The Zimbabwe we want (pt 3): the state must not be predatory – Vince Musewe

via The Zimbabwe we want: Chapter Three; the state must not be predatory | The Zimbabwean 27.01.14 by Vince Musewe

A predatory state stifles potential and creates a patronage system that leads to the mismanagement and misallocation of resources. A predatory state unnecessarily gets involved in everything, is a bully, tends to be corrupt and does not respect the rights of private citizens.Africa has been characterised by predatory capitalism by the state and there has been a very thin line between the state and the party. As a result, the underdevelopment we see today is mainly because resources have been hugely abused or stolen. Zimbabwe is no different.

The Zimbabwe we want is characterised by a state whose main responsibility is to facilitate development and enable citizens to live freely without limit of what they can become or achieve. We imagine an empowering state that acknowledges the critical role that is played by human capital when it comes to socio-economic development.In the Zimbabwe we desire, the role of the state will be limited to provide the safety and security of citizens and to develop human capital to its full potential. This can be achieved through education and aggressive skills development in order to empower citizens, access to affordable health services for all and the provision of welfare services for the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups; that is all.

Africa remains underdeveloped mainly because of its failure to look after and develop its human capital. Zimbabwe‘s underdevelopment is chiefly because of the our failure to effectively managed resources that we have.

Government must also be an efficient manager of taxes collected. They must be collected fairly and efficiently and must also be used to achieve its priorities in an accountable manner. The Zimbabwe we want must be underpinned by transparency when it comes to management and allocation of resources and this will in turn improve confidence and trust among government, citizens and potential investors. The role of the state will, therefore, be to pursue fiscal discipline and efficiently collect and allocate revenues to the benefit of all citizens.

The skewed development we see in Zimbabwe is unproductive and does not lead to efficient use of our natural resources. Financial resources must be balanced and allocated fairly among provinces, urban and rural development as the majority of Zimbabweans reside in the latter. If we are to focus on human capital development it is obvious that the highest need is in the rural areas. A rural development agenda is therefore critical.

In the Zimbabwe we want, government must be a development partner and not seek to control or participate in business. It must also provide the necessary regulatory environment and make it easy for investment and entrepreneurship development while avoiding the emergence of monopolies.

State enterprise will be limited to those services that cannot be profitably provided by the private sector and to strategic investments only. Those that are not required will be privatised for good value in a non-partisan manner which empowers citizens.

Foreign direct investment and local investment must be promoted. This requires that we create an environment that attracts investments and encourages local savings. A well regulated financial services sector will be critical to achieve economic growth. This sector must pursue world class services while the Reserve Bank will continue to play its supervisory role. However this role must never be political as has been the case to date.

In addition to the above we must see financial institutions that drive economic growth by mobilising local savings. Zimbabweans no longer have a savings culture because of the hyperinflation of 2008; that is understandable.

This means that we will have to re-educate, encourage, promote and facilitate the emergence of a savings industry that is not only well regulated, but provides quality service to consumers where consumers have rights which are protected by the state.

So, from an abusive state to an enabling state is the journey we must take as a country. The Zimbabwe we want will require principle centred leaders who put the people first.

We must invent our future.

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact Vince directly on


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    Mafuta 8 years ago

    And yet, ask any Zimbo on the street, heck, ask Musewe himself: “Do you want a strong government?” The answer will almost always be yes. A strong government is necessarily predatory. Size & strength of government is inversely proportional to degree of freedom. When Zimbabweans rid themselves of this double-mindedness then they will either be happy with tyranny or kick tyranny’s butt. Can’t have both. It’s like modern Muslim movements–they want freedom and they want an Islamic society. Both are mutually exclusive.
    You want strong government? Then shut up the whining about about being strangled. You what freedom? Then stop the powergasms. So what Do Zimbabweans want?

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    adalandoinda 8 years ago

    What is a strong government?
    A strong government should be one that provides for the various constituencies highlighted by MUSEWE.
    STRONG should not mean BRAWN.PHYSICAL MIGHT through the use of the military does not necessarily mean Strong Government.
    Zimbabweans in general want strong decisive leaders who will provide an enabling environment highlighted in Musewe’s blog, logical solutions to their day to day problems and the ability to take their place in the global village without fear, manipulation or any other form of duress.

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    Saddened 8 years ago

    A excellent article that should be disseminated broadly across the country so that all progressive & decent Zimbabweans can acquaint themselves with what should be their expectations of future governments, as the current lot cannot & will not reform

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    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    What about Gukurahundism Vince, and Shona tribalism?

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    Mthwakazi 8 years ago

    What about Shona tribalism and gukurahundism???????????

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    masvukupete 8 years ago

    As i have highlighted before a good state is one that ASPIRES for a Utopian state (although impossible but that should be the goal). If all the different pillars of the state (presidium, cabinet, parliament, and judiciary can make, interpret and implement the constitution and laws in order to inch forward to a Utopian state for the benefit of the public, then we will have a very progressive country, and society. Actually a Utopian state benefits the society as a whole.

    Eg. What is the purpose of the 1 man 1 voting system. What is the underlying reasoning to the Zimbos for having such an election system? Forget about international norms. How does that system benefit us in inching forward to the perfect society? By discouraging participation or encouraging it, how does that make our society a better place. Is the best system for what we are trying to achieve? What is it we are trying to achieve?

    Same goes for all the our rights and laws. What does each law try to achieve? Is it equality? Is it good for people to be equal? How does equality benefit our people? Maybe inequality is best, it can help our society better.

    All the people who are part of the pillars should understand that they are first and foremost part of the public but take the role of responsibility when discharging their duties. Be it president, judge, policeman, civil servant etc, for this reason that is why people with great morality, intelligence and at the highest Maslow hierarchy are needed to take the highest offices.

    It should never be about egos, revenge, but discharge of duties to try and achieve the Utopia. If we do not aspire for Utopia then what are we trying to achieve? Are we just sailing through life like leaves falling from a tree, with no purpose. Or is not our role in trying to achieve that Utopia?

    Socialism is 1 part of a Utopian system but cannot be implemented at present because humans have not evolved to that state of mind.

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    As usual Vince hits the nail right on the head. Zimbabwe needs a complete springclean: from top to bottom. Quite frankly I am sick of politicians trying to survive at all costs. Zimbabwe must be almost totally de-politicised. ZPFs path has become extremely murky, destructive and unpalatable. many of these leaders should have gone down in the history books as true heroes and now, I am afraid, they have squandered their legacy. All one has to do is read the forums and blogs to see what the average Zimbo thinks of them. They need to go home and retire and get out of the way.