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Editor’s Memo

The madhouse

THOSE who have had the opportunity to read the Bible should be familiar with the story of Jesus telling the Jews to destroy the temple and he would rebuild it in three days. With his

Messianic hands, he would build a better and more prosperous city.

There is an age-old theory that one must destroy in order to build. That is why in order to build new structures in the CBD, old ones have to be pulled down. The same is true of human character. It is important sometimes to destroy the old person in order to live a new life.

I am not sure whether the same principle is applicable with an economy.

This unfortunately appears to be the guiding policy of government. The destruction the economy has been subjected to over the past five years bears witness to this notion. There is a destructive hand on the loose in this country.

It is being unleashed to destroy so that government can rebuild. That is why we always hear our rulers talking of rebuilding the national herd, rebuilding infrastructure on the farms, reviving the ailing manufacturing sector, resuscitating the health sector, re-equipping Air Zimbabwe and Zupco etc.

In all this frenzy of rebuilding, resuscitating, reforming and reviving, government has tried to position itself as the saviour of the country. But who is the killer here? Who is the destroyer?

I recall at the inception of the land reform programme when Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said something like you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. Government in the name of land reform did break eggs but where is the omelette? When government decided to embark on the chaotic land reform programme, it killed grain production, it killed irrigation, it decimated the dairy sector, and it butchered beef cattle and cut a swathe through horticulture. Breaking eggs to do what Patrick?

Today government and its apostle, Gideon Gono, have been dishing out funds to rehabilitate the agricultural sector. Gono is getting applause for his largesse. He is our saviour.

Joseph Chinotimba last week talked of “our God-given governor”. That’s good alliteration Joseph. (Don’t bite your tongue though. Take it slowly.)

Last week Gono even proposed bringing back the “former operators” of horticultural concerns to offer technical expertise. He could not call them former white farmers because it is not politically correct. Government will now seek glory for realising the importance of experienced hands in agriculture. We will however not forget that government kicked out years of experience on the farms and replaced them with corruption.

When Chinamasa spoke of the land revolution, I am sure he did not mean stripping tractors, looting irrigation equipment, trashing farmhouses (look at what they did to the late Enos Chikowore’s farmhouse), cutting trees and slaughtering game for the pot. What has been built out of this?

The destructive hand of government in schools, colleges and universities is manifest. We do not need to discuss government’s record in health and social services.

That poisoned mindset is driving the current blitz against informal traders in the CBD. I have no problem with attempts to spruce up the CBD and ensuring no laundry is done on First Street. I however have a problem with government criminalising institutions it helped to create. The reason why there is a flourishing informal sector, albeit laced with criminal elements, is because government has failed to develop and expand the formal sector.

Will government close companies, parastatals and some of its departments simply because they are sabotaging the economy? Gono told us clearly where corruption and graft are centred. Zimra, the police, parastatals and the Department of Immigration.

I do not expect to see a blitz of equal force at these institutions because our government has not been known to deal decisively with real issues. The men and women running our government are crazy with blitzes that are unfortunately aimed at the wrong targets. The real criminals manning high offices have escaped the net.

Gono promised us that he would deal with those who abused the public sector funds, those who diverted agro-loans to buy vehicles and other goodies and those politicians who have been encouraging their supporters not to repay loans. We don’t expect anything spectacular. Remember the VIP housing scheme, the DDF boreholes scam and the embarrassing looting of the War Victims Compensation Fund? Are the perpetrators of these social crimes not occupying top offices in government and parastatals? These are the real criminals who have been shielded from arrest by political patronage.

I still want to refer to the adage of breaking eggs to make omelettes. If ever Zimbabwe needs to destroy in order to build, the first structure that must to be brought down is the coterie of blind leaders currently running the asylum of patronage.

Frankly speaking, what damage to the city were the flower vendors at Africa Unity Square causing? Did their flowers not look extremely beautiful whether passing along Jason Moyo Avenue or from La Fontaine Restaurant at Meikles?

Who is the criminal here? The flower vendors or Sekesai Makwavarara and company, who have for weeks failed to repair the damaged fresh water pipes along Harare Street? What can they build in Harare after all this destruction? More chaos I suppose.

We are now in a madhouse and the inmates are in charge!

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