via Time for the old men to hand over | The Zimbabwean 26 March 2014 by Vince Musewe
The furore over excessive pay for state enterprise executives continues. We have seen another ill-informed move in the attempt to cap salaries at $6,000. Parastatals and city councils are all under-performing, with high debt levels. The only solution is to fire those who have presided over them and start afresh. But we all know that patronage is more important than delivery.
I suspect we shall see further intrigue playing out there as I hear some are seeing this as an opportunity to climb the political ladder and have turned to bootlicking to secure their future. How shameful.
Tendai Biti has called for the formation of a democratic front to fight for democracy. I am attracted to that idea – but we must be clear on the mandate. It must be to carry on the unfinished work of the GNU so we can have credible elections in 2018. It must also avoid the personality cult that continues to give some leaders the notion that political parties belong to them.
Unemployment continues to rise and cash shortages are now a normal phenomenon. The Reserve Bank has seen it fit to introduce new currencies in order to improve liquidity and I hear our erstwhile bankers have fallen in line are now seeking tonnes of Chinese Yuan to flood our market.
Everybody in business seems to want shortcuts and they all avoid the fundamental problem: Mugabe is now liability and the sooner he hands over power to a moderate leader the better. Our challenge is not lack of money, it’s good leadership and the reversal of Zanu (PF) policies that continue to destroy the economy.
In particular, the issue of private property rights and indigenisation continue to worry potential investors. Add corruption and greed and you have a failed state that can only be resuscitated through drastic political and policy change.
EU now a friend
The European Union is now a friend. It was reported recently that the international community is pouring money into Zimbabwe. Apparently they are no longer interested in regime change and have stopped funding political projects. The focus now is developmental finance. I find that difficult to swallow. Democracy is critical to any sustainable development. They know this and I will continue to argue that funding and strengthening emerging democratic forces is a better long-term project and return on their investment than funding culture and arts projects. But every country ultimately has its own agenda in Africa.
The less we are self-reliant and developed, the more we consume their manufactured products and increase employment levels in their countries. China has got it right in Zimbabwe and the West seems to have now caught on. Africa will remain a consumer base for imported manufactured products – a lucrative market for all.
The media is still dominated by the government that has seen it fit to expose its acts of commission but is not taking responsibility for creating it in the first place. The issue of leadership succession within Zanu (PF) has been rather quiet lately, but we know much is going on in the background. The problem we have is the quality of leadership of those that hope to rule.
Surprise, surprise, the minister of finance is not happy with the revenues being remitted to the treasury by diamond mining companies and we are likely to see some consolidation in that sector as rumours have it that alluvial diamonds are now gone. You will remember Biti was fighting for this and was called despicable names; well this must vindicate him.
The only change possible is change that comes through us – the new generation of leaders who want to put our country and our people first in all we do. We need to develop a modern state that protects its people and creates an environment that allows us all to live up to our full potential. – Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org