Politics and economy, key to success

INSEPARABLE TWINS. . . Politics and economics are major ingredients in the recipe for a healthy economy, as such their relationship should always be compatible

INSEPARABLE TWINS. . . Politics and economics are major ingredients in the recipe for a healthy economy, as such their relationship should always be compatible

Lloyd Gumbo Mr Speaker Sir

Politics has the tendency to influence the economy and unfortunately, the game has not done the country any good in the past 15 years as there has been confrontation between leading political players in Zimbabwe.
As a result, it is the economy that has suffered.

The pre-budget seminar for Members of Parliament held in Victoria Falls between October 31 and November 2 identified real problems that stand in the way of economic turnaround.

The no-holds barred meeting saw ministers and MPs across the political divide concur in identifying and proffering possible solutions to the problems bedevilling the country.

Mr Speaker Sir, as was raised at the seminar, the key to our success as a country is in our hands, there is no need to look beyond ourselves to blame for poor economic performance.

The seminar that ran under the theme, “Growing the national cake for national socio-economic development” with special emphasis on how to grow it, identified politics and economics as the ingredients that we have to get right if the economy is to significantly improve from next year.

Politics has the tendency to influence the economy and unfortunately, the game has not done the country any good in the past 15 years as there has been confrontation between leading political players in Zimbabwe.

As a result, it is the economy that has suffered.

For the better part of the 15 years, the major fight has been inter-party between Zanu-PF and MDC-T, but with the former continually coming tops and the later perpetually fragmenting. Lately though, the ring has changed as the clashes are glaringly within the ruling party itself.

That is where the major problem is, because ill-informed factionalist interests have been allowed to continue.

Mr Speaker Sir, as was raised by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa at the seminar, capital is a coward, as such it will not find its way here as long as there is no unity of purpose within the ruling Zanu-PF.

Some people have the tendency of making illogical comparisons between us and other countries in the region where they argue that Mozambique with Renamo insurgency managed to attract investment worth billions of dollars compared to us, irrespective of the peaceful environment that exist here.

But people have to understand our background in order to appreciate why investors do not have much appetite for us despite making several inquiries about investment opportunities here.

Squabbles in the ruling party portray the future of the country as uncertain and with no specific direction, which makes investing in such an environment a very big risk.

Unfortunately this uncertainty is inflamed by people who should be dousing it.

Diplomats from all over the world including our friends from the East have a lot of cable to wire to their mother countries informing them about the perceived volatile political environment in Zimbabwe despite the fact that President Mugabe is still serving his first term under the new Constitution, meaning that he still has another term to contest if he so wishes.

Mr Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe is a peaceful democratic country, so any attempts to portray it as a country whose future is uncertain will not do us any good, on any day.

Certainty is a pre-requisite for any investment, whether domestic or foreign, as such ruling party officials must expend their energy preaching peace and unity than in acrimony if economic turnaround is to be achieved.

The factional agendas and counter-accusations that have been going on in the ruling party even after the expulsion of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her cabal are a major threat to Zimbabwe in general and economic turnaround in particular.

Besides, if truth be told without fear or favour, Zanu-PF factionalism has only manifested itself in the media and public statements or behaviours by party officials who are putting themselves in distinct camps, some taking the initiative, while others voluntarily create these factions without mandate from those they purport to represent.

In short, factionalism in Zanu-PF is an imaginary animal that has been given face by ruling party officials pursuing self-serving interests.

During the day, they claim to want President Mugabe to remain in power yet in the dark they are plotting or preparing for his demise.

Unfortunately for them, the President could still be here to lead until they run out of steam.

If truth be told, this intra-party contestation has delayed some of the investments that were supposed to have materialised by now.

Mr Speaker Sir, politics is therefore the yeast that grows the cake, while the economy is the flour that makes the cake.

There are economic factors that Zimbabwe has to address if at all we harbour ambitions of seeing an economic turnaround. First of all, foreign direct investment is desperately needed.

Of what benefit are our God-given resources if we cannot exploit them?

Whether we like it or not, we need investors to come and exploit our resources so Sir, Macro Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Obert Mpofu hit the nail on the head when he said we need investors more than they need us.

He was categoric when he said there was nothing special about us to think that we can hold the world to ransom, something that has seen our neighbouring countries benefiting from our stance.

We need investors both domestic and foreign, but we must at the end of the day, ensure that we also benefit as a country not just as a few individuals.

The problem that we have had for a long time is that we have been misleading ourselves that we have resources that are not found anywhere else in the world, as such foreign investors have no choice but to come here whether they like it or not.

Mr Speaker Sir, the outcome was clear for everyone to see, our diamonds were exploited yet the country has nothing to show for it.

We may have the resources in the ground, but as long as we don’t have the wherewithal to exploit them, we have to open up for those who are capacitated but ensure that we don’t get the short-end of the stick.

 

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