All for nothing

via All for nothing – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 23, 2015

I HAVE just finished reading CG Tracey’s book — All for Nothing — and I am quite impressed at how men and women like him gave all they had to build Zimbabwe.

A Zimbabwe we have managed, in just 35 years, to decimate and create widespread poverty under the pretext of liberation. What Zanu PF has done to the potential of this country is shameful and unforgivable.

Colonialism can never be defended by anyone of us blacks for it not only disrespected who we are, but it deliberately limited who we could become.

However, I think we should also appreciate what we inherited from it.

Many of our politicians today benefited tremendously from the efforts of good white men and women who bucked the system and refused to be racists at their personal expense. Judith Todd’s name comes to mind.

It would be dishonest for us to underrate or dismiss the positive impact they had. They took personal risk to do what was right and unfortunately today we have very few such black men and women.

Most of us have chosen the comfortable and convenient route of keeping quiet and even being praise singers while our country goes to the dogs.

Oh what wretched pretenders and cowards we have in our midst! We shall have to rewrite our history.

From reading CG Tracey’s book, I now have a deep appreciation of what it took to build the Zimbabwe that we took so much for granted at independence and proceeded to do nothing to build it.

It is true indeed that some men are born to build while others are cursed to come merely to destroy what others have built.
Zimbabwe could be one of the most developed African countries today if we had kept the momentum created during Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence era.

The agricultural and industrial base we inherited at independence is unbelievable.

Our agricultural base and research capabilities were way ahead of all Africa. Today not one of our research stations is running and we have effectively lost more than 100 years of research and regressed considerably that we will never catch up. That is true disempowerment and I cannot fathom the audacity of anyone who claims that we have done well under President Robert Mugabe since 1980.

It’s a lie. Zanu PF has destroyed Zimbabwe’s potential and it’s not funny.

We will have to rebuild every sector of Zimbabwe with new energy and a fresh approach.

There is no argument that we must focus on agriculture infrastructure revival, but this time we must ensure that we create a symbiotic relationship between large farming concerns and small-scale farmers who are committed to be successful farmers.

I predict that once our economy revives, a large number of those that are on land will prefer to go back into industry.

This will release productive land for productive activity. We must establish industrial hubs that process food both for local and export consumption.

Interestingly enough, the Smith agricultural development model was based on value addition due to sanctions and here we are in 2015, blaming sanctions for everything instead of us taking it as an opportunity to redevelop our industrial base.

But again, that is typical of the liberation struggle generation who choose to remain victims of history and do nothing in creating a better future.

The interesting title of Tracey’s book — All For Nothing — might, in the end, actually reflect Mugabe’s tenure as president.
I suspect all the pain, all the struggle and destruction that has gone on will really achieve nothing in the end. How ironic.
I encourage students of history and economics to read this book because we can use Tracey’s energy and foresight to redevelop Zimbabwe.
It has been done before and we can do it again.

However, what was critical during those times was that the Smith government deliberately supported the emergence of a strong business sector unlike Zanu PF which has done all it can to banish our black business icons. The party has even disposed them of their assets. That is a crime.

We want and we will create a government that understands that a strong private sector is good for the economy and increases the ability of any government to fund development and provide social services through more taxes.

The patronage system that we now have is cancerous and does not encourage the building of sustainable businesses. Zimbabwe needs us the younger generation to create a better future.

There is absolutely no vision within the current regime to create the Zimbabwe we want.

I doubt that our politics will deliver what we want, that is why I am continuing to encourage a new economic struggle based on reviving agriculture and industry.

Politicking produces nothing except acrimony and unnecessary hatred. The struggle to create a new Zimbabwean economy can no longer be left to Zanu PF alone hence must be ours.

l Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on


  • comment-avatar
    Only Fools 7 years ago

    I have said it before . . . Vince Musewe for President.

  • comment-avatar
    Chanisa 7 years ago

    Yes Vince; some eagle-eyed views there. But vision? What vision? The foremost problem is the inability to match actions to professed values of dignity and liberation. Without that no vision can materialise but excuses and myriad acronyms under guise of remedies. The decay you see is symptomatic of Mugabe’s potholed mind which, as it happens, is that of a coward who can’t walk his talk, who thinks bravery is bravado and impunity. He avers on destruction, a quality he has horned to perfection. He built nothing in his long years on our backs that anyone can mention. Whatever he tried to build was ephemeral and soon enough swamped by his destructive fury. They say ‘education’, but that was just the momentum carried over from the past, from which he too benefited, financed by the fat that the enemy left behind on the battlefield. How easy do you think it would be for a political detainee today to be given the leeway to pile up degrees behind bars? A sjambok under the sole of one’s feet? Yet he claims that for him and his buddies it was a condition of supreme sacrifice to which we must pay homage for 35 years on threat of murder by one’s own Goverment or Zulu hoodlums. We are damned all round, with our eyes wide open.

    He gallivants around the world parroting lofty values handed down by his enemies, but none of which he delivers to his people. He is quite happy for us, like North Korea and Maoist China, to sing his choreographed praises in spite of the circumstances. He can live with that. He has no capacity for shame. I would expect more humility and wisdom from the oldest political leader of much time. If he does have any shame, we know fully well the fury of one who never does any wrong. The finger-pointing and progroms may well reach to accusing one’s parents of giving birth to him. Blame-shifting has no limits.

    The most unfortunate outcome of this leadership style, Vince, is that it sets the general style for how all the country’s institutions will be run. Leaders seek more loyalty from their subordinates than objective competency because that’s the quality to which they owe their own promotion. After all, culture flows from the top, and it is individuals that create history. Even intelligent people have morphed into unrecognisable, grasping sycophants – whole men with children that affectionately call them ‘Daddy’. How so sad (sniff sniff). Mugabe’s wives’ was not coined lightly.

    The lack confidence engendered in the Zimbabwean spirit is clearly evident when two million émigrés are hounded every so often in the land of their refuge but fail, together with their Goverment, to even present a credible rejoinder to such mass persecution as the Nigerians and Mozambiquans are reported to have done. They were properly conditioned back home to keep their tails neatly tucked in and their eyes cast aside. Even the benign student demo at the South African Embassy was unceremoniously dispersed.

    It’s so very sad.

  • comment-avatar

    As you say so sad and a waste of time which we all have a finite amount of!!! Generations lost!!!