Source: Failed politics equals failed economy | The Financial Gazette March 2, 2017
THE National Democratic Institute (NDI), a non-profit, nonpartisan, nongovernmental organisation that responds to the aspirations of people around the world to live in democratic societies that recognise and promote basic human rights, has said: “Citizens have needs and interests that they expect governments to address. In democratic societies, political parties are meant to aggregate these demands from diverse groups and articulate public policy options to respond to them. Elections should provide voters the opportunity to choose among political parties offering distinct proposals for addressing societal needs. Through their efforts to control and influence public policy, political parties can play an intermediary role, linking citizens to their representatives, and serving as the primary channel for holding government accountable for its performance. Thus, party policy development — the process whereby political parties formulate and seek to implement their proposals for governmental actions — is central to the healthy functioning of a representative democracy.”
I think that the proposition that political parties are the best platform to represent citizens’ views and to hold governments accountable for their actions is an honourable idea that unfortunately only works to a certain extent in developed or mature democracies.
In Africa, and Zimbabwe in particular, our democracies fall far short of this ideal. In fact we can hardly find any such democracies.
Politics, in most of post independent Africa, has unfortunately remained a mere means to an end.
Delivery, competence, putting country first and serving the people seem to be an inconvenience.
Despite our politicians having a prominent place in our society, they have dismally failed not only to be accountable, but to perform their fundamental responsibility of building stable and progressive societies.
Citizens must now realise that passive political participation is no longer an option and verges on irresponsibility.
The rise of social movements in Zimbabwe is a healthy development that only those that fear change can deny.
Unfortunately, failed politics results in failed economics.
You cannot create inclusive economic structures in a dictatorship.
It is an antithesis. You cannot promote broad-based no partisan empowerment of the masses when you practice patronage in order to stay in power. You cannot harness the diverse talents of citizens when you discriminate them because of their political affiliation.
Zimbabwe can never realise its full economic potential when our resources are plundered for the benefit of a few selfish predatory cabal.
The key actions to economic recovery are clear.
Firstly, is leadership renewal in all public and private institutions so that the new may emerge?
The old must die in order for the new to prevail, that is the nature of things.
Those who want to hold onto the past and the old must be left behind where they belong.
Secondly, is a radical shift of purpose in our economic objectives?
Our sole agenda must be to increase disposable incomes in the pockets of our people so that they may live a better life and be able to create wealth for their families going forward.
The more our people have, the more they will spend and possibly save. Any economy that fails to create new incomes for its people is dying; the evidence is with us today.
This means that we need to focus on those sectors that have a quick turn around and also have high employment opportunities and agriculture is such. However, we must not be stuck with the old model of primary production.
We must industrialise around agriculture and mining to establish industrial hubs that add value to our products.
The private sector and not government must lead this effort.
We also need to banish the idea of indigenisation. You cannot indigenise when you do not have own resources.
It is better for companies to be 100 percent owned by those with the money to invest and create opportunities both at employment level and at supply chain empowerment.
The multiplier effect is much better than when you have a few people owning equity on companies.
Indigenisation based on equity ownership does not result in broad-based empowerment, but creates a parasitic black capitalist class elite.
Thirdly, and quite critical is that we should upgrade our infrastructure both social and private.
Lastly, we need to improve our financial management and project management capacity both at national and local government.
Most of our economic problems have arisen because first, we are bad project managers and also bad financial managers.
Politics is really about resource management and allocation and not about activism. The state of our local and national government and the failure to deliver reflect the inability within our political processes to identify and allocate management skills.
Zimbabwe is not poor. It is poorly managed.