HomeComment‘Economy not a total disaster’

‘Economy not a total disaster’

THIS heading should be welcome news for both the ruling Zanu PF and opposition MDC-T, neither of whom have known much good news over the past year.

Editor’s Memo with Iden Wetherell

And it’s always good to know that one’s disaster is not total!
It comes from Chatham House, the UK-based think-tank which comments on global events, including in Zimbabwe.

They are now promoting the idea of consensual politics to rescue Zimbabwe’s ailing economy.

A bipartisan approach to propping up the economy is essential to recovery, they argue in a paper headed “Zimbabwe International Re-Engagement: the Long Haul to Recovery”, released last week.

They warn that there is no credible alternative to the challenges facing the country.

This may be obvious to most observers, but the country’s ruling party has previously set its face against collaboration with the MDC and tends to see bipartisan politics as an attempt by a weak opposition to wrest power where it couldn’t win votes.

However, last week the two parties said they were prepared to “smoke the peace pipe” and engage each other, according to the Zimbabwe Mail.

The report accepts that Zanu PF would remain the dominant force in local politics for some years to come and warns of a credibility crisis in the absence of consensus.

Both Zanu PF’s Rugare Gumbo and the MDC-T’s Douglas Mwonzora appear to have signed up for talks and say they are ready to engage, at least on the economy.

Gumbo says they are ready and have always been ready for talks. The proof of the pudding, however, will be in the eating.

The news will have come as a relief to Morgan Tsvangirai whose life appears to be something of a roller-coaster at present.

He might not have time for the renewal course that Chatham House recommends because he will be too busy sorting out his dysfunctional life.

The latest embarrassment is his admission that he is broke. He wanted to help a family facing funeral costs but couldn’t find the cash.

We are not talking here of a king’s ransom, just a few bob. But it’s all a Zanu PF plot, he claims. And this is the level at which politics are conducted in Zimbabwe!

In a salient point, the report says the future of the country will increasingly be determined by the government’s tactical decisions. The examples are re-engagement with Europe and sanctions.

Instead of welcoming the lifting of key EU measures imposed by the EU in 2002, it denounced those sanctions that remained in the fist-waving manner of the regime’s spokesmen.

And even friends of the regime feel too much effort was devoted to Mrs Grace Mugabe’s visa issue. We still don’t know why there was a compelling need for her to visit Brussels.

As for the regime’s Foreign affairs minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, his unimpressive credentials were exposed during his tenure as ambassador in London which suggested the sort of foreign policy we should expect when he returned to Harare.

A meeting with ambassadors was appalled by the unsophisticated and unprogressive way he dealt with them. There has been no change in attitude since then.

Patrick Chinamasa has adopted a steady and consistent policy on empowerment while his colleague Saviour Kasukuwere is crashing around in a field that requires delicate arrangements. The destruction of the Save Valley Conservancy is one of the great tragedies of the recent era.

The Chatham House initiative urged Zimbabwe to seek readmission to the Commonwealth, a move that Gumbo described as “not such a bad idea”.

Indeed, all in all the Chatham House proposals take the country marginally forward.

This is not the seismic shift the country needs. But it will be a step forward if undertaken.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

NewsDay Zimbabwe will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.