The Zimbabwe we want: Focusing on the important things (Part 4)
By Vince Musewe and Elton Mangoma
In the Zimbabwe we want, all citizens must openly debate all issues so that we may come up with better and smarter solutions. Iron sharpens iron.
The era of control and prescription from the ruling political party must be expunged. This is simply because the solutions coming from there have not necessarily been in our best interest nor have they been clearly thought out. Zimbabwe comes first and this is the philosophy we wish to promote.
Our country is in a cycle of waste and regression simply because our political leaders are denying to accept reality. This reality is that; as a country unable to print its own currency, we have limited options on how we can increase cash inflows into our economy.
The last time this ability was used with disasterous concequences. This therefore requires that we focus on those things that are important and urgent in order to expedite access to new money for the country.
Our singular focus as a country should be; how we break this cycle of non-growth so that we may put our country on a new developmental trajectory.
The facts are clear; Zimbabwe can no longer use the printing press in order to meet its obligations, thank God!
In order to create new money we need to look at the possible options and these are; loans or grants international financial institutions, foreign direct investments, export earnings, donations from development partners and remittances from Zimbabweans in the diaspora.
We then have to ask how we best can use these options to break the cycle.
We need to answer the question; what government policies must be put into place to facilitate and increase these and what current policies are stopping us on effectively dealing with these issues? Our response in the short term must be to maximise those actions and policies that allow us to braek this cycle of non-growth and poverty, nothing else.
In the case of us maximising our export earnings, for example, we have a President who does not know what is happening to our diamond revenue. That is simply not acceptable as we have provided our President with all he needs especially intelligence services and security to do so. He is responsible for that.
In the Zimbabwe we want we will expect our President not to blame others but to take responsibility and perform his duties in the interest of all Zimbabweans. Shifting the blame is a habit that we will purge.
We also have the issue of indigenization which is important but not urgent. The unintended negative impact of indigenization can disempower us as new investors are hesitant to plough new money into Zimbabwe.
We therefore have a situation where the state is promoting a policy that undermines a critical source of new money into the economy. It requires major revision.
The Zimbabwe we desire must focus on priorities and ensure that it has the structures in place to deliver to the people. Leaders do make mistakes and they must admit that they have made mistakes.
That is one of our current problems in that our leadership is beyond reproach and view criticism or sound advice as a threat to their position and power. The Zimbabwe we want will be anchored on delivery and accountability from the President down wards.
In the Zimbabwe we want, we must continually question our reality. We want leaders who are not arrogant but are always learning so that they may understand the problems we face better.
Our leaders must openly admit our problems, clearly define the nature of the problems without shifting blame and then find ways to implement the solutions. That is the least we can expect. We cannot have a government that denies making any mistakes and blaming its failures on others as is the case now.
In order for the state to be effective, we believe that government should be structured differently. We believe that clustering is a good idea as such, but the clusters must be relevant and interrelated.
In the Zimbabwe we want we need a government that works in unison and understands that everything is interrelated. We cannot afford to continue to have a silo mentality as is the current case.
We have individuals and ministers in government who operate in isolation and tend to implement ad hoc policies that then end up contradicting each other.
A clear example has been the threatening of taking over companies while we are holding conferences to attract investment in our mining sector. Or the banning of chrome exports without ensuring that the country’s has enough smelters operating and therefore adequate capacity to value add. This continues to happen to this date extending it to platinum refining.
In the Zimbabwe we want, our ministers will belong to a cluster and report to a council that overseas each cluster on behalf of the President. This council must ensure that policies and the actions of each ministry are not contradicting or working against the objectives of each cluster. This will allow us to align government action with national priorities while ensuring that ministers are accountable and do not act in isolation.
We strongly believe that a team based approach in government is more productive than the current “chef” mentality. This also diminishes the chance of corruption, nepotism and patronage that has resulted in waste and abuse of resources.
The Zimbabwe we want is a modern, well managed and innovative state that is based on delivery and accountability. It is inclusive and values the input of every citizen.
We believe that it is only then that our country can truly develop to its full potential. Politicians must not be a liability, a cost to society but must be facilitators of growth and development.
The Zimbabwe we want is coming but must be created by us.
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. Elton Mangoma is a Zimbabwean politician and entrepreneur. You may contact Vince directly on [email protected]