For centuries, in much of the world, it has been (and still is) the practice of hundreds of millions to reflect on the positives and the negatives of the year just ended, and to make resolutions on how to develop and enhance the positives, and how to counter and eliminate the negatives. This prompts the hope that that practice is one which will be pursued by all Zimbabweans with a view to better everyone’s life, and to ensure that Zimbabwe can once again develop its vast potential. This potential, if realised, could progressively eliminate the widespread poverty and suffering that beleaguers the majority of the populace.
New Year resolutions are not generally made public, but in case some of those who most influence Zimbabwean circumstances are at a loss as to the resolutions they should make (and thereafter keep!), here are some suggestions:
Government (and especially Zanu PF in general, and its hierarchy in particular): Resolve that from 2011 onwards the people of Zimbabwe will be placed first and foremost in policies, considerations and public statements, far ahead of party and self-interest. Reinforce that resolve by discarding the misinterpreted biblical philosophy of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”, but instead adopt those of “turn the other cheek”, and “ungrudging forgiveness”. In line with such resolution, resolve that Zimbabwe’s lands of proven productivity, when properly used and not abused, be available to all irrespective of race, tribe, gender, faith or political affiliation, the sole criteria for entitlement to use the land being the meritorious and productive usage thereof. Concurrently, resolve to replace abuse and contempt of many of the international community with reconciliation, harmony, collaboration and respect (reciprocally required) for the views of others.
War veterans: Resolve that henceforth there will be unequivocal respect for law and order, and that power and authority vests wholly and exclusively in the lawfully and democratically elected, and the electorate, and not in those who may have rendered past service.
Saviour Kasukuwere (Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment): Resolve that indigenisation and economic empowerment can only be effectively and substantively achieved by:
- Facilitation and motivation of new enterprise establishment;
- Removal of barriers to formal sector economic activity, and enablement of transition from informal to formal sector;
- Giving incentives to existing enterprise indigenisation, instead of disguised expropriation;
- Targeting indigenisation at levels, and by methods, which do not alienate potential investment and deter and alienate foreign investment.
Tendai Biti (Minister of Finance): Recognition that, irrespective of fiscal needs, excessive taxation is economically destructive and diminishes fiscal inflows, whereas low taxes are economically stimulatory, in turn enhancing revenues for the fiscus. (A lessening of taxes on individuals, especially those suffering below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL), increases spending power, with concomitantly greater governmental receipts of Value Added Tax, customs duties, and taxes on profits of businesses enjoying resultant increased sales volumes and profits).
MPs: Resolution that, notwithstanding that justice dictates fair remuneration for their parliamentary services, their first and primary obligation is to protect and further the interests of their constituents, and Zimbabwe as a whole.
Trade unions: The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union and Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, their underlying trade unions and the myriad of Zimbabwe trade union activists should resolve to recognise the need for non-confrontational, constructive interaction with employers. That resolution must be founded upon appreciation that whilst their first and foremost duty and obligation is to further the well-being and interests of the nation’s workers, they do not do so by demands for wages and employee benefits beyond employer means, and by destructive industrial labour actions against employers. Doing so only culminates in the downsizing and eventual collapse of enterprises, with increased unemployment and hardships for the employees the unions claim to represent and protect. As harsh as inadequate remuneration circumstances are, those created by unemployment are even greater.
Employers should determine upon a reciprocal resolution to effect remuneration increments, insofar as employer means permit, progressively to levels which at the least equate to 60% of the PDL (on the assumption that in each family of five, to which the PDL relates, there will be a second income earner, generating a possible 40% of PDL), and that in any event remuneration increments will not be less than the inflation rate since the previous increment.
Media: The media in general, and state-controlled media in particular, can and should resolve that henceforth they will report news factually, instead of political bias and, all too often, with gross misrepresentation against those that the media is politically opposed to. News should be fact, not fiction, devised for ulterior political or other motives.
International community: Those of the international community applying sanctions against Zimbabwe, especially USA, the European Union and various Commonwealth countries should resolve to withdraw all sanctions other than those specific to targeted individuals who are politically and humanitarianly unacceptable to them. Whilst government’s contentions that such sanctions are “illegal” are wholly specious and spurious, nevertheless they should be discontinued for they do not afflict those that the international community is opposed to. Sanctions have grievous repercussions upon the innocent Zimbabwean populace. Instead, those sanctions enable the politicians to attribute Zimbabwe’s economic ills to the sanctions, thereby diverting recognition that the ills are, in fact, occasioned by those politicians, with their diabolically destructive policies. Removal of the sanctions would deprive the politicians of their false attribution to national suffering.
This columnist resolves to try to use shorter sentences and less obtuse verbiage in his column in 2011, whilst concurrently wishing all Zimbabweans a peaceful, happy, healthy, successful and prosperous 2011.