Home » Governance » Of Principle, Consistency and Efficient Implementation

What clearly distinguishes the ruling party from any other political entity in Zimbabwe is the party’s consistency to principle and it is this immersion to ideological probity that defines the ruling party.

One of the obvious outcomes of firmly standing by principle and ideology is the conflict it generates with friends and foes alike. The ruling party in Zimbabwe has taken an honourable ideological stance on controversial but crucial policies such as the land reform, indigenisation and economic empowerment but this left the country isolated on some fronts and the economy heavily compromised.

The bondage to doctrines, the many blueprints, the inconsistencies and the perennial habits without practical and effective implementation have unnecessarily exposed many of the ideological sacrifices to ridicule.

Zimbabwe is well-known for producing excellent, well-drafted blueprints yet when it comes to implementation everyone seems to develop cold feet. It is the ideological and principle consistency that creates coherency in policy implementation. Zimbabwe has the ZIMASSET economic blueprint to execute, to drive up the country and translate ideology into tangible outcomes that will benefit the ordinary man, woman and child.

The worry is that the country seems deeply and consistently engrossed in petty political pickings at the expense of procurement for the nation as a whole. We are agreed that this is the post-congress period and focus now should be on driving up the economic blueprint to realise its undeniable full potential. The inconsistencies, the polarisation, the negativity, the lack of consensus and the constant political squabbling only put obstacles in the paths towards economic recovery and genuine prosperity. The fact of the matter is that ZIMASSET is a technical document and as such poses technical questions which require technical answers. It is the technical answers which will unlock the country’s true economic potential. These answers are going to be provided by the technical people and the processes are going to be driven by the politicians and policymakers. You cannot take the politics out of the economics or the economics out of the politics but for Zimbabwe to address the many debilitating economic problems the country is currently facing there is an urgent need to prioritise the economics. This is in no way meant to say the politics is any less important.

The ruling party has to dismantle the pretences, the mirrors of inconsistency, the dishonesty, disharmony and the deliberate delays in demonstrating commitment to implementation of proposed programmes as rank and order indulge in petty political contretemps.

Consistency of ideology and principle is a virtue in its own right and consistency in implementation is a virtue if put forward with practical application and by the letter of the law. The Indigenisation and Empowerment policies are Laws and Acts which have been passed through parliament. The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act was passed through an Act of Parliament in 2008. All potential investors to Zimbabwe are often confronted with some unhelpful headlines about the Act and its application.

However, investors into Zimbabwe should have very little if anything to worry about as the Act is clear in terms of objectives and intended outcomes as set out in the policy. For consistency sake those who seek clarification can do so simply by contacting the relevant ministry. The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, Chapter 14:33, Part II, Section 3, subsection (a) clearly states “The Government shall through this Act or any other law, endeavour to secure that “at least fifty-one per centum of the shares of every public company and any other business shall be owned by indigenous Zimbabweans”. The Law is very clear and the newly appointed Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Christopher Mushohwe recently said that the Government of Zimbabwe would remain guided by the Law in the implementation of its indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes. That is the consistency that investors seek because from there any investor can simply read through the Act itself and seek clarification where required from Minister Mushohwe’s office.

The concern is that there is deceitful disinformation and sensational media headlines alleging inconsistencies from different government officials. This disinformation and misinformation are unhelpful and unnecessarily creates uncertainty and negative speculation which is not good for the country’s struggling economy. There are many erroneous reports doing media rounds that VP Mnangagwa recently said that Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment laws will “be scrapped next year” when in fact what he was talking about is “getting rid of bureaucratic regulations that inconvenienced investors”.

There is policy consistency throughout on the indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes. The Vice President Mnangagwa and Indigenisation Minister Mushohwe are saying exactly the same thing and those who chose to interpret the two statements differently did so for whatever motives of their own. Mushohwe is talking about the Law of the land on Indigenisation and Economic empowerment and VP Mnangagwa was very specific about the essence of making the investment environment and process in Zimbabwe simpler and was pronouncing new policies that attract more investment into the country. It is not the “Law” but the bureaucratic bungling which frustrates potential investors. The Law is the law and most if not all investors have not been blocked from doing business in Zimbabwe by law but by the intricate bureaucracy such as investors spending over six months consulting and going through the registration process. VP Mnangagwa was putting emphasis on dealing urgently with issues affecting business to put the economy back on the road to recovery by simplifying and expediting investment formalities.

The Indigenisation Minister Chris Mushohwe’s quest for a full list of all those who have benefited from the policy so far is a welcome development as this will bring about clarity and transparency into the whole process. It is important to have a clear picture of who is actually benefiting from the policy and present areas for improvement. The key to the country’s economic recovery is being anchored on the ZIMASSET economic blueprint which needs to be followed by effective implementation, eradicating corruption, policy consistency and clarity, providing information on the investment policies and laws in the country and government speaking from the same page for clarity sake. There is reason to be optimistic about Zimbabwe’s long term economic prospects and there is need to iron out some issues relating to inconsistency that have been unnecessarily slowing down the recovery. It is a fact that hope is the only thing that is ger than fear. Now is the time for politics to give economic recovery the highest level of priority. The Zimbabwe economy can be salvaged easily with consistency, decisiveness and less emphasis on unnecessary and counterproductive political squabbles.

The country is saturated with the ruling party’s intra-party politics and there is an urgent need for a shift towards intra-party economic dialogue to harness the experience and expertise of those in and outside of government to take on the challenges being presented.

The fundamental problems crippling the country’s economy are well-known and well-documented, namely corruption, low capacity utilisation, unemployment, long term and short term structural deficits, negative perception and lack of confidence from some potential investors, lack of confidence in the finance and consumer sectors. There is no need to change the law but a simple change in tone can quickly change perception and increase confidence.

Words are very powerful and need to be used with caution as they end up portraying the country in a negative light.

The priority is to address the problems head on and to target economic growth and reducing the numbers of those without formal work that is creating employment. The country’s economic growth needs to be over 6 percent to be able to catch up with lost capacity of the last fourteen years induced by sanctions and other factors already highlighted above. A g growth of over 6 percent will help boost tax revenues and create jobs to be able to successfully reduce the current unsustainable government fiscal deficits. The country has to effectively balance solving short term and long term structural deficits.

No one is questioning the importance of Foreign Direct Investment in world economies however investment alone will not stimulate the economy. There is also a need for real demand for products and services provided there is readily available disposable income. Zimbabwe has the former but falls short on the latter. There is a great deal of uncertainty in the economy and wage constraints and how the country goes about addressing these is how the country is going to start emerging from the mire and mud.

Zimbabwe is indeed open for business and any potential investors should be approaching the relevant ministries with their queries instead of relying on some unhelpful media headlines. The government of Zimbabwe is very much open to constructive and mutually beneficial engagement and welcomes investors from any part of the world.

The country’s Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Laws have often been misrepresented, misconstrued and misunderstood and that is unfortunate as Zimbabwe is such investor friendly country. The country has the right ideology, the right principles and now what is required is the right attitude to implementation of programmes. And for the implementation to be right the issues of corruption, consistency and coherency have to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Source : The Herald