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Will Big Govt Guarantee Efficiency?

AT long last, the power-sharing agreement has been signed amidst pomp and ceremony.

 

It appears there will be at least 31 ministers, 15 deputy ministers, 10 governors, three motorcades each in the presidency and prime ministerial offices with attendant entourages, houses, budgets for furniture, security, domestics and goodness knows what else.

Apart from these expenses at the top, there will be cars and travel expenses for the 300 plus Members of Parliament, constituency offices and trappings.

The acceptance of a big government seems to be given and it will be very hard for the next government to depart from this model, developed during a spoils-based era of Zanu PF government.

The question that arises is who will fund all this and from what resource base or budget? Will a big government guarantee efficient and effective service delivery for the people of Zimbabwe?

We ask these questions because we do not want to assume that a big government is necessarily bad and small government good.

It depends on what a government intends to use its size to accomplish.

The last ten years of Zanu PF government were about big spending to feed it’s cronies and this trend is likely to be sustained by the negotiated agreement.

All the parties want a piece of the pie for their loyalists who have been in the trenches.

The question is whether the new entrants will be able to resist the politics of the trough in favour of delivering services and prosperity to the people who fought so hard and paid such a high price for dislodging Zanu PF from total monopoly over the state.

We know from history that it is easier to change people to make them fit into existing systems than to transform systems to suit the ideas of the new people coming into them.

Fortunately, there is a critical mass of new entrants to the government from the MDCs to enable them to change the structures, processes and practices of government to suit the needs of the people of Zimbabwe.

If donor funding will be available to fund big government, what elements will be funded?

These issues have to be articulated openly and debated because donor priorities and party priorities may not necessarily be the priorities of the people of Zimbabwe.

The reconstruction phase in many post-conflict societies is usually fraught with problems as donors jostle to advance their interests and resource-starved governments open the doors to anybody who appears to bear gifts.

The new government has to be open about its priorities so that the people of Zimbabwe can participate in co-determining these priorities.

In this regard, there has to be a mechanism for public communication and dialogue with all the segments of society so that priorities are agreed and benefit the majority.

We have heard the speeches from the MDC leaders and the Zanu PF. There is a Janus-faced aspect to the government with the MDCs talking about what has to be done and the Zanu PF harking back to the days of its former glory.

The speeches indicated a need to harmonise a vision, mission and strategies for the future.

In that respect, we suggest that there be a process of national planning, strategy development, goal-setting, compiling resources available and matching them to priorities.

The reconstruction has to be managed very efficiently and resources deployed effectively.

The service delivery mechanism has to work and in this respect, there is need to revamp and re-equip the civil service and infrastructure to make delivery of services possible.

Practices and processes from the past that were not people-oriented need to be jettisoned and new ones developed to meet the needs of the people.

A productive, rational and responsive economy, with accessible and affordable services is the best start to the process of re-building Zimbabwe.

We are watching closely and the people of Zimbabwe are raring to go.

It is up to the new inclusive government to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe are included and not disappointed once again. –– Zimbabwe Watch.

 

*(Zimbabwe Watch was formed to keep the basic principles for freedom, equality (including gender equality), justice and democracy at the forefront of our national vision and to ensure that they are adhered to in both policy and implementation at all levels of our society and government).

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