Eric Bloch: Key Resolutions For 2009

ZIMBABWE’S government is justifiably renowned for its failure to do anything whatsoever timeously. Its reputation for tardiness is undoubtedly merited, for it has unfailingly always done too little, too late (save and except for its all too frequent, ill-considered, nationally destructive actions.

 

Those it invariably does precipitously, without due consideration, and when the appalling unforeseen consequences develop, it unhesitatingly attributes responsibility and blame to others. With its deep-seated convictions of omnipotence and infallibility, it cannot conceive of self-culpability).

With its unfettered ability to fail to do anything when it should be done, it must be taken for granted that on New Year’s Eve, when traditionally one should resolve upon positive and constructive actions for the year ahead, government failed to do so.

However, there is some substance to the old and trite maxim “Better late than never”, and therefore there is still opportunity for government to make its 2009 resolutions.

The first of those resolutions should be a collective one for all in government, and that is to act wholly and exclusively in the best interests of Zimbabwe and its people, which would be diametrically opposite to all that it has done heretofore.

Although it would vigorously deny it, each and every action of government over the last 10 years has been politically motivated, the objective being perpetuation of absolute control of Zimbabwe, or intent on self-benefit of those in government or nepotistically connected to them, or founded upon distorted, self-effacing misconceptions as to the causes of Zimbabwean ills.

But there are many other resolutions which, if government genuinely cares for those that it “governs”, should be made. Space constraints preclude itemising all, but to aid those who deceptively believe that they are the democratically elected rulers of Zimbabwe, some of their 2009 resolutions which should now be made are:

His Excellency President Robert Mugabe, who recently publicly declared that “Zimbabwe is mine!” should forthwith recognise that Zimbabwe belongs to all Zimbabweans, irrespective of political affiliation, race, tribe, gender, and that (as is the case in all countries with viable economies), non-Zimbabwean investors are also welcome, will not be prejudiced or oppressed, and their investments will be protected.

The Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Augustine Chihuri, should resolve that police will always honour and respect determinations of Zimbabwean courts, including orders for the immediate release of persons in police custody; that there will be intensive efforts to contain the fast-growing tendency of the traffic police to extort foreign currency bribes, with equally intensive efforts to ensure that the police do not resort to beatings and assault upon anyone, and in particular, upon those perceived  to be opponents of government.

ZRP’s reputation has been grievously tarnished by a minority who increasingly pursue the public with corrupt demands and threats and, on occasion, brutality. The 2009 resolution must be to strive to restore the ZRP’s past repute.

The Minister of Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu, needs to resolve that economic regulation is counterproductive and destructive when pursued to excess; deregulation should be the prevailing policy, the failures of excessive command economy policies having been a primary contributor to Zimbabwe’s near-total economic collapse.

The scathing dismissal of “textbook economics” initiated by the president but echoed by many ministerial sycophants not only overlooks that some have considerable substance, but also that those economics have had innumerable proven successes.

The Minister of State for Security and Land, Didymus Mutasa needs a multitude of resolutions including that he, and the government he represents, will from now onwards have unequivocal respect for property rights and bilateral agreements.

He should resolve to dispose of the racist chip on his shoulder against all non-black farmers, and recognize that Zimbabwe has more than enough land to accommodate those of all races who have a genuine wish to work the land productively, matched by requisite agricultural skill. And he must resolve to recognise determinations of regional tribunals and courts, for Zimbabwean membership of regional entities is spurious if it self-selectively ignores the agreed legal infrastructures.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs should resolve that 2009 will herald a new era in which Zimbabwe will strive to reconcile with many of the international community that it has unhesitatingly alienated and rebuffed.

Without in any manner being subservient to others, but founded upon equality, Zimbabwe must become a reciprocally cooperative member of the international community, containing its tendency for vituperative castigation and misplaced attribution to others of blame for that which Zimbabwe has afflicted upon itself.

Zimbabwe’s near-failed “Look East Policy” needs to be replaced with a “Look North, South, East and West Policy”, founded upon harmonious communication and collaboration.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s resolutions for 2009 must include real determination and intent to make good, speedily, the funds diverted from exporters’ and others’ Foreign Currency Accounts, stated to be “loans” to RBZ although the “lenders” were given no determination whether or not to make such loans, and virtually no terms and conditions of the loans such as repayment periods, interest rates and security have been given by the borrower that unilaterally availed itself of the foreign currency resources.

Similarly, it must be resolved that from now onwards all payments due by the RBZ to gold producers and tobacco growers will be timeously made, that exchange control bureaucracy will be eradicated and all applications and submissions speedily processed.

The cabinet needs to resolve that its profligate spending will cease forthwith, with state expenditure being intensively contained to levels within available means, and targeted towards the nation’s most critical and essential needs.

A very positive first step would be for the cabinet to recommend to, and urge, the president, to restructure the cabinet to a much smaller size, with a concomitant reduction in the Zimbabwe monolithic governmental structure.

Concurrently, the cabinet should resolve that it will now urgently pursue public/private partnerships, bringing about meaningful privatisation of Zimbabwe’s plethora of parastatals, almost all of which are under-capitalised, have derelict and failing infrastructures and markedly fail to meet the needs of the country.

Most of all, the cabinet resolution should be that from now on its focus will be upon effective deeds instead of fruitless talks, and that forthwith it will put the Zimbabwean people and their wellbeing foremost and above all else.

These are but a few of the governmental New Year resolutions that would transform Zimbabwe and accord it the glory and success it could so easily have were government to have the will and resolve. Past performance suggests that there is little prospect of such a spectacular governmental transformation, and yet self-preservation may finally provoke government to resolve upon that which is needed.

BY ERIC BLOCH