Panganai Kahuni Correspondent
Countries that enjoy peace and political stability also tend to enjoy economic stability.
In Zimbabwe, it appears that there are some critical economic challenges that have been created by political instability caused by some militant opposition political party actors who engage themselves in debilitating political activities. Major among the economic obstacles in Zimbabwe are cartels, political disharmony, violent demonstrations, polarised media and unethical business practices.
It is my humble observation that all these economic obstacles are mainly anchored on lack of patriotism, suspicion and political disharmony that exist within the citizenry and some political parties.
The above narrative is exacerbated by wanton social media platforms which are only concerned with spreading negative information that seeks to tarnish the macroeconomic environment in Zimbabwe.
While social media is a tool that disseminates information widely and speedily to consumers, the challenge is that it only transmits negative information.
Excellent economic and political reforms that are being instituted by both Government and Parliament of Zimbabwe receive very little attention, if any by both print and electronic media.
It should be noted that media plays a pivotal role in branding the image of an organisation or government. Once the image of an organisation is seen in bad light, it will be extremely difficult for it to receive financial support or credit lines from both local and international financiers.
While it is necessary to expose corrupt and mal-administrative practices of government, care must be taken not to overlook many positive policies enunciated by government.
Media practitioners must understand that macroeconomic stability is key to sustainable development. Thus, it is highly critical for media practitioners to discern from politics and employ a balance report system that disseminates both positive and negative scenarios that exist in the economic environment of a nation.
It is important for media houses to carefully and tactfully highlight to their readers and listeners, issues of suspicion and political disharmony that exist between political players.
A country in perpetual political disharmony creates for itself an unsustainable economic environment.
When an environment of economic instability exists in any nation it must be known that it is the general citizenry that suffer most as the case in Zimbabwe.
The current militant political position adopted by some political actors in the opposition only serves to destroy the macroeconomic stability of Zimbabwe. It thus becomes extremely critical for the media to expose those creating political suspicion and causing political disharmony with an objective of sanitising the situation for economic prosperity.
Media practitioners, as people who are also affected by economic instability, must ensure that they remain guided by media ethics.
They further must be highly impartial as they disseminate information to the public on such actors who pride and profit on economic instability.
It is well established that peace is good for business performance and private sector-led economic development. One professor of business economics noted that “violence bigots poverty”.
It is therefore important for political players and citizens to understand that violent demonstrations and crimes impose transactional costs on business.
Thus, the media must expose actors and those who motivate citizens to engage in violent activities which put the nation on a poverty path while their intention is to gain political mileage.
The economic wellness of a nation emanates from stable economic environment. Economic stability is a product of peace and political harmony.
A good example is the economic growth ushered in Kenya after (Raila) Odinga decided to abandon the violent political disharmony that saw many Kenyans lose their lives.
Another example of political harmony was humanly demonstrated in South Africa. After all the political accusations and attacks of the ANC by the EFF, (Julius) Malema humbled himself; accepting defeat and congratulating President (Cyril) Ramaphosa. Malema even went further to hug and handshake the President. And because of that South Africa is living in harmony in the post-election period unlike Zimbabwe, where some political actors continue to make citizens remain in perpetual political mode.
Economic strength is not only ushered in by political stability. While political stability is a precursor to improved functionality of markets through increased competition and better ethical business leadership, cartels and wanton price hikes can easily contribute to economic instability.
When a country negates competition and adopts collusion on price hikes, it then creates an unstable economic environment. The business community needs to understand that creating anarchy through wanton collusion in price hikes creates an unstable operating business environment that results in low production. It thus becomes a serious threat to economic stability and human security.
It is my humble observation that as positive peace increases, the frequency and impact of uncertain events decline, thereby motivating households to undertake big ticket spending activities which they might have been postponing due to uncertainties. When business continue to operate in a suspicious mode, doubting government pronounced policy reforms and unilaterally increasing prices of basic commodities without dialoguing; the result is catastrophic.
In the current business environment in Zimbabwe, profiteering cannot be wholesomely excluded.
What is shocking and extremely worrying is the fact that most business are using the US dollar as the transacting currency, but unethically continue to pay workers in RTGS.
What business is forgetting is that for any growth or capacity utilisation to increase, the floorshop workers must be motivated. It is not good enough for business to continue blaming Government while themselves (business) are not doing enough to improve the economic environment.
It is therefore import that business, as economic institutions, embrace quality and fair pricing models. Quality and fair pricing models are important elements of a sound business environment. It is therefore my clarion call for all Zimbabwean citizens, political parties, CSO NGO to collectively abandon a mantra that seeks to create economic instability and embrace principles of co-existence that creates harmony, patriotism, honesty and uprightness. We must together seek to create a stable economic environment for the better of our future.
Dr Panganai Kahuni is a political socio-economic commentator with a military research background and a diplomat in the southern African region. He writes on his own accord.