via Joice Mujuru’s true colours – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 16, 2015 by Tapiwa Nyandoro
NewsDay (September 11, 2015), in an article titled, Chinamasa castigates fellow ministers over sanctions, reported that Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was not imposing its policies on Zimbabwe.
The article also said that the minister told delegates attending a seminar on the economic prospects for Zimbabwe that Zimbabweans need not be apologetic for seeking to become sound managers of their economy.
To the critics of his stance, the minister had advice: “Let us zero in on the policies. Don’t politicise the discussion. Let’s dwell on the policy.” This may have silenced Foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who was in attendance at the seminar, and felt that the discussion could be regarded as “strange” as it did not include sanctions imposed by the West on Zimbabwe. If the Foreign minister needed convincing, his Cabinet colleague explained that while in reality the country was under sanctions, it should craft strategies to have the embargo lifted. He added: “If we ignore that reality, we will not go anywhere; we just go in a vicious circle. We must engage (the West), we have to engage. if we don’t, we are shutting all avenues for development.”
And it is that vicious cycle, that shutting of avenues, that Joice Mujuru’s so-called manifesto sought to unlock. Read through it without politicising it, and it is what the nation needs. It is what Finance minister Chinamasa and War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa have been saying in bits and pieces. It may be what VP Mnangagwa said publicly to the Chinese and the world recently. It may be what the Chinese said to him privately before that. And, yes, it is what the both IMF and the World Bank want us to do. We have to pull up our socks. The pill is bitter, but we have to take the medicine.
At the same roundtable discussion, the IMF said it has resolved to work with the Zimbabwean government to develop a comprehensive reform plan next year after the conclusion of the 15-month Staff-Monitored Programme (SMP) that Zimbabwe has been implementing. The summary of that policy framework is likely to be on the same liberal thrust as Mujuru’s manifesto. There is no escaping from structural reforms, as captured in the Mujuru “manifesto”. Just ask the Greeks.
In fact, using a keen analytical eye, as some have already done, not least within the establishment, the manifesto portrays government’s unspoken, but increasingly being stealthily implemented, plan. You can call it “flexible labour policy”, or “Rapid Results Approach/Initiative”, or “Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill”, or “Land Tax/Rentals”, it does not matter. The effect is the same. Zimbabwe is singing the liberal economic policy song. Gone is the wishful thinking of nursing from the Chinese breast without having to sweat for one’s lunch.
The world, the Chinese included, may by now have made it clear to the Zimbabwean government that financial assistance will only be provided after structural reforms. In his budget speech recently, Germany’s Finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned: “When we call for structural reforms in return for financial assistance, this isn’t some narrow-minded mantra being repeated by people who have lost sight of the big strategic questions of the future. In fact, this may well be the most important strategic question (issue) we face today.”
As can be expected from the melting economy, the social landscape too is now frayed and severely eroded. Morals have gone through the window. Unemployment, suicides, abortions, levels of insanity and death rates have shot up. The urgency of needed, but painful structural reforms cannot be over-emphasised. That is the sum total of the “manifesto”.
Critics have said the majority of the electorate hardly reads newspapers, let alone lengthy manifestos. They may be correct.
But the manifesto is aimed at the establishment’s elite, the majority of whom are now tired of the government’s visible incompetence and naïve strategies. Yes, they may be slow learners, and generally perhaps cowardly, but as Chinamasa has said, with time, there is no escaping reality.
The “manifesto” at best aims to embolden those within Zanu PF sitting uncomfortably on the fence to agitate for a change in direction (which change is already in evolution), or within it but shrouded in ignorance, so the latter’s eyes can be opened. Reforming Zanu PF can be done best from within, Mujuru must be thinking. Jonathan Moyo would be in agreement. They may differ only on how or on personalities. Rather than starting a new party altogether, this may be the People First faction’s strategy.
The Zanu PF party colours used as the manifesto’s border lines would support this logic. And that is why the Zanu PF First Secretary, a wily political strategist, is worried.
The Standard (September 13, 2015) quotes Mujuru ally and former Cabinet minister Didymus Mutasa as saying: “PF (People First faction) is determined to resist anarchy in the same way the people’s nationalist movements resisted Ian Smith’s Rhodesia.”
Warning that they are prepared for any eventuality, given the government’s monopoly on violence as a sovereign state, he “hoped” that some in the security services would protect them, a hope that the familiar and traditional opposition can only drool on. “We are hoping,” the paper quoted him, “that some among them (the security services) will protect not only us, but all Zimbabweans from their government.”
It is a call that may be becoming increasingly attractive to some of those in the profession of arms. As for Joice Mujuru’s true colours, she remains Zanu PF at heart. She must believe a liberation movement cannot — and should not — be monopolised or privatised.