via VP’s comments offensive – The Zimbabwean 11 February 2015
Zimbabwe will only change when we have new leaders who have a value system that respects our dignity and seeks to find solutions to our problems – and not blame others for the circumstances we have created ourselves.
I am rather annoyed by some of the statements by our new VP Phelekezela Mphoko. First it was something strange about Gukurahundi being a conspiracy of the West. Then he attacked vendors as lazy people who could do something better with their lives. Now we hear how he disparaged young Zimbabweans for going to seek work in South Africa. Where did we find this man?
It is not only downright offensive but perplexing for a VP to stand up and say such things, especially given that the socio-economic conditions we face have been created by this government and this government alone. I would advise him to appoint a spokesperson.
When a senior figure in government shows such insensitivity to the challenges faced by millions of ordinary citizens who want nothing but the opportunities to lead a decent productive life, it reflects badly on the quality of leadership that we are stuck with.
Zimbabwe needs men and women who must tackle our problems head on and not shy away from telling it like it is. The only statement that has impressed me so far from him has been his condemnation of the buffoonery at ARDA.
Vast tracts of potentially highly productive ARDA estates lie idle today because of incompetence of board members who, no doubt, rush to the bank each month to collect salaries and can be seen driving in government-issued SUV’s at the tax payers’ expense. It is a shameless scandal. What does the Minister of Agriculture, who appoints the ARDA board, have to say about this?
We have pointed out these things before so there is nothing new here. There has been monumental abuse of state land and property at ARDA where chefs have stripped and looted equipment under the guise of land reform.
I myself was involved with a group that sought to take over an ARDA estate where we had an excellent plan to develop and utilise the land, the necessary skills to do so and the funding. The estate we had targeted was subsequently allocated to VP Mujuru, someone who already has multiple farms – as do so many Zanuu (PF) cronies. We all anxiously await the land audit. Those who are on these farms are even abusing their workers by not paying them.
Most are not providing decent housing, or access to services such as health and clean water as the white commercial framers did. It’s an embarrassment to us all.
As far as VP Mphoko is concerned, I must say some of us are certainly not impressed by his grasp of the pressing issues at his level. Young Zimbabweans are not going to South Africa out of choice, nor are millions choosing to be vendors because they are lazy. Zimbabweans are hardworking decent people who have been let down by the government.
The problem is that Zanu (PF)’s toxic patronage system and pervasive corruption rewards laziness and parasites while not creating any value for the country.
Instead of the VP taking responsibility and offering to change the conditions faced by many through rationalising the land reform catastrophe and adjusting the legislative framework in order to attract foreign investment so that we may create more jobs, he blames victims of Zanu (PF) mismanagement and labels them stupid fools. That is unacceptable.
But I never expected miracles from the new VPs. They are clearly joining the Zanu (PF) gravy train and we have even heard how some of their tastes for big houses and cars have taken over. These old men have no vision for our country and are more interested in living in luxury in their twilight years.
What worries me is that the poor masses actually attend their silly rallies to hear government officials give lectures on how we are victims of the West.
The new narrative of Zimbabwe must be that we are responsible for creating the circumstances we face. We are not victims. Our new leaders must not seek enrichment from the blood and sweat of the masses.
Our new leaders will not give lectures about the past but focus on creating solutions for a better future. They will be sensitive to the plight of others and lead by example.
I would encourage VP Phelekezela Mpokho to talk less and act more in addressing the myriad of the self-made problems we face. After all that is what we are paying him for. – Vince Musewe is an economist, author and President of Zimbabwe First! You can contact him directly on email@example.com