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Zhangazha say it directly and clearly: Zimbabwe needs socialist ideology

22 Sep 2016 at 11:16hrs | Views
Zipra Song in FC Camp: "Kuyini  isocialism? Sizo lima santando, sivhume santando, ukulume okufunayo lawe, yiyo leyo inhlalakahle ye socialism. Bayakhalo bhuzhwa bonke" ngoba bayayesaba  isocialism!

I surely do not want to upset my former colleagues in Zunde regarding this topic on socialism in Zimbabwe. We passionately debated this inconclusively. Those neo-liberal economies in South Africa will not take them to any higher levels of development whereby the poor will be lifted out of their poverty according to the Freedom Charter aspirations. In neo-liberal economies, like the economy is in South Africa, the majority of the population are further impoverished worse off than in Apartheid era. The irony of it is that the youthful Julius Malema is teaching ANC about socialism and not the other way round! The South African economy is dictated elsewhere and not by ANC government.

Zhangazha, your article on Nehanda: "The State and Status of Ideology in Zimbabwe" on September 21st was insightful indeed and made a good reading to me. In a country bereft of any ideological principles in most opposition political parties, their manifestos are devoid of values and dignity of a common man who are supposed to be the centre of national development and policy implementations. I do openly advocate for socialist ideology; than to craft policies that please the donor funding and opt for neo-liberalism instead.

What is neo-liberalism, what is socialism?
The 20th century was marked by the dynamic political events that mostly took place in Russia; the Russian Revolution of 1917. Russia became the first country to implement socialism as their economic development blueprint. Its destruction after 74 years in 1991 shaped yet another different the global politics and there was a new world order.  Milton Friedman and his Chicago School of Economics went on a neo-liberal crusade on the global run to implement their doctrine to countries that were on the economic collapse starting with the Southern Cone in the early 1970s; (Chile Argentina, Uruguay), and later in the 1990s; Poland, Russia and China. They determined and defined how the new world should look like. The premise in which the economic ideology of Milton Friedman is based on was the return to reformation and capitalism; it should be unfeted and uncontaminated he said; "economic forces of supply and demand; inflation and unemployment were like forces of nature; fixed and unchanging.

According to Friedman, if there is high inflation and und unemployment in the country, (like it is in Zimbabwe at the present) then the market is not free but contaminated! Misguided policy makers allowed too much money into the system and made it unstable, he said. This economic neo-liberal ideology of Milton Friedman has seen its ugliness in the Southern Cone where by socialist-managed economies of the Southern Cone countries had developmental programs that lifted the lived of millions of impoverished citizens because of their smart economic programs they had implemented. These countries had mixed economies; that guaranteed basic dignity to their peoples. They engaged in inward-looking industrialisations of their industries and less on export of natural resources whose prices were determined in the world markets. Smart economic policies were rigorously implemented and the class divide between the poor and the rich closed. A sizable middle-class population enjoyed a decent salary; trade unions. As a result they could send their children to schools and universities. These governments realised that their success was depended on a managed and thought-through, planned economies. Health and education was managed by the government. Clean water and sanitation was regarded as a human right and non-negotiable. The literacy levels in most Southern Cone countries were staggering 95%. Is this not encouraging enough to have developmental policies that have social-ethical-ends in a country like Zimbabwe? A text book case no less!

Without them realising much, (the Southern Cone countries) that they had actually made powerful enemies because of this economic development with positive impacts on their economies; the USA's CIO financed a coup; first against Chile's President Allende was replaced by a dictator Pinochet in 1973. Coups in that region followed each other subsequently. But Southern Cone had become a benchmark case to developing countries and a threat to United States of America. This development changed from democracy to dictatorship and it shifted the economic policies that had got so popular to the people to mere austerity measures.

Most of these countries in the Southern Cone had developed to the level of countries in Europe. After the coup in Chile, Milton Friedman was at leisure to implement his neo liberal economic policies at the behest of the new President Pinochet himself. Such neo-liberal policies thrived in dictatorships; many Southern Cone countries were subjected to similar situation like in Chile. Prime Minister Margret Thatcher a. d. rejected the Friedman's ne-liberal policies because they were not democratic. In England; she said, we have strong democratic labour movements and opposition parties that nurture democracy. (She went on to fight the labour movements later in her life as Prime minister) These were the movements and institutions that were respected in democratic governments of all countries in the western world and to this date. The implementation of any kind of austerity measure is always faced with demonstration and a threat to remove the ruling party that wants to force-feed its citizens with neo-liberal policy implementations.

An ideology is a very much debated issue in all political parties globally. It is folly to suggest that a mere mention of the word socialism as an ideology for the developing countries is sliding back to Soviet era. At once the people will be made to think that socialism means adopting an ideology that was practiced in the Eastern block of Soviet era. Indeed the ideology socialism is still cloaked in the language of the soviet block era and Leninism. China and Russia do not practise socialism of the soviet times anymore since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Even before the Wall of Berlin had fallen, there were reforms under way in Soviet Union code-named Perestroika and Glasnost. These former iron-curtain countries have moved on and found an ideology that suited their people's economic demands; good or bad; in light of the fall of the Berlin wall.

 In a nutshell; communism of the Soviet era outlived its usefulness. It should be clear to scholars that in the current political development taking place in most countries both in Sub-Sahara, Africa and the Southern Cone in America; it is not possible to implement those economic reforms of the Soviet era and Eastern Block; there is no desk lessons or socialist political inclinations to those founding principles of communism in the present global order. But it is the people friendly; people before politics mixed economies that have found the equilibrium in most developed countries, a compromise between capitalism and socialism. It is the mixed economy that guarantees the basic dignity to citizens the availability of clean water and sanitation, free health care and education, welfare services, workers protection and a total war against poverty; there is text book case for it.

Hence we find countries like Germany and Scandinavian countries doing well economically as these countries serve their peoples of all social mobility divides; they all have their cake however small in the national budget. The responsibility of the government is to create wealth to look after its people first and foremost. It is this mixed economy that administrates the public money into infrastructure development projects; keep foreign imports at bay by pulling high tariffs, workers can form unions and are able to negotiate decent salaries from private owned companies.

The fact that we have seen how the Southern Cone countries implemented developmental policies based on social ethical ends, or seen how the Scandinavian countries and Germany implement their socialist policies in their respective countries; there is no need to invent the wheel. We need to look closely in the way they developed their economies especially the was the implemented their economic developments after the WW2.

Was Zimbabwe's Zanu ever a socialist government?
When Zanu under Mugabe took over the administration in Zimbabwe there was no "people friendly" ideology at place. Mugabe asked Britain to assume a two year role for the independent government because all the Zanu members lacked the experience in government. But Prime Minister Margret Thatcher turned this down. (See Socialist international)  Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe with an iron-fist from the onset, although the rhetoric during the liberation was that the new Zimbabwe policies would be socialist oriented. Everything about socialism and Vashandi/Izisebenzi stopped on the 18th April 1980. Mugabe and his henchmen co-opted the racist Smith regime economic policies in word and script. Mugabe's economic policies were disastrous since 1980. The land issue was not negotiated beyond the Lancaster agreement. It still meant that 70% of the land belongs to 4,500 white farmers.  

"As it turned out, however, imperialism could not believe its luck. From the very beginning, Mugabe was a faithful worshipper of the market, and dedicated himself to the preservation of capitalism. Workers who went on strike and occupied factories believing that the 'people's government' would welcome this, found themselves staring into the barrels of the guns of liberation. While Mugabe was entertaining Anglo-American's Harry Oppenheimer in the capital, Harare, workers at the Anglo-American owned Wankie colliery were driven back to work at gunpoint." (From the socialist Today. Issue 47, 2000)

A quarter of Zimbabwe's economy was in the hands of foreign investors; Britain, South Africa and America were the business partners and stakeholders. The environment to pursue neo-liberal policies inherited from Smith regime was perfect. However the most significant policies Zanu government achieved in the early years of independence were the two five year development plans that boosted education and health sectors. A section of the rural population acquired land albeit on a very small scale. Mugabe drew resources used by Smith to improve health and education sector and introducing minimum wage.

The beginning of the 1990s the government of Zanu was clueless as it largely depended on the economic prescriptions from the world fiscal lending bodies; World Bank and IMF. ESAP was introduced; an economic prescription that had dismally failed other countries in the Sub-Sahara; it was accepted as an economy recovery pill. The government was instructed to cut down on social spending; they did. They were told to deregulate their markets to attract investment in the already economic ailing Zimbabwe, they did. Notwithstanding the number of people who got retrenched when the big companies started to relocate to South Africa and other places, were the war veterans; disgruntled about the economic developments and demanded compensation for their contributions in the struggle for independence.

The Mugabe government's economic policies have been disastrous. Unemployment is at record levels, with less than 25% of the economically active population in a job. One-third of Zimbabweans are unable to afford a basic food basket, shelter, minimal clothing, education, health care and transport. The top 10% of Zimbabweans consume 34% of all goods and services while the bottom 10% consumes just 3%.

This situation is a direct result of the implementation of the IMF's structural adjustment programme. Known in Zimbabwe by its acronym, ESAP (Economic Structural Adjustment Programme), it is said by workers to stand for 'Eternal Suffering for African People'. First imposed in 1990, it devastated the economy, leading to a 40% drop in the volume of manufacturing output between 1990 and 1995. Living standards plummeted, rolling back in four years the modest gains of the first ten years of independence. (Taken from socialist today; issue 47, 2000)

The government sank in to pay the war veterans from an unbudgeted treasury. The war in the Congo was footed by the same bankrupt treasury; (also unbudgeted.) (It is estimated that Zimbabwe was financing the war in the DRC at a cost of one million US dollars a day) This is what happens when a clueless government takes over the reins to administrate the lives of millions of people without any form of ideology at place but just to satisfy the ego of one person: Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

The factor MDC came in with the intention to change the regime. The MDC did not have a clear economic policy; no ideology whatsoever either than to remove Zanu PF from power. If they managed to removed the Zanu government from power; did they have plans; concrete ideological plans to implement change; different from the Zanu PF incumbent government? They had bankrupt policies, either than the loud cries about regime change. This was all evidenced when the two parties shared government between 2009 and 2013, the great GNU.  Within that grace period no significant changes took place to better the lives of people who looked at MDC for real change in their lives. No single reform was implemented; rather they enjoyed the gravy train of Zanu PF. It was the dependence of the new party-in-government on donor community that compromised whatever intentions they had to lift the economy for the betterment of the societies in Zimbabwe.

It was not even clear if MDC was peddling on neo-liberal policies. The MDC Finance Minister, Tendai Biti managed the economy by scrapping the valueless dollar from the market and replaces it with a multi currency to stabilize the economy that was freefalling. They talked about reversing the farms that were looted by the Zanu government, but nothing was done. It is the support of the people that was massive giving a false impression that MDC is people friendly; in retrospect people wanted change at whatever cost ever to trust MDC so much. They were tired of Zanu PF and its endless incompetence and serious failure-planning of the running of the government. How that "trickle-down economics" was going to work, it is not known even to this date as they failed, even the elections were rigged polls of 2013 on their noses, outsmarted by the shrewd Zanu PF. The GNU or the Government of National Unity tried to build its economy at the equation of capitalism (donor dependency) whereby poor people would have remained poor even poorer. Is that the change we want?

Opposition political parties should have glass-clear political ideologies
Parties should present the privilege of introducing social and economic development policies in Zimbabwe that are pro-poor and people friendly that will put poverty elimination and its eradication as the main objects of the country's development. The ideology regarding social democracy is directed at social-ethical-ends. Opposition parties should declare war against poverty in Zimbabwe. More than 5 million people live in abject poverty of unprecedented in the history of Zimbabwe. Because there is nothing like decent capitalism, there is nothing like decent about neo-liberalism either, the economy Zimbabwe should embrace the one that guarantees basic dignity to all the people of the land; policies should be pragmatic and imperative of the Keynes "new deal."

What ideology is going to embrace social-ethical-ends in the societies of Zimbabwe?
Ideally we need an ideology oriented towards social goals. The economy of any country needs to be planned and it should adjust the production to the needs the societies. Indeed there should be a section of the economy whose means of production should be owned by the people to generate revenues much needed for the infrastructure and community development. Indeed a country like Zimbabwe is wholly suitable for social democratic policy development to meet the short term and long term needs of the people. The opposition political parties should stand for freedom: for freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and several other civil rights freedoms citizens would like to enjoy in a democratic country. Political Parties should develop and maintain these freedoms, and personal civil liberties: e. g. gay rights, right to abortion. The freedom of the Trade Unions must also be restored and many other social democratic freedoms mentioned below.

 Rights and freedoms;
-  Respect of women and men as equals as per the Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. There should be a commitment to achieve gender equalities as per SDGs (sustainable Development Goals)
-  Honour and respect the rights of children. Work to remove street children to institutions where they will be looked after decently and in a respectful manner
-  Advocate for the rights and liberties of women, women's protection, women sexual independence and self sufficiency in her future
-  Fight for free primary education for all children of Zimbabwe. Children in rural primary schools should get a glass of milk a day or one free meal to compliment the rations they get in a day.
-  Advocate for the eradication of all forms of violence and all forms of exploitation against women and girls. Advocate against the exploitation of domestic servants. The domestic servants should have normal hours of work just like any other workers in the country and 7 am to 5 pm) and a decent minimum wage
-  Give awareness to women and girls: health and education is their basic human right
-  Lobby against the sexual abuse of children and babies; the sex offenders who pass on the disease HIV/AIDS should be treated as criminals. Their crime is a crime against humanity!
-  Debate domestic violence in Zimbabwe and how its related to roora or lobola exploitative traditional practices
-  Appropriate prosecution of paedophiles and make Zimbabwe safe for the children of all ages in a legal framework.

Health;
-  Primary health care for all citizens
-  Persuade the citizens to abandon slum dwelling and relocate to rural areas where there shall be programmes in agriculture; durable and permanent home structures that uplifts their living conditions
-  Develop programmes to combat malaria, diarrhoea and other water borne diseases
-  Promote child supplementary feeding programmes in urban and rural schools to alleviate hunger among primary going school children; an incentive to go to school
-  Develop programmes that reduce child mortality and infant mortality rate
-  Realise the normal traditional means of energy: (fire-wood) can have adverse effects on the women's health. Replace means of energy resources to improve the health of women in Zimbabwe
-  Develop the concept of compulsory lavatories in rural to improve hygiene and good sanitation thus reducing water born diseases in every rural and semi-rural community growth points. Toilets will be compulsory to all aspects of people's lives.  
-  Making clean water available equally in cities and rural and communal growth points.
-  Collect data to inform the nation how to quantify the number of people living with HIV/AIDS, TB with the purpose of gathering in-depth knowledge of controlling and reversing the spread.
-  The deadly ibola disease; what measures does the party have to fight ibola at the borders and when the disease reaches mainland; how is the government going to deal the scourge?

Education
-  Social justice is a reality of its entire people and it can be achieved through eradicating illiteracy in the whole country
-  Compulsory  and free primary and secondary education for all children of Zimbabwe
-  Development of  educational programmes to eradicate poverty in Zimbabwe society
-  Advancement and economic empowerment of women and girls by eradicating illiteracy and poverty
-  Teaching women and girls ICT knowledgeably and comfortably to enhance knowledge on agriculture, health , protecting environment and understanding their human rights

Community and international commitment and development
-  Nurture and maintain a working relationship with a democratic government, SADC; UN agencies, the OAU, and other relevant organisations
-  Publicise activities and services documented in the action plan, through publications local and international press
-  Commitment to empower women and men by building communities to improve their lives particularly women in low income brackets
-  Empower the women  and men of Zimbabwe to turn the oppression they experience into opportunities to improve communities
-  Address issues on  poverty, literacy, women and girls education, human rights and women economic empowerment
-  Establish centres that care for mental and physical challenged citizens and offer them the services in dignity that is accorded of a human being

 Conclusion
Only solution to Zimbabwe is implementing smart practical policies that will fight the chronic poverty in country using an ideology with social-ethical-ends. Success of Zimbabwe's economy is depended on planed economy and not neo-liberal policies of Milton Friedman. Dependence on donor will not pull Zimbabwe out of poverty but the country will sink further into oblivion. An economy should guarantee basic dignity to all its citizens. Zimbabwe should use its natural and human resources to eliminate poverty in our country. Zimbabwe like any other developing country should engage in inward looking industrialisation strategy to escape poverty that has become chronic in the lives of 60% of the population.

#This Flag #Tajamuka #Sesijikile #Hatichatya #Asikijiki
Source - Nomazulu Thata
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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