Only ourselves to blame (23-11-06)

A very interesting book called " From Third World to First" outlines the incredible story of Singapore, a small country of 640 sq. km. with no natural resources and a basically peasant fishing population of 2,7 million people before it's transformation from economic third world t

o first. Admittedly the book was written by the Singapore premier of the time, but it has been endorsed by notable and credible personalities.
Like Zimbabwe it had a colonial past, not all pleasant and a potentially explosive racial mix together with the difficulties of very nationalistic, bigger neighbours who were struggling with their own settling faze the culture of which was ripe for spilling over into Singapore.
Unlike Singapore, Zimbabwe a country of 390,000 sq. km., more than 600 times bigger than Singapore, had tourist attractions, good hotels, coal, copper, gold, chrome, asbestos, platinum, emeralds, enormous agriculture potential, a healthy manufacturing industry and relatively speaking excellent banking and financial structures, roads, rail and communications.
At independence in 1980, it also had the goodwill and investment potential which was the envy of many a nation. The failure of Zimbabwe to grasp the moment and make massive strides toward a predominantly middle-class nation is testament to the unbelievably poor, non-statesman-like leadership Zimbabwe has been subjected to for too long now.
So many things are being written now about how to fix Zimbabwe’s problems. Problems that have been manufactured by inward thinking self preserving leadership that believes the country owes them everything. A ‘leadership’ that spends far too much time blaming the present ills on the past. A leadership that is busy carving up the national asset cake for themselves, often mortgaging national assets to foreigners to pay for their many blunders.
The answer does not lie in the East or the West but rather in the hands of the people of Zimbabwe. Let us trade with the East, let us trade with the West, but let us hold our own dignity and asset ownership. Why are we so eager to ‘export’ our raw materials? We should process where we can and increase our benefit from those materials. That process of transforming the raw materials toward the end product should be a major objective in our economic culture, it has not been so. We would rather play the blame game.
No other nation will treat us as a father would a son, you can be sure that they have their own interests in mind first and last when handing out assistance to us and buying into our resources.
Let us begin to face the bleak truth, we are in rather serious trouble all round, and we, each and every one of us, have ourselves to blame for soaking up the propaganda over the last 26 years and allowing the situation to deteriorate to the present state of affairs.
The handouts and assistance the country is receiving in apparent blind long standing faith in each other is not what it seems. We have chased the expertise we need from our land, we have retained the out dated historic notion that a leader is there for all time. A leader should take office to serve the nation not himself and when he can no longer benefit the nation through his leadership, then in the interests of the people, it is time for change. Our change is long overdue, our system of one party patronage is flawed as is every human system, but at least democracy offers constant change for the better.
The defining moment for our meteoric plunge to the depths we are now in was in December 1987 when the unity accord became effective. From then on we have been a de facto one party state.
Even before the Unity Accord, we were kept in the dark about the 5th Brigade massacres. No one party state has been able to sustain economic viability, the frailties of human nature kick in and the pattern and end result is predictable.
We may need a one party status to put us back on track, but it must be for a predetermined period only. The saddest thing is that we have watched this happening over a long period of time and have gone into stunned mullet mode. Let us at least take the lesson and avoid a repeat.

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