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The ZANU (PF) kleptocracy will never reform voluntarily

08 Sep 2016 at 11:05hrs | Views
"All political lives unless they are cut off mid-stream at happy junctures always end in failure because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs" Enoch Powell.

I said it more than a year ago that it would be naïve for us to think that ZANU (PF) will implement electoral changes as this would be tantamount to them reforming themselves out of power. Now Jonathan Moyo has just confirmed this fact.

You see ZANU (PF) has never actually won a free and fair election and given where the economy is now, no sane Zimbabwean would vote for them and they know that. ZANU (PF) is willing to lie, steal and manipulate the system solely for the power and riches of a few.

The same applies to economic reforms which we want. In his document on the LIMA strategy, Chinamasa promised "the strengthening of confidence in the financial services sector,  to accelerate re-engagement with the international community,  to revitalise agriculture, to advance beneficiation in or value addition agriculture and mining,  to focus on infrastructure development,  to unlock small to medium enterprise potential,  to improve the investment climate,  to accelerate public enterprise reform,  to modernise labour laws and align of laws with constitution and lastly to deal seriously with corruption."

None of the above has happened to fundamentally impact our socio economic and political environment. In fact things are getting worse and Zimbabwe is highly unlikely to even get a cent from international development partners until the government can demonstrate that they are serious about change.

Expect things to get worse as the economy shrinks even further as more companies close due to lack of disposable incomes. Also expect economic growth to be negative during the second half of the year as the economy simply runs out of fuel and new ideas. Even with the big infrastructure projects, or economy benefits a little since China's style is to fund Africa's development by contracting Chinese companies to do the work. The anticipated multiplier effect will therefore be minimal.

As Zimbabwe we must simply go back to the basics. Political stability is key for any economic growth to occur and the political space will continue to be contentious as long as we see no meaningful reforms. It almost as if ZANU(PF) does not really care about the plight of the multitudes of Zimbabweans who are now living under a volatile economic environment with no upside possible in the short to medium term.

Many critics have taken out their pens to discredit the idea of a National Transitional Authority (NTA) but have offered no immediate alternatives to arrest the decline now. Instead they have recommended that we focus on registering to vote and wait for elections in 2018. The fact of the matter is that our economy simply cannot survive that long. We are in an emergency situation and we need to do the extraordinary in order to get out of this rut today not tomorrow.

Clearly we need a transition as a matter of urgency there is no doubt about that. We need to reschedule our national debt and engage the international community for assistance and we all know that nobody will fund Zimbabwe at this juncture. The reforms mentioned by Chinamasa in his LIMA strategy document are exactly what the country needs but more important, we need a new leader at State House. As we move from what has been a disastrous chapter of struggle politics towards creating a democratic developmental state, it is important that we put a new political leadership in place first if we are to recover. This new leadership must be characterised by a new generation of younger and more progressive Zimbabweans.

We Zimbabweans know what our problems are and we have the solutions to address them but I think some of our political parties are too heavily invested in politics of power with little attention being paid to the economic solutions which must be implemented now if we are going to survive till 2018.

We are a nation in crisis. A crisis of leadership and a self-manufactured crisis of social and economic decline that has arisen, not because we are cursed as a nation as some might want to believe, but because of the political and economic choices we have made. Our crisis is man-made and everything that is man-made can be reversed. But clearly as long as we do not have political power we will never be able to see the changes we want.

Without electoral reforms our chances of getting that political power are severely  diminished we also cannot naively register to vote under the very system we don't want. The only viable alternative is for the international community to treat Zimbabwe as a failed state which needs emergency rescue now. That rescue must not involve throwing money at the problem and hoping for the best, but must focus on political changes first and the support of a transitional arrangement.

Added to the above we need one political front united against tyranny. Social movements must also come to the party because we simply cannot afford to replicate the old formula of multiple democratic forces with similar objectives.

As Barack Obama once said "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek"

Another Zimbabwe is possible!

Vince Musewe is an economist and author. He is also the Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs for PDP. You may contact him on

Source - Vince Musewe
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