Today is the last day of 2016. But has Zimbabwe learnt any lessons from the 1980s Gukurahundi period that has invariably been described as “a moment of madness”?
Source: Politics of privilege breeds chaos – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 31, 2016
Comment: NewsDay Editor
It seems not, if the disturbing political unrest we went through in 2008 is anything to go by and worse this whole year through the destruction of the economic, political and social fabric by Zanu PF misgovernance.
It doesn’t help that Zimbabwe remains in the midst of a political, social and economic crisis, triggered by the government’s failure to ensure a better life for its citizenry, and end endemic corruption and excessive greed by top politicians and State officials.
That it serves Zanu PF well for Zimbabwe to remain in its desperate state of affairs economically, politically and socially is out of question given the leadership’s approach to dealing with the national question.
It is, therefore, entirely alarming that the political heat –the disagreements within and without Zanu PF over 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe’s succession and opposition parties keep hitting record highs a few months off the 2018 election.
Mugabe and Zanu PF must be warned that when one has a young economy juxtaposed with a young democracy, there are bound to have a relationship where activity in one affects the other. The President should desist from the politics of entitlement and pave way for a successor. Whether he likes it or not, the law of biology will take its course.
Business and economic pundits have warned the current political stalemate will have far-reaching consequences on the economy. Yet, Zanu PF does not seem to understand the magnitude of the damage the succession bickering has caused to the economy.
Before the political chaos escalated to devastating effect, economic growth during the unity government was roaring, but three years down the line, the economic growth plummeted to below 2%.
It is regrettable that all the painstaking work that had been done for years by the unity government to put the economy on an optimistic trajectory was painfully brought down in one fell swoop.
The massive protests during the year by civil society groups and the opposition against Zanu PF misrule have exacted a heavy toll on the business climate. Yet, Mugabe’s succession fight seems certain to get hotter as political protagonists adopt a hard-line stance.
We urge all stakeholders to look each other in the eye and ask themselves whether this is the kind of Zimbabwe they would want to pass on to the next generation.
The opposition political parties and civic groups opposed to Mugabe’s rule have already warned they will coalesce to spearhead protests, and have threatened to make the demos a daily affair. We believe this will worsen an already tenuous situation.
We urge Zanu PF to allow common sense to prevail. It is common knowledge that businesses thrive in a politically stable environment and riots and political instability create fear among investors. It is unfortunate that 2016 witnessed the loss of nearly 40 000 jobs.
Businesses also recorded huge losses running into several billions of dollars. This is already an alarming figure yet the elections are almost a year away.
In 2017, politicians must desist from political rhetoric and work hard to create jobs. We, however, do not see that happening if Zanu PF remains steeped in the past. If anything, things could take a turn for the worse.
Zanu PF must be warned that the build-up in political uncertainty, if not checked, can undermine efforts to bolster economic recovery. Clearly, Zimbabwe can ill afford political banter, succession fights and uncertainty as they inevitably undermine confidence in the economy and reduce investment to zero.
Zanu PF politics of entitlement, opposition sit-ins and chaos hurt the national interest. We all have an obligation to do better.