Brace up, but don’t give up!

Zimbabwe has billions worth of minerals buried in its belly, it also has around 55 million hectares of arable land with fertile soils. We can grow enough food to feed the nation and even export to the rest of Africa - yet about 2million people face starvation while up to 60% of the population now lives in abject poverty. This is the legacy placed upon us by the incompetence of Zanu (PF) to deliver to the people of Zimbabwe over its more than three decades in power.

Nothing is about to change. Until our politicians can honestly accept why this is so – and not continue to blame the whites or sanctions – I will never be convinced that they have a better plan to get the country out of the rut they have created.

I have had some rather interesting conversations recently, with regard to the future of our country, and it is dawning on me that almost everyone expects the politicians to make the changes they want to see. But nobody seems to have a viable idea of what must be done to begin to move the country forward.

We face a serious challenge in that, historically, politics has played too central a role in almost everything and this has created a culture of expectation without action in our society. Now that we have a “new” cabinet, people are expecting things to move forward. Let me break the bad news: things are going to get worse before they get any better.

The country is broke as we speak, with no alternative revenue streams beside the now finished alluvial diamonds, whose proceeds we never saw, platinum, gold and tobacco. The affairs of this country are going to be presided over by a lackluster cabinet mostly made up of those who presided over the creation of the economic and social crisis in which we find ourselves today.

Don’t believe the lies! Indigenisation will not create any new cash flows. It is an inappropriate tool to address the socio-economic needs and turn around the economy of this country at this juncture. The only way out is a serious rescue from the IMF or the African Development Bank and the West, if we are to survive until 2018.

As long as disposable incomes do not increase, no economy can ever recover. We have already seen signs of the banks limiting withdrawals simply because there is no cash coming in. Most companies can hardly meet the payroll, which means there is no advantage in being employed.

Serious investments from private investors will only come through well after 2018 – and only if we ensure that we hold a credible election then. In the meantime, the trickle that we saw in the recent past will soon dry up. The Chinese are not about to pour in billions of dollars either, they never do that. Their strategy is to flood economies with their goods and technology; it’s all about them, remember.

Unless by some divine intervention, we see a change in our political leadership before 2018, we must brace up and plan for the next fight for democracy in the next elections.

These are the facts that Zanu (PF) continue to cover up but as Tsvangirai said, no economy can be rigged. Once again the ordinary Zimbabwean must suffer and time is ticking, people are getting old and the young are going nowhere.

However, there is no need to get depressed or give up. We must stand firm but we must never be complacent. The only power we have left now is our numbers and it is time we used them to send the message to our politicians that Zimbabweans are not happy nor are we stupid. We cannot afford another five years of apathy.

For once the people must come first but it is up to you if you want to be counted or be treated like you don’t matter at all. Liberation politics will never deliver to us; it is not about our freedom and liberty – but about the past and maintaining the lifestyles of those in power.

It is with these facts in mind that I encourage us to take responsibility and change our destiny. Zimbabwe belongs to all of us! – Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare; you may contact him on [email protected]

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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