Government rapped for stifling free enterprise

Political domination has come before encouraging creativity and free enterprise, according to panelists at the Capitalism: Virtue or Vice discussion last week.

Vince Musewe and Francisca Mandeya at the panel discussion entitled Capitalism: Virtue or Vice.
Vince Musewe and Francisca Mandeya at the panel discussion entitled Capitalism: Virtue or Vice.

Economist Vince Musewe told The Zimbabwean in an interview after the discussion that the solution to the country’s economic woes lay in ushering in a new politics.

“We have to make sure that we unite and have a free and fair election and get rid of the current government, because we need a new system. Their philosophy is based on the premise that it’s none but themselves,” he said.

“As long as they are okay, every other Zimbabwean can suffer and life goes on. That’s unacceptable.”

The discussion, held at the Book Café, was organised by the Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions and was hosted by political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya. “Since independence, we have had an anti-initiative, anti-enterprise type of society. The mood has been anti-productivity,” Musewe said.

Development consultant Francisca Mandeya told The Zimbabwean that free debate was important in determining the country’s economic future.

“Economies are built through open and honest debate. People’s participation can lead to change. We need enough platforms to dialogue,” Mandeya said.

Former president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union Ben Freeth called on the government to empower people by giving title deeds to land.

Musewe said depriving people of land ownership was part of a wider strategy to exercise political control.

“They fear rich black people who then can influence political issues. Rich black entrepreneurs have left Zimbabwe simply because the leadership in this country does not appreciate strong black capital. They see it as a challenge.”

The government was also accused of insincerity in its empowerment programmes, and Mandeya said indigenisation would not work.

“I have a problem with indigenisation where people want things handed out to them and they have no input whatsoever into the innovation of the business. It will definitely fail,” she said.

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