By Engineer Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi
Following the energy challenges that Zimbabwe has been going through, there were expectations that the next Minister of Energy was going to be a leading engineer and definitely not an accountant Cde Soba Zhemu who followed the lawyer Cde Fortune Chasi.
The true definition of an Engineer is a creative problem-solver and we appoint an accountant to run such an important strategic institution.
But the question I have is where are the engineers in these times of crisis? Surely, before we make any such strategic decisions our government should check if there are engineers with engineering solutions that could help halt this downward spiral that this important institution has been heading to, to a new ways of pressing lift buttons.
We expect our Zimbabwean government to normally consult the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers (ZIE) or the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe (ECZ) in situations like this.
In Zimbabwe, we continue with Robert Mugabe’s legacy of relegating engineers just to be workers and not to be in ministerial positions.
Mr. President Sir, is this using engineering expertise to its full capacity? The Rhodesian Prime Minister’s top advisors were mostly dominated by Engineers that is why they were able to build the second biggest manufacturing economy in Africa with now struggling institutions like ZISCO steel, NRZ, Olivine, Mhangura and even the now struggling ZESA just to name a few.
Mr. President Sir, if you want an expert to help you redesign parts of normal life in Zimbabwe, you will not find anyone who can beat our local engineers and those abroad.
The obvious place to have engineering expertise would be at the Ministry of Energy and the President advisory board, but this time around, it seems clear that engineering is not part of the advisory system.
Zimbabwe needs to maintain and develop modern road networks, dams, bridges, telecoms, airports, and new cities. For Zimbabwe’s economy to kick-start, we now need to fully utilise the few remaining engineers in the country and those abroad.
This strategy was used by Ian Douglas Smith to build Rhodesia during the white regime’s 16-year rule. National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe, Hwange, Ziscosteel and Shabanie-Mashaba Mines are all products of Rhodesian strategy that was supported by the apprentices, technicians, and artisans.
Imagine a Zimbabwe where we have a better connection between, government, business, engineers, and investors to turn our infrastructure and manufacturing sector’s future into a modern, resilient, exciting, and highly exportable commodity.
For our government to fulfill its dream of economic growth in Zimbabwe this will not be achieved without the Engineers leading from the front.
Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say (Andy Stanley).
Engineer Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi is Chair of the ICT division of Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers (ZIE) , a Board Member of the Zimbabwe Institute of Directors (IOD), a Member of the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers (ZIE) and Practising Engineer with Engineering Council of Zimbabwe (ECZ).