BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
LOCAL empowerment group Action for Empowerment Zimbabwe (AEZ) says the country spent the better part of 2021 battling the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had ripple effects on the economy.
In an end of year message, AEZ president Alson Darikayi said the pandemic took a toll on human life after most economic activities were constrained due to lockdowns meant to reduce the spread of the respiratory virus.
“The Covid-19 Holocaust saw a black cloud descending on Zimbabwe ravishing our economic fabric and sending thousands of youths and women out of the formal economy and into the streets,” Darikayi said.
“Families lost their loved ones as well as sources of livelihoods to the deadly pandemic.
“The pandemic is still with us and we urge all Zimbabweans to embrace this as the new normal and diligently adhere to and observe the mandatory health protocols.”
Darikayi, however, said he was optimistic the country’s economy will stabilize and grow despite the effects of the respiratory virCovid-19 pandemic.
“AEZ, however, sees a silver lining out of the debilitating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic as we see opportunities for growing the national economy through empowerment of the critical mass,” he said.
“AEZ is committed to see Zimbabweans taking charge of the commanding heights of the national economy.
“We believe that our membership hold the key to the realisation of the National Development Strategy 1 and Vision 2030 as the membership is endowed with the requisite skills and experience to turn Zimbabwe into an upper -middle- income economy by 2030.”
However, Darikayi said the walk to empowerment was no stroll in the park.
“We should take every challenge, in our stride and never drop our heads when the chips are down,” he said.
“Let’s keep our eyes on the ball as the empowerment body of choice navigates its course through a maze of hurdles without which our organisation would not have a firm and tried and tested foundation.
“No mortal shall deny Zimbabweans their constitutional and human rights to empowerment. Empowerment is now!”
AEZ was formed in 2021 with the aim of bringing down the walls of segregation, inaccessibility to business opportunities and strategic natural resources, among others.
The empowerment lobby body’s major highlights in 2022 would include the official launch of AEZ on January 21, which will be graced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is the patron.
In February the organisation would host the AEZ Patron’s Charity Super Cup in Bulawayo, featuring the country’s biggest football clubs – Highlanders and Dynamos – while in March a Strategic Plan for AEZ would be rolled out.
Other activities would include the AEZ Patron’s Marathon to be held in the Eastern Highlands in March while an AEZ Patron’s golf tournament is scheduled later in the year.