via Leadership deficit cause for current economic crisis | The Zimbabwe Mail By Tendai Biti 28 February 2014
THE sterile year that is 2014 continues to reveal its ugly armpits and their vociferous odor while pain continues to stalk the nation like a ghost.
We argued that the 2013 Growth Rate would not exceed 1.6 % now preliminary data from non other than the World Bank is indicating a figure of 1.8 % ,at a time when average Sub Saharan growth was for the same year was 4.7 %.
Agriculture continues to shrink, recording a 1.3 % contraction in 2013 reducing its overall contribution to GDP growth rate to 12.4 %.
As the Government prepares the first crop assessment report for 2014, it will be surprising if 2014 will be any better.
The good rains raided an ill prepared citizen ,a citizen whose creativity was doused by years of corrosive dependence AND agricultural policies that have killed the hunger and strength of the peasant farmer.
It is not so long ago that sixty percent of total maize output was produced by the peasant farmer on an impressive average yield of 4 tons per hectare.
The golden goose that is the mining sector scored no better.Whilst platinum production increased by 24% to 13066 kg this was met with depressed international prices.At the same time gold production sank by 5 % to record a disappointing 14 065 kg.
On the other hand manufacturing continues to decline with the resultant massive levels of de-industrialisation. Its growth in 2013 was a mere 2.1 % whilst its expected to grow by a mere 1,9 % in 2014.
A cursory look at our figures shows a return to those horrible years of fiscal ill-discipline,macroeconomic disequilibrium and total economic mis-management.
Three things are indicative of the country s return to crises economics or more aptly zombie economics
First is the departure from the pursuit of a balanced budget.
With revenues collapsing by at a rate of 5 % per month ,expenditure control must be the immediate response.
Instead ,the beast of “fiscalites “has been awoken and recurrent expenditure is now gobbling up 88 % of income.Of this amount 67 % went to employment costs in 2013.
Arrears are accumulating exponentially and for the first time in many years Government had a budget deficit of $ 246 million representing 1,9 % of GDP.
As argued previously, it this return of the gladiator known as the budget deficit that will guarantee the return of the Zimbabwean dollar. For one or the other, it has to be monetized.
Second is the clear shift of the economy from production to consumption. Despite the fall in aggregate demand, the economy has shifted to consumption.
That the services industry in 2013 contributed 56.3 % of GDP is reflective of this structural imbalance in the economy.
That consumption itself was 117 % of GDP is reflective of this cancer.
More importantly is the fact of a sad external position reflecting a current account deficit of 22 % of GDP.
Third is the self evident capital flight and disinvestment from this economy. In August alone following the election debacle more than a billion dollars was wiped off the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
As it is the current market capitalization of the local bourse is a mere $4.9 billion.
Equally the banking sector suffered the shock of massive bank runs with more money now thought to be under pillows and mattresses than in brick and mortar buildings.
The levels of company closures and company re-locations is frightening.
The situation remains anemic and desperate.
A return to basics is called for. A return to common sense is called for. A return to the fair and compassionate economy is indeed an imperator.
More importantly a return to national dialogue, legitimacy and action is the only way forward.
The reality is that if Zimbabwe was a private company it would have been placed into liquidation or judicial management.
In its present form this a country that requires sovereign curatorship.
Those in charge have failed .
The crises of leadership is one that is at the epicenter of the national crises. One which regrettably is affecting every fibre and aorta of Zimbabwean society.
Where there is leadership failure ,there is no vision ,no planning but collapse and fatigue.
Nationalism is exhausted and far too crippled to deal with the current crises and its multi-layered complexities.
They do not know the problem so they can not know the solution.
But equally democratic forces, in the church, in civic society, in business in Unions, and in political parties are equally paralyzed clueless and exhausted.
They have been scratched and found wanting. Huge layers of mascara have been washed away and the brides maids are impostors.
To lead is to walk the difficult path, answer the difficult questions and to confront the message rather than kill the messenger.
To lead is to inspire, to give hope, to lead by example, to fall and rise with dignity.
To lead is to unite, to dialogue, to trust, to listen, to forgive and to tolerate.
To lead is to be firm, stern, brutal but fair, resolute and just.
Above all to lead is just to have love. That love as defined Paul in the Corinthians.Others may call it solidarity or camaraderie. In my book, call it love. Just pure undiluted love.
Leaders dream and sale their dreams.Those dreams are called hope.Ultimately great leaders of the day, the Mahtmas, the Mandelas, the Lincoln’s of this world are great peddlers of hope.
Robert F Kennedy was a great dreamer. He once stated
‘ There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why…
I dream of things that never were and ask why not..’
Why not to a new Zimbabwe, a great Zimbabwe with growth of 15 % per annum that will win the World Cup in our life time.
The thing is this a country so torn with conflict pain and predatoriness.It stopped dreaming a long time ago.
The thing is this a country so bereft of leadership ,that all must accept collectively the end product that is the current status quo.
A status quo of avarice, intolerance, hubris, patronage and hypocrisy.
Somewhere along the way ,this became a non believer s journey.The Wananchi stopped believing.
Faith was decapitated and vomited along the way.
Somewhere along the way the Wananchi mistook a lay by for the final destination.
The Wanachi disembarked in Norton when the destination was Bulawayo.
Values and commitment were then discarded.
History is all that is left to judge us and our legacy. Did we walk the talk, did we fight our cause, were we loyal to the same.
Each man shall answer for himself the questions put foward by John F Kennedy
“Our success or failure ….will be measured by the answers to four questions. First
were we truly men of courage? Second were we truly men of judgment ? Third
were truly men of integrity. Finally were we true men of dedication”
These are the burning questions of the day.