In the face of mounting doubts about the Zanu PF-led government’s ability to solve the worsening economic crisis, given gross mismanagement of the economy and incessant revelations of widespread corruption involving millions (and possibly billions) of United States dollars, national dialogue is imperative to move the nation forward.
Opinion by Phil Bare
The goal here is to de-escalate the economic crisis for the benefit of the majority of Zimbabweans who are hurting.
As a matter of urgency there is an entirely different conversation that we must engage ourselves with to extricate the country from economic collapse.
It does not help the nation for Zanu PF and the MDC-T to remain locked in an antagonistic and intractable political rhetoric instead of finding a solution. To say that Zimbabwe is back in a quandary is hardly surprising given the political polarisation that persists. Belligerence won’t do anything to help the prospect of unity.
The issue here is to provide Zimbabweans with economic security and the stability they desperately need regardless of politics.
The instability that is going to plague the country as a result of inaction to solve the crisis mutually, will be far more devastating with a lot of unintended consequences. Zimbabwe can be spared the economic Armageddon if both parties urgently come together to chart an economic development agenda.
Both parties (chiefly Zanu PF) should be prepared to make compromises.
Wouldn’t it shock our neighbouring African countries and the world at large to realise that at last, Zimbabweans have put national interest at heart to forge an alliance by pulling a surprise partnership. They would have peace realising that their troublesome neighbour has finally grown up. It would be such a relief for them as refugees would once again stop flooding their borders. Now that is good neighbourliness!
Let’s seize the opportunity to make a historic decision. The citizens of this country are in dire need of a new government. Let our nation’s political leaders start the process of striking common ground and mapping a way out of the chaos.
A bi-partisan home-grown team of moderates must be established to broker unity, with the help of international observers.
The fortunes of this country have been sacrificed on the altar of politics not patriotism. Instead of asking the question — “what is good for our country?”, our leaders obsess with pursuing selfish agendas that benefit the elite. It is true that the national crisis we face can easily degenerate into civil unrest or even a military coup.
However, Zimbabweans must be sufficiently reminded that coups should not have a home in this modern day civilisation, if events in Egypt or many other failed states are anything to go by.
Coups create a political mess for us and in posterity, they portend disaster for the country’s future and are a horrible precedent for democracy.
Take Thailand for instance, this is a country mired in coups. The first one occurred in 1932 but since then nine prime ministers have been removed from office by coups and two others by court order.
The current caretaker prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is facing imminent ouster administered by the courts, making her the third prime minister to suffer such fate. If that were to happen here, Zimbabwe would forever be cursed.
What is clear is that Zimbabwe’s economic crisis is quickly spiralling out of control, raising questions about whether the country will remain governable without resorting to desperate measures like military takeover or bringing back the Zimbabwe dollar.
Barely a year after the elections, the economy is in inevitable danger of further shrinking.
Our politicians stand charged with dereliction of duty if they fail to immediately engage in dialogue. Even though the MDC strongly maintains the election was rigged, the issue of fresh elections is a non-starter given the fact that they were endorsed by influential blocs such as Sadc and the AU, among other notable bodies.
Our coalition government should be designed to end the physical isolation and marginalisation of our nation. For a country richly blessed with rare and abundant natural resources and minerals, the issue of resource curse comes to the fore.
With proper accountability, for instance in the diamond industry, Zimbabwe’s diamond revenue should have immensely benefitted the country to catapult it into becoming a fully modernised economy.
The diamond revenues could have easily financed infrastructure development, health delivery system, energy, water and agricultural projects, among others. However, it is never too late to restore order and foster accountability once both parties come together in the name of pursuing national interest.
The potentially explosive succession issue can be easily addressed once a coalition government is put in place until 2018 to take care of the country’s affairs. It allows for soft landing for the country as President Robert Mugabe exits the political scene given the fact that he is the man behind the country’s fast approaching economic implosion.
The sad reality is that the more Mugabe continues to cling to power in the midst of the impending collapse, the more he squanders most of his goodwill, even the little that is left.
Today the majority of Zimbabweans are bitterly disappointed that none of their basic needs such as food, health delivery, water, sanitation, infrastructure, freedom and social justice — have been met.
After 34 years of Independence, what progress have we witnessed given our joblessness, poverty and hunger, dilapidated schools and hospitals, our crumbling infrastructure, our deepening water, electricity, housing and sanitation problems?
The war of liberation was premised on creating a society that would be free and prosperous. The blame rests squarely with the Zanu PF-led government for causing the crisis and for betraying the promises of the war of liberation. Those that died to liberate this country did not fight to bring down colonialism, only to replace it with despotism.
We owe ourselves a better country than this, hence an urgent call for national dialogue before the country spills into ungovernability due to imminent economic collapse and potential civil unrest. There is a leadership crisis in the country.
The need for national unity and stability far supersedes ordinary party ideological differences.
A united body politic can lead the country out of the current plethora of multifaceted crises. This is especially true considering that this has worked before.