We have contributed to our own demise

via We have contributed to our own demise. 12 November 2014 by Vince Musewe

I doubt very much whether Mugabe will ever stand down and I know that in essence, Zanu (PF) is really never going to change fundamentally in character or form. Our hopes for a substantive change in direction and leadership must therefore not be too high – things will not change unless we make them change.

Political party congresses do not change the game unless a leader is booted out – as happened with Thabo Mbeki some years back in South Africa.

If we look at the MDC-T congress, for me it was a mere realigning of personalities and there was no fundamental structural change that would result in a paradigm shift in how politics is conducted, its business as usual but that is what I expected.

I was quite astounded to note that corporates contributed $1 million to the Zanu (PF) congress the other day. This to me is a clear reflection on how we as a society have contributed significantly to our country’s race to the bottom. We have contributed to our own demise and we cannot continue to blame anyone else.

I will say it again; political parties will not deliver our economic freedom. We need a new formula of community activism but right now, especially after Itai Dzamara being beaten unconscious, there is definitely no appetite within our communities for mass action to confront the system.

It is so difficult right now for some of us who know what needs to be done. The Zanu (PF) patronage system is so entrenched , it will be difficult to dislodge in the short term – even when they themselves know that they have no clue on what needs to be done.

I have been educated recently that maybe we are expecting quick radical change in Zimbabwe. That does not happen with entrenched dictatorships except through war. You almost have to accommodate the evil and reach a political settlement and then gradually ease the old system out and replace it with the new. But this takes years, if not generations, to achieve.

We need a political settlement if we are to have any hope of substantive change. Despite the Zanu (PF) succession battles, they are not going anywhere. The difficulty we have is that there is nothing compelling them to change direction.

First they need to be united as a political party on the need for a fundamental change of direction for the country. They must see that there is no other alternative – because as long as they have alternatives, they will not take the hard road as South Africa’s National Party did to abolish apartheid. It was not working for everyone and all stood to lose from its continuation.

Zanu(PF) is really only clamouring for changes of VP’s and not fundamental ideological change. Mugabe will remain at the top and a few personalities around him will change, that is all.

On the economic front we must always remember that we now have a secret economy that is being conducted through the party’s politburo. Let me give my readers an example. The country needs to import commodities and someone needs a licence to do so. In agriculture for example it is not viable for millers to buy maize at $390 per tonne as required by government – so this has created a side market.

What is happening is that the chefs buy maize from South Africa at $270 per tonne and sell it at $390 to the GMB, or direct to millers at a profit. This means millions are being made by Zanu (PF) cronies through importing maize. The same applied to virtually every commodity that government can control – Zanu (PF) distorts the market, creates inefficiencies and then uses these policy inconsistencies to make money at the expense of everyone else.

So although the economy in general is desperate it is not yet desperate enough for the party elite. There is no urgency for fundamental change of direction or the need for any political settlement with opposition parties.

What makes this situation worse is that the West has decided to re-engage with them. I have desperately tried to understand their logic – but I am failing. Zanu (PF) has dithered in aligning the constitution with the laws and if anything, that needs to be the ultimate measure of progress.

The party, the army and all their cronies continue to entrench themselves in the economy whether through agriculture, mining or tourism – they remain the primary beneficiaries. I have not heard even one Western diplomat pushing for economic freedom and less state-sponsored predatory intervention in the critical resource sectors where the party is crowding out local people and creating market inefficiencies to fuel profiteering, corruption and economic inequality.

Expect no fundamental change because it is business as usual for the corrupt, the greedy and the connected. They make more money when there is chaos. The system remains in place and is even getting stronger as the formal economy worsens.

– Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at vtmusewe@gmail.com


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    In the old days the sailors navigated using the changing winds to direct their ships to their destination. They sometimes had to anchor and wait for the winds to increase. They were men of wisdom who predicted how the winds would change and also had a plan B just in case the predictions were not accurate.Harold Macmillan once said:
    “The wind of change is blowing through this continent (Africa). Whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact”. Unfortunately Africa has not had the people to use these winds and direct their ship to it’s destination. Zimbabwe is no exception. The Ship is there sailing aimlessly to where ever the winds will take it. There is no one to stand up and say “The winds are blowing, let us set sail to the destination of freedom and prosperity.” Instead they leave it to drift and drift until it hits rocks or is grounded. Cry the beloved country..

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    Rwendo 6 years ago

    A cunning but stubbornly misguided leadership coupled to selfish, easily manipulated electorates (white then black in succession) have made for a disastrous combination in our country.

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    Nyoni 6 years ago

    I and others on this page have been saying this for a while. These con artists have plundered our country beyond repair. Like Smith they must be removed.

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    Thanks Vince for the really well articulated articles you have produced over the past year. You have provided a cogent account of what is occurring, identified problems and put forth developmental solutions. As a black Zimbabwean in the diaspora it is shameful what the ZANU PF mafia has created at the expense of African development. I don’t mean this from an industrial or a western emulation position but strictly from a humanitarian stand point. Truth be told the ZANU PF mafia is essentially founded on a western capitalist model that exists within a bubble that predicates itself on violence and lawlessness. Fear politics, ignorance(dare I say stupidity) and blaming everything and everyone else as the only form of accountability has been the brand of this mafia. Mugabe like Bush, belong in the Hague – prison. They are two peas in the same pod. A wise man once said power concedes nothing without a demand. Sometimes that demand must meet power with violence. Revolution.

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    We are rapidly and with dangerous speed sailing towards one God Almighty smash on the rocks. The sooner we totally crash and break up the better – only then can we have any hope of rebuilding this once former glorious country. Will it happen in my lifetime – sadly I think not.

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    Saddened 6 years ago

    A good article however it does not reflect the headline. I agree with are complicit in our own demise by not engaging in local let alone national affairs from day 1. Many of us thought we should just get on with our lives and leave politics to the politicians & now we are paying the price. As for those who contributed to the ZPF congress they are not part of us they are in cahoots with the regime for their own selfish gain.

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    Senzachena 6 years ago

    Where is the man who willbe brave enough to stick up his hand,be counted and lead us across the river.

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    rural boy 6 years ago

    Mr. Musewe you make a lucid eloquent presentation of our situation. Unfortunately we as a people are still waiting for a hero or the Almighty Himself to find time in His busy schedule to come and make things right for us. The Almighty has given us the wherewithal to extricate ourselves from our predicament if only we believe that with his blessing we can. It is the result of hero worshipping that leaves us feeling beholden to someone for perceived deliverance. People believe in yourselves unite and god willing you will overcome. It’s time for the people to decide for themselves where they want to be and be bold enough to get there.

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    Nick Collis 6 years ago

    i feel the the inability to pay the civil service and especially the army could lead to a populist rising ….the money is starting to run out!

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    Roving Ambassador. 6 years ago

    I weep