The Zimbabwean dream

The Zimbabwean dream has been the major issue of this July 30, 2018 election, as this has been highlighted in all the major political party campaigns.

By TERENCE SIMBI

In this article, I am going to focus on three distinct, but significant political campaign views of this Zimbabwean dream, their mind setting effects and fulfilment requirements.

Firstly, let me start by apologising to those political parties I will not take time to analyse their political campaign views of this Zimbabwean dream. I feel that although we now have many political parties and views of this new Zimbabwean dream, in essence, all these views are fundamentally very similar.

I will integrate the Nkosana Moyo (APA), Nelson Chamisa (MDC Alliance) and Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zanu PF) visions of this ideal Zimbabwe into one because I believe that these are all in union vital for the country to move forward.
Why say all in unison? Yes, all because the agendas and aspirations of these political parties and campaign views capture the three stages required in the development of a prosperous nation. The first represents the present, with it what should be done, then the next represents the future, and with it what can be achieved, then the last represents the past and from it some worth lessons.

After reviewing these three election manifestos, I truly believe that they are all in essence similar in the key fundamental areas like land, in specific land title and agricultural investment, international community re-engagement, the fight against corruption, mining, tourism and the need to retool and expand our industries.

There are some key issues that are captured by these three campaign issues that are worth noting as key attributes needed in truly harnessing the Zimbabwean Dream.

The Moyo campaign view, although not captured in the manifesto, possesses some key issues needed in our governance structures in terms of promoting accountability.

These include separation of powers among the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.

It might be that Moyo has a banking background. One of the key fundamental functions of a banker before investing in a client is the assessment of governance structures of the applicant’s organisation, institution or country.

The current Constitution has with it some simple clauses that prevent this level of accountability and good governance needed in creating the desired Zimbabwean nation. Moyo has highlighted and made proposals to amend these provisions in his campaign and in my previous writings, I deal with one of these provisions by asking for the repeal of section 129 Clause (K).

Moyo proposes that when a minister is appointed to Cabinet, he or she must not, at the same time, be a member of the House of Assembly (Parliament). This separation comes from the difference in function of these two branches of government, as the Executive should be separate and accountable to the Parliament.

Currently, the Constitution says Cabinet (Executive) appointments are limited to elected members from the House of Assembly (Parliament) with the exception of only five other members that are not elected.

This requirement does not only create patronage issues within political parties along some feeble and weak political party policies that might not be challenged within respective political parties, but fundamentally also limits those with the potential to the periphery.

There is no doubt that after this election, Zimbabwe will have to engage international money lenders to get capital to finance its economy and proposed projects. International money lenders, before lending money to countries or companies within countries, use rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.

These agencies use models which take into account a country’s governance structures like accountability, institutional independency and political stability. These assessments affect interest rates where for instance, the Zimbabwean government or its companies apply for international loans that are badly required for the rebuilding of the country.

The principal is that when a country has been rated at a certain level, no company operating in it can access international loans that have a rating better than the country’s rating. This situation leads to higher repayment interest rates on these loans for the government, companies and individuals.

South Africa last year faced a similar situation when it had its credit rating downgraded to junk status owing to scandals associated with State capture. To have this system removed, several votes of no-confidence in the President were initiated in their Parliament. In the last case a secret ballot voting system was applied where individuals within the ruling African National Congress then refused to be part of this patronage system by voting against their country’s president.

In the Supreme Court opinion on the secret ballot matter, you clearly hear the issue of the separation of powers being reiterated as control measures for effective governance, thus the determination on the use of the secret ballot placed on the speaker of their Parliament.

This might have been a temporary measure, but still the South African and Zimbabwean constitutions must be amended on these issues. The Constitution that deals with this separation of powers is the American one, where upon being appointed to the Executive, an elected member of the House must then relinquish their seat in the House of the Assembly.

Many local legal experts have expressed reservation in amending our current constitution, but it is important to note that the leading and founding democracy, the United States, made its first 10 amendments within the first four years of adopting their constitution to give more freedoms to its citizens through ratifying the bill of rights.

When a system of governance is not working, we have to find ways to make our democracy more perfect and prevent events like the military coup we experienced last November.

The Chamisa campaign came with some imagination and a vision for a nation which is naturally-resourced like Zimbabwe.
With Zimbabwe’s wealth of educated, talented and gifted people, the campaign comes with dreams of how far we can go to build a modern state.

Many people have castigated him for this mind changing and futuristic campaign, saying his vision was pure nonsense.

The most notable international critic was the British HardTALK journalist in the name of Steven Sackur.

We might have been a colony of the British, but we are no longer bound by their idealism.

Britain is a country that was built some decades if not centuries ago and we are at different stages in our development, that’s all I can say on this.

By God’s grace, I personally had the opportunity in February this year to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), specifically Dubai, a land built out of dreams where around 20 years ago was just a pile of sand.

The principal in Dubai is that the crazier the proposed project is, the more likely the project will be built.

There is no room for mediocrity and ordinary thoughts in Dubai and we as a country aiming to be the leading country in Africa, have to possess these attributes if we are to achieve this dream.

What was most ironic about the UAE is that country has two major resources that in crude oil and sand.

The crude oil, according to estimates, is to be exhausted in 2020, thus the country made a strategic plan to transform its economy years ago to be a hub of international commerce, trade and tourism by the use of these two resources.

The country has built mega shopping malls, futurist hotels and sporting facilities, engineered artificial islands to add its coast line and constructed a state of art transport network, all in an attempt to change its economy to be tourism and commerce based.

Zimbabwe is in a unique position as it does not have only two major resources, but an abundant number of them hence can strategically design its economy to be based on many sectors.

Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle was mainly trying to reverse ownership of the means of production, that is the land, the mines and removal segregation laws.

We have moved on from this as the land is now in the hands of the black majority and the companies were also repossessed by us, the black people.

The problem with the repossessing phase, especially in terms of companies taken using the indigenisation law recently, is the difficultly of managing something you did not build.

No matter how professional and educated our population might be, things that you just possess without any effort led to this situation where now roads are no longer being maintained, the companies themselves have crumbled and productivity on farms is now very low.

This is so because of the lack of value we place on these repossessed farms, farm equipment, companies and inherited infrastructure.

The simple example I can give you is the lack of value we now place on one of the areas we the blacks were segregated from in the colonial days, First Street.

In recent times if you walk along First Street, vendors will be selling roasted maize in that not so long ago very special First Street.

In recent years, Joina City was opened in Harare. Although the country is still in economic difficulties, there is a different level of value placed around and within the building.

You make it a point to dress well around that area because it is the symbol of this generation, not a product of the repossession phrase. It is a building of our era.

This is the symbol of the Chamisa campaign, where we have to always look forward and always look at modernising our country.

Now, the last campaign of significance to the Zimbabwean dream in this election is the Mnangagwa campaign.

In my introduction, I said that it was a campaign that represented the past, with its lessons.

There is nothing that illustrates this more like the story he told his followers at the beginning of his election campaign.

Mnangagwa spoke of an experience in the early years of the liberation struggle of him and other freedom fighters while they were in the village of Mashoko, in the city of Masvingo.

He recalled that a Rhodesian military plane flew above them when they were addressing some members of the community on their decision to fight the white settlers.

One of the villagers became sceptical about the abilities of these freedom fighters.

He recalled the villager saying: “You, being down here, want to fight the white soldiers who fly up there?”

They will always be sceptics to our own abilities, but he talks about the importance of unity and unity as the only thing that made them have success in this liberation struggle.

Initially, in the struggle due to this level of scepticism, the freedom fighter operated apart from the villages and communities.

When the freedom fighters had finished receiving training from their bases in Mozambique and Zambia, they faced challenges when re-entering the country due to this level of scepticism.

The fact that the freedom fighters operations were not co-ordinated, with some members of the community sold out on them, hence many of the early attacks were unsuccessful.

The liberation struggle changed its fortunes in favour of the freedom fighters when the strategy changed, owing to the Chinese’s Mao training extended to our freedom fighters from China.

The principal was to unite the communities and the freedom fighters to work together.

This was achieved through training the communities on the importance of the liberation struggle and the importance of the communities’ support of the operations of the freedom fighters.

These changes you can validate from archived tapes of interviews made by the former Rhodesian head of intelligence, Ken Flower, as he said: “Suddenly, information coming through their intelligence channels became dry and suddenly we faced massive losses.”

The attacks launched by the freedom fighters became more successful, leading to endless victories on the revolutionaries’ side.

This was so because the community and the liberation fighters worked together.

The liberation struggle and victory that seemed so impossible at the beginning of the struggle became evermore achievable and freedom attainable.

Our beloved country has faced a similar problem over the last 20 years but that of a political nature, with the exception of the unity government periods.

This is a situation where two major political parties have fought fiercely to take control of political power.
These last 20 years have been characterised by one political party having a good policy programme, but the other being forced by political ambition to fight the other using sometimes destructive strategies which I will not explain for now.
I hope that a strategic shift like the change in strategy that happened during the liberation struggle, where the freedom fighter and the community decided to work together will prevail.

I am very aware that the population of Zimbabwe is massively divided along political party lines, but with all these political changes the country has experienced since November 2017, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel.
Clearly, the objective policies of these political parties have never been very similar as I have stated in the early sections of this article.

I believe that for the challenges that lay ahead, no single political organisations will be able to navigate them alone, considering our recent political history.

Some of the issues require a united front, considering the divide in the population. Some of the issues include the reintroduction of the Zimbabwean dollars and gay rights.

 Terence Simbi writes in his personal capacity

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