Mugabe needs Tsvangirai to get us out of economic turmoil

Our nation is hanging by a thread. What we need in our next leader and our next government is a workable plan to turn our country around, and fast.

I, like many others, fundamentally disagree with Mugabe on almost all the issues regarding the future of our country. However, differences aside, our country needs rebuilding and Mugabe is not the man.

Mugabe is largely responsible for the mess we are in right now and to think that he is going to change from what he has been doing with this country for almost three decades is wishful thinking and, frankly, stupid! We need someone new with radical, innovative ideas for Zimbabwe who will approach governing our country with a different vision.

By far the greatest challenge facing the next government is to create jobs for our citizens. In economics, input into the economy directly impacts on output of that economy. How much depends on the multiplier effect. Simply put, the more people are in work, the more they spend and the more the economy grows.

Active and qualified members of society who are genuinely and seriously looking for a way to feed their families urgently need jobs. The massive exodus of young and/or skilled workers tells the story. The most productive quota of the population now recognise that emigration is the only logical choice for the moment. The country’s health system is down on its knees with chronic shortages of staff, equipment and medication because the government cannot pay the public service workers enough to live on. Teachers, engineers, accountants, nurses, doctors, mine workers and farmers have left the country en masse to seek better opportunities elsewhere. Every sector of our economy is suffering from the effects of this brain drain.

Linked to jobs is the expansion of our industries. We used to be quite good at that. Most regional headquarters for multinational companies operating in the region were based in Zimbabwe until recently. We had a reasonably sized manufacturing and processing industry and had every opportunity to grow.

We need to start manufacturing and processing again in Zimbabwe. We need to stop shipping away raw materials like steel and then importing the finished products back again. We need to start manufacturing and processing our resources ourselves. We need to attract those companies who need our resources to come to our shores and set up their production lines.

A stable political and socio-economic environment allows international companies to have the confidence to set up operations in our country. This is great for our working classes because our cost of labour is lower than most developed countries and we can use that to our advantage. Look at India for example. The call centre boom is supporting their economy and providing their workers with jobs. Companies in the UK are considering shipping their customer service operations and other support services to countries where it is cheaper to operate. That could have been Zimbabwe. After all, we Zimbabweans do speak better English than most nationalities in the world. That can still be achieved if we restructure our political and socio-economic terrain to accommodate international businesses.

The next government of Zimbabwe needs to build new and rebuild existing infrastructure – our roads, bridges, water and sewerage networks, telecommunications, schools and hospitals. Mugabe and his people have neglected to invest in this vital aspect of our nation. Where they have dared to invest, they have let corrupt officials squander public finances and get away with it.

Crucially, we need to do something about our energy needs as a country to achieve energy independence. The world is beginning to accept that it is not healthy for a nation to depend on another for its energy needs. It is highly costly to the consumers and it could put our national security at risk. Right now, we are depending on South Africa to keep the sunshine city alight, but how much longer can they keep supporting us? South Africa’s energy needs are growing every day and sooner or later they are going to cut us off so they can meet their own needs. They might cut us off anyway, since we owe them tonnes of money for what they have given us so far. As a country we need to develop and explore alternative fuels like bio-fuels, clean coal technology, wind and solar energy and expand our hydroelectric power solutions. Responsible governments are taking action now rather than later and the next leadership of our country cannot ignore this matter.

Our education system, once the pride of Africa is falling to pieces and the beacon of hope for our children has been extinguished as a result. We need a leader and a government that can put hope back into our system, allow our educators to be proud again and provide a stepping-stone for innovation, entreprenuership and a qualified employee base for our economy.

A malignant chronic disease has attacked our health system leaving it useless, powerless and yearning for change. Now, even the great and famous Parirenyatwa hospital runs out of medicine, cannot meet patient needs and, in some cases, staff have to watch helplessly as patients they know they could have saved die. The health system needs money and political leadership to take us out of these dark days. Mugabe got us into this mess, he does not know how to fix it.

And then there are the ideological differences. I believe our country needs to adopt a social democratic philosophy of government – the third way. This is based on the ideology that we need to do all we can to support entrepreneurship and innovation (free market economic concepts), but as well removing injustices through state regulation. It is like taking the good parts of free market economics and pairing it up with our natural nature as Zimbabweans to care about others and to do all we can, not just for ourselves but for our community and country.

One of the most well-documented economic recoveries is that of Germany post-WWII. Poland also went through a similar phase. The German economy was in tatters and unemployment high. Inflation was through the roof and their currency had lost value so much that people started using cigarettes as a currency for trade. The government embarked on a massive economic recovery programme, spearheaded by funding massive reconstruction projects for roads, bridges, schools hospitals and other public sector entities. Once those working in the massive reconstruction started earning money, the German economy kick-started again. As an added bonus, the Germans managed to build one the best transport networks in the world in the process.

It is impossible to find a country that has sunk as low as Zimbabwe, even in the time of the great depression. Countries at war have not witnessed similar devastation. And yet, that is the daunting task facing the next government of our country. I can honestly say Mugabe should not be the man at the helm as we start this rebuilding process. He certainly cannot deliver this without the MDC, the support of the international community and above all the support of the people of Zimbabwe. -  TAFADZWA G. GIDI

Post published in: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *