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Freedom key to development

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History has shown us that freedom is the key to development. Liberating parties in Africa have claimed to represent people, but in actual fact they have made the lives of Africans far worse than at independence.

Report Zanda Shumba

They have actually slowed, stopped or completely reversed the development trends prevalent at independence. At one time liberation movements represented the answer to southern Africa’s woes, now they are seen as the problem.

Victorious parties have not been able to adapt politics beyond the struggle. Decades after independence, incumbent governments are increasingly distant from their original support base and show few signs of building plural politics or having any great tolerance for dissent. It is clear that these movements have failed to live up to the expectations of much of their base and disappointed their supporters in the international community. Liberation movement parties turned out to be very corrupt, human rights abusers, greed, uncaring and power hungry.

The ideology of these movements has merely been anti-West and anti-government criticisers. On the surface, they pretend to be fighting neo-colonialism, but beneath they are busy plundering own nations resources, economic mismanagement and crushers political opponents. Thus they tend to hide behind a false a Pan-African like agenda.

There is no full engagement of the peoples concerned. In most countries we have seen liberation “heroes” staying in power for decades. They taunt the West and praise the East — Russia and China which are forcing communist agendas on their people are praised.

There has always been serious allegations of vote rigging and human rights abuses in Russia. As long as you speak against the West, you automatically become Russia’s friend. China, though on one hand acts as a prop of these liberation movements governments; it has indeed on the other hand been a gateway of looting African fortunes in connivance with the same leaders.

China also does very little to help neither develop African countries infrastructure nor help with relief in times of disaster. This is a reality which most Africans live with and has negatively impacted on our social and economic development. Consequently change is difficult or impossible to achieve in the concerned countries with China and Russia propping these rogue governments. It may well be the largest political scam in human history and or future.

China’s supportive gesture of liberation movements may sound fine, but it is not from good motive. There are serious human rights abuse allegations and opposition intolerances in China and Russia and the liberation movement governments act as exact mirror images of their puppet masters.

Cubans are just beginning to slowly beginning to breathe some air of freedom, but they have been fighting very hard and for so long for it. When Cuba eliminated all private rights by collectivisation of all land and by a complete nationalisation of private enterprises, the very fundamentals of economic development were destroyed.

Fidel Castrol also created a one-party government to exercise dictatorial control over all aspects Cuba’s political and economic and cultural life. Civil and personal liberties vanished under the communist regime whilst Castrol dragged the whole nation on this course of destructive economic policy. The result was food shortages, land depletion and massive emigration.

Before the revolution in 1959, Cuba enjoyed the status of one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America known for a high level of judicial independence and strong protection of property rights.

In all these cases people concerned are heavily oppressed and incorrectly now think power may be given them on a silver platter. But as long as the leaders are looting and living large they will never relinquish power. People should peacefully demand this power, working together in unity of purpose.

After World War Two, South Korea divided with North Korea along the 38th parallel. Unified Korea was all about rapid agriculture and industrial activity, the two biggest indicators of robust economic growth. The North adopted a very tightly controlled political economy along with gruesome human rights abuses.

Three succesive leaders all came from the same come the same family line. The South pursued total freedom and full engagement of the entire populace in the decision making process, coupled with a free market economy.

The results 70 years down the line clearly show the successes and failures of each approach. Both counties people speak the same language and same cognition of culture, just the concept of culture being different.

The central planning of North Korea delayed and hampered economic growth, dramatically increased DPRK’s trade deficit and accrued a sizeable debt. This deep slump economy has put North Koreans far behind their South counterparts.

In Zimbabwe Zanu PF is going the same road. Land was grabbed from white farmer without carrying possible impacts assessment. The process was rapid, chaotic and ruthless and led to a lack of new investment and a huge decline in farm output. Zanu PF carried the land reform the pirate’s way. Zanu PF failed to understand the simple interdependence between agriculture and industry.

This ad hoc land reform negatively impacted on the economy in a profound way. The economy collapsed. Zimbabwean industry which was agriculture-driven shrank by about 60%. Unemployment rose to ultimately reach 80% and continues to rise. Some time inflation rate reached 165 000%.

The consequences are dire and surprising even to Zanu PF itself. Sadly the Zanu PF elite are not the ones who bear these consequences. They parcel the misery to the hostages — the people of Zimbabwe. Zanu PF in did not learn from its past mistakes or those of other countries cited above, for it went on to further destabilise the little that was left of industry through a law that will give Zimbabweans the right to take over and control many foreign-owned companies. This law was passed in 2007 by President Robert Mugabe’s party.

That link between economic prosperity and freedom of the people is fully understood by the Zanu PF party, but it has deliberately chosen to ignore it totally. The people of Zimbabwe are the owners of the country and elected a government to manage its affairs and ideally could fire it.

The Zanu PF government refused a number of times to be fired. Now a situation has developed where the employee Zanu PF acts like the employer. The people are now afraid of the government whereas the government should be afraid of the people. The cart is pulling the horses.

As a result we are experiencing decay in Zimbabwe. Roads are tearing down, cities are running dry, garbage is not being collected, education and health delivery systems have totally collapsed before our very eyes and the people are scared to ask the government because the government employs brutal means to silence the people.

Still it is the responsibility of the povo to see that these services are forthcoming. The people of Zimbabwe cannot continue to ignore these irregularities and must make sure that the adamant and arrogant Zanu PF is shown the exit door for it has indeed overstayed its usefulness.

Zanu PF has clearly failed the people of Zimbabwe.

2018 is way off and people can hardly wait and cannot endure the Zanu PF-caused hardships any longer. The people of Zimbabwe have tried to rely on Sadc to solve the crisis, but have not clearly analysed the fact that Sadc is largely composed of the liberation movement governments who indeed are failing their own people the same way Zanu PF is failing its own people. There has to be an end to relying on Sadc for these despots support each other tenaciously at the expense of the whole region.

The opportunity cost of Zimbabweans inaction is a severe, irreparable total system decay. Zimbabweans don’t deserve this, but still must not expect to find everything in place without them lifting a single finger. Mere complaining will never effect any change. There is immense power in unity.

Zanda Shumba is an independent observer and can be contacted on zekishumba@gmail.com

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