President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been in office for 26 days now. He has given his team 100 days to turn around the economy. Today, he will give his first State of the Nation Address.
In his inaugural speech, Mnangagwa himself said: “I recognise that the urgent tasks that beckon will not be accomplished through speeches, necessary as these may be. I have to hit the ground running to make sure that I lead in stupendous efforts we all need to summon and unleash in concert, towards taking this great nation beyond where our immediate past President left it.”
Today’s address will just be another speech unless he announces key actions that will be implemented immediately.
Christmas is only five days away. Will Zimbabweans have another cashless Christmas?
The availability of cash is uppermost in people’s minds. People need to access their cash as and when they want or need it. Mnangagwa will win the hearts of many if he eases the cash crisis NOW.
Last week the nation was told that the government had agreed a $1.5 billion facility with Afreximbank. This was supposedly meant to boost industry as well as ease the cash crisis.
When is this going to be done? Or was the announcement premature, something to lure others to come to Zimbabwe because it was now open for business?
Granted some of these big deals might take time to implement. But what about the cash that was stashed away internally by the “criminals” that forced the military to intervene to save the country?
Mnangagwa is quite aware that people’s expectations are quite high. He therefore has to deliver something, no matter how little, otherwise he will lose the people’s goodwill.
All those thousands that gathered to demonstrate against his predecessor and all those who gathered to welcome him back were not all his supporters.
They were celebrating Mugabe’s departure, hoping for a new era. Mnangagwa has promised a new era. People cannot wait forever for this new era. They must see something NOW.
Often, people are told that something is happening behind the scenes. That is a lame excuses that does not quench the people’s thirst for change. They need something that benefits them personally.
Mnangagwa could start by easing the cash crisis. Perhaps, he could also go the way most countries that are encouraging electronic money to go. They remove charges on all electronic transactions to a bare minimum- the cost of sending an SMS or email- but charge for all cash transactions, that is banking or withdrawing cash.