The new dispensation is following footsteps of the previous regime
IN the next six weeks, it will be two years since the nation went into a frenzy celebrating the departure of the late former President Robert Mugabe. He had stayed in power for more than 37 years. His first 10 years in power were seen as promising and reconciliatory even though they were marred by the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces massacres.
The rest of his tenure were a disaster marked by the destruction of the economy, brutality and high level of carelessness in order to stay in power. As the nation mourns him today, the country is yet to recover from the effects of the disaster Mugabe created on his people.
An economic decay, deepening destitution and heavy-handedness on civilians and opposition leaders is what enticed ordinary citizens to ride on what was otherwise an internal Zanu PF factional matter to get rid of Mugabe. With that momentary convergence of interests, which included the military, Mugabe’s tenure came to an end. Of course, the military had more say to the idea, its execution and the outcome. Zimbabweans celebrated anyway.
Mugabe’s demise was supposed to mark the beginning of a new era of hope and promise or may be it is, but the people are yet to feel it. What is certain is that, we have lived in a period of false promises, too many foreign travels and an over-investment into lifting of sanctions by the United States. Lifting of sanctions is earned by either addressing the conditions that invited them or by becoming a global and attractive investment for partners such as China.
Nonetheless, between November 2017 and now, the nation passed through a period of elections which gave the new administration some form of legitimacy, albeit, contested by the main opposition party the MDC.
But, the major story under the new dispensation so far is the deepening poverty and lack of ideas on how to address it or to improve the economic situation in the country. It is now clear that the decline continues as the current government is simply destroying what the Mugabe administration killed.
There are several schoolboy reasons why the situation has not improved. First, when President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office, he promised the nation that he would address corruption as one of his top priorities. His repeated rhetoric on addressing corruption has remained an unmet promise.
Foreign businesses wanting to invest in the country are deterred by high levels of corruption and excessive demands for kick-backs at senior government levels on projects that would have created employment for the youth who are toyi-toying on the streets today.
Some of those in the administration are happier deploying a hungry police force on an unemployed youth when they could have easily allowed investment to create jobs. Or maybe some are just too blind to see the link between economic growth, employment and political stability. Or they just stopped caring. Why would they care if they can underpay and use the national security forces for their protection?
Second and linked to the above, the political environment remains uncertain. Civil society organisations, labour movements and the opposition political parties are always on the street protesting over this and that. When people can easily be mobilised for mass protests against the government, it is one of the indicators of high unemployment rates.
Government continues to view these as political antagonisms instead of opportunities for engagement with the people. The dialogue between government and the people has broken down. Sadly, government does not seem to view this as important because they derive their existence from the military and not from the people, which is another deterrent to investors.
Third, the monetary environment remains confused and unclear. During the Mugabe era, mainly the period when Gideon Gono was the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, there was better clarity even though some of the policies were short-sighted and had disastrous consequences. Today, the monetary policy instruments such as rates, currency as well as inflation forecasts have become unpredictable and are unable to inspire confidence.
Stop-gap measures have proven futile in the absence of a sound attempt to boost the economy. For those who are still hanging on to their jobs, the income has been eroded by inflation and incapacitation is the order of the day and now higher and deeper than during Mugabe’s era.
Economic growth is simply an increase in the amount of goods and services produced per head of the population over a period of time. Growth occurs when businesses invest and make profits which enable them to sustain and expand their investments consequently creating more employment opportunities. With that, taxes remitted to the government increase, enabling them to pay civil servants, to provide basic services and to ensure justice and security. It is that simple.
Tapiwa Gomo writes in his personal capacity