Zimbabwe is under the spotlight Wednesday in Washington DC where various stakeholders are discussing economic and political problems in the country.
The National Endowment for Democracy hosted U.S ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, Ibbo Mandaza of the Southern African Political Economy Series, and businessman Shingi Munyeza, in a panel discussion moderated by Imani Countess, the director of the Africa program at the Solidarity Center.
The speakers were unanimous in their optimism for the future of Zimbabwe despite the current economic and political problems bedeviling the country.
Mandaza, who is also an academic and businessman, told the gathering that Zimbabweans are being mobilized to engage in a dialogue to map the way forward for the country.
He said this is being done “through a non-partisan but patriotic sense of duty, to mobilize and engage Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora, around the political, economic and social issues that cry out so loud as to constitute what we call today, national convergence.
“In doing so, (the aim is) to create an open-ended platform through which to enhance the national convergence and restore the national unity, cohesion and tolerance that characterized Zimbabwe’s quest for national independence and the early years of political emancipation.”
Mandaza added that the planned national indaba will be held in Harare on August 20.
On resolving the country’s economic problems, Mandaza said they are proposing setting up a $10 billion fund for various sectors of the economy, including farming and attracting Zimbabweans in the diaspora to establish businesses in the country.
Shingi Munyeza, chairman of consulting firm, Vinal Investments, said although there were signs of economic recovery the dollarization of the economy had seriously affected business because currency inflows have been hindered.
“As private sector we cannot sit and watch. We have to engage and move the economy forward. We have to engage the West and move away from the frosted relationships and also have to clarify the indigenization laws,” he said.
U.S ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, told the meeting that despite the economic and political problems in the country, Zimbabwe is not likely to erupt into violence because people are tolerant and resilient.
He added that the nation is not a victim of external forces as is being portrayed by the Zimbabwe government.
Mr. Wharton noted that America has not yet changed its policies towards Zimbabwe where President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle are under targeted sanctions for alleged human rights abuses.