The struggling economy

via The struggling economy – Southern Eye 4 August 2015 by Masola wa Dabudabu

EXCUSE us for our curiosity, but we heard a rumour that all matters economic in Zimbabwe are failing to hit desired targets.

Disturbing rumours reaching us indicate that the team with the proverbial slogan “bhora mugedhi/ibhola egedini” is finding it easy to score own goals. We are warned of worse things in the proportion of “bhora musango/ibhola egangeni” to come in soon.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s recent delivery of a mid-term budget review all but confirmed the rumours and our fears. Zimbabwe’s economy is on a downward trend. In brief, the economy is at a point where it could be said to be more moribund than the wounded “Cecil the lion” was at the exact point when the American dentist pulled the trigger that delivered the fatal blow.

The outlook is bleak yet the signs have been around for a long time.

It becomes obvious that things are not alright when every employer in the land, including the government itself, sighs in relief in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment allowing for the termination of workers’ employment contracts without any compensation.

Since the passing of this judgment, hundreds of workers have lost their jobs and more job losses are to follow. It is not surprising that by announcing a plan to right-size the public service through culling and not hiring, the Finance minister intends to take advantage of this ruling as well. Thanks to the Supreme Court judgment the minister will have his coat cut according to his cloth.

It is no longer a laughing matter when a train from Bulawayo to Harare is said to take up to 20 hours on a single trip. In today’s standards, a distance of 450km is hardly a long distance at all.

For a train to snail its way in 20 hours over this distance is a sign of bad economic times. Speed, effectiveness and efficiency are hallmarks of modern economies. It is only dead economies that normalise such sluggish transportation.

The fact that the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has not paid its workers for over a year is indictment of a rotten economy. To make things worse, Zanu PF has neither the strength nor the technical capacity to revive NRZ.

Air Zimbabwe has provided classic evidence of an economy that has run its usefulness. How can a national airline ground its fleet due to non-availability of aviation fuel during peace times? Surely one would expect a national airline to ground its fleet during a disaster.

Maybe there is a national disaster after all. The death of a nation’s economy is a national disaster.

The abuse of the airline’s fleet during the president’s vanity trips has robbed Air Zimbabwe of a slim chance of revival. Seemingly the president has burnt all the fuel and now the airline is ditching to a point of no return. Unfortunately, Zanu PF cannot convert its killer instinct into energy to revive the fortunes of Air Zimbabwe.

Anywhere, there is no longer any purchase in dwelling on the causes or origins of Zimbabwe’s economic problems. To an extent, Zanu PF has taken responsibility for the poor performances albeit equivocal. For starters, President Robert Mugabe has admitted that the so-called agrarian revolution did not take into consideration that an expanding population would require intensive agricultural practices to sustain food availability.

Mugabe is now subtly admitting his error of judgment and belief that the nation could be sufficiently fed by a horde of peasants masquerading as farmers.

His promise to reinstate some deposed white farmers resonates as a desperate cry for help that is spiced up with defiance and lack of remorse.

Anywhere, Mugabe’s admission to the agricultural disaster is not at all a dramatic admission of overall guilt.

He needs to realise that he did not only start the agricultural disaster, but that he went a step further and killed the economy.
Unfortunately, Mugabe does not realise that the country’s economy is beyond redemption.

He refuses to admit to any economic mismanagement, but occasionally blames Western sanctions for glitches here and there. He continues to defiantly look East even when subjected to blizzards from the polar easterlies.

The renewal and restoration of Zimbabwe’s economy can only begin when Mugabe accepts that the economy is as dead as a dodo. Mugabe needs to acknowledge that the economy needs to be reinvented in another form. The question is: Will Mugabe ever take responsibility for killing the goose that laid golden eggs? Will Zanu PF principals ever bow their heads in shame and admit to mismanaging the economy? If ever the time to revive the economy comes, who will lead the process?

Can the fragmented opposition that seems to have problems managing its own affairs manage to set the ball rolling? What role will Mugabe play in the revival?

Of course, Mugabe and his clueless clique cannot be involved in the renewal process as they stand accused of the current mess.

Failure to find anyone capable of solving Zimbabwe’s economic problems may require the services of another god.

But then we heard a rumour that there is only one god and only one Robert Gabriel Mugabe.