via Much ado about nothing – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 27, 2015 by Vince Musewe
I can’t afford to be pessimistic about our future. I can’t imagine another year at most with Zanu PF at the helm. I want to believe that the tyranny is fast crumbling and we must be ready to occupy the vacuum that will be created when Zanu PF returns to the same place they were in 2008.
The most dangerous situation we are facing as a country is that Zanu PF is refusing to acknowledge the reality that it has failed to create a democratic state underpinned by inclusive economic developmental policies. In my opinion, they have muddled through economics since getting into power in 1980.
I think we have all analysed Zimbabwe to death and must not spend a minute more talking about the fact that Zimbabwe is a failed state with an abusive narrative created by President Robert Mugabe. This narrative is not about you and I, but about him staying at State House no matter the cost. That is a fact that we cannot change as much as we would like to.
We must also reluctantly accept that Mugabe is going nowhere despite his failures. However, we must now plan for a post-Mugabe era that is likely to arrive without notice.
The President’s latest State of the Nation Adress is disappointing and empty of serious acknowledgement of what is wrong with Zimbabwe.
First, we must acknowledge that China never commits itself for the long-term sustainable investments in Africa. Their sole aim is to prop up the Chinese economy with our resources and supply labour to their people. That model is not about to change and any expectation of an economic turnaround caused by China is a dream. The promises made will not materialise.
We also need to ask ourselves why foreign investors are not flocking to Zimbabwe and we know that as long as President Mugabe is at the helm, it is most unlikely that we will receive any significant investments. That is the truth, yet Zimbabweans continue to pretend something is about to happen. Investors are attracted to countries where there is a vibrant successful business sector. The current massive dismissals are hardly attractive to anyone willing to invest in any economy.
We have to sort out our agriculture sector by restoring private property ownership, removing the conflict on land assets and attracting competent farmers back to the land regardless of race. The continuing racist rhetoric against white commercial framers does not build confidence. For me, until the President accepts the mistakes made since 2000 with the fast track land reform programme, agriculture will remain decimated and unproductive.
Then there is the issue of country risk, the political turmoil in our country is not conducive to any economic growth. I remember in 2012 when the President announced an imminent economic turnaround; three years later there is no indication whatsoever, that conditions are getting better. In fact, the economy is crumbling and it is sad the President is refusing to see this.
With regard to dealing decisively with corruption, we have heard all this before. The appetite to bring to book those who are stealing our resources is very minimal because Zanu PF can only survive on patronage and political favours.
Small enterprise in Zimbabwe will not be successful until we address the cost of credit and reducing disposable incomes. Disposable incomes are reducing which means that local demand for goods and services are reducing and small business will therefore not be able to sell their products or services.
The subject of value addition is now a boring mantra. Of course we must move our economy into adding value to local raw materials, but this will not happen at the back of a constrained business sector that is hardly surviving. Value addition needs massive investments into new plant and machinery first before we can begin to expect any results.
I was rather surprised to see a headline saying that local analysts hailed the State of the Nation Address. Well, I am certainly not one of them. For far too long we have accepted political rhetoric and empty promises from the government. In my opinion, Zimbabwe needs a transformational technical council to take it forward and not good-sounding promises by politicians.
We cannot talk economic recovery into existence, we have to go back to the drawing board and stick to universal economic principles.
We have an economy that now needs all the seriousness and urgency to revive and I am afraid that our President has got it all wrong. Too much politics will not feed the nation.
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org