Why can’t they listen?

WE really wonder what President Robert Mugabe and his ministers in their quiet moments think about.

The Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

Do they think about how far the nation has come, what it has endured over the years and how far it still has to go to overcome underdevelopment and poverty?

Does Mugabe and his ministers ever think about their strengths and weaknesses? Do they do a Swot analysis — a structured planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — in this case running a country?

Do they look at Zimbabwe’s strengths or characteristics that give it an advantage over others? Do they examine weaknesses or where the country is at a disadvantage relative to others? Do they look at opportunities: elements that the country could exploit to its advantage?

Do they consider threats or factors in the environment that could cause trouble for the country? Or are they just content with muddling through while mismanaging the country?

It looks like we have a president and ministers who listen not to understand what the people and those who know are saying, but to reply.

We are saying this because over and over people and informed experts have endlessly said what Zimbabwe needs to do to get out of the current situation and move forward. Why are Mugabe and his ministers unable or unwilling to listen?

Even if they don’t listen, we will continue to say this: they have destroyed the country through toxic leadership, poor governance and bad policies.

In its March 2014 Equities Market Review and Strategy Outlook, Invictus Securities Zimbabwe says the economic situation can only improve if the country is able to attract at least US$1 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the short-term. It also says the country needs policy consistency and certainty, particularly on property rights and indigenisation.

“Unless we attract FDI, the economy will remain in stagnation, which means we cannot grow government revenues,” it says. “Unfortunately, indigenisation continues to make it difficult for foreign investors to come in.”

Invictus says since the beginning of the year all indications are pointing to a slowdown in the economy due to negative and uncertain market conditions.

Last week, trade experts said Zimbabwe needs good policies to attract investment. World Bank African region trade practice leader Paul Brenton said the economy is being sabotaged by a hostile investment climate.

International growth centre country director Richard Newfarmer noted Zimbabwe needs clear and sustainable policies to promote export diversity and value addition to grow the economy going forward. This is all common cause. Zimbabwe is strategically located at the heart of the southern African region.

It has great human capital, a skilled diaspora community and is rich in natural resources, among other key factors in development.
What is lacking is effective leadership and good policies. If Mugabe and his ministers don’t know what to do — as they clearly don’t — they should at least listen.