First and foremost there is need to establish/point out the symbiotic relationship between politics and economics. They are two sides of the same coin which one cannot exist without the other. A conducive political environment spearheads economy growth and likewise rotten politics leads to a rotten economy.
By Robson Chere
The disputed election results of 2018 is still hounding us to now. There is deep political polarization in Zimbabwe emanating from the election dispute.
2019 and before was characterised by political violence, accusations of election rigging, Crackdown of Trade Unionists , Civil Rights Activists and demonstrations amongst a myriad of factors which in turn directly led to economic downturn as a result.
We have seen the creation of two main political creatures known as POLAD and PAC, these two creatures are still continuing to exist as private cabinets with their specific functions bringing a lot of criticism by the general populace .2019 was a year when both our Vice Presidents had messy divorce, which saw the abuse of political power in trying to resolve domestic disputes in which women were victims .
On the other hand the year 2019 has been experienced with poor rains which affected the harvest and also the energy sector of our country since Zimbabwe depends heavily on hydro electricity, energy problems resulted in huge increase in operational costs of industries which resulted in costs of basic commodities like bread going up at a fast rate due to shortage of inputs due to poor harvest and high costs of scarce energy. The crisis in the monetary sector as rates were ever changing on a daily basis. The Sudden introduction of Zimbabwe dollar as only currency of trade caused economic chaos, price increases and firming of the US$ against the surrogate currency Increase in the rate of the Intermediate Money Transfer Tax.
The instability made some of the business to close especially those which use to depend on credit sales as they would loose their investments due to inflationary pressures. However the downfall of the investments in our economy also reduced the number of direct foreign investments due to political instability which was a result of disputed election results of 2019 ,, also the political instability were as a result of increase in prices and low salaries especially to the civil servants and high unemployment rates.
So it is to the behest of this background that we then come up to the conclusion that what needs to be addressed first is the issue of rotten politics, for the economy is a follow through resultant of a great political atmosphere.
The year 2020, should be a year of moving forward in ensuring that consensus is reached between the leading political players , and general citizens on how best to map the way forward of the land in an inclusive manner.There is massive need to reconscientize the general populace to a new dimension that doesn’t speak of hate politics, this is so because of the massive polarization have entirely destroyed the social fabric.
The topical issue that has rose fame over the years of political/administrative dichotomy needs to be upheld in 2020. How so, through ensuring that ministerial appointments are done not on political grand-scale but rather on skill/ability to perform/deliver. One who should be appointed per se to head the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should be someone who have and can exhibit knowledge on challenges being faced by the parent ministry in terms of resources both human and technical in a bid to remedy the problems .
In a bid to to solve the power shortages they is a need to invest in solar energy in our industries to ensure adequate back ups in times of energy crisis and it is also environmentally friendly.
The need to re visit the land reform programme and have an analysis of how the farms are being used to ensure the country exports to get foreign currency as we are an agrarian sector. If we are to adopt the rand system in our currency we will rescue Zimbabwe from shortage of cash in our financial transactions.
Mining activities in Zimbabwe must be closely monitored as most of the mines are owned by individuals who operate illegally and the income is not being channeled in our economy, the case with mashurugwi should be thoroughly investigated. Promoting enough funding in our health sector, education , and ensure all the resources which are needed are channeled towards these critical essential service not to wait for workers to demonstrate first. Another thing is to focus on restoration of investor trust and confidence in the country not by singing ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ song but through seeking redress of setting extreme economic policies we have .The growing ill of corruption also needs to be stopped forthwith, the leading institutions in fighting corruption like ZACC, media houses, government agencies need to be well empowered to carryout their mandates without fear or favour or prejudice.
The year 2020 should lay the foundations for future politics, through modelling Zimbabwe politics along the lines of other successful countries in the region and beyond… juxtaposing along lines of similar models, diff models and likewise seeing how best to model that of Zimbabwe to fit context, since there is no straight jacket/one size fits all approach. Where there is political stability , there is in turn economic growth, For interest sake the examples from one party state in China, a dynasty in UAE, authoritarian and dynastic empires in the Asian tigers, democratic regimes like USA and UK each of these have different political systems but the bottom line is which are stable, yet a flourishing economy, so that in turn should guide our approach into the 2020 political and economic landscape.
Robson Chere is the ARTUZ National Secretary General but writes here in his personal capacity. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @robohchere, Facebook Robson Chere, +263 775 643 192