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Dire warning over Zim debt

GREAT-grandchildren of Zimbabwe will inherit billions of dollars in debt consumed today by the current generation, which is being led by visionless and greedy leaders, renowned African scholar Patrick Lumumba has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Patrick Lumumba

In a presentation under the topic, Corruption and business ethics at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe winter school held in Victoria Falls recently, Lumumba said African leaders had failed the continent because of their lack of vision.

“Norway, which all of us know is a little country with a population of no more than 10 million,” he said, “that country, as we speak now, has a sovereign wealth fund of $1 trillion.

“So then notionally, if we are to divide that money among the Norwegians, each Norwegian will receive about $190 000, and if we are to go further, you discover that even children who are yet to be born when they are born would possibly receive something and even those who will be born later in 50 years’ time.

“Let us come to Zimbabwe . . . In Zimbabwe, your great-grandchildren, for those who are unmarried, I’m speaking to those who are unmarried, your-great grandchildren when they will be born, they will inherit a debt which this generation has consumed.

“Why? It is because we have allowed our institutions not to function.”

According to Eddie Cross, an economist, Zimbabwe’s national debt as at 2016 stood at around $30 billion.

The debt is made up of state international debt of $9 billion, private sector international debt of $2 billion and domestic debt of about $11 billion.

On top of that, compensation owed to commercial farmers who were forced off their land stands at about $10 billion, he said in an article submitted to the Zimbabwe Economics Society recently.

Lumumba said the fault was with individuals that the people had allowed to preside over national institutions.

“One can say but that is true of every other African country, but we are told it is nothing to do with the colour of our skin because in Botswana they are doing it differently… because in Rwanda they are doing it differently,” he said.

“So the fault is with us. The fault is with individuals that we have allowed to preside over our institutions.”

Lumumba also said Africa as a continent did not have leaders but “dealers” who have killed their nations through corruption and lack of vision.

“The problem of Africa is not the problem of absence of laws or the problems of absence of institutions. It is the absence of governance and the will of those in political leadership to do things that are in the best interest of their country,” he said.

“A few weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking at a forum and when I was asked ‘Are there leaders in Africa?’, I said very quickly there are no leaders in Africa.

“There is a shortage of them . . . There are only dealers in Africa and these dealers are the ones to whom we have entrusted with leadership and when we expect them to provide leadership, we are deluding ourselves because they can’t

“It is like telling a goat that when you grow up you will become a cow. It will not become a cow.

“So we give them time and we tell them you will grow into the thing they can’t grow into. They are stunted because they are goats and we expect them to become cows.”

As such, Lumumba said, those leaders tended to affect the entire arrangement including business because the business environment and businesspeople thrived on an environment where there was governance.

“That’s the problem of the typical African states. They have no vision. Therefore, they can never get lost. Whenever they are, that is where they are going,” he said.

“The typical African leader is a politician. The politician thinks of the next election. They want things to ripen quickly.”

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8 Responses to Dire warning over Zim debt

  1. Farai Johnson Nhire August 5, 2018 at 8:50 am #

    Just to correct you Mr Lumumba, Zimbabwe does not owe ten billion dollars to anyone for farms because those farms have always been zimbabwean land stolen by imperialists. As for the failure of Africa to develop, the problem has mainly to do with imperialists who always see Africa as a place to get cheap natural resources to build their economies. They even grossly abused human rights by abducting and using africans as beasts of burden in their sugar plantations and industries. Those very same people enforced a system of governance in Africa which allows them to interfer in our politics by sponsoring their own pupets to rule our countries.

    • Observer too August 5, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

      The white farmers are not owed for land, but for the developments on the farms. Even the leadership acknowledge that the white farmers are owed. So the good professor is right.

    • crosland August 5, 2018 at 12:08 pm #

      Farai,get your head out of the sand and use your brain correctly

    • George Tee August 5, 2018 at 3:40 pm #

      The compensation is not for the soil or land which was repossessed, but for infrastructure, dams, barns, irrigation equipment, etc which was erected by your so called imperialists. Instead of pouring your scorn on Professor Lumumba, please do your research well. kana usingazive nyarara Hama.

  2. Farai J Nhire August 5, 2018 at 3:26 pm #

    What kind of developments done by white farmers are worth as much as 10 billion dollars!!!??

    • African Cristiano August 5, 2018 at 7:32 pm #

      Farai when those farms were taken from those farmers they had infrastructures that had already been laid out, farm house, barns, machinery, stock, anything you can think of that can be found at a developed farm. The total farms that were seized were close to 5000, most if not all, developed. So you can’t ask such questions when the answers are obvious.

      • Kent August 9, 2018 at 6:22 pm #

        People should stop trying to justify things that are wrong. Why should they be compensated? Is there a law anywhere in the world, that says if you steal a car and then install $20,000 worth of after-markets to improve the car, you will be compensated for that? They were living and farming on stolen property. Just because the theft happened over 100 years ago, does not make it right. If a farmer can prove that he bought the farm, then he is not only entitled to a compensation, but to get the farm back.

    • Sipendu August 6, 2018 at 8:37 am #

      What developments….go and ask the ‘new farmers’ who cut and chopped up irrigation pivots, trailers, tractors, decimated livestock, destroyed dams etc. That is infrastructure that was not on the ‘land’, so is rightfully owed.

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