By Vince Musewe
Greetings to all of you my fellow Zimbabweans, especially those who continue to hope for change in Zimbabwe. I shall be writing to you regularly to hopefully give you new perspectives on developments in your country.
Amazingly enough, your country is still standing despite years of mismanagement and pillage of its resources.
In this letter, I want to share with you some of my experiences on political, social and economic developments in your country so that you may be better informed and hopefully make better decisions on how you can participate in building a new Zimbabwe in the future.
There is now a physiological momentum towards change as we finalize the draft constitution and move towards a referendum and elections. If I were you, really would not be pessimistic about the future.
I truly believe that we are going to see accelerated change, especially in this last period, as happened in many countries in Africa where it seemed almost impossible for change to come but overnight, we saw new governments installed.
Do not be fooled, there is no turning back and it’s now a matter of when and not if. I however note with sadness that, you will not be able to participate in the forth coming elections. I expected that, given the fact that the logistics involved would present opportunities for rigging.
In addition, Zimbabwe is not yet sophisticated enough to implement an international exercise required to get all Zimbabweans abroad to vote. As you are all probably aware, our politicians continue to squabble on the way forward as that has become their core competency of the last couple of years.
Despite this, there seems to be a self manufactured acceleration towards extinction by ZANU (PF) as it continues to fail to articulate exactly what it can do for the country that it has not done in the last 32 years.
The MDC has high expectations to take over political power within the next twelve months. I pray the latter becomes a reality for your country’s sake. Zimbabwe has hardly developed over the last twenty years. It has actually gone backwards thanks to you know who. That is not news to you I guess.
I think what is astounding is that fact that despite the country having highly educated people in all sectors and a huge resource base, this has not bourn any fruit in terms of development. I do not advise you to return home yet. Your country needs new leaders in all sectors especially politics and public sector.
It needs people such as you, who have been exposed to developed environments so that we may implement new ideas and develop our communities. However now is not the time. The economy remains subdued and is operating at survival mode.
Jobs are extinct and those of you who are not in business would be advised to stay where you are for now. Coming back would only frustrate you. You can however invest in property and at least own a piece of land as I know that its value is surely going to rocket in the future.
For those in business, I think now is the time to look at opportunity. If all things go well and we achieve a new dispensation, it is those who are already here who will make the most of it. Be careful however who you get involved with and who you share your ideas with as Zimbabwe is a copy economy and business ethics have deteriorated somewhat.
I also advise that you do a little research before you invest in anything. There are opportunities in virtually every sector especially in agriculture, property, communications, transport, energy and mining.
I trust that these sectors will boom as disposable incomes rise but you will have to be patient with your investment. My advice is that you invest in a sector that you know and have the required skills.
If you can start you own business with your own funds do so and avoid going into a joint venture or borrowing because you will be disappointed at some of the business practices of those that are here despite their perceived success. You will be successful if you are innovative and aggressive.
Do not bring all your funds however; leave some abroad because you will need to ensure that you have access to medical care abroad as the services here suck. Also remember that the banks here do not have money.
You must also understand that Zimbabwe’s infrastructure has hardly been developed over the last twenty years. This tends to frustrate those who are used to live in an environment where things work. You must brace yourself for inconsistent supply of water and energy.
You cannot rely on efficient supply of public services so you will have to make your own plan that you have continuous water and power. Internet access is available in the cities but over priced. If you like to read make sure you have your own constant supply of reading materials.
Finally as you all know, there is no place like home but we need to see a new breed of citizens who care about others and are keen to develop the community. There is much poverty and distress while there is a significant number of Zimbabweans who are doing well and are seemingly divorced from positively contributing to social development.
The value system we now have is that of looking after your self at all costs , this is not the Zimbabwe that I wish to live in. We will all be required t do what we can with what we have to make a difference and for me that is more exciting that anything else.
In conclusion, do not be deceived by those who wish to maintain the status quo, they will say anything to delay progress and their voices will get louder as the day of reckoning dawns. Their days are numbered.
I wish you all good health and will write to you soon.
Vince Musewe is an independent economist currently in Harare and you may contact him on [email protected]