been made in ease of doing business not only in Zimbabwe but the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Sub-Saharan Africa has been the region with the highest number of reforms each year since 2012. This year, Doing Business captured a record 107 reforms across 40 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the region’s private sector is feeling the impact of these improvements,” the report reads.
It is without a doubt that the country is on the right track and the economy is on the mend. This is a result of deliberate and sustained planning, monitoring, evaluation and implementation.
The second 100-Day Cycle which recorded 64 percent of projects as either on track or meeting targets, albeit compelling fiscal challenges bears living testimony to what good governance can achieve.
No country can develop when economic and social resources are being mismanaged. The fight against corruption has seen the unearthing of criminal activities during the First Republic which contributed to economic demise.
Instead of Government ministers managing the planning and implementation of projects, they were lining their pockets. Fortunately, President Mnangagwa has declared zero tolerance to corruption and the implementation of the 100-Day Cycle Project will also allow him to evaluate the utility of his individual ministers.
Progress made so far during the first two cycles is reading good signals all the way. This noble initiative is already bearing fruit and must be enhanced. Information dissemination must cascade all the way to the rural areas, so that all citizens are well aware of what is being done by their Govern0ment.
Government’s neoliberal agenda and target for an upper middle-income economy by 2030 is achievable, 100 days at a time.