The year 2019 will come to an end tomorrow, opening the curtains for 2020. In normal countries, the previous year tends to set the foundation for the new year, but not in our case. We live in a highly unpredictable environment where belief is the most common basis for forming opinions and planning the future.
By Tapiwa Gomo
We are a nation that believes in anything that comes from anyone in position of political, economic or religious power. We believe in any prophet, economist or politician who finds a microphone.
We believe elections are the road to change even when history proves its futility. We believed Mthuli Ncube would help President Emmerson Mnangagwa to turn around the economy.
The current administration has done its first full calendar year after the controversial election in 2018. There was a growing belief among Zanu PF supporters, with elections out of the way, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was going to exert his shrewd character to instil discipline in government and bring back normalcy into the economy.
Alongside this belief was that corruption was going to be rooted out the same way they deal with opposition activists. But the administration has proven that corruption is a much safer and thriving trade than opposition politics.
While the administration wants all and sundry to believe sanctions and opposition politics are the major impediments to our progress, it is corruption by those in power and their mismanagement of everything in government that has kept the country lagging behind.
The nature of corruption in Zimbabwe is more corrosive, dangerous and destructive than in other countries. In other countries, corrupt government officials steal and invest in their countries causing minimal capital flight.
But here, they steal and send the money out of the country, just like that person who steals the remaining mealie meal from the house and keeps it at a hungry neighbour’s place. This is how this country is being run.
Zimbabwe has never been poor in terms of natural resources. The same wealth that attracted colonialists in the late 1880s and helped them build a solid economic foundation handed over to a black administration in 1980 remains, if not increased given the new mineral discoveries.
The difference between the current and the colonialist administrations lies in that the former are intent on feeding their insatiable “tummies” while citizens and public institutions suffer.
As long as they can do so unhindered, their personal economies are thriving. It is about them. They believe poverty is an effective tool of oppression.
The colonialists, despite being foreign, believed in establishing systems and public institutions as vehicles to facilitate economic growth. They believed that the little money earned locally was the seed to invest into the economy in order to grow it.
They also believed that one way of keeping peace was to ensure that everyone feels they are benefitting or will one day benefit from their growing economy. This is why during the war of liberation, there were some among black people who believed the war was not necessary and destructive. While these voices were labelled traitors, it turns out that they were right. The nation was duped.
Enough of the illusion that this government will one day perform. Another major illusion in 2019 was the Nelson Chamisa factor. After he lost elections and the court case in 2018, there was an unfounded belief among his supporters that President Emmerson Mnangagwa must handed over power to Chamisa on the grounds that he won the elections.
Oh, what a huge fuss! Under what section in the Constitution would President Mnangagwa just wake up and call Chamisa to give him the national reigns?
The moderates from this stable of illusions believe that President Mnangagwa needed to accommodate Chamisa in his government.
This idea has also been promoted by Pentecostal prophets calling for a government of national unity. In their mode of thinking, it is not corruption and mismanagement that is causing the suffering in the Zimbabwe.
They believe that the economy is not performing because some spirits are unhappy that Chamisa is not in government. And once Chamisa is invited to be part of the government, all things will be stable, so they have preached.
There are unconfirmed reports that Chamisa also believes in this and that there will be no solution in sight unless he is either handed over power or given a role to play in government.
These reports state that this is why Chamisa has been dodging and avoiding political dialogue thinking that the spirits will make it worse, thereby arm-twisting the establishment to yield to his pressure.
Let’s hope for a better 2020 where logic prevails over beliefs and illusions. Corruption and mismanagement are our number one enemy and it is not sanctions or spirits. People in power are stealing and not building the country.
Let’s fix that. As long the situation does not improve, the government must expect opposition activists to remain in the streets and that can only be avoided by fixing the economy.
Equipping the security sector to quell dissent, without addressing the basics is not the solution. Our locally earned money is the foundation for building our economy and donor support can only complement that. Happy New Year!