There’s still a dream in Zimbabwe

By Masimba Biriwasha

THE dream and hope of a new nation glows like a flame lily in every Zimbabwean’s heart. But the resolution of the country’s multifaceted crisis could take a number of differe

nt turns and pathways. The pathway the country travels will be largely determined by the outcome of political developments that lie at the heart of current problems in our country.


One of the main problems defining and sustaining the crisis has been the partisan approach to issues of national significance. This has forestalled peace, progress and prosperity.


In the absence of an all-inclusive political settlement, the nation of Zimbabwe will continue down the road of further disintegration and decline characterised by a disunity of vision and purpose. The decline will inevitably infect all sectors of our society. There will be an increase in lawlessness, brain drain, corruption, poverty and disease.


It is now apparent that a historicised and racialist approach to resolving the land question and other national questions has failed to yield results that promote the common good in our country. The war of liberation psychosis remains a major obstacle.


As it is, Zimbabwe can only extricate itself from the current crisis with a political settlement, which will bring the much-needed stability to the country. There’s need for a process of national healing in which all outstanding national issues will be brought out in the open without fear or favour. Thus, the question is not whether there will be a transition in the country, but when it will happen.


However, that transition will be a brainchild of political change and confidence-building measures both locally and internationally. The transition will likely involve initial moderate reforms to get the economy back on track while the political details are being worked out.


To be successful, the process of transition must reflect the hopes and aspirations of the people as well as receive the blessings of the international community. Zimbabwe must not regard herself as an island in today’s interconnected world. Immediate turnaround should not be expected. Besides there is a danger that such a turnaround can result in superficial changes.


Even when hopeful signs of recovery begin to appear, the economy would still continue to decline over the short term until the reform process kicks in. The transition process may be further delayed by the rise of populist demagoguery on the part of political actors who have the most to lose from the way the political space is conducted today.


The transition period could last from six months to more than two years. The more protracted the transition period, the greater will be the degree of polarisation and generalised social and political conflict.


While the transition period will be mainly aimed toward stabilisation, the reform era will involve the move towards a more vibrant democratic society and the opening of the politico-economic system, creating new opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. In effect, the revival of the Zimbabwean economy lies in the development of entrepreneurial skills in all business sectors.

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