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SA-based mogul eyes State House

If business success was the only pre-requisite for leading a country, Joseph Makamba Busha (pictured right) of the FreeZim Congress (FZC), would be certain to be the next resident of State House.

By OBEY MANAYITI

Of all the dozens of candidates eying the presidency in the upcoming general elections, no one has a better academic and business résumé than the 54-year-old Busha.

His résumé is resplendent with plump academic qualifications in physics, maths and business, experience working for the world’s most recognisable conglomerates like Standard Bank and HSBC, in addition to owning a highly successful asset management company, overseeing investments worth more than five billion rand.

That a solo Zimbabwean entrepreneur could achieve such success in South Africa’s cut-throat asset management business dominated by conglomerates of the likes of Old Mutual, Investec, Liberty and Coronation, among others, indeed speaks volumes of Busha’s intellectual pedigree and business acumen.

But politics is a different ball game altogether. Success in business does not automatically translate into political success.

Neither do academic qualifications as the likes of Arthur Mutambara will attest to.

Yet Morgan Tsvangirai, with no tertiary qualification, but widespread name recognition, defeated Robert Mugabe in 2008.

Nkosana Moyo, who fits the characterisation of a corporate executive success story, is another prime example.

His Alliance for People’s Agenda (APA) seems to have already fizzled out before even taking off.

But all that does not deter Busha. In fact, he is firmly of the view that Zimbabweans should take responsibility for the current collapse of the country because they have persistently entrusted state power with individuals who have no experience in running even a tuckshop.

And if Zimbabweans continue to make the same mistake, they condemn themselves to a life of permanent penury, he said.

“Americans are not wrong in demanding that before they give one executive presidential power, one must demonstrate what they have done for themselves first.

“How can they possibly entrust a trillions worth of an economy into the hands of anyone who has never generated and managed even a single dollar for himself…?

“Should we thus be surprised that America is the world’s largest economy?

“Americans vet their candidates for the white House thoroughly.

“They vote them into power on the basis of ability and not furious sloganeering,” remarks Busha in a trenchant tone.

“When Robert Mugabe emerged from the bush war, he had not run even a tuckshop.

“We nonetheless entrusted him with state power because of the circumstances of the time, and look where we are today. Look where he has left us as a country.

“Equally his protégé [President Emmerson Mnangagwa] can only lead us to more penury.

“More so because of his 38-year apprenticeship under Mugabe. Is there reason for optimism under ED? Absolutely not.

“Tell me what he has ever run that has succeeded that can now make him succeed in running a country. Being a Mugabe protégé is the worst ever qualification.

“Zimbabweans must appreciate that running a country is like running a business. A CEO of a company must create value for investors. If they spend and spend the owner’s equity without creating value, the business is destroyed.

“This is what we have seen in Zimbabwe since 1980. There is no value creation in the economy, but only consumption.

“The shareholders of Zimbabwe, who are the citizens of the country, have failed to accrue any dividends in the form of better social services, jobs and good quality life because they have appointed incompetent CEOs who only know consumption and not value creation.

“Mugabe routinely took whatever little money was available to spend on mansions and medical check-ups in Hong Kong and Singapore and all manner of costly plump travels with his wife, children and friends.

“There could never have been any return on investment with such extravagant consumption.

“That is why Gomo (Harare Central Hospital), Parirenyatwa and other State hospitals and clinics are death chambers where people go to die.

“Should you be surprised that Mugabe’s protégé Mnangagwa is doing the same by chartering expensive flights for China and all manner of cosy international travel since he took office?

“[German chancellor] Angela Merkel, (British prime minister) Theresa May use commercial flights for travel on state business yet their countries are far richer.

“Our Mugabes and Mnangagwas know nothing about value creation because they have never run anything outside of their state employment.

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