At the risk of touching off a wild storm, and for once deviating completely out of a purely economic realm and delving more into the political economy, one feels that as an economist one might as well put up their views of the way forward for our country. All economic mental gymnastics will yield nothing anyway in the face of political mayhem. For what it is worth, is it not time for the nation to engage on how to calm the seas first and find a rallying point that can for once remove all animosities that have gnawed at the fibre of its brotherhood and sisterhood.
Call for postponement
Elections are a fundamental requisite for a democracy to function but there are many factors that must be right and present when such plebiscites are conducted. For example people must not be hungry because hunger creates anger; divergences of thought must be tolerated and not create animosities; competition must be directed at development ideas instead of becoming power games; ambition to control economies must not be ambition for vengeance or for control of access to the feeding trough; the absence of bitterness must be at the fore and above all, national identity as one people must be the driving force.
Our overall personal view is that our country does not have any of the above and it has been made worse by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has created more suffering and hunger. The national sentiment is very brittle. Our recommendation above is based on the following considerations:
◆ The call for change of Government without a viable alternative is pointless;
◆ Opposition running around like headless chicken and strategically inept;
◆ No clear alternative from the current system and
◆ Egocentric grand standings designed to achieve narrow self-centred goals;
◆ The idolisation of individuals as knights in shining armour to the detriment of alternative views;
◆ The country to all intends and purposes has no formal opposition in any organised manner, no grass roots structures, only elitist groupings at the top masquerading as saviours yet allegedly corrupt to the bone with the sole purpose of having access to the leavers of power and keys to the looting tough and driven by vengeance.
◆ Blatant hero worshipping and bootlicking of individuals as opposed to the real needs of the people.
◆ Despite rigging allegations on national elections, no proof ever came forth and internal rigging at the nominations is rife with impositions the order of the day within the opposing ranks. The complains sound like self-manifestations because the calls are equally applicable within.
◆ The country is really in the depth of economic and political mayhem characterised by
◆ GDP contraction potentially going into a recession
◆ High poverty incidence
◆ Poor health
◆ Poor international relations
◆ Deeply divided nation
◆ Social anger and exasperation and hopelessness
◆ Simple lies
◆ The preparations and holding of elections carries the risk of further polarising the nation apart from straining the fiscus. It is imperative for the nation to utilise the little resources available towards nation building designed to achieve
◆ National unity
◆ Economic stability and growth to reduce
◆ Improved health access
◆ Drive investor confidence both locally and FDIs
◆ Wipe away opportunist behaviours and rent seekers
◆ Re-establish a Zimbabwean person known for diligence, honesty, faithfulness and loyalty. A Zimbabwean brother and sister who sees values in each other. A Zimbabwean full of love.
◆ It is our considered view that the country stands to achieve more benefits by not destabilising the current newly found impetus towards recovery without the destabilising impact of electioneering, increase of hatred, waste of resources and in many cases even human lives.
All these costs will yield the same results anyway, if not worse. We must for now focus and punish corruption and hang out the looters to dry with no fear or favour.
◆ We as a nation can rather work at establishing a social contract between all relevant stake holders designed to achieve a total buy in by all groups where agreed targets are set and prioritised and all clearly elaborated in the forthcoming National Development Strategy instead of holding elections. The time for elections will come when the country has attained some level of stability.
There is only about 36 months to the next plebiscite and the so called main opposition currently has no leader. An individual claiming to be the leader has no party he belongs to.
There are several other self-proclaimed leaders too. The claim of driving a large supporters’ base is useless as long as they are not in any kind of structure. One wonders whether the individual(s) will stand as an independent to make use of that alleged support base or there is need for a formal structure to support the claim.
This means a need to start creating new organs, start structure building and then design the alternative manifestos. This is simply not possible in the time and it is not worth the effort anyway.
Coming together today as one nation has better results as long as those allowed to keep guard at the top are given and mandated on clear goals. The nation can come together and prioritise the conquering of the Covid-19 pandemic without the divisive influence of elections while fully preparing for credible, fair and transparent elections at a later date.
◆ Misheck is a former expatriate banker based in several SADC countries and currently works as a Corporate Advisory Services Consultant. He is the founder of Rucabel Investments Private Limited, an investment company based in Zimbabwe. He is a member and past Vice President of the Zimbabwe Economics Society. You can contact him on 263 777052004/712808140, [email protected] Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/misheckugaro. Twitter: @twitcagan.com