Stay the course on poll promises

IT is almost 100 days since Zanu PF swept to a landslide victory in the July 31 elections, tainted somewhat by opposition allegations of systematic rigging and voter disenfranchisement.

Editor’s Memostewart chabwinja

The party’s poll campaign rode on its signature promise to “indigenise, empower, develop and create employment”. The new dispensation, it was envisaged, would hit the ground running to translate campaign promises into tangible results in the least possible time.

Whatever the post-poll narrative regarding the methods employed by Zanu PF to secure power, the reality is that the party enjoys legitimacy after the polls were deemed to be sufficiently free and fair by observers, bar the lingering dissenting voices.

It is thus charged with the task of steering the nation out of the woods to which, many would argue, it has condemned a once thriving nation for over a decade and counting.

Hence, soon after the polls, Zanu PF’s clarion call has been: the electioneering is over, now it’s time to deliver.

Which is precisely why it is disconcerting that the party appears to be beating a hasty retreat in the face of the sobering reality of the Herculean task to revive the country’s fortunes. Over the past two weeks, it has become apparent that the new government is preparing itself for eventual failure, thus the shift from the delivery mode to the tried-and-tested blame game –– Zanu PF’s stock-in-trade.

The flak is falling on the usual scapegoats: sanctions and the opposition MDC-T. Sanctions have over the past two weeks been cited for, among others, the state of the country’s roads and upsurge in traffic accidents; the looming food shortages to affect over two milion people; the state of provincial Heroes’ Acres; power shortages and the continued fall in socio-economic indicators; and the government’s expected failure to create 2,265 million jobs as outlined in Zanu PF’s manifesto.

It is of course mostly dissembling baloney. What has happened to the Zanu PF which, after its July 31 triumph, gave the impression it was chomping at the bit, ready to fulfill lofty electoral promises? It appears to have firmly tucked its tail between its legs when confronted by a daunting to-do list, as if it was oblivious to sanctions when making impressive promises to make Zimbabweans “masters of their vast, God-given national resources”.

Instead of this defeatist attitude the new administration should roll-up its sleeves even further and get firmly stuck into the mission of implementing policies to make the country the African Jewel few dispute it can be.

Instructively, the latest report by the Mo Ibrahim Governance Index ranks Zimbabwe among the worst governed countries on the continent, placing it 47th out of 52 countries, thus putting it in the same category as politically unstable countries like Somalia, Equatorial Guinea, and Chad.

Surely the ranking is not sanctions-induced; nor does it need their lifting to be reversed.

Elsewhere, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) held its congress in de-industrialised Bulawayo this week, after the industrial lobby group released results of its manufacturing sector survey indicating industry’s capacity utilisation had plunged to 39,6% from 44% last year.

The CZI attributed the decline in capacity utilisation partly to erratic power supply, influx of cheap imported goods, antiquated machinery and high labour costs. And Zimbabwe, according to a World Bank Doing Business survey, ranks 172 out of 185 investment destinations, which critics blame on the country’s punitive tax regime, stringent labour laws, and lack of clarity on indigenisation and empowerment regulations for spooking foreign direct investment.
Not sanctions.

In this issue we carry a story painting a gloomy picture on the state of the economy, with company closures and retrenchments the order of the day, suggesting the long, arduous journey to economic recovery has hardly begun.

That journey could be kick-started by Zanu PF dropping the blame game and implementing policies that constitute the bitter pill efficacious for the country’s socio-economc revival.
Excuses won’t.