EDITORIAL: Zimbabwe misrule coming to a head

via EDITORIAL: Zimbabwe misrule coming to a head | Editorials | BDlive NOVEMBER 22 2013

WHAT eventually brought down apartheid was not armed struggle, South Africa’s political and cultural isolation, or even popular resistance — although all three were factors in helping concentrate white minds. It was the dire state of the economy, in which the imposition of international trade sanctions and the drying up of inward investment played no small part, that ultimately convinced the National Party that Hendrik Verwoerd’s vision of a racially separate future for South Africa was doomed.

Starved of capital, drowning in debt and keenly aware of the effect that greater economic hardship would have on the minority electorate’s stomach to resist pressure for democratic change, the securocrats first tried to implement reforms on their own terms in the hope of retaining political control. Then — when tweaking the system proved equally unsustainable — they were confronted with the choice between a negotiated settlement or going down with the ship.

South Africans will remain eternally grateful that they opted for the former course, even if it took 45 years and a glance into the abyss to do the right thing. It now appears the Zanu (PF) securocrats who have helped keep Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in power for 33 years could soon find themselves at a similar inflection point, despite the party’s recent electoral success.

Do they continue to support the old tyrant’s repressive ways in the hope of clinging to power after he is gone, even if they preside over a failed state? Or will they see the writing on the wall, which is forecasting a future for Zimbabwe involving total economic collapse, endless suffering and the indefinite denial of basic freedoms to the majority of its people?

The power struggles that have broken out within Zanu (PF) since the election earlier in the year have been driven largely by competition at provincial level to gain access to the spoils of victory, although the race to succeed the geriatric Mr Mugabe is never far from the surface. The party is now divided into two factions, one backing Vice-President Joice Mujuru for the top job and the other rooting for Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

But political control will mean little if the economy implodes and ordinary Zimbabweans’ daily battle to get by becomes a matter of life or death. The cupboard is all but bare, and decades of underinvestment and generally poor governance have left the infrastructure in a state of collapse. For all its rhetoric about redistributing the means of production to indigenous Zimbabweans, Zanu (PF) has reached the point where it is trying to squeeze blood out of a stone. There is hardly anything of productive value left, and apart from Chinese investment in the mining sector — in return for which you can be sure they are extracting their pound of flesh — foreign capital steers well clear.

The liquidity shortage in the banking sector reflects this, as well as the crippling of the remaining export sector through the rash application of unworkable policies such as the indigenisation laws, which have left many companies starved of capital and expertise and unable to function. Even the recovery of the tobacco cultivation sector is a red herring — it has been supported artificially by the state, partly as a propaganda tool to counter criticism of Mr Mugabe’s violent land redistribution policy but also in a desperate attempt to bring in foreign exchange.

Meanwhile, food crop production is increasingly being conducted on a subsistence level — Zimbabwe is expected to produce less than half the maize it needs to feed its population this year — and aid organisations are warning of a looming health crisis due to a lack of potable water and adequate sanitation in urban areas.

Whoever eventually wins the battle to succeed Mr Mugabe is going to find they have been handed a poisoned chalice.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 26
  • comment-avatar
    Washumba 8 years ago

    Bhola, Munkee(Monkey) Tu, Guti, Tabo, Takaota Joni

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    Africanson 8 years ago

    The economic hardship our country is facing is a zanu pf and mdc’s creation. Zanu clings to power at all cost while mdc acts like a jilted village wife who decides to burn their little hut while their innocent children our fast asleep in that hut. The idea being that of telling the world that she is in grief of being rejected for no reason. Neighbours will just cry and bury you but deep down their hearts they will be calling the dead woman all sorts of names. Do we really need to tell the world to sturve our economy so that we can anger the masses to protest? Is it really the last resort? Do we really want to see millions of our people sturving in order to get into power? What will be the next option lets say indeed people sturve and riot then we have international supervised elections and zanu or zapu wins? Do we we still need to glorify economic hardship? A real leader loves his country as much as he loves power. We all saw that the elections were not fair but do we have go suffer each other to prove that point? MDC wise up and campaign for the economy while preparing for the next elections. People are wise enough and they will stand by you. I see you losing some voters by celebrating economic colapse. This is zimbabwe we are talking about, not a football team. Show your patrotism and leadership. Dont be obsessed by power. Show the world that you are better than zanu not an upgraded version of zanu. Think outside the box for the sake of your vulnerable followers and your country. Borrow some ideas from people like Masiiwa who was resolute in getting an operating license after being denied for more than 4 year. He did not burn his company to get it. He used his brain.

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      nesbert majoni 8 years ago

      African son lets say things as they are. It appears you are a ZANU pf sympathiser who is not at liberty to say the truth. MDC is not in any way contributing to the demise of our economy. Zanu pf are the culprits. During the GNU course MDC tried their best to make things work but zanu pf always through some spanners in their work.Even when the constitution was being crafted zanu pf refused a perfect legislation and we ended up with a very undemocratic one. Dont lie to us . Be man enough and tell a spade a spade.

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      furedi 8 years ago

      Africanson, you seem to to be very biased. We know who has messed up the country but you have not said anything to that party I guess that is where you belong.I do not support any of the two parties.

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        Hisexcellency 8 years ago

        OK, WHO? HOW? WHEN AND WHY ? TELL US THE TRUTH BROTHER.

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    kenneth R nedziwe 8 years ago

    Africanson, I think you are missing the point. MDC does not glorify the suffering of the masses of Zimbabwe at the hands of Zanupfu. Its the MDC in 1999 that organised the masses to tell zanupfu that things were not well for them. It was the MDC in 2008 that realized the dire situation in the country that agreed to the GNU after winning the elections were denied the right to rule by the equally corrupt AU and SADC.History will tell that the period of the GNU was with all negatives from zanu, a success story.Had zanupfu appriciated and worked together with the MDC, better progress could have materialized .Again mark my word, zanupfu will oneday realise their stupidity of not using the opportunity Mbeki had offered them.Why is it that almost every time people look at OUR situation, they never want to tell it like it is, munoityireyi kudaro zanupfu ? Vakaparadzanyika, varikupadza nyika period.

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    chilimanzi 8 years ago

    I think africanson is a zanu project [i mdc ingena ngaphi sithutha]

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    Africanson 8 years ago

    I am sympathetic to zimbabwe and my loyalty is to my beloved country. Any fool can tell you that zanu closed all democratic space. Any fool can tell you that the elections were grossly unfair. It is there for all of us to see. Glorifying the demise of the economy is glorifying the suffering of our people. Unemployment is to affect both people zanu and mdc. Including the neutral ones. It is you who should come up in the open and admit that you are branding us to be either zanu or mdc and none of us not to be neutral. It does not mean that if i dont suppose zanu i am mdc and vise vesa. Zanu resigned from serving the country long back and i never supported them. I dont get any milage from supporting politicians because they lie and all care about their welfare. There must be space in the country for the none aligned citizens. Democracy does not force alignment. political parties must account for their statements. As a political leader you must care about your country and people first. You dont threaten them by hardships for them to stand by you. There must be a better way of winning agaist zanu without hurting people. I assume that all the effort of the opposition in zim is for the people. Therefore if our country has great thinkers, i expect those great thinkers to serve the people without making them suffer. Glorifying economic demise stinks of gross desperation from mdc. Mdc must not be desperate. Zimbabwe is a great nation that need great thinkers. Zanu has shown all of us thay they ate prepared to see all of us eat one meal a week as long as they stay in power. Whay is mdc saying? Thr economy must fail for us to get in power. And who is a loser this stance? Its zimbabwe especially the poor. Noone from the political leadership will go to bed on an empty stomach. I strongly feel mdc can still come up with somethic positive to avoid economic melt down. As people we cant burn our house down to get rid of one invading mouse. I have the right to see things without borrowing eyes from zanu or mdc. I am my own person

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    Africanson 8 years ago

    Point of correction. Zanu is prepared to sturve us as long as they stay in power. Mdc is alo saying the economy must continue to melt down for zanu to give up power. Pardon my typing, i am using a phone

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    Evry one uses the economy to get into power or retain it ,thats the pivot in in the power game so what is happening is normal politics btween Zanu and Mdc

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    kenneth R nedziwe 8 years ago

    Thank you Zindoga, it does appear the likes of Africanson dont seem to have enough background knowledge on the topic. Everywhere in the civilized world, its about democracy and economic management by any political party.If a party cannot manage the economy of the country properly, they loose the right to be in government .The people vote them out.I just love the beauty of democracy, when the people still have the power to put and remove politicians from power according to their performance and results, they will work for their dollar.

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    Africanson 8 years ago

    Kenneth having a different view from you does not mean lack of knowledge. You must not talk as if you are the domain of knowledge. Read Zindoga’s statement again. He is not saying what you are saying. Remember the civilised world has robust economis. We are a developing nation. It will do us good to do politics without doing damage to our rugged mismanaged economy. Dont just rush to claim knowledge above evryone else. I never said zanu should continue to rule. The long and short of what i said is that there must be a plan that preserves the economy while fighting for change.

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    Africanson and all above. In spite of your differences by far the major point that comes out to me (a western foreigner) is that you are all passionate about Zimbabwe and hurt deeply about the mess it is in and the dark abyss it is now facing. Make no mistake that is exactly where it is now and no “magic bullet” will save it. Zimbabweans have to fight, hopefully metaphorically speaking, to get it onto a track whereby you have a government which is as free from corruption as it can be; an independent judiciary and a free press. That government needs to encourage industry by putting enablers in place and largely letting market forces dictate industry. Admittedly the last point is difficult sometimes to bear but every successful country has these standards. This then attracts foreign investment.
    A long fight is ahead but someone needs to start it, the question is who? Zimbabwe desperately needs a true leader aka Joan of Arc or William Wallace.

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    /./././????;: 8 years ago

    hw did we land to a situation of 10billion debt ?if you borrow u dont want to pay back.Sanctions sanctions IAN SMITH survived the same same sanctions and at one time the Rhodesian dollar was stronger than the British pound

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      Boss MyAss 8 years ago

      BACK THEN THERE WAS A SURPLUS AND NOT A DEBT, DESPITE THE SANCTIONS.

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    Africanson 8 years ago

    Well said /./././?????. But will campaigninh for economic sabotage reduce the debt?

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    Sydney 8 years ago

    African son, how biased your article is.I do not see any reason why you allude the economic mis fotunes of Zimbabwe to MDC.I have no clue where you got it, that MDC is celebrating that the economy is in a free-fall, however I know Morgan was on record saying if Zanu-PF rigged elections , the will never rig the economy and that is true.They need to go and hire Nikuv and the Chinese to come and fix the economy as they promised.They need to fulfill all those promises which they made to the electorate, if they fail, it will be very evident that they told lies in order to win.Does MDC have anything to do with that?Some of writers here are victims of cheap propaganda.It is similar to those who think MDC is puppet of the British, if that analogy is true, then it would be true that Zanu-PF is a puppet of the Chinese.

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    Kurarama ne Raki 8 years ago

    An illegitimate ZANU PF victory (another one!) has merely served to erode all of the goodwill that the MDC generated during the GNU. That illegitimate victory which ZANU PF went all out to win with no clue as to what to do once in power is their poisoned chalice. The meltdown has begun in earnest and is apparent to all, ZANU PF have no clue as to what to do. They do not even know how to draw up a budget and are now beginning to experience the bleakness of nagging despair and what will happen shortly is that the government will no longer be able to pay wages and salaries and AS BEFORE the very precarious center they find themselves in will refuse to hold and this time it is entirely their fault. No sanctions, no nothing- BLAME ZANU PF. And that my friends is how the cookie that is Zimbabwe crumbles

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    Valour Museyamwa 8 years ago

    Even if you have the best ideas to save our economy, ZANU government will never take your ideas on board unless you are a ZANU member. So ZANU ngaibve pachigaro tiise vane Zimbabwe pamoyo. Pamberi naTsvangirai.

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    ack McLellan 8 years ago

    Most replys seem to have missed the point of the original letter ie zanu/pf will have to, like the nats in Rsa and also ID Smith in Rho, bow to the needs of their electorate.
    Both de Klerk and Smith realised their people were hurting as the origional letter stated and to save them more pain conceeded power.
    The point is they both wanted the best for their voters, Pres Magabe and his govt don’t care about their people as can be seen by the poverty in Zim.The biggest drain of the fiscus seems to be self enrichment of the MP’s not the benifit of the electrate

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    Michael 8 years ago

    I hate to say this but I agree with much of what Africanson has said. Far to many people have become indoctrinated into being either Zanu or MDC, this blinds them to reality and confuses their minds as to what democracy actually stands for.

    These are my thoughts, remember I am not a Zanu supporter, remember I am not a MDC supporter, but I am a voter and my vote counts.

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    Bt Africanson is not telling us how exactly MDC cosd e economic prblms. I stand to be corrected bt what I know is zpf to blame 100%. Issue yemasanctions whether real or imagined shd not be an issue to bother cos zpf is on record telling e west to go and die. As for e international institutions zpf mugabe is agn on record telling go and hang we can go it alone. He was and is boasting that we are looking east wwhere w have all weather friends. In all this I don’t c where mdc comes in. Its public knowledge e mdc resisted e zpf’s indeginisation policy and warned of its shortcomings and dangers bt they pressed hard w it. As for e debt that prevents us from accessing international loans mari yacho yakakweretwa ne zpf b4 mdc was even formed. The bad thing is most mari yacho was used to finance unnecessary Zim war intervention in DRC to prop up an illegitimate gvt there. That it was illegitimate is not in dispute cos Kabila had seized power thru war ichirikunzi Zaire. Given e above educate us on how exactly mdc is to blame for e current mess don’t generalize. Also educate us on how e full blown UN imposed and supervised sanctions ddnt affect Smith. Also y Cuba, Iran etc also under sanctions are not falling apart