Are these signs of a return to sanity?

DO I detect the tiniest glint of a return of humanity, legality and sanity to the Zimbabwean scene?


I refer to the statements by a senior member of the administration — Vice-President Joice Mujuru.


Fr

om her lips came, not a commendation to the ZRP for prompt action, but a reproof for the “overzealous” arrest of some unfortunate bakers for overcharging.


Does anyone believe that price controls can work when hyperinflation prevails?


This brave lady also suggested that intimidation was not the best way to gain the co-operation of the people. Is it possible that the vice-president’s sentiments are shared by some of her colleagues or do the bully boy tactics still reign supreme?


The first inkling of hope came some months ago when Mujuru paid a visit to Kondozi Estate and demanded to know who had helped themselves to the tractors and other equipment, loss of which had jeopardised production on the estate.


There appears to have been some change since that visit.


An attempt has been made to bring disabled Arda farms back to production by allocating them to Sedco, but why not back to their owners who would guarantee production without the help of government subsidies?


For six years other people’s property and assets have been up for grabs by anyone who considered him/herself to be above the law or indeed supported by the law.


The disastrous consequences are obvious to all except those who do not want to see. Business people whether from the east or the west are scary of investing in a country which has not regretted its past mistakes but daily threatens more of the same to still productive enterprises!


Is change on the horizon? If so, there might very well be a small glow at the end of the tunnel. There are, however, many inescapable conditions to be met before a turnaround becomes possible:


* A return to the rule of law under an independent judiciary including a guarantee of property rights;


* Redress for the wrongs committed during Gukurahundi, the farm invasions and Operation Murambatsvina;


* The re-establishment of sustainable agriculture independent of massive, crippling, hyper-inflation building government subsidies;


* The development of a sound fiscal policy; and


* The acceptance and adherence to United Nations human rights norms.


Predictably, the National Economic Development Priority Programme is following the failed route of its numerous predecessors. The rate of inflation and fall in value of the Zim dollar are as devastating as ever.


Perhaps it is this pressure which is at last opening the eyes of those who will not or cannot see.



Observer,


Harare.