via We have all become rats | The Zimbabwean by Vince Musewe
There are a few amongst us who are prepared to sacrifice and dispatch their energies for the betterment of society – and not merely expend their valuable time here on earth pursuing riches.
We have all become rats, rats in a race to win that lucrative contract, to get that powerful position, to score big in the shortest possible time while doing the least amount of work. We seek the most pleasure we can get in the shortest possible time with as little pain as necessary, the pain of cumbersome, patient and inconvenient work.
The seed of corruption continues to spread and the norm has become fast deals, non-delivery, conspicuous consumption and a general view that we must live for today and tomorrow will look after itself.
Corruption is indeed a scourge that our economy faces. Unless it is arrested and diminished through an incorruptible law enforcement regime, we are bound to see it increase. Tragically the police are corrupt themselves. All you have to do is speak to our Kombi drivers and how they are forced to pay a fee of $40 per day just to stay on the road!
The fundamental driver of corruption in Zimbabwe, and Africa for that matter, is of course pure greed, further exacerbated by the enormous income disparities evident in our economy.
Although the public sector is rife with unfair practices that benefit only those in the ruling party, big private corporates are in no way innocent of questionable business practices, which have seen some making billions on contracts awarded to them because they have influence or because they use their financial muscle against any form of competition.
As long as we have an economy where there are easy means of making money, where economic activity and the ensuing benefits are perceived as inequitable, corruption will prevail. As long as we have a government that is partisan in nature and unaccountable to the masses, corruption will prevail.
I must add that we have seen the rise of a black capitalist class whose main concern is the amassing wealth despite the imorality and injustice we see around us. I have zero respect for those who continue to pretend that all is well and that we must “make hay while the sun shines”.
The profiteering in our economy is riduculous and regressive. Added to that is the cowardice of our business sector in challenging the status quo. They seem all to be de facto praise singers of Zanu(PF) – slow to condemn that which is wrong and unethical but quick to give credit where it is not due. They embarrass me.
It was only recently that a group of business executives came together in Bulawayo to join the fight against “sanctions”. Having taken their cue from Mugabe and in fear of being chastised or left off the gravy train, they all sang a sad song of victimhood.
Our industry is in the state it is becuase Zanu(PF) decimated the agriculture sector, stole company funds through the Reserve Bank and is stealing diamond revenues meant to develop our industrial base. On top of that, they have no plan to get this economy back on its feet. They continue to alienate potential investors through misguided and unnecessraily agressive statements about indeginisation, especially by the former minister responsible for that portfolio. That is why our manufacturing is down and unmployment is high.
To correct this situation, we all need to accept the problems first – instead of avoiding the inconvenient truths. So-called sanctions are NOT the root cause of our economic woes.
We need to revive agriculture by giving secure land tenure, utilising underutilised farms and stopping the massive corruption. We need to use modern techniques and ALL the skills we have available, regardless of race. That is the trigger of manufacaturing revival.
If our businessmen cannot stand up for the masses and for what is right, who will?
The pursuit of profit has created men dressed up in suits but with no soul. Our politicians are a liability that has not only destroyed livelihoods but lives as well. And all we can do is gather in conferences, lie to ourselves and expect help from a government that has proven over and over again its utter disregard for the rule of law, dignity, freedom and liberty of its citizens. What a disgrace! – Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org