Leaders owe their subjects the truth and vice versa.
In our Shona culture, there are two common adages; the first one says chokwadi hachiputsi ukama, while the other goes akuruma nzeve ndewako.
Loosely translated, the first one simply means “speaking the truth can never break friendship” and the other would mean; “the one who forewarns you is your true ally”.
In any crisis, accepting the truth and acknowledging your mistakes is the first step towards solving it.
No matter how bad it is. But in Zimbabwe, a country which has been lurching from one crisis to another, it has become apparent that failure to fulfil the two — speaking the truth and accepting it — has significantly contributed to the nation’s demise.
On one hand, we have political leaders who do not want to accept the truth.
On the other, we have the corporate and business community which, for reasons best known to them, is not really biting the bullet by telling the politicians the painful and probably scary truth — the leadership has failed.
That’s the brutal truth. Surely, long-suffering but immensely patient Zimbabweans cannot continue on this path of trial and error.
The policies which the political leadership is hell-bent on pursuing have been tried before. And they failed. Dismally.
Let’s go back in time a bit. At the height of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis around 2006-8, adamant authorities introduced the bearer cheques. It was a unique currency meant to curb galloping inflation, among a myriad of economic challenges.
But the desperate move saw inflation reaching unprecedented levels, as the cheques drastically lost value against the United States dollar by the day.
The crisis was only managed after government reluctantly dollarised the economy in 2009.
Without belabouring that point, let us fast-track to 2016.
In November that year, government once again found itself trapped in more or less the 2006-8 predicament of biting cash shortages, among other mounting economic challenges.
Hoping we would have learnt from the past painful and horrendous experience, the authorities instead prescribed the same solution as the bearer cheques.
This time around, they introduced the bond notes — again a unique currency but surrogate to the US dollar.
It was greatly hoped that after learning the hard way from the 2006-8 disaster, government would now come up with better and pragmatic solutions.
At the same time, the nation expected the business leaders, as stewards of the economy, to speak out against introduction of the bond notes.
They were the most qualified to argue against the move. Alas, it was not to be.
Driven like lambs to the slaughter house, they even endorsed and backed the currency, knowing too well the consequences.
It was a Trojan Horse they were very familiar with.
It was a huge letdown for the masses who are now suffering from such decisions.
And the business sector is feeling the heat too. Today, the foreign currency crisis has deepened, giving the business community nightmares.
On the one hand, prices of basic goods have skyrocketed.
It’s getting dramatic. Just last week, a local weekly reported that the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) warned that Zimbabweans must brace for more price increases, with inflation likely to touch two-digit levels.
“It is clearly evident that the country is headed for two-digit inflation by end of year 2018,” the PBO was quoted as saying.
Steve Hanke, an economics professor at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, has painted an even uglier picture of Zimbabwe, saying the country is threatened by a return to precipitous price rises.
It’s time our leaders — in all spheres — reflect, look each other in the eye and tell each other the truth.
Cowardice and stubbornness has led to the nation’s demise. Daily News