Any genuine effort to revive the Zimbabwean economy in an inclusive and participative manner must put the people first.
Guest Column Vince Musewe
I have never seen a bunch of sorry old men,so obsessed with political power and yet so devoid of any conscience and honour.In fact,I have never seen a country that continually expects new habits from old dogs.Zanu PF cannot be the creators of a better future or a modern society in Zimbabwe.They have dismally failed to build an inclusive and just society since 1980.Nothing is about to change.
We have seen in the recent past that, despite them having no concrete and credible ideas to lift Zimbabweans out of the poverty which they manufactured, they still insist to be captains of our destiny and yet we progressive Zimbabweans know that, because of who they are and what they stand for, no solid foundation can be crafted through their hands, no goodwill exists in their being to truly transform our society and eradicate the suffering, pain and hopelessness which they have fashioned in their pursuit of personal benefit and political power.
I have read the 129-page Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transfomation (ZimAsset) document and the one thing that strikes me are the reasons given for our economic decline. When you have a problem and you fail to define the problem situation, you are most unlikely to come up with sustainable solutions because the solution normally lies in how you define your problem.
According to ZimAsset: “Zimbabwe experienced a deteriorating economic and social environment since 2000 caused by illegal economic sanctions imposed by the Western countries . . .”
As opposed to the truth that: Zimbabwe has dismally failed to exploit its resources for the benefit of its citizens because of the philosophies and values of those who have had political power over the last 34 years.
The problems we face can never be solved at this level of thinking because it is that very thinking that created our problems in the first place.
We are all aware that Zimbabwe is endowed with numerous natural and human resources as stated by ZimAsset, but the fundamental question we must ask is: Why have we failed to exploit these assets over the last 34 years to the benefit of all Zimbabweans?
The other point is how this is essentially a blueprint for a command economy run and controlled by a centre that has dismally failed to develop this economy over the last 34 years. How can a government or a leader who has essentially driven an estimated 75 State enterprises with monopolies into the ground revive an economy such as ours? How can a group of men who have destroyed more value than they have created since independence suddenly have the political will and competence to create value for the benefit of ordinary Zimbabweans?
Zimbabwe needs a solid foundation of values before we can even consider reviving our economy. We must first compensate those whom we prejudiced through the land repossessions. We must then heal the wounds of Muramabtsvina and Gukurahundi. Only then can we begin to contemplate building a new society based on sound values and a sustainable economic base.
ZimAsset ignores this and pretends as if there is no baggage. It ignores dealing with corruption and the institutional incapacity that is so evident around us.
In addition to the above, any genuine effort to revive the Zimbabwean economy in an inclusive and participative manner must put the people first. ZimAsset puts Zanu PF first. It is state capitalism or, to be more precise, an opportunity for Zanu PF to control key sectors of the economy while continuing its patronage system.
In order to kick-start economic revival, there are two things that have to be done. Compensate farmers whose land was repossessed and give title to new land owners. This will trigger industrial revival and begin to reduce food imports and create local jobs. This, in tandem with infrastructure development, will begin to turn our economy around.
I must remind my readers that Zimbabwe has had in excess of 30 economic blueprints since 1980 starting with Growth with Equity.
Most of these never worked and today lie somewhere gathering dust.
What is different this time?
In any country where citizens cannot live up to their full potential, the economy of that country will never perform at its optimum levels. In any country where political power is exclusive and managed through fear and intimidation, we will not see an inclusive and productive economy emerging.
ZimAsset is unlikely to work because the assumptions upon which it is based are speculative. Zimbabwe has all the brains and resources to shape a better economic policy. Our problem is the arrogance of our leaders and this belief that they know best. The sad news is that once again, it is the poor ordinary Zimbabweans who will bear the full brunt of this arrogance.
We need God’s grace.