FOR the umpteenth time, we continue to hear that the government is implementing economic turnaround programmes or that initiatives for turnaround programmes are underway. Evidently, all this has been rhetoric as the results on the ground
show that an accelerated economic downward spiral is instead underway.
The problem lies squarely in Zanu PF and its old guard leadership whose thinking is fixated in the liberation war ideology and therefore cannot grasp the modern day trends in economic development such as the critical importance of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and globalisation.
Such fixation with an outdated ideology is aptly displayed by the government’s foreign policy which focuses on denigrating Western countries, especially Britain and America, and this has stifled any meaningful FDI into this country.
No country in the world has achieved sustainable economic development without substantive FDI or at worst by trading with itself. China and India are examples of emerging economic powerhouses which realised that economic development can only be achieved by following foreign policies which are conducive to trade and investment with all countries including and specially the West.
These two countries have become the most favoured destinations for FDI. Investor confidence in these countries is at unprecedented heights. More specifically, to achieve its impressive economic growth China had to draw on its reservoirs of domestic savings to create infrastructure and then attract foreign capital to build factories and acquire expertise.
In our case, domestic savings, if any, are devoured by government’s recurrent expenditure while its misguided foreign policy, among others, inhibits FDI.
It is Zanu PF’s blinkered view that mending relations with Western countries is negating sovereignty. Brazil, Singapore, India and South Africa still have their sovereignty as intact as ever yet they are all on good terms and are increasing trade, with the Western world.
Sovereignty does not mean impoverishing Zimbabweans. Zanu PF political trajectory is no different from North Korea’s whose dictatorship has impoverished its populace to the bone.
The disorderly implementation of the land acquisition may have stifled relations with Western countries, yes, but mending these relations was and is still very possible had it not been for the entrenched paranoia, egoism and backwardness of the Zanu PF leadership.
Today the majority of Zimbabweans (perhaps excluding those in the diaspora) are poorer than they were a year ago due to the ravaging inflation and it can easily be projected that in 2007 Zimbabweans will be among the poorest people on the planet as inflation is expected to reach 5 000% with the gross domestic product inevitably plummeting to unprecedented depths
Under the guise of protecting sovereignty, Zanu PF has monopolised political power through banning daily independent newspapers, denying opposition access to both radio and national television, using brute force of the army and police to crush any gathering by opposition parties or civic organisations and driving out all white commercial farmers.
Sovereignty is never compromised by following democratic principles of freedom of the press, association and rule of law. In fact, leaving alone the few experienced white farmers that are left in the country will at least ensure that a respectable level of agricultural productivity is guaranteed as the majority of new black farmers still need time to gain experience and to fully mechanise their farms. This is a smart way of doing things and Didymus Mutasa and company should know this.
To make matters worse, there is no succession plan in Zanu PF nor is it known how people will choose President Mugabe’s successor. The question is which people and when? Is it the central committee members, politburo or primary elections will be held?
The truth is that Mugabe has no intention of relinquishing power as long as he still has a breath left in his body and that is why he is deliberately dubious on the succession issue and is even pushing for the postponement of the 2008 election to 2010. This is misrule and poor governance by any standards and it sends a clear message that the economic meltdown is here to stay — as long as Zanu PF is in power.
Lately, Zanu PF’s “champion” of economic turnaround Gideon Gono was left with egg on his face when the central bank spent millions of scarce foreign currency to acquire fake fertiliser for the country. Whether this was incompetence or corruption or both, it remains unknown, but one thing for sure is that the value that this fertiliser will add to the country is less than the old currency $10 trillion which failed to make its way back to the system before the passing of currency reforms deadline of August 21.
It is because of these reasons: fixation with outdated and prehistoric foreign policies, poor governance, misrule, endemic corruption, incompetence and disregard of the rule of law — that renders the Zanu PF government incapable of ever achieving economic turnaround for this country — even if it is given a life time of trying!
As never before, our salvation now lies in our hands. We are the voters responsible for putting the Zanu PF government in power. I call upon all of us whether one is currently an ordinary member of the MDC or Zanu PF or whether one is in the police, army or any other profession, to put our minds and efforts together and become economic freedom fighters and work towards removing this corrupt and anti-economic development government.
Let us create a future for our children! Totambura here nenhamo isu tiine simba rekubvisa nhamo yacho? (We surely shouldn’t suffer in a land of plenty).