South Africans must not take Mugabe seriously

Isn’t it preposterous that a man who took over a country that was the bread basket of Africa and now it can’t even feed its own people has the audacity to say Zimbabweans are economically liberated? Nothing can be further from the truth!


One only has to visit Harare where one can actually smell the poverty and desperation of thousands and thousands of Zimbabweans who can’t get jobs and must sell their sweets and trinkets to make ends meet. I would swear that there are more graduates selling rat poison in Harare streets than the rats themselves. It is catastrophe – a monumental economic failure by Zanu (PF) that cannot be ignored.

South Africans must not take Mugabe seriously because what he has done to this country under the pretext of indigenisation and empowerment is to destroy our agricultural base and decimate industry. We must now rely on White South African farmers to produce our food while we import 100 times more goods from China than China imports from us.

It is not true to assert that Zanu (PF) had an economic agenda when they took over power in 1980. They had one plan and that was to establish a one-party state with their misguided socialism that was never really implemented – thank God. “Seek ye the political kingdom first and then everything else shall be added unto you,” by Kwame Nkrumah is what they believed at independence. Unfortunately they still believe Nkrumah’s fallacy today.

One thing we can give Mugabe credit for is the education policy at independence. But the country has never really benefited from this. South Africa has actually been the major beneficiary of our investment in education – because of economic freedom in that country.

Zimbabwe’s economy is on its knees as a result of the plunder and mismanagement by Zanu (PF), who have never really transformed from a liberation struggle organisation to a government. They don’t know how to govern in a democracy where there are set rules. They used violence to keep power and have tabled in excess of 15 economic blue prints since 1980, which have delivered zero economic growth.

You must be aware that we could not even manage our own currency and yet today someone can claim that we are an economically liberated country. Millions of Zimbabweans became poor overnight with our world record hyperinflation in 2008 before the people rejected the Zimbabwe dollar.

Today there are more children out of school today than there were during colonialism. We have even asked the British to pay school fees for our children. Imagine a government that spends $400 million a year on cars and cannot even pay $10 million to get its children into school.

Zimbabwe’s 85 state enterprises taken over in 1980 are now all los- making. Billions of dollars of diamond revenues have disappeared and we owe the IMF$10 billion – yet we don’t even see what it was spent on.

Things got so bad in Zimbabwe that in excess of three million people decided they would rather live outside the country than live under Mugabe’s misrule. I can go on but I think my readers can get the picture. Mugabe has been an economic disaster. Of course he is an excellent politician and is good at staying in power against all odds, but political power without economic delivery is sterile.

South Africa has its problems but at least they can talk about it and try and find a way out. In Zimbabwe no government minister dares to tell things as they are otherwise they get fired. They are truly a sorry lot who must pretend that all is well and yet it is evident to all that things have fallen apart. They even had to blame the carpet when Mugabe clearly missed his step and fell, that is the extent of the ridiculousness of our politics here.

Zimbabweans are angry, emotionally and psychologically injured because of Mugabe’s rule and one cannot put a price on that.

Zimbabweans in general are not racists at all, they actually don’t care what colour one is. It is only our old men here who have not gotten over the past and the try and tarnish all of us with the same brush. As far as us young progressive Zimbabweans, we believe our country belongs to all who live in it or were born in it and nobody can change that.

We are actually waiting for our chance to make things right and build a democratic state and an inclusive economy so that we can eradicate poverty. This regime under Mugabe has failed to do that but has successfully managed to economically liberate a predatory cabal at the expense of broad based economic empowerment.

It is sad chapter in our history which we are all hoping will be over soon.

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at [email protected]

Post published in: Opinions

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