News Column

How Much Longer Should This Suffering Continue, Cde President?

May 4, 2014



It has now become abundantly clear that Zimbabwe's economy is once again in freefall.

We have gone back into that frightful crisis of the pre-2008 era where grinding poverty reduced the people of this country into destitution -- a crisis whose resultant misery has engulfed the entire population and for which no solution is in sight.

If there was any doubt that those from whom solutions are expected also have no clue what to do, recent statements by the country's finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa that those that can help Zimbabwe out of this mess -- the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund -- are not willing to do so because our country is no longer creditworthy, take away those doubts.

Each time Chinamasa flies out of the country, hopeful Zimbabweans speculate that he has gone to look for money to bail us out.

But Chinamasa has come out in the open to say NO, he is not going to look for money but to try and negotiate terms of payment for our massive debts with those who we owe billions.

He returned without saying he had been successful. He, in fact came back to tell us that we are on our own and that we had better be innovative and find our own means of survival.

"No one wants to lend Zimbabwe money anymore because we have defaulted in the past. Whether we go to Zambia or to Malawi, it's the same thing because we are indebted to these countries. We are on our own and we have to be more innovative," said Chinamasa at the recently-held Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) business conference.

"There is a common misunderstanding that each time I am going out, I am looking for money. I am actually going there trying to arrange how to pay the arrears. We have to talk to China, India, Kuwait, the Paris Club creditors on how to service the loans so that we can get new lines of credit. Everywhere I go I am being asked about the payment plan and I don't quite enjoy that question."

What this means then is that our government is now unable to fulfill its obligations to the citizens of this country. The evidence is provided by government's inability to pay civil servants as and when they should be paid and by the private sector's equally frightful predicament.

Most Zimbabwean workers are now going without being paid in time, or receiving fractions of their salaries while a lot more are being laid off on a daily basis as companies are forced to shut down or to downsize drastically.

There is just no money in the country and government, whose obligation it is to avoid such a situation, does not seem to know what to do.

What the government is not doing is telling the people what its next plan is. Zim Asset does not appear to be taking shape at all. In fact, it seems just a delusion - a billion dollar figment of Zanu PF's imagination. Creation of two million jobs and a multi-billion economy from mere paper work and rhetoric is in itself a dead end.

It appears our leaders are going to bed everyday hoping that the following day will bring with it some miracle.

The next elections are due in 2018 so, unless our government comes up with a solution to deal with this crisis, Zimbabwe must brace itself for a life under conditions that will deteriorate on a daily basis for the next four years -- unless the government owns up, concedes failure and gives others a chance to take the country out of this economic cesspit.

How much should the people suffer before government owns up and accept that it has failed? What kind of miracle does President Mugabe hope his aged and tired government ministers will conjure up to save this country from this painful mess?

Once a government fails to provide its people with their basic needs it has failed to run the country. Zimbabwe's state of decay demands serious governance reconsideration.

The President should make a state of the nation address to tell the people what government plans to do. The people are looking up to government to bring back life to this country.

On several occasions, President Robert Mugabe has spoken about failure by his government but what he has not done is take action as the man in overall charge.

The failure has not only been evident through inability by central and local government to take care of the welfare of citizens.

Zimbabwe has been sent to the cemetery by corrupt demagogues that hold high offices in government and politically connected private sector bosses whose avariciousness has perpetuated a vicious cycle of misery among Zimbabweans.

On the day he celebrated his 90th birthday at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera, President Mugabe spoke about corrupt government officials and inept leadership within his party saying he was going to have them removed from their positions and that the corrupt ones would be jailed. No such thing has happened.

On that day the President said his party leadership in Harare and Bulawayo had failed and should make way for fresh blood -- something he should be saying on a daily basis about his own cabinet.

He said: "Let the leaders of these two cities, Harare and Bulawayo, open up . . . you cannot say Harare is for Zezurus only while Bulawayo is for Ndebeles only, they are a lot of tribes in these cities. The leaders who failed should give others a chance . . .you have failed."

Should the same not be said about the government of Zimbabwe headed by President Mugabe?


For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel



Source: AllAfrica