Elections 2018: ED keeps eye on the economy

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Ranga Mataire

Amid the hustle and bustle of the election campaign, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s brand has continued to soar with hordes of investors expressing confidence in his leadership as evidenced by the recent Zimbabwe-China investment conference held in Harare this week.

Just a week before the arrival of the 60-strong Chinese delegation, President Mnangagwa had hosted one of the biggest British business groups ever to visit Zimbabwe in 38 years led by Invest Africa founder and chairman, Robert Hersov.

It is remarkable just to see jus how the President has gone about executing the business of Government on the throes of a crucial plebiscite set to give him and his party a fresh mandate to execute his vision for a prosperous Zimbabwe.

Despite raising a plethora of grievances against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), ED’s closet rival, Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance, has freely held much more campaign rallies across the country.

Chamisa’s message has been somewhat fuzzy. And even after launching his party's manifesto, there still is no discernable take-away message from the youthful politician who seems more excited in his new found position as the leader of the main opposition party in the country than making substantive pledges to the electorate.

Even his generational consensus mantra appear hollow in light of the generational mix routinely witnessed at his opponent’s rallies.

ED appears unfazed by Chamisa’s whirlwind tours across the country and has never at any moment strayed out of his lane in terms of pitching economics as the major determinant of his campaign message.

The President’s campaign team has also played up his “Zimbabwe is Open for Business Mantra” by ensuring that there is always an economic activity, which he is expected to tour, commission or give indication of when the project will be completed.

The idea behind pitching economics as the main ingredient is consistent with his inauguration message and also his inaugural message as the First Secretary and President at the ZANU-PF extraordinary congress in December last year.

Even as he addressed a cosmopolitan rally at Murambinda in Buhera recently, President Mnangagwa pledged to create a “new Zimbabwe” anchored on rapid socio-economic transformation.

He said the task of prioritising the economy ahead of politics was targeted at transforming the country into a middle-income economy by 2030.

“This is a new Zimbabwe, a new Zimbabwe with new leadership; new leadership with new ideas, new ideas to develop a new Zimbabwe. All of us who are here should be united in this new Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is in good hands, Zimbabwe will now deliver, Zimbabwe will give jobs, and Zimbabwe will create jobs. Our lives will be transformed,” he said.

“Government is saying economics first, politics second. We want every family to be able to have a better life, send your children to school, to reach the highest levels of education.

“We also want to have social networks for those that are not academically brilliant (so that they) also have opportunities to uplift themselves.”

Ironically, the opposition MDC Alliance is also promising a new dawn in its election manifesto in which it promises to “turn a new leaf from the dark ages of uncertainty and despair to a new dawn of hope; certainty and thought leadership.”

However, the MDC Alliance leader has disappointed many of his supporters by spending time on the mundane of making phantasmagorical pledges that do not resonate with the immediate needs of the electorate particularly those that reside in rural areas.

It is at the level of consistence and clear articulation of national priority concerns that Chamisa has been found wanting. ED has done all he can to buttress his “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra at every platform.

President Mnangagwa also leads in terms of critical endorsement from almost all sectors of society from traditional leaders, the clergy, the business community and women. Many who have followed elections worldwide will attest to the importance of endorsement in shaping public opinion

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