I think it was Morgan Tsvangirai who coined the truism that â€œZanu (PF) cannot rig the economyâ€ after the 2013 elections. With every passing day he is being proven right. The mass dismissals currently sweeping throughÂ every sector are symptomatic of an economy that is refusing to be rigged – despite continued attempts by Zanu (PF).
There is likely to be no economic growth this year, despite Chinamasa promising 1.5% growth – after having told us in his national budget last year to expect 3.4% growth. What is amazing to me is the continual delusion by Zanu (PF) that things will change and the government is in control. Nothing can be further from the truth!
Things are getting worse and the economy is imploding and we are going to see the number of unemployed continue to increase in the streets. This will be exacerbated by the ill-informed banning of second-hand clothes imports as this industry has been an escape for many and occupies millions of informal sector traders. If the ban continues unchallenged, it is really going to be a disaster for many families.
The total failure of the government to anticipate the unintended consequences of their policies has characterised the last 15 years. The sad thing is that nobody takes responsibility and all of them want to blame the past and sanctions. Yet we have been our own worst enemies. Nobody is even thinking ahead to what our country could be like in another 15 yearsâ€™ time.
There is no doubt that if we are to see this economy revive we will have to take some drastic measures. Mass dismissal of civil servants is only part of the answer. Our problem remains that of the principles, or the lack thereof, which we apply in managing the resources of the country.
First there is no accountability, secondly we have attacked secure private ownership and the rule of law is clearly in the intensive care unit. The police themselves are corrupt. When no one must account for their actions it leads to massive corruption. We have heard how NSSA has mismanaged millions of pensionersâ€™ money. Massive illicit flows of money are also leaving the country.
No longer viable
In essence we now have a failed state that is no longer viable. However, I want to believe that we can indeed create a modern state in the future, characterised by a vibrant economy that meets the aspirations of all, but we have serious work to do.
We really canâ€™t do much until we have a change of government and leadership. There is nothing on the horizon indicating that ordinary Zimbabweans will take action to change our political leadership before 2018.
In order to create the Zimbabwe we want by 2030, we must go through economic revival and transformation as follows.
New value system
Recovery phase – where we revive our agriculture sector, rehabilitate our infrastructure, create new accountable public institutions with a new value system, revive the industrial productive base, attract foreign direct investment and build new hope for a better future.
In this phase, we will need a debt moratorium so that we can apply most of our resources to development. We will also need a government that sticks to the plan and is accountable to the people. Delivery by leadership in both private and public sectors will be critical and non-delivery must have consequences.
We must then go through a growth phase where we must target minimum annual economic growth of 5% and focus on those economic sectors that can deliver growth and create jobs in the short to medium term. These are a stable and liquid financial sector, a vibrant tourism sector, an energy sector that meets our needs, a vibrant mining sector and a productive agricultural sector. Corruption must be dealt with brutally to ensure that maximum resources are allocated to the needs of the country.
Yes we can
The next phase should be a consolidation phase, where we spread economic growth to the rest of the economy and create sustainability through a vibrant middle-class, domestic savings and investments, the alleviation of poverty and the provision of basic needs for all.
Yes we can, but we will need a meeting of minds between all Zimbabweans – particularly those in the Diaspora who can add significant value on new ideas and technologies, delivery and project management. We will also need a government of coalition forces – lest we recreate another dictatorship.
What is critical is that we start the conversations about the Zimbabwe we want now. We need not worry about the current politicians because most of the old men and women who are limiting what we can become will be gone soon. – Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at [email protected]