Don’t come back just yet

I predict that things are going to get a little worse before they get better.

Vince Musewe
Vince Musewe

Many of you in the diaspora are probably wondering when things are really going to change and whether you should come back home. My honest advice to you would be that you would be acting prematurely to pack your bags and come back home just yet.

Zimbabwe, under the stewardship of Zanu (PF), is not going to get any better in the short- to medium-term. The main reason being that, firstly, the country does not have access to funding, so economic activity will remain subdued. Secondly, there is no fundamental change in the philosophy in Zanu (PF) and how it sees the world, and so it is still about them and us and the sad thing is that they think they are right. Our system has therefore not fundamentally changed from pre-2008.

Our economy is faltering, companies are closing, there is no liquidity and no jobs, and most Zimbabweans are in survival mode, bracing for the worst.

It would be difficult for those of you with skills to sell. Nobody is buying because they simply don’t have the money. So, you are likely to be twiddling your thumbs and waiting for something to happen like everybody else. You will be amazed at the number of people who just spend their days waiting and hoping. It is such a waste of lives, especially for young, educated folk.

Those who want to be in business will face a major challenge of getting new customers. You may have a good product or service, but nobody will buy, simply because they don’t have the money. Disposable income is dwindling as we import nearly everything, The US$ that goes out of the country is not coming back to Zimbabwe as fast as it should.

The only activity you may see is at the tobacco auction floors, where millions change hands very quickly each season. But we can’t all be tobacco farmers can we? What would we eat?

There is also money to be made in agriculture, especially food crops but you would need enough capital so that you don’t have to borrow. The banks are fed up of lending money to farmers who don’t pay back, plus you are hardly going to get a loan if you are new to the country are you? So bring your own if you have any, but make sure you leave some offshore in case things don’t work out for you.

Mining is a good solid business where you export everything you produce. You must also have your own capital and machinery. You can make money there, but remember this takes a while to get going. You will need to be patient. There is also too much government interference is that sector, so good luck!

This, of course, limits the options for returning residents.

You will also be pained by the poverty you see around. Zimbabweans are good people who deserve a much better shot at life. Our problems will remain political simply because we do not have decent God-fearing people at the helm. You will be flabbergasted at how ministers here think they are little gods, giving orders and instructions on what must happen.

If it was good for the people, then that would be okay, but there is just sheer foolishness. I guarantee that you will get frustrated and wonder why you have to tolerate the nonsense, especially if you have lived outside Zimbabwe for a while.

On the political landscape, it is clear that unless something fundamentally changes, things will not get better. The infighting within Zanu (PF) is actually getting boring. I wish our media did not make it a major issue and just ignored it for a while.

The sad reality is that whoever wants power does not necessarily have a better plan for Zimbabwe. It’s just wanting power for its own sake. What does Mujuru offer us? What will Mnangagwa do differently? We have a cultural issue about how we approach problems and how we interpret the world out there, and that is not about to change for the better.

So, really, to come back to Zimbabwe now would be quite traumatic for most. Don’t get me wrong – opportunities are plenty but our culture as a country has not moved on. Ideas get stolen or stalled, and corruption is everywhere since everyone is trying to make money. Your success will really depend on your ethical values.

I am not knocking our country. It’s a beautiful country with wonderful weather, peace-loving people and lots of space. It is just that our country is in the wrong hands for now and, as progressive Africans who want to see development and positive change, you will be disappointed by what you experience.

Apathy and blame-shifting are very common here and our communities seem to blame the government for everything. They also expect the same government to solve their problems. They will wait forever at this rate because Zanu (PF) has no clue and I haven’t seen anyone else who I can rely on to shape the future I want. – Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at [email protected]

Post published in: Analysis

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