via The Heart of the Matter: ZANU PF will never put the nation first | SW Radio Africa by Tanonoka Joseph Whande 18 November 2013
When Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF goons refused to live by decent political and economic laws and standards to which all other nations subscribe, the international community retaliated with targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his close associates.
They showed defiance and informed the western countries that Zimbabwe did not need them and would, from then on, adopt and implement a ‘look east policy’ in which eastern countries like China, Singapore, Malaysia and others in the region would be Zimbabwe’s trading partners at the expense of the western bloc countries.
Chinese companies got big government contracts and were invited into big business joint ventures with ZANU-PF bigwigs.
The biggest achievement of this look east policy was Zimbabwe’s peak month of inflation, estimated at 6.5 sextillion per cent in mid-November 2008.
Zimbabwe printed paper money at will and the economy simply died.
The advent of the Government of National Unity somewhat slowed down the rot. The introduction of a three tier currency regime of the US Dollar, the South African Rand and the Botswana Pula helped in starting Zimbabwe on its way to recovery. It cannot be denied that the then Finance Minister Tendai Biti did a sterling job and recovery, although painfully slow, was on the way when he left office.
As soon as Patrick Chinamasa, who preceded Biti, succeeded Biti at the finance ministry, economic scarecrows started moving hands and legs in warning.
The business community’s reaction to ZANU-PF’s return to power was far from enthusiastic. They had worked well with the GNU Finance minister whose party stood its ground on many fiscal matters but now, business is once again exposed to ZANU-PF’s ignorant business practices.
Just last week, Zimbabwe’s banking sector said that it is facing severe liquidity problems as the economy has been sliding backwards since the elections in July.
A senior banking official is quoted as saying that “close to $1 billion was funnelled out of the banking sector to offshore accounts in the run-up to the polls, as political uncertainty gripped the economy”.
Francis Dzanya, BancABC chief operating officer, said “the massive movement of money has worsened the liquidity conditions in the market” while businessman, Charlton Hwende states that today, less than four months after ZANU-PF was returned to power, the Zimbabwean economy has slowed almost to a halt.
ZANU-PF must understand that all the economic rules that apply to other countries apply to it as well. They cannot have it both ways; maybe in China but not when dealing with capitalist countries who guard their economies so jealously and for good reason.
Just last month, ZANU-PF party’s Secretary for Business Development and Liaison, Sithembiso Nyoni, pleaded with the business community to assist the party in dealing with the country’s economic problems.
Zimbabwe just has to play by the rules and forget the look east policy.
No one is prohibiting Zimbabwe from indigenising its economy just as no one is prohibiting Zimbabwe from righting historical land imbalances but these should be done in an orderly, transparent way. Simple as that.
The way we have gone about both has scared those who want to partner us in business ventures that would benefit not only the investors but the nation.
Is it ever necessary to kill a farm owner to get the farm when a simple Presidential Decree can achieve the same objective even before a court of law?
Why can’t we sit down with those aspiring to invest in our country and negotiate our positions while they do the same instead of grabbing what’s not ours and trumpeting this stupid, outdated populist nonsense in this day and age.
We need them; they need us. We need each other. It is being reported that the government is alarmed “by the worsening economic crisis as companies continue to close shop following the July 31 elections”.
A group that calls itself the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development recently said that the government should stop servicing the country’s debt and prioritize service delivery until a proper debt audit for Zimbabwe is done “from the Ian Smith era to the present day”.
This is nothing short of a cop out. We look for silly excuses to justify our continued retention of Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF. Who trusts these people?
Forget about Ian Smith for goodness sake. Forget about a bush war that ended 34 years ago.
Just as much as fighting to liberate this country does not give us the right to trash it, so is it that we can no longer blame our failures on the same colonial government we defeated 34 years ago.
Do we not know where the problem began and where the problem lies even today? As we go begging for money and financial relief, we are not taking anyone to task for misappropriated monies and for the continued abuse of diamond yields.
We continue allowing the daily theft of millions and millions of dollars from Chiadzwa Diamond Fields yet beg for money for this and for that while encouraging the thieves in government not to pay what they owe as if economic protocols and laws governing governments around the world do not apply to us.
The heart of the matter is that if this ZANU-PF government wants the cooperation of both local business and foreign investors, it has to submit itself to the same economic rules and laws that govern other nations.
We must respect property rights as well as human rights.
Our judiciary must work to show its independence and professionalism so as to inspire confidence in those who deal with our government and want to invest in our country.
Stop the rhetoric and get on with the job at hand.
National income derived from diamonds and other national entities must be known and must, of necessity, go into national coffers and be part of our budget.
What kind of budget is it that excludes even the smallest of national income? Why should we be asked to pretend that there is nothing coming from our diamonds while we struggle with a budget we will never come up with because we allow individuals to steal from national coffers then complain that we don’t have enough of everything?
Why should the children go begging when daddy steals millions and millions from his family every day?
For decades, our sadistic government has been totally dysfunctional; unable and unwilling to care for its own citizens. I shudder to think what would have happened over the many years if churches and non-governmental organisations had not stepped in to do all that work that the government was refusing to do.
Now, four months after stealing complete control of the government, the same insensitive thieves are going after the hapless population again. They are messing up the little progress that the devastated nation had started to see. They are going after the churches and NGOs to take the little money donated to them by concerned individuals and other organisations in and outside Zimbabwe.
This is atrocious and macabre.
Chinamasa, Nyoni and all those ZANU-PF sadists must not lecture us or the NGOs and business people in and out of Zimbabwe. Shut up and show us what you mean and from that we will understand your intentions.
No one trusts you, particularly your rhetoric. We are no longer interested in shouting stupid slogans but we are just eager to be left alone to make meaningful contributions to our country and to take care of our families, which is something you should be ashamed of having failed to do.
ZANU-PF, take your damned hands out of our pockets.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, Monday, November 18th, 2013.