hama saburi 24 September 2017
HARARE – In the main, Zimbabwe’s economic challenges are rooted in the
lack of confidence on the part of locals and foreigners alike, which
confidence evaporated because of the country’s toxic politics.
Our Tsikamutanda brand of primitive politics premised on feja-feja and
witch-hunting in Zanu PF and other opposition political parties has shut
the country’s doors on particularly foreign investors and has made it
difficult for locals to attract capital with a long horizon.
This is the toxic business environment under which some unthankful
citizens want Mangudya to perform miracles. He has already performed
miracles by keeping us afloat.
There is also short-termism that now holds sway in the minds of our people
whereby very few of us want to raise their sweat through production in
industry hence our capacity utilisation remains static.
This is why even after adopting the multi-currency regime in 2009,
currency dealers still held out hope at Roadport and the so-called “World
Bank” in Bulawayo instead of dirtying their hands on the farms and
industry to produce for export.
This is also why our farmers prefer selling the seed, fertilisers and
chemicals they get from government on the black market than sweating it
out in the fields to produce.
Under these and other circumstances, Mangudya cannot be expected to
possess the magic of Houdini nor the charm of Angel Gabriel when even the
politicians in the opposition cannot even work together for purposes of
confronting President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party which has
presided over the calamitous collapse of our economy.
Politicians, especially those in opposition trenches, have been the most
vocal in their demands for Mangudya to vacate his office along Samora
Machel Avenue in Harare. While I do not hold a brief to defend Mangudya, I
am just wondering if any one of our politicians – who think they are
blameless – can throw the first stone on Mangudya?
In the holy book, there is the story about Jesus when he was teaching in
the temple when the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman who had
been caught in the act of adultery, and they asked Him if she should be
stoned as required by the Law of Moses.
It was, however, that her accusers cared nothing about this woman; they
were using her to trap Jesus.
Jesus did not answer immediately but stooped and wrote something on the
ground, and they kept pressing Him. Finally, the Lord said, in essence,
“Go ahead and stone her because that is what the Law requires. But the Law
also requires that the first stone be thrown by a person who is sinless in
connection with this charge” (John 8:6-7).
In calls for Mangudya to leave the RBZ, it doesn’t appear that his
accusers are unaware that the RBZ governor is not the problem. This, they
know very well.
But my question is, why expend a lot of energy on Mangudya when they is a
much bigger fish to fry?
It doesn’t help to target what we may perceive as weak targets in order to
empty our anger or feel good when there is an elephant in the room that we
must all focus on, which is Zanu PF and its ruinous economic policies that
have bred corruption and other malpractices.
I could not agree more with an observation that I came across on social
media to the effect that whoever is appointed to that hot seat is bound to
fail because they have very little sway over the centre of power which has
very little respect for economic rationale. Mangudya does not supervise
government ministers as some writers would like us to believe. If
anything, he is much, much down the pecking order.
Getting rid of Mangudya is therefore equivalent to curing the symptom to a
problem without dealing with its root causes, which in the main is
leadership failure in both the ruling party and the country’s opposition
which are failing to exercise their oversight role.
If at all Mangudya is to go, he must go after the main characters that are
behind Zimbabwe’s multifaceted economic challenges have packed their bags
to give Zimbabweans a break. Mangudya is in fact helping us. He is not
part of the problem but part of the solution to Zimbabwe’s challenges. His
clarion call for the country to enhance production, productivity and
exports is the solution to Zimbabwe’s sustainable economic development.
Even his call for the implementation of structural economic reforms,
including enhancing investors’ trust and confidence, transformation of
State-owned enterprises, enhancing the ease of doing business and fiscal
consolidation, is quite critical to increase investors’ confidence within
These calls are going by the wind, from both the opposition and the ruling
party because there is too much concentration on politics of personalities
at the expense of strengthening national institutions for the common good.
In his inaugural address as United States president on January 20, 1961,
John Kennedy had this to say: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what
your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My
fellow citizens of
the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can
do for the freedom of man.”
That clarion call by Kennedy should push every Zimbabwean to ask not what
Mangudya can do for this country but what we can all do for our country to
get it out of the woods.