via The dust is slowly rising November 15, 2013 Editor’s Memo Stewart Chabwinja Zimbabwe Independent
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s exhortation to his party during a central committee meeting to make good its election promises or suffer the comeuppance of non-delivery suggests his party is acutely aware non-delivery is no option.
In his address to the Zanu PF central committee Mugabe admitted failure to accomplish electoral promises would “raise dust among the people”.
“We have got to start work, travel less, meet less and more action, more action, more action and that’s Zanu PF, otherwise the people will say to us ‘you said you were going to fulfil these pledges, you are not fulfilling them’,” Mugabe said.
“Zim Asset must start unfolding and unfolding immediately…,” he said in reference to the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation –– the latest addition to the country’s growing economic blueprint stockpile whose non-implementation remains a major talking point.
This is an encouraging sign the party is at least alive to the fact that it is walking a tight rope as time is not on its side, what with recent socio-economic indicators suggesting even before steering the country along the recovery and growth paths, the dispensation must first arrest declining key fundamentals.
The gospel of state parsimony is nothing new; it has been preached ad nauseum over the years with foreign travel a regular feature of the sermon, as has been the need to translate sugar-coated electoral promises into action.
Mugabe needs look no further than his record as the state’s foremost traveller, having piled up the miles on frequent jaunts to all manner of meetings around the globe during 33 years of uninterrupted rule.
His excuse has been that we risk neither presenting our case nor articulating our views on various issues of strategic interest if we don’t travel for such meetings.
But do the benefits justify the costs when foreign trips yield little in the way of tangible benefits, save for the Memorandums of Understanding staple?
Although later exposed as an avid traveller himself, in his 2012 national budget proposal then Finance minister Biti warned against excessive foreign travel saying the executive had blown US$45,5 million on trips in the previous year.
Earlier this year Mugabe reportedly gobbled millions of dollars in taking a huge entourage of more than 50 government officials to attend the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development.
The “bloated” delegation comprised cabinet ministers, directors of ministries, their political aides, personal assistants, national security personnel and specialists from government departments and Treasury wholly met airfares, accommodation and upkeep in state-of-the-art hotels in Japan’s Yokohama city.
Presumably, the plug will now be pulled on such profligacy, as the Zanu PF government channels all efforts and every last penny towards reviving the country’s socio-economic fortunes.
We simply have to live within our means at a time the country is failing to meet onerous debt obligations, let alone invest in replacing decaying infrastructure and reviving industry.
Ultimately, it is delivery on key issues that will lift the country out of the gloom it remains trapped in, not past glories or “liberation war credentials”.
As Mugabe rightly put it, people will soon begin to ask questions. “People will say what’s happening in agriculture? No change. In industries, the factories are not coming up.
“The mining sector has not been organised, our roads are still the same, railways still the same, Air Zimbabwe still the same. Where is your Zim Asset which you preached to us?”
In fact the people are already asking such questions; the dust is slowly rising!