Taurai Mangudhla and Ishemunyoro Chingwere
The Build Zimbabwe Alliance is led by Dr Noah Manyika who has thrown his hat in the ring for the 2018 presidential elections.
In an interview with Business Weekly yesterday, Dr Manyika said candidates should be ready to accept defeat when the election results are announced. The party recently launched its manifesto anchored on a ten point plan which is summarised below.
1. Fulfilling the purpose of government does not require a huge executive branch supported a bloated bureaucracy.
We have a historic opportunity to move away from the symptom management type leadership that prints more money or creates bond notes instead of addressing root causes, to a smaller, flatter, modern government of committed problem solvers that will leverage technology and global best practices to support the tempo of economic development needed to accomplish our goal of tripling our GDP by 2023 and creating a $100 billion economy by 2018.
We will radically cut non-productive public spending by reducing the number of Government Ministries to 15, eliminating deputy minister positions and the office of the second vice president and reducing the size of the legislature to pre-2013 levels. This is part of what is referred to as a common sense prosperity plan putting the citizens of Zimbabwe first.
2. We will aggressively promote and defend the constitutional rights and liberties of every Zimbabwean without fear of favour. This will require urgently building a supporting legal framework and depoliticizing and professionalising every institution constitutionally mandated to provide nonpartisan and neutral service to our citizens. Creation of civil rights division in the attorner general’s office as among major highlights.
3. We will devolve the presidency by implementing a presidential calendar that will obligate the president to a week’s working residency per month in each of the country’s provinces.
Zimbabwe needs leaders who will pay equal attention to the needs of every province. A clear message to the entire government and the public that each province is equally important to the nation will be sent by devolving the presidency and obligating president and key staff to a week’s working residency per month in each of the country’s provinces.
4. We will restore local and global investor confidence in Zimbabwe as a safe and preferred destination for investment by settling the land question and restoring property rights and the rule of law.
A major highlight being amendment of the constitution to ensure that land acquisition is no longer a racial or open-ended exercise that can be politically manipulated, and that the invoking of eminent domain by government violates neither property rights of our constitution nor international law.
5 .We will build a dynamic new economy from the bottom up and from the inside out by releasing the full potential of the informal sector, unleashing the creativity of indigenous innovators and empowering women.
Key highlight is the argument that informalisation has already indigenised the economy. Hence the party will focus on building a dynamic new economy from the bottom up by creating pathways into the formal sector for our new industrialists.
6. Provincial Business Engagement Teams
A BZA Government will create provincial Business Engagement Teams (BETs) to identify investment opportunities for and forge partnerships with local and international investors, and implement radical Business Recovery and Development Plans (BRDPs) for every province.
BZA will aggressively engage Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora to serve, not only in cabinet, but also in provincial BETs as well as with the Minister of Provincial Development and Local Government.
7. Integrated Rural Development and Agriculture Recovery Plan
BZA says their Government will not only pursue the development of cities alone but will also strive to bring the whole nation into the 21st Century, including rural communities which it says for almost four decades have barely come out of the 19th century.
It also says the land redistribution programme has failed to solve rural poverty which it pegs at 76 percent.
8. Infrastructure Recovery and Development Plan (IRDP)
In its manifesto, BZA says the cost of infrastructure decline to the economy has been incalculable, and reviving it to support the tempo and scale of economic recovery that will triple Zimbabwe’s GDP to $50 billion by 2023 and build a $100 billion economy can only happen with a Government with a goodwill that BZA brings.
It plans to launch a comprehensive and ambitious Infrastructure Recovery and Development Plan (IRDP) that will target roads, rail networks, energy, power and communications installations, transportation hubs, grain storage and water treatment.
9. Commonsense Public Policy
BZA says the failure of elected and appointed leaders to anticipate the predictable consequences of bad public policy and financial management decisions has led to massive deindustrialisation, disinvestment and unprecedented economic leakages.
Those consequences, BZA says, are not theoretical but are felt everyday by jobless graduates, pensioners whose retirement savings have disappeared, the parent forced to leave their children behind to find work in the diaspora.
10. A culture of service
Leaders serving in a BZA government will be expected to lead by example on organising and participating in monthly national and community projects to build schools, clinics and bridges, repair derelict ones and compliment the efforts of local and national governments to service and mordenise communities.