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Populism does not pay!

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ELECTIONS have come and gone. Outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party have described the outcome as a huge farce and are today expected to file over 100 applications with the Electoral Court challenging the results. It is almost a fait accompli that Tsvangirai’s bid will be an exercise in futility. Nothing will change. President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party will be firmly in charge of both State and government.

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And it is against this naked backcloth that Tsvangirai and his party should invest in the future, while Zanu PF and Mugabe should embark on a drastic transformation to move Zimbabwe forward. This country has been bleeding for far too long and needs healing more than anything else. The ball is in Mugabe’s court to change the course of the nation by abandoning damaging populist policies and embracing a transformation that will trigger social and economic development.

There are several issues Mugabe should tackle for our country to move forward. In the countdown to elections, he promised a grand-scale economic indigenisation and empowerment programme. He said the party would ensure that close to 1 800 companies’ shareholding would be localised to unlock $7 billion and create millions of jobs. We have no doubt that this was a high-sounding populist gimmick to win votes and we hope his new government would never attempt to walk down that route as it will spew disaster for our economy.

We are not and we will never oppose the empowerment of ordinary folk. Our call is that any empowerment policy should not be motivated by stone-age mentality of grabbing from the haves and donating to the have-nots. Rob Peter to pay Paul if you will! We need a policy that encourages ingenuity and equitability, a policy that locks value to the benefit of the economy.

Besides tackling properly the indigenisation issue, Mugabe and Zanu PF have the mandate to reach out to the international community, the United States, the West, Asia and everyone who matters for the normalisation of relations. We need to be part of the international community. Our isolation over the past decade has not bode well for us. Our economy has struggled to attract direct foreign investments and offshore loans because of our isolation as a pariah state.

But before we are accepted by the international community, there are several constitutional principles we should adhere to, among them the respect of property rights, human and civil rights and upholding a free Press.

Zanu PF and Mugabe must transform and banish the involvement of security forces in political matters. Police officers and soldiers must be confined to barracks. The army and the police should be made professional.

This country cannot continue to be a pariah state. This is the time for Mugabe and Zanu PF to transform their governance and work ethic. Populism doesn’t build a nation, but breeds disaster as the economic collapse the country suffered as a result amply testifies. Zanu PF should take heed. Populism doesn’t pay!

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