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New VPs must build confidence

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The time for sounding good is over; we now need good, sound policies to be implemented.

Vince Musewe

There is a lot of scepticism whether the utterances of the new Vice-Presidents (VPs) will eventually result in substantive positive changes on the ground.

I guess that it is normal after 35 years of lies and deceit to begin to believe that now Zanu PF has seen the light and will now embark on policies that attract investors and create jobs.

I do sympathise with the new VPs in that the chalice they have been given is poisoned and they, therefore, must tread with caution lest they are perceived as too exuberant and innovative in tackling head-on long-standing problems which President Robert Mugabe has either pretended that they don’t exist or has clearly failed to deal with.

I am, however, quite disturbed by the stories that are coming out with regard to Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s business dealings which also include his son. That is totally unacceptable and must be nipped in the bud.

We can no longer allow politicians and their families to treat Zimbabwe as if they created it and are, therefore, superior and its sole owners. Zimbabwe is not a family business.

We are going to have to work hard to separate politics from business and kill the culture of entitlement. The idea of politicians being the gatekeepers in business is the root of our problems. The corruption and murky deals of greedy politicians have arrested our economic development while crowding out genuine hardworking entrepreneurs who deserve to be successful.

I know that significant infrastructure deals that could create jobs that we desperately need have been delayed at a huge cost because of vested interests and the interference by ministers who want a cut in the deals.

It appears to me that this culture of entitlement to national resources and projects by politicians is not going away.

A clear example is the proposed second oil pipeline from Beira as proposed by William Nyemba’s Trust Holdings which is still in limbo because someone wants a piece of the action without doing any work. The economic benefits of this project are numerous and I suspect there is a bun fight going on somewhere, hence the delay. This is typical of predator politics.

One of the challenges we face as a country is the need to create an inclusive political and economic system so that we can transform the country from what is essentially a predator State to a developmental State.

In order to achieve this, it is critical that all Zimbabweans are included in coming up with solutions. I refuse to accept that it is only our leadership who have all the wisdom to our problems. Actually, in some cases, they are the problem.

I think all Zimbabweans, regardless of race or political preferences, really want to see this country succeed. We, therefore, must see a bottom-up approach to solving problems, a decentralisation of power and the emergence of an inclusive national vision.

The age where government officials, especially ministers, give orders and directives is over. We have totally messed up indigenisation. We messed up land reform and this is not because we do not know what is best. It is because our leaders want to play little gods.

I liked John Robertson’s sober analysis of what the country needs. We can no longer claim special status from anyone and we have to get things right if we are to see an economic turnaround. Continually playing victims of colonialism or the West is now a boring excuse and no one is listening anyway. The world is becoming more complex and is faced with more serious problems than little countries such as Zimbabwe that continue to sabotage themselves and then blame others.

I am rather worried that it seems to be business as usual within government despite the desperation of our situation. I have put some faith on the new VPs and I hope I will not have to eat my words. Much depends on what they do and say. The jury is still out.

On a different note, the mampara of the week for me is disgraced Zanu PF secretary of administration Didymus Mutasa for his Press statement as regards the lack of internal democracy within Zanu PF which, of course, translates to lack of democracy within the country. That is what we have been saying all this time. So Comrade Mutasa is not saying anything new here.

In my opinion, Mutasa et al made Mugabe a little god in their hearts and created a throne for him and yet today Mutasa now condemns the power that he willingly gave to Mugabe and expects us to sympathise with them.

That disrespects our intellect. Kahlil Gibran reminds us in his book The Prophet that we must first destroy the throne we have created in our heart for tyrants, only then can we be free from them.

The greed for power and privilege by the likes of Mutasa has surely been at the expense of the ideals of the liberation struggle. Genuine war veterans who joined the struggle for the good of Zimbabweans know that these ideals were sabotaged by the acts of Mutasa and his cronies since independence in 1980.

It is, therefore, not out of principle that they now condemn Zanu PF, but out of sheer self-interest. They must now swallow the bitter pill of their complicity in propping up a dictator and not expect us to commiserate with their selfish intentions.

We are not idiots.

I always quote Karl Marx to my audiences when he said that the problems we face can never be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

We must change the fundamentals first if we are to create the results we want and these are: A complete leadership overhaul, a paradigm shift in how we manage the country especially with regard to private property and the rule of law.

We also need a new narrative that focuses on creating a better future that is not dominated by history, but is inclusive in nature and looks way ahead beyond our lifetimes.

The question remains whether our new VPs get this. I will not hold my breath.

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com

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