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Comment: Khaya Moyo, even a dead cat will bounce if thrown from great heights

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SIMON KHAYA MOYO, going by the puzzling statement he made last week, can only be making the right noises after surviving by the skin of his teeth last December’s purge of the Zanu PF faction led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

Just weeks previously, he was challenged to show his hand by coming down hard on former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa because, according to the whispering campaign, he was being soft on Mutasa.

Jogged by that accusation, he immediately came out guns blazing against Mutasa. The axe is still hanging over him. Any slightest misstep is being watched, so his choice of words should be extremely careful and sycophantic.

The same week Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya was confirming the Zimbabwean dollar as dead and buried and all fundamental economic indicators as gloomy, Zanu PF spokesperson and Economic Planning minister Khaya Moyo was giving a totally different diagnosis, making one wonder whether both were speaking of the same economy.

Khaya Moyo said, with a straight face, that no other political party would surpass Zanu PF’s “impeccable” record in this “lifetime” as it had managed to lure investors from different countries and was in the process of implementing its economic blueprint well without hindrance from the main opposition MDC-T and its “ghost analysts”.

However, Mangudya said: “The reality of the national economy is that all the . . . economic fundamentals or indicators are weak to even contemplate the return of the local currency.” Does that make Mangudya a “ghost analyst”?

The previous week, a Zanu mob from Mbare had chased would-be investors from the United Arab Emirates at a groundbreaking ceremony. Up to now, nothing has been done to punish these hooligans. Is that sending the right signals?

That said, first, many of these would-be investors could actually be returnees who had disinvested from Zimbabwe because of mixed signals coming out of erratic and poor policies, among them stringent and stifling regulations.

Zimbabwe’s high country risk as an investment destination had seen companies relocating to neighbouring countries. In other words, Zimbabwe fell into a deficit situation in terms of investment, so there is no expansion to talk. You have to recover lost ground first before you start to talk about expansion.

Second, there are those who intend to fill the gaps left by others before them. So, that does not amount to adding significant value. They will be wary of going full blast. They will hold their purses until they are satisfied the risk is worth taking.

They won’t rush into anything unless they are fly-by-night companies and individuals that cannot be trusted because they have not been established long, and could leave or close at any time after colluding with politically-connected locals, of which there are plentiful.

Thus, we must not mistake rent-seeking – that is, when a company, organisation or individual uses their resources to obtain economic gain from others without reciprocating any benefits back to society through wealth creation – for genuine investment. The rent-seeking at the Marange diamond fields is a national shame as locals are still living in dire poverty.

Zimbabwe’s economy has fallen from its great heights at independence when the local currency was double the US dollar because of mostly economic nationalism, instead of economic realism, which fuelled rent-seeking practices among ruling Zanu PF party officials. No we have the likes of Khaya Moyo celebrating mere stirrings of the economy to life as signifying complete recovery and turnaround.

Well, Khaya Moyo ought to be reminded that even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height.

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