Mugabe out of touch with economic reality

President Robert Mugabe’s recent statement that the national economy was on the mend demonstrates how much he is out of touch with reality.

Paul Bogaert
Paul Bogaert

Speaking at the 2014 President’s Medal Shoot Competition at Cleveland Rifle Range outside Harare, he said Zim-Asset and the Integrated Results-Based Management models that his government has adopted were key tools that would ensure economic revival.

While it is good for a national leader to be optimistic, that optimism must be based on tangible facts and developments. Sadly, there is nothing on the ground to show that the economy is recovering, and Mugabe must be made aware of this.

There is no point in telling the world that our economy is looking up when, looking around, all you see are acute signs of deterioration and collapse. Just last week, the Labour Ministry admitted in Parliament that government was not affixing dates to civil servants’ payslips because of uncertainty about when it would get the money to pay its employees. This is the first time this has happened in the history of Zimbabwe.

Soldiers have been forced to go on two-week breaks every month to cut on costs at the barracks and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is working 24/7 to scoop income from companies through mandatory taxes. Local as well as external debts continue to balloon. Social services are suffering and Treasury is surviving from hand-to-mouth.

Needless to say, unemployment is shooting up as companies close on a weekly basis, while thousands of jobless Zimbabweans are pouring into the overstretched informal sector.

What, then, does Mugabe mean when he says the economy is picking up?

The mere fact that we have Zim-Asset and IRBM is no guarantee that the economy will improve. Zim-Asset needs funding that runs into billions of dollars. So far, there are no signs where that money will come from. Without capitalisation, the economic blueprint will not work. In any case, we have had numerous other blueprints in the past that came to nought. Similarly, IRMB will not work for as long as the public service sector is run on a partisan basis, where performance appraisals are determined by who you know rather than what you know or how well you do your job.

Our message to Mugabe is that he should stop burying his head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich. He should ensure he receives correct and informed advice from his subordinates, rather than depend on people who are merely seeking to curry favour with him.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga
  1. Wilbert Mukori
  2. ChimurengaBoy

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