Our biggest mistake has been to leave the responsibility of transforming our economy to Zanu (PF). We have abrogated our responsibilities and left our fate in the hands of politicians, who have failed to create the Zimbabwe we want. It is not their fault because we cannot expect from them any better than a colonial mind-set. That is the world they grew up in and that is the world they know.
As I watch the political intrigue from all fronts, the lack of vision, downright greed and the pursuit of personal ambition above all, I have come to the conclusion that if we continue hoping and complaining from the side-lines, we will achieve nothing. Those in power will merely do what they know best – lie, cheat and dominate us.
It is time to accept the truth that countries can never be successful and develop to their full potential when the people are fighting for political power and position, even if where they do not have a better plan. Our political struggles are wasting time and resources as our neighbours’ progress. For example, Mozambique has just received U$15 billion in investments compared to our paltry $1,7 billion since 1980.
We must now start an economic struggle. We must rid ourselves of thieves, the corrupt and those not prepared to be accountable. This is not only in the public sector but even in the private sector where monopolies continue to exploit us in pursuit of profits with no social conscience at all.
We must now create the age of social entrepreneurs. Our pursuit must be not merely for profit, but for profits with development and empowerment of our citizens. I think that has always been our problem in that our economic architecture is designed to create winners and losers, the rich and the poor. This will not create a modern developmental state.
I do not think politics is the appropriate tool for us. There is just too much unnecessary contestation, too much hunger for position and power without appreciating the responsibility that comes with it.
We are quite silly actually. We spend so much time politicking and selecting the most popular amongst us to allegedly represent and lead us, yet we never question whether these people are empowered to lead or have the capacity to do so.
If we look at our members of parliament for example, they campaign to be nominated, campaign and to be elected, get into parliament and are given huge responsibilities that they were never really trained for. We then spend so much time and resources training them to become effective and soon, their term is over and we get a new crop. We do this every five years.
We also leave the responsibility of selecting our political leaders to political parties and yet we know that the criteria are never about competence and principles. No wonder we are not going anywhere.
In my new paradigm I am encouraging that we give momentum to the idea of Zimbabwe First! This is a non-political platform to drive local economic empowerment of the people by the people. We do need help, but we cannot rely solely on NGOs to do what we citizens should be doing ourselves.
This empowerment must stop being a political agenda but must be a social development agenda. This means we cannot let politicians lead it. Our problem is that we are a divided nation and have been unable to create an unstoppable momentum.
Under Zimbabwe First! we can create an economic agenda that has a life beyond politics and presidential terms. It must be a philosophy and a value that we use to measure everything we do. We must liberate our politics.
My first idea is that we need a Zimbabwe vision 2030. With communication technology we can gather all our ideas about the future very quickly and then from there create a national vision for our country. After that we must put the necessary community structures in place to make that vision a reality.
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora remit an estimated $200 million every month while locally we can create a once off endowment for our future. These can then be used to spearhead our vision for 2030. The government is welcome to contribute if it can – but we must take the lead.
We are very good at talking and criticising. Until we realise that it is only we who can make the difference, we will continue to be spectators in an unfolding future that will be created by political parties working only for their own selfish interests.
Our politicians are not equipped for developmental economics and we can change governments all we want, butwe will keep hoping and getting disappointed.
If we all decide to put Zimbabwe first and do whatever we can to take the responsibility for creating a better society and a more equitable economy, we shall be surprised at what we can achieve.
Zimbabwe is ours and its future is in our hands.
– Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at [email protected]Post published in: Analysis