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Failed Zimbabwe govt economic policy met with excuses

15 Jan 2021 at 07:35hrs | Views
I AM not an economist or financial fundi neither was I good nor enjoyed such subjects as economics and accounting, in high school but, to use a cliche, it does not take a rocket scientist to lose confidence in someone who has continually failed to deliver on his promises, and who has always sought to clutch at any excuse, no matter how flimsy and unsubstantiated, to justify these failures.

Honestly, how would we describe a wife and children (for instance) whose husband or father has repeatedly neglected them, and misused family finances on his own enjoyment (including, drinking, partying, and on his numerous "small houses"), leaving his wife and children in dire poverty, scrounging for something to eat, and even forced by circumstances to beg for food and clothes from neighbours yet, they still give him "another chance", believing his endless unfulfilled promises of "change", as he always blames untraceable thieves, who seem to possess an uncanny ability to repetitiously "steal" his money?

Would we not say there was something wrong with this family, which refuses to see through this man's deception, uncaring, and cruelty, but, instead, always harbours some inexplicable belief that "this time he will change", or "it wasn't really his fault the last time", or "this time he is serious"?

The same applies to our beloved Zimbabwe, as we appear like the dysfunctional family, whose leadership has proffered seemingly endless economic blueprints, ever since coming into power at independence in 1980, yet achieving nothing tangible, but instead, excuse after excuse (the next being more ridiculous and unbelievable that the last) have been thrown around, in order to justify every dismal failure.

Who can forget the enthusiasm and optimistic excitement of the "five-year development plans" during the formative years of post-independence Zimbabwe, characterised by the fervour and gusto associated with the liberation struggle days, with promises of an egalitarian society, leadership codes (whereby, the country's leaders where not permitted to own vast unexplainable wealth, and were compelled to declare every cent), free education and health, and promises of "health and education for all by the year 2000"?

With the introduction of diesel-electric trains, traversing the Gweru-Harare route, we can guess why the line did not reach Bulawayo, the country's second largest city (something that should have been the logical thing to do), who would have not been stung by the "this is what independence means" bug?

However, less than a decade into this hard-won independence, there was already talk of the need for economic structural adjustment, since, the country was clearly on a very slippery slope.

Enter the economic structural adjustment Programme in 1991, that was designed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and, adopted by the Zimbabwe government, under the pretext of re-aligning and reorienting the economy, in order to encourage growth and development.

I remember this period, as I had just commenced (in 1989) my social justice writing in local newspapers, and was now doing Lower six at Kwekwe High school in 1991, and, immediately became unpopular with Zanu-PF leadership, due to my vocal opposition to this blueprint, which only brought misery and pain on the people of Zimbabwe, most notably in my home town of Redcliff, where hundreds of Ziscosteel (Zimbabwe Iron and steel company) employees were retrenched, as we witnessed numerous families having to endure untold hardships.

The situation in the country swiftly went from bad to worse, highlighted by constant price increases, and unavailability of some basic commodities, with songs by the likes of Edwin Hama's Today's paper, and Asila Mali, Karikoga Leonard Zhakata's Mugove, and Leonard Dembo's Chinyemu, whose lyrics, aptly captured the masses' suffering, suddenly becoming "national anthems" of despair.

From that time until today, I have lost count of subsequent endless economic policies introduced by the government, in fact, I seriously doubt if those in authority, if asked unexpectedly, would know the number, either, yet, all of them having two common denominators ... they were a huge failure (only managing to make the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Zimbabweans more treacherous than before), as well as the characteristic tendency by the authorities of never owning up, and taking responsibility for their massive failure.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He writes in his personal capacity.

Source - newsday
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