Kudzanai Sharara Taking Stock
The Balancing Rocks are geomorphological features of igneous rocks found in many parts of Zimbabwe, and are particularly noteworthy in the township of Epworth to the southeast of Harare.
The formations are of natural occurrence in a perfectly balanced state without other support. Their popularity grew when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe featured the balancing rocks on every Zimbabwean banknote, up to the 100 trillion-dollar note.
Every note issued by Zimbabwe’s Central Bank — from the one-dollar note issued after independence in 1980 to the 100 trillion-dollar banknote issued in 2008, has a picture of these three stones.
According to Wikipedia, the iconic stones have been used as a conjoined metaphorical theme, to explain the importance of development coupled with preserving the fragile environment of Zimbabwe.
As the country approaches a new dawn, led by the incoming president, Emmerson Mnangagwa who is set to be sworn in today, it is imperative that he draws inspiration from the balancing rocks of Epworth, or other balancing rocks that lie in abundance in Zimbabwe, particularly noteworthy in Matopos National Park.
Failure to strike a balance will result in the country failing to fulfil its full potential, politically and economically.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a Balancing Act is a situation in which a person tries to give care and attention to two or more activities at the same time.
In that spirit, it is very clear that the incoming President has his work cut out as he has to strike a balancing act to meet the expectations and aspirations of all of the country’s stakeholders.
As we all know, the Zimbabwean dollar was effectively abandoned in 2009. One of the reasons behind that move was that as a country we had failed to maintain a stable currency. There was no stability in our currency and it had to be abandoned.
The issue of currency is one area where the Mnangagwa Government will have to find a quick solution that brings stability in the country’s economy. Bank balances have been eroded while access to cash for both local and foreign use has been very limited.
This has meant Zimbabweans are on the complaining and mourning mode, a situation that borders on instability and should be addressed with the urgency it deserves.
Another area that needs the incoming President to use his political acumen is that of striking a balance between pleasing his loyalists and the majority of Zimbabweans.
But as President-designate Mnangagwa said in his first public speech: “There is no one better than the other. We are all Zimbabweans,” and deserve the same opportunities. Appointments to position of influence should be on merit and not patronage.
The issue of our policies in their form and structure as well as the way of implementation, have also been controversial and attracted a lot of brickbats from investors, both local and foreigners.
The indigenisation laws as well as those of land reform quickly come to mind as areas that will need a sober mind.
“Capital goes where it feels comfortable and warm, and if it’s cold it runs to a country which gives it better weather.”
These words are attributed to President-designate Mnangagwa when he met Martin Fletcher of The London Times.
There will be need to strike a balance between meeting the expectations of both potential investors and locals in terms of policy.
The new Government must also address issues to do with policy consistency and state out clear rules of how investment is going to be treated. As long as they are clear, investors can work with policies the country may have.
This is the task at hand and should be delivered. At the end of the day it is the responsibility of governments to create the climate of legal and political conditions to invite capital from abroad and to stimulate its generation at home.
As we wait for the inaugural speech today, and His presidency, hope is that the incoming President will stick to his Press statement published in local media where he said: “My desire is to join all Zimbabweans in a New Era were corruption, incompetency, dereliction of duty and laziness, social and cultural decadence is not tolerated.”
If the Mnangagwa Government fails to maintain a balance on the issues mentioned above and many others, there will be no stability politically and economically.
The country will suffer the same fate as that of the Zimbabwean dollar, which despite carrying the symbol of stability, the balancing rocks, had to be abandoned in favour of a multi-currency system.