A German government official has urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to be his own man and guard against being captured by the military which catapulted him to power last November.
The call was made by Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development director for sub-Saharan Africa, Stefan Oswald, during discussions with a group of southern African journalists attending an IJP programme in Germany.
Oswald said Mnangagwa must use the upcoming elections to prove that he was serious about reforming the country.
“On the other hand, he has to take care of those who brought him into power which is more or less the army. I think he is really dancing over fire,” he said.
“He (Mnangagwa) has to prove that he really has the desire to have the country back on track. Very important in this context are credible, free and fair elections.”
Oswald worked in Zimbabwe between 1997 and 2001 as an advisor to the Zimbabwean government and Sadc on issues around community-based natural resource management and social forestry.
He said the fast-track land reform programme in 2000 led to a massive decline in agricultural production.
“This led to a significant decrease of agricultural production in the country formerly known to be the breadbasket of southern Africa.” Oswald said Zimbabwe should capitalise on its well-trained and hard-working population, abundance of natural resources, a beautiful landscape, wildlife and a remarkable industrial base, to jumpstart the economy.
Based on the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063: “The Africa we want”, Mnangagwa needs to start a strong political move to implement the AU agenda, to which Zimbabwe is a cosignatory.
“This means the President needs to create a situation that restores confidence and creates perspectives for a growing population, especially the youth. Every Zimbabwean who wants to get into business should find an enabling environment politically, administratively and regarding access to finance. Both for the general economy and the agricultural sector,’’ Oswald said.
In 2017, Germany released a new policy document: “Africa and Europe – A new partnership for development, peace and a better future – Cornerstones for a “Marshallplan with Africa” as an offer to support national action plans by African countries geared to achieve the Agenda 2063 goals.
Based on a credible, ambitious economic and political reform programme designed towards implementation of the programme, Zimbabwe will most likely qualify to re-enter into bilateral development co-operation with Germany. If the reform programme is successfully implemented, Zimbabwe will even qualify to enter the “Compact with Africa” under the G20, designed to mobilise private sector investment in African states.
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