Develop Me: Tapiwa Gomo
There is no apparent sign of a vote of no confidence than an economy that is refusing to respond to various policy prescriptions amid growing destitution. In three months’ time, this administration will have clocked exactly one year on the government decks, by which time their footprint on the economy would have started to be felt and seen. On the contrary, it is the pains of suffering that are deepening.
Though not as prolific in the long term, by this time Minister Mthuli Ncube’s neo-liberal ideas and austerity measures should have started yielding some short term gains. When he asked the nation to judge him after six months in office, he was confident that those policies would have attracted foreign investment and credit lines both of which would have breathed a new lease of life into the economy to give rise to some form of stability.
Sadly, this did not happen and may never happen. The events of the past weeks in our economy are a clear sign that, we are far from taking off. In fact, at this rate we may never take off without a political cleansing. We are regressing.
The past nine months were marked by violence as suffering civilians protested against false promises and the recurring cycle. The administration has demonstrated its unfettered efficiency in dealing with protests by using force on suffering civilians without addressing the causes.
It would be unfair to blame Minister Mthuli for the current economic regression. When he took over the appointment, he might not have understood that whatever ideas he had, they would have to run on a corrupt, corrosive and rotten political operating system in the form of the ruling party. As he may be aware now, there is a standard operating culture there, which cannot be changed despite the glaring need for policy changes.
The same permeates into the government institutions. Sadly, he finds himself soliloquising odes of hope and progress in contrast to the realities on the ground.
To put things in a simpler way, the economy may never rise under a Zanu PF leadership, whether with the current old faces or reformed.
In fact, Zanu PF is incapable of reforming because most of those at the helm and their new breed are both complicit and conflicted.
It is no longer possible for anyone to reform without deforming others. It is impossible for them to root out corruption without uprooting themselves. Because they are symbiotically connected in an ecosystem of corruption, they would rather evade the reforms route because it is an existential threat.
This is not a mere allegation against the liberation party. They, without shame, squandered a golden chance to show other liberation parties in Africa that it is possible to maintain and develop a good economy inherited from the colonialists. They instead opted to go the other route of destroying the economy, through grabbing, mismanagement and plunder under the banners of land reform, economic empowerment and indigenisation.
No matter how much they have tried to rebrand by bringing in new faces such as Minister Mthuli, Zanu PF continues to be perceived as the unrepentant face of economic destruction.
This scares capital and foreign investment and yet they hold political power while simultaneously remaining active participants in the behaviours that undermine economic recovery.
They are not sincere unto themselves as far as the economy is concerned. This could be why there is no Zanu PF-linked accused who has been convicted of corruption even when available evidence suggests otherwise.
Our poverty is their creation. The poorer we are, the more they can hold on to power longer and plunder more. Again, this is not an unfounded accusation.
Zimbabwe is a rich country endowed with minerals, good rivers, fertile soils, fairly good climatic conditions that can sustain a significant agriculture industry.
We are a young, hardworking, generous and pleasant people. We love peace, which is why we have tolerated the current system up to this stage. These and others put together is a recipe for an economic boom, if subjected to good ideas, political will and a well-meaning mindset.
There is no other reason Zimbabwe is suffering other than Zanu PF. The ruling party stands between our current poverty and our ability to rise again.
In athletics, it is heroic to persevere and complete the race up to the finish line. But in politics, it is both suicidal and murderous.
The longer it takes an administration to deliver, the more angst and protests it accumulates creating pressure on the leadership. Similarly, the longer it takes to fix the economy, the deeper the destitution and pain resulting in loss of hope, dreams and lives.
In our political case, Zanu PF are masters of waving the “democratically and constitutionally elected card,” even when the people are singing a different tune. Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party demonstrated that leadership is about the people by stepping down after serving for less than four years.
Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa