“In any country where talent and virtue produce no advancement, money will be the national god.
Its inhabitants will either have to possess money or make others believe that they do. In such a country, the greatest fortunes will vanish in the twinkling of an eye. Those who don’t have money will ruin themselves with vain efforts to conceal their poverty. That is one kind of affluence:
the outward sign of wealth for a small number, the mask of poverty for the majority, and a source of corruption for all.” Denis Diderot (October 1713 – July 1784)
In 2012 I took a deliberate decision to come back home in order to contribute to the political and economic dialogue about a new future based on the creation of a new Zimbabwe significantly different from that which has been imagined by Zanu PF. The above conditions described by Diderot in France in the 1700’s are what I found.
I found a desperate country where money has become the national god and where talent produces no advancement with millions of talented and skilled Zimbabweans irking a living by other means because of lack of economic freedom. I found a country full of cowards and political charlatans whose only claim to fame has been the amassing of fortunes through corruption and by paying homage to a man who is an abuser, a dictator, a selfish man, obsessed with power and yet irresponsible, arrogant and self-centred.
Despite the above, I still believe that Zimbabwe can be great again but it will take a fundamental paradigm shift if we are to live to our full potential as a country. It will require that we create a new narrative that seeks to create inclusive economic and political institutions underpinned by human rights and the respect of the rule of law.
In my opinion, that new narrative can only begin to happen when we have a new President at State House. As opposition parties, we will have to all support one individual who we all vote for to be our next President so that we do not split the vote and give opportunity to anyone coming from an organisation called Zanu PF. If we do not do that, we will all suffer for it.
I am aware that opposition political parties are all talking about a grand coalition but we are not clear what its form will be and who will lead it. It is advisable that we expedite this coalition process and insist on a new governance arrangement as a matter of urgency.
Such an arrangement must allow us to install a technical transitional authority in place to deal with the social and economic emergency we are facing while preparing the country for free and fair elections in the future.
The only problem we have is the resistance to change by Zanu PF. The question must be how do we get Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe in particular, to accept that they have failed Zimbabweans and their time has come and gone.
I continue to insist that those who continue calling for political reforms without offering us the practicalities of it are really wasting our time. These are times for solutions and not change rhetoric.
I think that the one option we have is to bring this country to a standstill so that Zanu PF is forced to reconsider its options and come to the table. As long as we remain lukewarm about change, hoping that time will err on our side, our conditions will continue to deteriorate with no guarantee that come 2018, ( if we can survive that long) we will be able to dismiss Zanu PF through elections given that we have failed to do since 2000.
As I always say, there is zero incentive for Zanu PF to change course because we the people are not reacting to the economic decline but we are accepting it as inevitable. All this while those within Zanu PF are making fortunes through the crisis which they have manufactured. An example of this being the importation of maize where a closed Zanu PF-aligned cabal will make a fortune from the import of maize.
I have no doubt that there exists a secret Zanu PF predatory economy which continues to be lucrative and corrupt. Unless we stop it we will not see substantive political change in the short to medium term.
I, therefore, propose a gathering of coalition forces where all political parties come together to give Zanu PF notice that unless we enter into substantive negotiation on a political transition now, we will bring Zimbabwe to a standstill until change comes.
For me that is the only power we have and it’s time to use it. There is no doubt that we all want the same things, we all want Zanu PF to go and it is time we put aside our differences and save our Great Zimbabwe.
l Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. He is also the Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this article are his own personal views.