Mujuru’s BUILD: A masterstroke
By Jealousy Mawarire
The release of the Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (BUILD) by Dr Joice Mujuru and the interim leadership of her People First (PF) project was a typical case of throwing the gauntlet and challenging Zimbabweans to see through the PF vision for the country and providing an opportunity for like-minded Zimbabweans to join the project and build a RAMP through which the country’s economy could be extricated from the abyss that the Zanu-PF regime had confounded it for the past 15 years.
Aptly acronyming the blueprint BUILD, it is clear that the document, unlike the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), seeks to build from scratch, where ZimAsset purports to transform.
The success of any project is hinged on the extent to which it appreciates present realities and it seems a fact that Mujuru etal, have realised that the economy they seek to fix has totally collapsed hence their focus on building rather than transformation.
Transforming entails putting changes, usually cosmetic, to an existent structure and assuming that we can have an economic transformation in the circumstances we are in as a country indicates a dismal failure to acknowledge the fact that Zanu-PF has destroyed the economy to a point where there is no economy to talk of hence the need to build rather than transform.
There are three fundamental issues that BUILD acknowledges which ZimAsset ignore or rather skirt around. While BUILD realises the need to restore property rights and properly premise the current economic collapse on the destruction of industry through disregard for property rights, first through the chaotic land reform exercise and lately through a looting machine called Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, ZimAsset situates the economic decay on economic sanctions imposed on the country in a typical case that psychologists call fundamental attribution error.
Fundamental attribution error refers to a tendency to blame something other than yourself for the calamities that you encounter in life. It is typical with most dictators who only want to take responsibility for positive outcomes but are quick to apportion blame when an outcome is negative.
By focussing on building our economy and restoring property rights whose disregard pronounced the beginning of the end of the Zimbabwean economy, Mujuru is clearly on the money, addressing the root cause not focussing on the symptoms and consequences like sanctions, themselves a result of the several democratic deficiencies that characterise President Robert Mugabe’s administration.
Secure private property rights are central to rebuilding our economy since only those with such rights would be willing to invest and increase productivity in whichever sector they would have invested.
The current situation where businesspeople anticipate that their output could be stolen through dubious indigenisation laws or could be entirely taxed away offer very little in terms of investment incentives that very few would want to pour in their money into this country.
So, any economic blueprint that does not acknowledge the need to restore secure private property rights is deemed to fail and I am glad BUILD recognises this and seeks to restore these rights which had been eroded to allow the elite in Zanu-PF to loot farms through the so-called fast-track land reform exercise and lately industries through the indigenisation and economic empowerment mantra.
The second fundamental issue that BUILD addresses is the key area of human resource capital. The blueprint promises to ensure that there is “investment in science and technology” and also provides a link between “the civil service skills audit and manpower planning strategy” and “the curriculum development in the education sector.”
Such a link ensures that the curricula in the education sector cater for the present needs of both civil service and industry recognising the current demands of an information and highly technical society.
Where ZimAsset seeks to address the incongruence between industry skills demands and what the educational curricula offer, through some obsolete 1999 Nziramasanga Commission of Inquiry recommendations, BUILD talks of promoting and supporting investment in science and technology, the promotion of e-learning in schools and the institution of relevant technical and vocational training centres to provide relevant skills required by industry and the civil service.
The third fundamental issue that BUILD provides, which does not come out strongly in the ZimAsset document, is the “desire and determination (by government) to see our nation grow and create equal opportunities for all”, which desire and determination is seen in the blueprint’s emphasis on the need to protect private property rights and the institution of an inclusive economic system superintended by an inclusive political system that respects and “uphold (s) the rule of law” and recognises the need to “create equal opportunities for all.”
While the manifesto that Mujuru released is a general guideline to the economic trajectory that the People First project is taking and not the exact path, it has been received with excitement and optimism among Zimbabweans who see through the document, a different and practical route out of our current economic misery except those that had already began to write epitaphs on her political career.
Predictably, Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere, who had declared, earlier in the year at a SAPES Trust discussion, that they would use every possible means to crush Mujuru and ensure she would never rise again, were the first high profile Zanu-PF officials to comment on the document with Moyo insinuating that Mujuru and company were going to “build on looted assets”, while Kasukuwere ‘prophesied’ that the project was bound to fail because it is “devoid of merit and clarity”, whatever that means.
Moyo, showing his usual self, went for the producers of the document rather than interrogate the content and predictably ended up showing his hate towards Mujuru rather than a reasoned analysis of the document.
Assuming that Mujuru looted anything, which allegations Zanu-PF is failing to pin Mujuru on or facilitate here prosecution, isn’t it a first that someone who loots in Zanu-PF chooses to invest in the same economy rather than externalise the loot as has been happening with the diamond money where the loot is being used to purchase houses outside the country?
It is also very difficult to believe Moyo that Mujuru looted because if she had done so, Moyo would have been the first to befriend her since he has been working himself very close to anyone alleged to be looting government funds at every historical epoch in the 15 years that the country has experienced spiralling economic decline.
From the days of Gideon Gono and the quasi-fiscal activities right up to the Kasukuwere indigenisation and community share ownership era, Moyo has been a common denominator to these alleged looters of state funds and to assume that Mujuru looted and Moyo just decided not to help himself to the loot is to ignore the covetousness that run in the professor’s veins.
What is clear, however, is that despite Moyo and Kasukuwere’s vows that they would crush Mujuru and ensure she would never resurrect politically, the BUILD document clearly shows Mujuru was never crushed but pushed into her destiny, and to the dislike of Moyo and Kasukuwere, she has thrown down the gauntlet and announced her readiness to challenge for the top job in the country.