STOPPING new invasion of farms by top government and Zanu PF officials is the public’s number one priority with regard to bringing back some economic normalcy in the country.
Zimbabwe’s economy is on a free fall and indications are if President Robert Mugabe does not rein in his lieutenants from inflicting more harm to the economy by grabbing private property, then citizens will have no trust in the Zanu PF government turning around the economy anytime soon.
The country can brace for the worst. And reports that deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President Ray Ndhlukula has taken it upon himself to inflict more harm by allegedly grabbing a farm even against High Court order is a sad development at a time all efforts should focus on resuscitating the ailing economy.
That coming from one of Mugabe’s top aides speaks volumes about the kind of advice the President is getting from his team of advisors. Government policy on the land reform cannot be contested.
But, it is the way it is being implemented which has left a lot to be desired. In this case, there is a court order barring Ndhlukula, yet he has reportedly shown disregard of the rule of law leaving scores of families facing eviction from Centenary Farm in Figtree after it was seized. Farm owner David Connolly claimed Ndhlukula defied a High Court ruling and descended on the farm last Saturday under the watchful eye of the police.
It is important to note that companies are folding up daily because the economic future of the country is not encouraging yet, some among us find pleasure in sacrificing the poor by their actions. We believe all efforts should focus on rebuilding the country’s economy as opposed to destroying what little has remained.
This means that all the elements which gave Zimbabwe an edge over other countries in terms of business — mining, agriculture and tourism should still form the basis for the country’s economic future.
Zimbabwe cannot become a different beast. Our comparative advantages are in the mining and agriculture and services sector. Now there is an opportunity to add to them.
But the main problem the economy is facing is reduced economic activity, a lack of liquidity, high interest rates, nonperforming loans, a drop in consumption and high unemployment. Many firms are facing difficulties. Some have closed, others have fired staff or reduced employees.
Banks do not have the ability to finance companies and, combined with capital challenges, this makes it very difficult for companies to do business.
Unemployment has grown, income has been squeezed as a result of job losses and wage reductions, commercial activity has contracted partly due to the lack of capital but also a lack of credit.
Those who haven’t shut down find it difficult to pay or at least to pay on time. Perhaps for accounting firms that deal with foreign clients, the situation is better. Tourism is on a rebound, yet negative reports such as farm invasions do not help the country. It puts government and Mugabe in bad light. Zimbabwe cannot have a land reform programme in perpetuity.
Mugabe must stop the rot among top government officials and bring sanity to the land reform. There must be a time when government must put a stop to all shenanigans by senior officials for the benefit of the country.
It is hoped that bureaucrats should be able to separate between Mugabe’s politicking and government policy. Regrettably, there is no common sense in all that is happening.
It is time to put a stop to farm invasions.