African economics: a disaster unfolding – Vince Musewe

via African economics: a disaster unfolding | The Zimbabwean by Vince Musewe 13.11.13

I define “African economics” as the institutional failure of post-independent African governments to deliver to the masses on one side, with the emergence of a cabal in politics and business whose main concern is the accumulation of wealth on the other. 

I conclude that African economics is a result of the fact that the African has not, in the past, had the opportunity to accumulate wealth and will therefore use the political platform as his means to wealth while really not motivated by his promise to serve the interests of the majority. Having come from poverty to power, he is shackled by his past and releases himself through the accumulation of wealth that he hardly needs but must have at all costs.

Land acquisition in Zimbabwe and the indigenisation policy, including the plunder of our mineral resources by our politicians, is clear evidence of the above malaise.

The vote has been and remains inadequate to transform the economics of Africa and engender democratic societies. Democracy in its full extent, therefore, remains elusive because its very existence threatens the hold on political and economic power by an emerging black bourgeoisie, a black capitalist class that aspires to replace its former white colonial masters.

We now have a situation in Zimbabwe where the obsession with political power has become the only focus. It is evident to all of us now that Zanu (PF) stole political power without an economic plan. They now do not know what to do with the votes they stole.

Mugabe’s role as a leader in the second most developed African economy in the Sub-Saharan region in 1980 is going to end up in a disaster where we have 90% unemployment, widespread hunger and poverty, hopelessness and the emigration of millions of educated black middle class.

This decline is not about to change for several reasons, the main one being that Zimbabweans have become totally disempowered to cause political change in their own country.

Those in the Diaspora cannot do much as they have been disenfranchised. The rural folk are caught in traditional structures that determine and control the allocation of resources and dare not challenge this status quo for survival reasons. The urban working class are fast becoming unemployed and are also concerned primarily with survival issues. They will not rebel against the system.

The unemployed youth are powerless and most were deliberately disenfranchised. They are also rudderless. They do not have anything to protect nor do they have any hope that things will change. The corporate sector is compromised and lacks the courage to see that we have a new political system in Zimbabwe. This continues to bolster Zanu(PF), despite its lack of leadership.

African economics is the economics of poverty – the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. It is a system designed to have a strong centre that controls all economic activity and allocation of resources. It is characterised by corruption, greed and an unaccountable leadership that stays in power by force. It is against liberty, freedom of speech and progressive change.

We are going to see the further deterioration of life conditions in Zimbabwe. We are going to see economic collapse and widespread human suffering. Zimbabwe is going to the bottom of the pile in Africa.

Companies are closing, unemployment is increasing every day, poverty is increasing and life is becoming brutish and hard for ordinary citizens. These are the facts we cannot ignore. Zanu(PF) has completely failed and we are now victims of that failure. No matter how they may try to put on a brave face it is obvious to all that the centre cannot hold and things fall apart. The chickens are coming home to roost.

The good news is that when this evil system collapses, at least we can see a new system emerging. But at what cost?

Vince Musewe is an economist ba1sed in Harare; you may contact him on



  • comment-avatar
    Africanson 9 years ago

    The introduction of the article attracts. It made me think that i was going to read more about African countries in comparison to zim. The article just ended making zimbabwe “independent african governments” the failure witthout any comparisons. Eish! I just wondor why the writer is still operating in the same country he foresee total colapse in thid global village?

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      Jrr56 9 years ago

      Have you ever wondered why African countries have so many poor in comparison to the rest of the world. Zimbabwe is one of the last countries in Africa to get independence and that was 30+ years ago. Vince is right African economics and African rulers! It always amazes me how few Africans can or will take responsibility for these problems and face facts, they voted in these mind numbing kleptocrats (assuming the elections are not rigged). Oh Vince is based in Harare – says so at bottom!

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    Mafuta 9 years ago

    What collapse? Human misery is the stock-in-trade of African economics–always has been. Africa only gonna increase their tradable stock, doesn’t sound like a collapse to me.

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    Nyoni 9 years ago

    Excellent article Vince. Most African leaders have created a new game within their click. “Guess the gullible citizen”

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    This is something I took off the web written about south africa and it’s politics which I found relevant for this site.

    Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way you can understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out.

    “The danger to South Africa is not Jacob Zuma but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of a Zuma presidency than to restore the
    necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Zuma, who is a mere symptom of what ails South Africa. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Jacob Zuma, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their President.”

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    Odessa 9 years ago

    From poverty to power. Well said Vince its just a matter of time before Zimbabweans see for themselves.

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    Boss MyAss 9 years ago

    Neglect of the poor by their governments, which control national resources but use them for their own selfish good or bad is a crime.A country or any company that does business with anyone who exploits others is guilty too.There are more children dying in infancy as a result of that lack of money than you want to count. And to me, it’s on a par with a kind of genocide.When you have a criminal government, what the hell do you do?The question of how to bring about some proper method of holding people accountable when they are heads of states is really an essential problem for us to deal with in the years ahead.African heads of states are rarely united on any issue relevant to development of the continent, such as a common currency, the free movement of people and products, military interventions in war torn regions, etc. However, when it comes to protecting the likes of Bashir and Kenyatta, the AU is zealously united – without regard to the victims of atrocities.It seems as though grave crimes against humanity are of much less importance when a few “big men” stand accused. What seems to be of extreme importance in the minds of African leaders is that, once again, one of their kind is wanted for crimes against humanity.

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    William Doctor 9 years ago

    This is the beginning of a new revolution, lead by people like Vince, and Strive Masiyiwa. These new leaders realise that Africa will move forward by African leaders taking responsibility for their actions. There’s no other way.

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    Angela Wigmore 9 years ago

    Vince, I usually agree with most of your sentiments but perhaps you are too young to know the truth about some of your statements in this article. You comment that ‘Africans in the past did not have the opportunity to accumulate wealth’. This is absolutely not true. In the 1960s a black businessman in the Binga area became a millionaire (or at least very wealthy when the Rhodesian pound was worth more than the British pound)when he set up and expanded his business of buses and ‘tuck-shops’ in this area of the country. He was widely acclaimed and faced no opposition from white entrepreneurs, who lauded his enterprise.

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    African economics/politics is sadly an ever worsening scenario of huge widening rich poor obscene gaps