By Walter Hurley
IT is a matter of some tragic amusement when one reads or hears about the planned or alleged economic recovery in Zimbabwe. Purported recuperation think-tanks continue to talk rather than do
the walk towards addressing the main fundamental issues head-on.
Solving one major problem usually solves many other dependent and unresolved issues thereafter. A political solution for Zimbabwe is mandatory to rescue the nation. It urgently needs to qualify to re-join the international community or else its fate is certain.
The typical conflicting messages often heard are that the International Monetary Fund is either an idiot or a saviour; that the property market, inflation rates, industry, the stock exchange, mining, food supply, agriculture and tourism are declining or are actually alleged to be improving.
What is consistent is that the national infrastructure, employment levels, debt levels, international creditworthiness, fundamental rights, state institutions, investor confidence, donor and aid support, forex availability, the real economy and the Zimbabwe dollar are spiralling inevitably towards the creation of social and economic collapse.
Nothing relevant is actually getting better other than for the deluded elitists with their snouts still in the ransacking but blinding looting troughs.
With the path that Zanu PF has consistently chosen, the reality is that the party’s downfall will not be via the ballot box — it will be as a consequence of its self-serving policies that have inevitably crafted the forthcoming economic implosion.
The regime is still living under a mushroom of dreamworld, desperation and self-denial. It apparently still believes its own fiction and lies, as does solidarity comrade Thabo Mbeki.
It is debatable how much more international lampooning Mbeki will take for his blatant support of tyranny before the South African president actually realises that he has put himself and his own nation at grave risk for creditability and for potential investor flight. To expose Mbeki’s “bright intellectual capacity” further, he recently claimed he was right about his earlier assessment on the scourge of Aids!
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and his counsels appear to still believe that his Homelink vision will alleviate the national forex availability woes. Perhaps Gono has embarked on this mission where no other real forex earning prospects were tangibly in sight. Homelink appears to have produced hallucinatory or unproven statistics on the successes of this now failing forex-earning venture.
When standards of rural living are established in the cities with donkey carts as the means of public transport the possibility of reality may become known to the imposed leadership that the nation and their own survival is at grave risk. The stalwarts may eventually discover that candles were actually a wicked non-indigenous colonialist creation.
What any residual economists need to quantify is the real dimensions of Zimbabwe’s problems, and conclude if there is any prospect of salvation left, and what to expect thereafter. To be taken into account are the huge and mounting international debts and loan accounts together with the ever-growing domestic liability as augmented by on-going unbudgeted and lavish expenditure.
Does anyone really expect debt forgiveness or any foreign investment from the international community under the present insecure climate?
Clearly the time must come when no one or a country can survive on perpetual credit without consequence.
The simple reality is that the proven re-introduction of proper and accepted civilised norms would be enough to initiate a recovery programme that would be self-starting based on deriving confidence factors.
Since Zanu PF has survived and prospered by violating all defined or educated norms, the likelihood of the party engaging in a cultural reform programme is effectively non-existent. The war of attrition against the normal well-informed world will thus continue unabated.
Surely it must be understood by some that the national agenda to plunder and strip any found or remaining assets to sustain the regime is not unsustainable for much longer.
Mixed messages are continuously emitted by the hierarchy. They hate the West and its values yet they typically extend their worn-out blame and begging baskets in that direction. Hypocritically they enjoy the trappings of the West for their children’s education and their own luxurious lifestyles.
They know well that the gullible Western “do-gooders” like Tony Blair and the Canadians will continue to sponsor their longevity on purported humanitarian grounds. With abundant free food aid there has not yet been a need to restart the agricultural sector.
However, the regime has recently been left with no alternative other than to hopefully look East for sustenance. Typically, friendly eastern comrades are deficient on moral and human value principles and are thus not likely to promote examination of any human and democratic rights violations in Zimbabwe.
China is a growing economic engine that expects to out-distance the West in due time. This nation is becoming a de-facto economic colonialist state. In Africa, China already has its eyes on Sudan’s oil and on Zimbabwe’s platinum.
Historically China is famous for supplying weapons and moral support for destabilising purposes, but not much else of significance. Has the country now changed its agenda?
For Zimbabwe to survive, what now needs to be assessed is the real dimension of genuine financial support that China and the likes of Malaysia and Iran will give to Zimbabwe, and the conditions attached to that support. Do they see comradeliness and moral support or investment opportunities, or do they see the tangible Zimbabwe millstone that most sane others want to avoid at all costs?
Gono has had mild successes which have been simply achieved by re-applying normally established fiscal disciplines in the financial sector that should never have been allowed to be prostituted and exploited by greedy self-servers in the first place. Gono is seen to be one of a few in the inner-orbits of influence that can show a semblance of identifying with realness.
Clearly, to be truthful or intelligent in Zanu PF circles invites hazards as historical records prove.
Gono, while clearly singing from a different hymn sheet from his masters, has
actually advocated some core values that the government needs to apply to turn the nation away from the graveyard that it is facing. To no avail so far he has advocated state spending containment, respect of property rights and compliance with international bilateral investment promotion protection agreements.
One may wonder why Gono, out of belief aligned to his core values, has not long since resigned from his position to retain his self-respect. On the other hand, the question arises why he has not been fired for being too diligent.
The overall result is that the meltdown will continue unabated. The residual question remaining is when and how it will happen.
* Walter Hurley is a freelance writer based in Pretoria.