We still have a long way to go

In fact, the easiest way to gauge a person’s social or economic status is through the things they pride the most in.

SO President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is still making national news headlines for officially commissioning new companies.

In fact, his latest stunt was not even commissioning a new company, but a new plant within an already established business entity. This was in Bulawayo when a confectioner opened a new US$30 million state-of-the-art bread-making plant.

In 2022, he commissioned phase 1 of the US$20 million Highland Park Shopping Mall in the capital Harare, among a long list of his now familiar work schedule which includes commissioning community boreholes and bridges in rural outbacks.

While I do not have any problem with these positive developments in our country, what I have a huge problem with, though, is what image a whole Head of State officiating at these events actually paints about the state of our country.

In fact, the easiest way to gauge a person’s social or economic status is through the things they pride the most in.

For instance, one who treasures and even posts on social media the meal they had at a fast-food outlet shows that, for them, such an opportunity was a major milestone in their life. This similarly pertains to those who boast of dining at or visiting the most exquisite places.

The fact that they still find this experience so overwhelming as to advertise it to the entire world shows that they are not usually exposed to these things.

Those who have become accustomed to enjoying such pleasures in life naturally no longer feel the urge to tell everyone about them since, to them, this is a normal and ordinary occurrence. You will never see them posting pictures of themselves at an airport, or on an airplane, or with brand new car they have just bought, or in the overseas capitals they visit.

This is where the issue of Mnangagwa and his officiating at all manner of ceremonies becomes problematic for me.

I watch South Africa’s national broadcaster, SABC, quite often and to be honest, I have hardly come across that country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa officially commissioning a bridge, or borehole, or shopping mall, or a plant at a company.

Even in an election year, when he is be expected to use such opportunities for his campaign, he has never done anything of that nature.

In fact, only two days ago, the South African Border Management Authority held a pass out parade of 400 recruits who completed their training at the South African Police Training College in Pretoria West.

Who do you think officiated at this event?

A Zimbabwean would be excused for immediately assuming that it was Ramaphosa. What else are we to think when our own Mnangagwa always officiates at graduation parades — the most recent being the graduation of 753 Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service recruits in Ntabazinduna.

In South Africa’s case, it was actually the Home Affairs deputy minister, Njabulo Nzuza who officiated at the event. Yes, it was not even the minister, but the deputy minister!

What does that tell us about our southern neighbour?

As far as I am concerned, this shows the country has reached phenomenal heights of development, such that events of that nature are no longer a thing to write home about.

Remember, we are talking about a US$378 billion economy in 2023.

Compare that to Zimbabwe’s paltry US$38 billion — which is nearly 10 times smaller than its southern neighbour’s. This also means that South Africans are now so accustomed to new companies — and not just any companies, but multi-billion conglomerates — setting up shop in their country.

As a result, it is no longer such a big deal for them — such that Ramaphosa is not excited over a new company or a mere plant within a company, to the extent of officiating at its commissioning ceremony.

I will not even go into officiating at one-lane bridges, boreholes or shopping malls since this is just embarrassing!

It then goes without saying that for our own Mnangagwa to be so obsessed with cutting ribbons at all these ceremonies, it shows that our economy is not really growing much. As mentioned earlier, it is so easy to measure a person’s status through the things they consider as achievements.

Surely, when will we finally reach a stage where the opening of a big multi-dollar company in Zimbabwe will no longer be headline news?

Signs on the ground are not encouraging.

As long as rehabilitating a road is headline news on national television, then we still have a long way to go before real development comes to Zimbabwe.


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