Home » Governance » Problem Is Mugabe’s Economic Illiteracy [opinion]

“Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy is clear and the country’s economic environment is conducive for large-scale investment,” the Sunday Mail told us last weekend.

As clear as mud, the paper should have said. There follows a brave attempt to suggest the IMF, European Union, European Investment Bank and other key donors were pleased with the country’s progress.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased with Zimbabwe’s credit rating and is considering funding the private sector, including SMES,” the paper reported.

“In its latest report the IMF says amendments to the indigenisation policy create an environment that attracts investment. It also said Zimbabwe was committed to ger, more inclusive and lasting growth.”

This would all be very encouraging if it was remotely true. But we know from experience that very little of it would come to pass.

An environment that attracts investment is understandably the main goal. But the chances of it prevailing here are between slim and none.

“Despite economic and financial difficulties the Zimbabwean authorities have made progress in implementing their macro-economic and structural reform programmes,” the EIB said.

But what evidence does the EIB have of government adhering to basic economics and common sense? The reality is with his seven degrees — including a Masters in Economics — President Mugabe remains economically illiterate.

Warning

The MultiChoice owners of DStv have for years refused to allow God’s name to be uttered in vain in their broadcasts. Instead his name is blocked out in a clumsy exercise of religious censorship. It should not be indulged.

We recall Mozambican broadcasters in the 1980s declaring “Down with Religion Down with Obscurantism”.

On Sunday night DStv broadcast the film Hercules. Being somewhat ancient, there were numerous references to the “gods”. So the broadcaster had to keep intervening in its customary way.

The religious fanatics who promote this nonsense should be warned.

It makes broadcasters look like idiots.

Is this what they want? And what about kids watching in the family-designated slot?

Are they made to cover their ears whenever there is mention of the Greek or Roman gods?

They are currently showing a brilliant series called Rome. Let’s hope we are spared the censor’s knife on that one.

Senseless

Undoubtedly the best story of the week was the revelation in parliament that Zesa was dishing out US$10 million a year in free electricity to its employees and former employees.

Beneficiaries from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development also enjoy the exemption. The power utility’s workers and pensioners are entitled to US$160 worth of power a month.

This came to light in hearings of the Zimbabwe Transmission and Distribution Company Julian Chinembiri giving evidence to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy.

This once again illustrates how public companies have been reduced to feeding troughs for corrupt and parasitic elements.

Appalling

We were particularly appalled by the front-page Herald slogan which read “So far so good” in relation to the country’s progress since 1980.

Readers continue to draw attention to the slogan which we pointed out a few weeks ago at the time of the Independence celebrations. It not only illustrates that those behind it are detached from reality. So far so good when the country is beset by a nosediving economy, company closures, unemployment and grinding poverty?

Pretence

The Herald reported on Monday that Russia was prepared to thwart aggression against Zimbabwe by the West.

With zeal, Zanu PF’s daily propaganda mouthpiece chronicled how Russia and China vetoed the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the United Nations in which Britain and the US are identified as the main culprits.

What the publication forgot to tell us is why Russia delayed opening its embassy in Zimbabwe after we had gained Independence in 1980. Why would real friends take a long time to fully establish themselves in a country which they helped during the liberation struggle?

An easy answer could be that they were more aligned to Zapu than Zanu, but the broader picture is they are less interested in developing the infrastructure in this country.

Ironically, President Robert Mugabe still accuses the West of nailing Zimbabwe on its economic deathbed, claiming Russia and China are all-weather friends, when in fact government officials are busy trying to re-engage Western countries. It shows he is running a dysfunctional government.

Empty promises

Isn’t this a realisation that these so-called friends of Zimbabwe have nothing much to offer except promises that hardly come to fruition?

Mugabe attended Russia’s 70th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis and held a meeting with Vladimir Putin in which several deals are reportedly on the cards.

However, we wait to see if any of these will be implemented. Mugabe seems to take pride in the fact that the two countries have sanctions imposed on them while at the same time pretending to be blind to the restrictions that are supposedly hurting the economy and affecting the livelihoods of the majority of ordinary Zimbabweans.

The Herald quoted Mugabe as having said “You’ve sanctions, and we’ve sanctions too. That’s why we remain united, and why we celebrate with you. We need your support.”

Mugabe still cannot realise that the economic tailspin and service delivery failures in the country need no grandstanding. Meeting with Putin doesn’t change anything. What the nation needs are pragmatic and sound policies that can attract the now scarce foreign direct investment rather than globetrotting.

And we insist this can only happen when Mugabe goes.

Rambling

Still on the Herald, Muckraker’s good friend Tichaona Zindoga (The Lone Ranger) — a dismal propagandist who writes dreary opinions not to shed some insight on issues but to please his masters — was at it again this week firing wickedly funny potshots at South African ambassador to Zimbabwe Vusi Mavimbela for allegedly admiringly drawing parallels between his country and the United States (as if it’s a crime if it were true), and attacking Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy.

Reading through Zindoga’s depressingly mediocre piece it was clear he didn’t know when, where and before whom Mavimbela delivered his speech. Most importantly he simply didn’t know the context.

Otherwise, how would he write such a dumb article claiming Mavimbela was drawing parallels between South Africa and the US painting a picture they were like heaven when his speech was actually based on the philosophy of W.E.B Du Bois, an African-American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author and editor?

Besides, when Mavimbela said South Africa remains Africa’s most developed and diversified economy (which is true), he was explaining why immigrants flock to the country not saying it’s heaven. Not even the US is an El Dorado. There is no country on earth which is like the Garden of Eden.

Further Mavimbela never attacked Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy he was merely saying immigrants are involved in all sectors of South Africa’s economy and thus xenophobic tensions at the subaltern levels among the poor because there are no entry barriers or prohibitions like in other countries since it’s a free market economy in a democratic and free society. So what’s wrong with that? Why does Zindoga think he was only referring to Zimbabwe when many other African countries have similar policies?

This shows the dangers of people writing opinions or commenting on issues without context or background. In fact, it shows the problem of commenting on issues from a position of speculation or ignorance.

Source : Zimbabwe Independent

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