Reason Wafawarova on Monday
OUR politicians must come to a fundamental understanding that life must carry a sense of direction, from past to present, and from present to future, otherwise it is simply not worthy the journey of living.
No doubt we Zimbabweans are often given this present based on our heroic liberation war past, but equally of no doubt is the fact that we have for long been given a bleak present shorn of a future, resulting in many of our bewildered people behaving like schizophrenics.
We need to get this hopelessness out of our way, and the suffering of our people must come to an end.
Politicians have thrived on manipulating public opinion, and many times they have found in our youth a vulnerable component of our society.
Our young people are often manipulated whenever political ills like violence, intolerance, vote-buying, and lawlessness are involved.
Most, if not all, rebel wars are pivoted on the energy of youths, guided or misguided.
Zimbabwe boasts of fairly high standards of intellectual structures and powers, being Africa’s official highest literacy; thanks to the post-independence mass education drive.
However, these intellectual structures are obviously underdeveloped, restricted, and they have been rather alienating.
We boast of alienated knowledge that can only be used in the interest of aliens, and that is why we believe that without foreign investors flocking in to create employment for us, we are a doomed people, and as things stand, indeed we are.
There is nothing wrong with being open for business as a nation, but there is everything wrong in believing that foreign investors must be the primary drivers of our economic wheels.
We are in a country with natural wealth, but we are slaves of the unwritten rule that says none but foreigners can develop our natural resources.
We have mathematicians, scientists, and all manner of professors who know everything else except who they are; academics with no connection whatsoever with their own people, history and identity.
We talk about foreign investors and derisively about local investors.
We would rather incentivise the foreign investor than the local one, and all because our faith in ourselves simply does not exist.
One of the reasons we have been making so much noise about the Western-imposed illegal sanctions as the main stalling factor to the performance of our economy is precisely that we have a huge problem using alienated knowledge for our own benefit.
This explains why only the presence of Western investors would make our knowledge useful.
Our fellow countrymen that have left the country for Western “greener pastures” are exceptionally useful in advancing the visions and goals of their foreign employers.
There is no doubt that we Zimbabweans rank among the most hard-working, reliable and competent employees in the world.
We are excellent custodians of other people’s business interests and dreams, and we foolishly believe that this kind of expertise can build our nation into an industrialised country.
There is a worrying disconnect between our knowledge and our historical and cultural structure, and that is exactly why we can get so many degrees in business administration but we are totally incapable of building any businesses of our own.
Our technocrats are super-impressive, yet shockingly ineffective in fostering developmental solutions.
We have so many engineers graduating year-after-year from our local universities and from abroad, but we still have to come to a day when we can celebrate a simple water filter designed by a Zimbabwean engineer.
Frankly, we do not even have a dress invented in our name.
Our Zanu-PF politicians have in the past prattled a lot about wealth creation, yet we have struggled in efforts to revive manufacturing in this country.
We have resettled farmers, some of whom ended up resorting to leasing their acquired land to aliens, including the former occupiers of those farms.
We sincerely hope that the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra will soon correlate with production.
We are inherently a consuming people, are we not?
We always do our economics the other way around. We appoint a technocratic Finance Minister and the following day we want our banks to miraculously fill up with US dollars, simply on the basis of the impressive nature of the appointed Minister’s CV.
We have preached economic empowerment to our people, and yet we command no coping skills for the empowerment. For years we have heard our politicians talk about value addition to our minerals, but at no time did we hear them talk about using proceeds from our raw diamonds to develop diamond-cutting firms.
Our natural wealth is worth billions of dollars, but we are a people that can only spend money, unable to make it. This is why at our greatest point of need, the best we can do is sustain a company whose core business is supplying beer, and another specialising in talking and gossip. We can’t be a serious country with a beer manufacturing entity as the face of our industrial production.
In December 2014, Zanu-PF had the theme “Accelerated Implementation of Zim-Asset;” it being the election winning $27 billion economic blue print first presented in December 2013.
The only acceleration that happened after December 2014 was that of the fierce factional wars that ended up sucking in the entire nation leading to the dramatic fall of Robert Mugabe in November 2017, and the spectacular rise of ED Mnangagwa to the presidency of the country.
We were told in 2014 that Zim Asset would in four years time achieve food security and adequate nutrition for the country, that the country would embark on a sufficient social services and poverty eradication programme; that we were going to see a reformed infrastructure with all basic utilities, and that the country would finally be doing value addition and beneficiation for our raw minerals, and also agricultural products.
The only reason none of this happened is nobody did anything to implement the promises, nobody lifted a finger.
We had a law in place to enforce remittances to the Sovereign Wealth Fund, and we sincerely hoped that the government of the day would be informing us on how much the fund held.
Botswana already had the third largest Sovereign Wealth Fund on the continent at the time. With the right political will and commitment we could equally come up with something for future generations, but we cannot possibly create a wealth fund for future generations when we are starving our own children to death.
Our economists tell us that the country is suffering a cash crunch at the moment. But are we really suffering from lack of money?
No way! We are suffering from the absence of an economic system.
Money is not a system; money is simply a current medium of exchange.
A system involves an organised way of economic production, a systematised utilisation and distribution of resources.
We lack the system, the pattern, the organisation and, as such, we barely have an economy in motion.
With an economic system and pattern that has a reported over 80 percent of the national revenue going to salaries of civil servants, we simply do not have an economic base from which we can expect the generation of money.
This is why we have our land in our hands, but we are still poor, why we have so many natural resources, but we still suffer intensive cash crunches.
Every maladjusted characteristic in the black Zimbabwean serves an economic function.
Our maladjusted characteristic is there because it maintains imperial domination, and until we change it, we will perpetually be a subjugated people.
Our opposition MDC has, since its inception, preached donor benevolence and job creation masterminded by aliens, and Zanu-PF has preached indigenisation and economic empowerment dependent on alien financial support.
An economic system is built on trust, reliability, dependability, and respect for one another. Do we trust ourselves economically?
Are our people in business reliable? Is our political leadership trustworthy and reliable? Is our governance system dependable?
Do our leaders have respect for our people?
The malfeasance that hit newspaper headlines in 2014 was shocking, with one minister reported to have walked to a CEO of public owned company armed with a private bank account number, ordering that money be deposited therein, and we heard the practice was in fact next to normal conduct then.
Had it not been for the said minister’s apparent wrong stepping on the political front, we probably would not have ever known of this malfeasance, and yet we prided ourselves as a people headed for a triumphant economic empowerment destiny.
We are simply a people dismally failing to appreciate the shared experience that our own history represents, and as such we cannot utilise mutual trust and dependability upon which we can build a sound economic system.
Anyone that thinks dialoguing for unity or positions and perks with Nelson Chamisa will in and of itself help revive the economy is selling hopelessness. Chamisa’s happiness will not suffice to revive our economy, not from any angle imaginable.
Our ancestors had an economy before whites came into our country, and that economy was developed and maintained prior to colonial ascendancy. Why have our black bank owners failed to sustain their banks? These banks have retarded our economic empowerment instead of advancing it, the reason being that these banks were started more because they made the owners look and feel good, not for the reason why banks must exist.
We needed to move first into economic existence and control before we started building banks. Only after building a sound economic base would it make economic sense to start building banks. But we did it the other way around; we did it backwards, because we are a dominated people who hardly know themselves.
We built banks yet we hardly had anything to invest in, ignoring the fact that banks make money by loans and investments, not by mere client deposits. Our bankers spoiled themselves and their cronies with interest free loans, emphatically running down the ill-conceived banking institutions in the process.
We have often put ourselves under the rule of other people, as we are doing now by inviting “experts” from the IMF and the World Bank.
They will come and tell us that we can only do this, that and the other thing with our economy, and, like we did with ESAP in the early nineties, we will blindly concur, plunging ourselves into the deeper ends of the poverty abyss.
The Malaysians, Iranians, Chinese and Cubans have significantly developed their economies independent of Western benevolence, because they do not have the type of politicians we have here, neither do they have the type of intellectual community like ours.
These are people ideologically devoted to shaping the respective destinies of their countries.
They command an unquestionable political will for their domestic economic growth.
Zimbabwe, we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!!
Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.