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Cross, Ncube's reforms will never deliver economic prosperity not as long as Zimbabwe remains a pariah state

by Patrick Guramatunhu
23 February 2019 | 9410 Views
"People of Zimbabwe deserve a new day" wrote Eddie Cross in Bulawayo24.

Mr Cross was writing about Zimbabwe's economic chaos, the country has already claimed the position of being the poorest nation in Africa but, not content with that is sinking even deeper into new depths of economic depravity.

3/4 of the population is already living on US$30 or less per month in a country whose poverty datum line is US$650 per month. And on Wednesday 20 February 2019 Dr John Mangudya, the Governor of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, announced in the new Monetary Policy Statement that government would abandon the fixed 1:1 exchange of the quasi-local currency to the USD. The black market exchange rate is 4:1.

Those with the economic muscle will benefit from the devaluation whilst those with no economic muscle will suffer. The worker will not get a wage increase to compensate for the devaluation and there will be worse to come. The 3/4 already living on US$30 or less per month will be living on even less now!

If one only considered how much the people of Zimbabwe have suffered these last 38 years then, yes, they deserve a new day! Sadly, the future is grime. Zimbabwe is set to sink even deeper into economic chaos and political paralysis.

To deserve a new day one has to answer one question and one question only: what have you done to deserve a better tomorrow. How much one has suffered may spur you to do something to end one's suffering; still, it is what you have done that counts and not how much you have suffered.

The people of Zimbabwe have done precious little to deserve a new day and so they will not get one!

The people of Zimbabwe have risked life and limb to elect people like Eddie Cross into power on the understanding he and his MDC friends would bring about the democratic changes and the new day the nation has been dying for! Eddie Cross and company have blundered from pillar to post for the last 19 years they have occupied centre stage and they are still blundering.

"Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has been following a carefully crafted reform programme to restore fiscal and monetary stability within the framework of sound macro-economic conditions," wrote Eddie Cross.

"When he first came into office, I warned him that when he walked into his office, that a bucket full of nasty stuff would fall on his head. It was no understatement. He found that the RBZ was in a complete mess, the government was spending 40% more than they were collecting and all macroeconomic indicators were so far out of kilter that the state was in crisis. He took immediate steps to stop the bleeding — raising taxes and imposing strict budgetary discipline on all ministries and parastatals."

If Professor Mthuli Ncube followed such "a carefully crafted reform programme" then why is the economy latching from one economic crisis to the next! His foolish argument that the greater the austerity painful and greater the prosperity is as nonsensical as argument that because the albatross can fly for ten months or more without landing it can fly to the moon. When the bird is a mere 8.8 km, the height of Mount Everest, it will struggle to breathe as the air only 1/3 its density at sea level. Introducing austerity measure without first getting the fundamentals right is plain foolish.

Zimbabwe's economy will never ever recover whilst corruption remains rampant, for example. In 2016 then President Robert Mugabe admitted the country was being "swindled out $15 billion in diamond revenue". He never arrested one swindler nor has his successor, Mnangagwa. We all know the looting is still taking place.

Eddie Cross knows the seriousness of the wholesale looting in Zimbabwe because he raised the matter on numerous occasion during his days as MDC MP. Raising it was one thing but making sure the corrupt stopped was a bridge too far!

So when Minister Ncube was appointed last year Mr Cross advised the minister to introduce the 2% electronic transaction tax , targeting the poorest of the poor who were not paying income tax, "to restore fiscal and monetary stability and stop the bleeding". There is serious doubts it increased government revenue because economic activity dropped 16% in response to the new tax.  the  a bird can fly from point A to B it should be able to fly to the moon! If he was serious about stopping the economic bleeding then why did he fail to advise Minister Ncube to stop the looting?

Worst of all, Mr Cross was cheering and applauding Ncube's austerity programme knowing that without dealing with such basics as ending corrupt economic recovery would be as futile as the albatross flying to the moon!

Zimbabwe is in this economic mess with unemployment a nauseating 90%, basic services such as supply of clean running water and health care all but collapsed, etc. because the nation has had the great misfortune of have corrupt, incompetent and utter useless leaders from both sides of the political divide. Eddie Cross advising Professor Mthuli Ncube is like listening to Lewis Carrol characters Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Zanu PF has imposed a political system on the nation that has stifled all meaningful debate and democratic competition. Politics has become the exclusive domain of thugs who believe public office is their ticket to get filthy rich at public expense. The long cherish value of holding public office for the good of the commonwealth has long been forgotten.

If the people of Zimbabwe are serious about bring about a better Zimbabwe then we must earn it to deserve it. To earn it, we must demand that Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF cronies must step down; they rigged last July's elections they and right now they are an illegitimate regime.

As for Chamisa and his fellow opposition opportunists, they must step aside. The last elections were so flawed and illegal it is nonsensical such a process can produce a legitimate outcome. Indeed, if anyone of these opposition leaders had valued free, fair and credible elections then they would have never participated in an election in which something as basic as a verified voters' roll was missing.  

The proposed inter party dialogue will never deliver free, fair and credible elections. Both Zanu PF and MDC Alliance failed to implement even one reform during the last GNU, it is naive to believe they will do so now!  

Zimbabwe needs the political space and time to dismantle the corrupt, violent and dysfunctional autocratic political system we have now and replace it with a democratic one that allows free debate and democratic competition.

A free, just, prosperous Zimbabwe where all enjoy their freedoms and basic human rights is within our reach in our life time but we must earn it. We have suffered greatly and many Zimbabweans are paying the ultimate price, they are dying unnecessarily, because they cannot afford bare essentials of life, food, medicine, etc.

How much we have suffered and how many lives lost will not bring a better Zimbabwe, it is only what you have done to help bring about change that counts. Are you tired of hearing Tweedledee and Tweedledum arguing endless about trivial matters whilst the country sinks deeper and deeper into this hell-on-earth? Well do something about it by demand meaningful democratic change now.

Economic John Mangudya Monetary Policy



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