Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown is NOT as difficult and intractable as some people, especially our political leaders with a hidden agenda, would have us believe. What these confusion(ists) are doing and have done all these years is force everyone to see the economic problems as simple one dimensional problems instead of the true multi-layered problems they really are. The confusion(ists) then impose their simple one-dimensional solutions, which never work for obvious reasons.
Dictator is nothing but a tail wagging the dog – cut it off and save the dog!
The solution to Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown is two dimensional; economic in that we still need to get our basic economic requirements of Adam Smith of supply and demand, etc. to stimulate economic recovery and political in that we must end the stifling political interference that has forced the nation to pursue downright stupid economic policies and whose criminal waste of the nation’s resources is the mile stone dragging the whole nation into the abyss. The years of down-playing the political dimension has allowed the politicians to grow in structure and influence the economic dimension is tiny and of no real consequences.
Zimbabwe's teething economic problems arise from the criminal waste of human and material resources caused by the gross mismanagement and rampant corruption, on the one hand. And also arise from the chronic lack of investment, on the other hand. Would-be investors have shied away because of the rampant corruption and country’s increasing reputation as lawlessness nation where property rights are flouted by the ruling elite with impunity.
Whilst we have all moaned about the mismanagement and corruption in parastatals like ZESA and PSMAS, worse still the wholesale looting and plunder of national resources such as the looting of $15 billion of Marange diamonds, there was precisely little we had done to stop it. There laws, for example, demanding full audit and that the Police must investigate all cases gross mismanagement and corruption but these cases have gone on for decades because there was no political will to investigate them.
Any attempts by the Zimbabwe public to stop mismanagement and corruption have been stop by the political ruling elite. Any attempt to remove the ruling elite from office, the ultimate expression of the public holding the politicians to democratic account, have been foiled as the ruling elite have routinely rig the vote and even used brute force to impose their rule on the nation.
Whilst the ruling elite continue to wield the dictatorial powers over us all nothing will ever be done to address the root causes of the economic meltdown.
In any other country with a health and functional political system it is the people who wield the political power and hold the politicians to account to the point of voting them out of office, the ultimate expression of democratic accountability. In Zimbabwe the ruling elite usurped the people’s political power as shown by the blatant vote rigging and the use of brute violence by Mugabe and Zanu PF to impose this de facto one-party cum one-man dictatorship.
Before we can therefore address the root causes of the economic meltdown, we must address the country’s political anomaly that has allowed a tyrant stopping us firing the corrupt and incompetent CEO of parastatals like ZESA or PSMAS or removing from office a regime that has presided over the wholesale looting of $15 billion of Marange diamond revenue.
It has suited Mugabe’s political agenda to keep the economics and politics separate and distinct; he has allowed us to comment and play designated roles on the economy and none on the political front in fulfilment of his no-regime-change mantra. We should in fact think of economic meltdown as a patient with a broken leg, we cannot continue treating the flesh, the economy, alone because that is all Mugabe allows us to treat when we can see the bone, the politics, is broken too.
Indeed in 2008 the Zimbabwe economy was in ICU; there was nothing in the shops, many companies closed down, Zimbabwe’s rate of inflation was setting new world records only to smash them the next day! The signing of the GPA and formation of the GNU brought about the political sanity the nation craved for; it was this political backdrop that allowed the scrapping of the Z$ which brought inflation crashing down from 500 billion per cent to zero overnight and a number of other economic reform! The reforms were enough for Zimbabwe to enjoy its greatest ever economic growth rate, 55.5% in 2009. The more remarkable given that this came after nearly a decade of negative growth rates!
Sadly miraculous economic recovery was short lived as economic recovery dropped to 11.4% in 2010 as it was already becoming clear that the much hoped for political reforms were not going to take place.
Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends’ most important task in the GNU was to implement the democratic reforms designed to end Mugabe’s dictatorial control of State Institutions and every façade of the nation’s social, political and economic life. It was MDC’s failure to implement these reforms that allowed Mugabe to continue to carry out his violent seizure of white-owned farms, for example, when the nation was supposed to be doing the exact opposite. Taking back the seized farms from Mugabe’s cronies and give the farms back to those competent to put them into productive use and get the agricultural sector, the country’s economic power house, back on track.
It was MDC’s failure to get even one democratic reform implemented that allowed Mugabe to blatantly rig the 2013 elections and restore Zanu PF’s dictatorial political hegemony to its pre-GNU days. The economy, which had been growing by over 10% dropped to half that at the prospect of another five years of Zanu PF’s corrupt and tyrannical rule.
The growing cash shortage is just one sign of the growing economic meltdown as the economy sinks back to its sickly 2008 state! MDC should have used the GNU period to wrestle political power from Mugabe so that the people have power over both the political and economic aspects; they did not.
Still, Mugabe is going to be forced to once again accept the need for meaningful political reforms because until he does the economy is set to sink to the same 2008 depths of empty shop shelves, companies closing down, unemployment will soar even higher than the present 90%, etc. Mr Mugabe the bond notes are NOT going to end the problem cash shortage; to do that we need meaningful political reforms so we can revive our industries and farming and thus reduce our imports. Without meaningful political reforms the bond notes are as useless as aspirin tablets to someone dying from blood poisoning from gangrene from a long neglected broken leg!
Our people are facing untold economic hardships and many people’s very lives are now at stake, we need a cure to the nation’s crippling economic meltdown. We must implement the democratic reforms to free our economy from all political interference and control and restore the people’s power to hold the politicians to account – an essential requirement for good and accountable government.
Zimbabwe is in this economic and political mess because for the last 36 years we have allowed Mugabe ride roughshod denying us, the people, our basic freedoms and rights including the right to free and fair elections. Instead of us holding Mugabe to account he has he rigged the vote and thus effectively hold us to ransom!
We need to implement all the 2008 GPA democratic reforms designed dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship and replace it with a healthy and functional democratic system. The dictator, the tail, has been wagging the dog, the nation; we must cut off the tail and save the dog!