THE more one reads some reactions to the current upheavals in the economy, the more one sees that some people have poisoned themselves with spite.
echoes: CONWAY TUTANI
It’s not only me who has observed that. Level-headed opposition supporter Tanyanyiwa Mugwiji recently posted: “When colleagues in the opposition say tozvidira jecha, chii chaizvo chavenenge vachidira jecha (we will pour sand into the fuel tank to damage the car, what exactly will they be referring to)? That is the question that party members and supporters should begin to ask. Zuro wovanzwa vachipembera panonzi tozvidira jecha, nhasi yave mhere economy yonanga mawere. Heya nhasi amai vabatwa nen’anga yamaipembedza zuro? (Today you hear them celebrate that sand has been poured into the mix, but the next day you hear them cry that the economy has collapsed. So, the celebrated witch hunter you hired has sniffed out your own mother as the witch [as in what you wished for has come back to haunt you]?)
The reaction from some sections has been as predictable and as negative as it has been spiteful instead of being seen as the first tentative steps towards economic recovery for everyone to avoid a repetition of the worst-case scenario outlined below by former MP Charles Majange knowledgeably, frankly and constructively, not to falsely and antagonistically misrepresent: “I agree with everyone who says that the bond must go. The same applies to RTGS balances, the illegal overdraft with the Reserve Bank and the fiscal deficit. As we speak, we the citizens are doing just that, with the ‘rates’ we are hitting each other with on the street and WhatsApp markets. End result will be the demise of the bad things that I have outlined, including, unfortunately, savings, pension and insurance policies, just like 2008. Surely, all you fundis out there can advise government on how we can manage the demise of surrogate currencies without impoverishing everyone, as happened in 2008?”
Hear! Hear! That is the gravity of the situation we face as a nation and something has to be done so as not to have our worst fears realised.
Mistakes will be made, but we should avoid using politicised economics under the guise of political economy, giving economic “prophecies” that are driven by partisan party politics. They form opinions on matters of fact in ways that cohere with their political positions. Anything the government comes up with, they simply reject it as a policy no matter what.
Pakistan announced this week that it had approached the IMF for a bailout package to address the mounting balance of payments crisis faced by the cash-strapped country in the same way the Zimbabwean government has done because its economic position largely mirrors that of Pakistan. The Pakistani Finance minister said measures would be taken to protect interests of lower income segments of society, in similar manner to what Finance minister Mthuli Ncube aims to do here in Zimbabwe. But rabid critics here want to make it out as if what Ncube has done is unprecedented and outrageous so as to influence people to be against the government of the day when what is being done is how it is done all over the world — not the myth being perpetuated that MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa as an individual will work miracles instantly, bypassing the IMF and other creditors’ demands and that the billions owed by Zimbabwe in foreign debt will somehow magically disappear from the books. No at all; Zimbabwe’s debt obligations will remain no matter who is in power, and Zimbabweans won’t be spared the accompanying austerity measures.
One “Jorum” wrote last week: “Check Tutani’s last 10 articles, either he is mopping the Zanu PF mess, praising every stupid move or denouncing those who denounce the government. When political consciousness has left it doesn’t say goodbye.”
If “Jorum“ has not realised that the political sands are shifting, I cannot be held responsible for him being out of step. I will say here and now that white Zimbabweans such as Kirsty Coventry and retired footballer Bruce Grobbelaar, the latter who fought in racist Rhodesia’s army against those in the present government, have much higher political consciousness than poor “Jorum” because they have moved with the times with Coventry now Sports minister and Grobbelaar engaging with the government of the day for a possible role in national affairs. I am in good company.
And people ought to know by now that scoring without the ball is really difficult, meaning if things spiral out of control, those people relishing that could become even less powerless because they don’t have any levers to control the situation, as chaos lets in repression back. Nature does not allow extinction. All it allows is transformation, which transformation is currently going on. Implosion can be hijacked by even less democratic forces. Moderates in government will be eclipsed or pushed out by hardliners. One of the opposition’s own, Phillan Zamchiya, having got his analytical bearings back after the election campaign euphoria where he had discarded his sharp intellect for praise-singing, has told his colleagues as much that chaos will likely have the unintended consequences of backfiring on them instead of reaping from it. So they should be told: Be careful what you wish for simply because if that wish comes true, what will you then do you if you can’t turn it back?
People tend to put a lot of emotional energy into these wishes, but they can become distorted over time and this clouds your perceptual field to ferret through what is rational to wish for, what is make-believe — and what is suicidal. Once you get what you wished for, you will know the negative sides to it — yes, there are always negatives, but we usually don’t see them when we wish for something.
For instance, some journalists — without any appreciation whatsoever of the interconnectedness of the economy — have been celebrating cash shortages, price rises and fuel queues, but — may be out of ignorance — not factoring in that this is a direct threat to their jobs and their families’ livehoods if ordinary persons — who make up the mass market which pays journalists’ salaries — can no longer afford to buy newspapers. Only this week, some journalists expressed disappointment and even anger on hearing that fuel queues were getting shorter and the price had not gone up. Can you imagine? Those pushing for economic collapse could end up being collateral damage of their wishes — if they are not already jobless.
Zimbabweans, we need to have that wisdom, maturity and presence of mind so as not to rejoice for nothing.
Conway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org