Zimbabwe is on autopilot to nowhere because Zanu PF has ignored the principles of good economics and spent too much energy on divisive politics that are neither adding any value nor developing our resources to the optimum.
If we are to remember this generation of leaders, we will remember them as men and women who were obsessed with matters of history and political intrigue and forgot that in order to eat, we have to plough the fields.
After calling a Press conference to announce the reality that this government is failing and can no longer pay bonuses, I saw grown man buckle and capitulate under humiliating public derision from their supreme leader of all time. How shameful and insincere. Zimbabwe surely deserves better?
I could not help, but feel angry and sad at the same time at what we have become — a nation of buffoons whose self-esteem has been continually bashed into submission to one man.In my opinion, with regard to the bonus issue, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa et al have actually knowingly chosen to do the wrong things for our country for the sake of political expediency. I guess that is no surprise.
Political survival looms large in the minds of many as the system collapses and the centre can no longer hold. We are in for a rough ride.
I think that the mentality of entitlement to a bonus that is not related to performance is a disease that we have nursed for far too long in this country.
The culture of entitlement that has been promoted by Zanu PF throughout the years has now become a national pastime. Civil servants actually feel entitled to a bonus regardless of the economic conditions that we face. I suspect that this is not limited to the public sector only, but also includes those in the private sector. Everyone wants to take, and nobody wants to give. We have become a generation of takers indeed.
I, however, understand where everyone is coming from because despite the obvious need for everyone to tighten their belts, our leaders have not done so. So why should ordinary civil servants in the public service or employees in the private sector sacrifice given the meagre salaries they earn?
Let the ministers and senior government officials return the expensive SUVs they drive, courtesy of the poor taxpayer. Let us see the limit of maximum salaries in the public service and State enterprises at $6 000 as promised by Chinamasa last year, being implemented first, before we ask ordinary civil servants to sacrifice anything.
Let us also see the private sector doing the same. Despite the incessant complaints by those in business that things are bad, it appears that they would rather fire employees than take a cut in their packages.
The lack of authenticity of leadership, both in the public and private sector, will continue to be the albatross on any possibility of a serious economic turnaround. We all want to see change, but are unwilling to be the change that we want to see.
In my opinion, I am convinced that there is no other solution except a political settlement which must create an inclusive body to deal with the rot.
However, this political settlement can only happen if we see all our strong political players coming together to force some urgency to the matter.Zanu PF must also accept that indeed there is no way out of this cul de sac which they have manufactured without some compromise. Arrogance, entitlement and naked lies will not get our country anywhere.
I have begun to imagine whether a union of forces between MDC-T and ex-Vice President Joice Mujuru’s lot would help anything. My contention is that substantive change can indeed come from them if they combine forces and intent.
Despite my reservations on the sincerity of the Mujuru camp, it certainly brings the past and the institutional memory of Zanu PF misgovernance to the table, while MDC-T leader and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, believe it or not, brings with him a considerable number of ordinary folk who are desperate for something new.
If only these two could take a bit of risk and come out strongly to force Zanu PF to the table, maybe we could begin to move in the right direction, at least.
The current scenario requires all those who claim to be politicians to come out in the open to stop things getting worse. That requires that we all stop what we are doing and realise that we are the architects of the problems we are currently facing. It is only us Zimbabweans who can really decide to change things. Others can help us, but we alone must first demonstrate to the world that we are serious about change.
In my opinion, we must not expect any miracles from the President. He is human after all and cannot single-handedly turn around our situation. I think we are expecting too much from him. Good for him, he has lived the life he chose, he has acquired the power he imagined, but he is clearly not desperate for substantive change. If he was, surely he would have acted by now? It is evident that the change we seek will not come from there.
As patriotic Zimbabweans, we must all now demand substantive change and the establishment of a government of national unity that balances Zanu PF interests by saving their face in light of a collapsing economy and substantive reforms which must include a constitutional alignment of our laws and a new inclusive economic agenda.
What I know for sure is that ordinary Zimbabweans are so sick and tired of the status quo they need someone or anyone to step up. We just have to take the unorthodox route to create new results.
I must ask both Mujuru and Tsvangirai: If not you, whom? And if not now, when? This is no time for any fear.
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on email@example.com