Erich Bloch: Default Outcome Of Major Impact

EDITORIAL dictates necessitate that this column be written some days prior to publication, but it is written with awareness that most will be reading it on Friday June 27.

 

That date may well be of immense significance as to the future of Zimbabwe, and as to the wellbeing or otherwise of its population, for it is the day when the presidential election run-off was due to be held.

The default outcome of the electoral vote for the presidency can be of major impact on the future of the presently grievously beleaguered Zimbabwe and its economically and otherwise embattled populace.

In part that can be if it brings to an end the prolonged hiatus of uncertainty that has prevailed in the run-up to the March “harmonised” elections, and ever since pending the now non-event presidential election run-off.

Throughout that period the severely weakened economy has become ever more straitened, the hardships afflicting Zimbabweans have intensified exponentially, and despondency, depression, doom and gloom, and pronounced negativeness has become the order of the day for almost all sectors of the economy and of society as a whole.

Driving these tragic emotions are numerous factors, but one of the foremost is the intense sense of uncertainty as to the future. Uncertainty as to who will govern Zimbabwe, how effectively and justly will Zimbabwe be governed, will Zimbabwe be restored into the ranks of collaborative, interactive nations in the international community, will the oppressed, almost totally-destroyed economy be revitalised and transformed, and numerous other uncertainties need to be resolved if a national positive morale is to exist once more.

Achieving the transformation of a potentially near-unique country of almost unlimited economic opportunity, and of a viable livelihood, comfort and security for all depends not upon who is Zimbabwe’s next president, and upon which political party rules the country.

It matters not whether the president is Robert Mugabe or Morgan Tsvangirai and whether the government is constituted by Zanu PF, MDC-T, a government of national unity, or any other.

What matters is how the president and the ruling party (or parties) will govern, albeit that those who have heretofore governed will have great difficulty convincing the populace, and the world at large, of the genuineness of policy transformation.

What is needed is that (following a rapid end to the very extended period of political uncertainty that has characterised the Zimbabwean scenario for more than a year, ever since the so-called harmonised elections were determined upon), first and foremost the spirit of racial harmony and co-operation, and national unity irrespective of race or tribe, that was the central element of the acceptance of Independence speech of Robert Gabriel Mugabe on April 18, 1980 now become a reality.

Over the last two decades, and more government has not only not facilitated that harmony, co-operation and unity, but has been the principal driver of racial divide.

Discrimination against whites and Asians is as diabolically evil as is discrimination against blacks.

Discrimination against certain tribal groupings by other tribal groupings is as evil.

No discrimination can be justified, save only for discrimination between good and evil, honest and dishonest, capable and the incapable.

But, after a few years of faked exclusion of discrimination, after Independence, in order to milk the world in general, and donor states in particular, of as much wealth as possible, government was at the forefront of provoking and initiating racial, and sometimes tribal, discrimination.

On the rare occasion when it admitted to doing so, its justification was the discriminations of the past.

Effectively, it took the stance that “two wrongs make a right” or that it was just and equitable for those who had previously suffered discrimination to have revenge by recourse to reciprocal discrimination.

Secondly, the next government, of whomsoever it may be comprised, must ensure that the very foundation of the Zimbabwean economy, being agriculture, is healed, revitalised, and restored to its former glory.

This requires abandonment of specious allegations that the entire country was “stolen” by former colonisers, and ensuring that the land is in the hands of capable and industrious farmers disposed to attaining productivity, instead of merely the perceived grandeur of land barons. It requires that, very belatedly (but better late than never), bilateral investment protection agreements, and governmentally issued Certificates of No Interest, are honoured and respected. In a nutshell, land reform must be constructively reformed.

Thirdly, the government of tomorrow must govern responsibly, wholly disregarding self-interests, and placing the interests of the Zimbabwean people as a whole as paramount.

Doing so requires responsible administration of state funding, frugality and controlled spending, economic deregulation, central bank autonomy, containment of corruption, and absolute transparency in all governance.

And it requires reconciliation with the international community. The so-called, not substantially productive, “Look East” policy must be replaced with a “Look North, East, South and West” policy, founded upon reciprocal respect for, and from, the international community as a whole.

Past recriminations should be buried, and instead conciliation and reconciliation pursued. Diatribes of vituperative vitriol must cease, and instead Zimbabwe must strive to repair the bridges with the international community that it has so vigorously demolished in recent years.

Fourthly, but of as great importance as the first, second and third necessary actions, is that Zimbabwe must prove to itself and to the world that it genuinely pursues, without equivocation, the principles of democracy, respect (without limitation) for human rights, and protection of property rights, all interlinked wholly with preservation, and just implementation, of rule of law.

Concurrently, bearing in mind the vast potential wealth of Zimbabwe’s provenly fertile lands, it’s minimally exploited mineral riches, its outstanding array of unique tourism resources, its strongly-founded industrial technology base, and its considerable skilled, able and willing, but under-utilised, pool of labour, Zimbabwe needs to create a genuinely welcoming and conducive environment for Foreign Direct Investment, and domestic investment.

If Zimbabwe can bring about a presidency, and a government, solely motivated to do the best for the Zimbabwean people, and to do so by ensuring a rapid and positive Zimbabwean transformation founded upon these principles, then today will be a cornerstone of a history of Zimbabwe to be remembered.

If not, then today will tragically be remembered as yet another event in the destruction of a great country and a great nation.

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