WITH the election only a few weeks away, I have been considering how best to play my part.
Being in the diaspora, I cannot vote, but can still play a role by providing other means of support for dynamic leaders who will be respo
nsible for the country’s legislative agenda for the next five years.
While I am naturally inclined and attached to my Harare constituency, I feel my help is most needed in Chimanimani. This has nothing to do with incarcerated MP Roy Bennett, but everything to do with Dr Samuel Undenge.
I feel that this is one of the few progressive economic minds that deserve to help shape our economic agenda in parliament. Without being disrespectful to our current MPs, he is one of the very few with enough knowledge on both local and international economic intricacies.
Everyone is aware of the sterling work coming out of the RBZ. We however need parliament to complement, not just cheerlead the Reserve Bank. There has to be another centre of economic power in parliament that provides equally creative ideas.
For the past year, it’s clear that the only institutions to effectively deliver for the country are the RBZ and the Ministry of Information (Moi).
The RBZ has managed to make even the IMF believers in their forecasts. The Moi, on the other hand, has won the propaganda war in both Zimbabwe and other countries against a vile Western onslaught.
Both institutions have had a negative impact on some citizens — the shady bankers being victims of the RBZ and journalists from the private media experiencing the wrath of Moi. In spite of this, the general good of the country has however, been upheld.
Besides these two, there is great need for other institutions to join in. This can only be achieved through competent minds going to parliament. Undenge is very important in that, ever since the rise of the RBZ, fiscal policy has become the stepchild of policy formulation.
There just are no competent minds that can either challenge or add to what’s coming out of the RBZ. No matter how good the RBZ is, it always needs another centre of economic thought that can challenge and invigorate it. As it is now, it looks like we are peasant farmers using an ox and a calf for draught power. We need another ox to bring equilibrium to our project.
I have lately noted the strong hint by the RBZ to forge closer relations with the Washington-based institutions again. There are numerous IMF/WB-accommodating statements from the central bank yet there are no competent voices coming from parliament that are challenging this trend.
Most average economists are so overwhelmed by the great work the RBZ has done so far, they are either afraid, or are intellectually incapable of proposing alternative strategies.
For all I care, the RBZ might actually be right making the pro-Washington consensus moves it is making. But, without a rigorous challenge from equally gigantic knowledge centres such as the RBZ themselves, there will remain doubt in some of us that this re-engagement with the international financial institutions is based on sound analysis.
I feel that Undenge has all it takes to stand in this gap. This is why I am urging all progressive economists and other professionals to help in any way possible to make his entry into parliament possible.