HARARE – In an article published in the Herald on Saturday, July 20, 2013, titled: “President pledges to resuscitate ailing industries”; President Robert Mugabe who addressed a star rally at Somholo Stadium in Lupane is reported as having lamented that Zimbabweans had been robbed of proper leadership during the last five years because of a dysfunctional government that he led.
It is common cause that the industrial decay in Bulawayo did not start with the advent of the inclusive government but one can legitimately conclude that the voting patterns in Matabeleland since the entry of the MDC into the political community of Zimbabwe has reflected a general sense of exclusion by the people living in the region.
Mugabe who has been at the helm of all the post-colonial administrations appears to have a selective and self-serving memory.
He continues to make the point that the inclusive government has been dysfunctional as if to suggest that a Zanu PF-led government would have fared better in running the government alone.
Only a five-year-old person would not know what it was like before birth but for all the eligible voters who will have the opportunity to express their will on July 31, 2013, the version proffered by Mugabe appears not to be backed by reality and honesty.
The fact that the economy appropriately described by Gideon Gono as a “casino economy” was on its knees and the government had lost legitimacy is an open secret as is my vote.
Supermarket shelves were empty and factories were closing and the few that were operating were short of working capital and the Zimbabwean currency was not worth the paper used to print it.
It is difficult for one to understand the kind of world that Mugabe has been living in that permits him to conclude that if elected; industries that were on their knees even before the GPA will be resuscitated.
He blames his coalition partners for throwing spanners into so-called State programmes clearly oblivious of the fact that the State was broke and the dollarisation was unavoidable even under a Zanu PF administration exposing the extent to which the State had already been undermined by bad economic policies.
A state can only mirror what is happening in the real economy.
Before the emergency of the inclusive government, the gloom and doom that characterised the economic climate was self-evident.
A person who takes responsibility for past failures normally deserves a second chance and not a seventh chance.
It is evident that in Mugabe’s make believe world, he is blameless and so are the people who are in the wagon that he has been pulling for the last 33 years.
Mugabe’s circle will never have the incentive to tell him what time it is.
Surely, it cannot be time to hallucinate about the future of 13 million innocent people.
He made the point that: “We have moved together with the MDCs and people are now able to judge their performance and personality. You now know ukuthi ngabantu abanjani. Things have been going down and down, especially in Bulawayo.”
In making the above statement, Mugabe must have known that the buck for any success or failure ought to stop at him and over the last five years, there is no doubt in any rational mind as to who was in control of all the organs of state.
There is no doubt that the personality and character of the inclusive government is reflective of Mugabe’s own backward-looking, partisan and inflexible personality.
Whenever Mugabe goes on leave, cabinet also takes leave and it has been generally the case that anything that he approves of carries the day.
With respect to the performance of the government, any fair person will say that, were it not for the inclusive government, the country would be worse off.
There is no suggestion from Mugabe as to precisely what, if any, he would have done differently had he been in total control of the government.
Even Mugabe would admit that the passengers in his wagon have contributed to the collapse of the economy.
It is significant that Mugabe observed that: “People have suffered enough and we want to give them a government that will correct the wrongs done in the last five years” and in so doing exposed his ignorance about the real causes of the Zimbabwean economic and political quagmire.
The people of Zimbabwe have been drifting with no defined flight path and each year of independence that was expected to deliver the promise of a better life for all has turned out to be a nightmare and this was the case before the inclusive government and will definitely be the case if Mugabe is re-elected.
In making the above observation, it is clear that the president associates all the wrong things with his political enemies forgetting that the people he trusts most are in reality his worst enemies.
In fact, the so-called wrong things have protected the people from the actions of a predatory state.
I have no doubt that the people of Mashava and Zvishavane know better that their predicament is solely a product of the Zanu PF element in the inclusive government and if they vote with their brains they have no choice but to do the right thing on Election Day.
Mugabe also made the point that: “Although Zimbabwe got $500 million under the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) towards boosting the economy, the funds have not been accounted for by Finance minister Tendai Biti” as if to suggest that he abdicated from his responsibilities as the Head of Government.
If, indeed, Biti stole $500 million as implied by the statement, then surely in the interests of the nation, Mugabe must know better how to have responded to the alleged theft than to use the elections to assassinate the character of his own colleague in cabinet.
The constitution gives Mugabe powers to act as well as to allow Biti to be afforded the same protections that are enshrined in the constitution yet in this case; it would appear that the Father of the Nation is the judge, jury and executioner.
It is also striking that to the extent that there is an allegation of theft; Mugabe appears to be helpless against Biti and this, if anything, suggests that Biti has done a good job in reigning in the president from abusing the SDR funds because in the Zanu PF fashion, the money would have been directed towards projects and programmes that serve the personal interests of the few that make it on Mugabe’s wagon.
Mugabe also made the point that: “We had said part of the money must be used to resuscitate companies in Bulawayo, but Biti said he would give only $20 million, which was not enough.
“The rest of the $500 million, we do not know where it went to;” as if to suggest that the state collapsed under his watch to allow ministers to do as they wish.
Observations have been made that ministers under the watch of an 89-year-old gatekeeper have now been so creative as to allow for the creation of fiefdoms in the State while the Chief Magistrate dwells in fantasy.
Biti continues to make his case about the missing diamond revenues and yet his boss would not want to be part of any conversation that puts a Zanu PF minister under the spotlight.
With respect to civil servants who have watched helplessly as their quality of life has diminished even before the emergence of the inclusive government, Mugabe whose propensity to blame political enemies for anything is legendary had this to say: “Promises given to civil servants have not been fulfilled and this is not the Government worth living for.
“So this is what has been happening;” confirming the view that he is really out of touch with reality.
He then proceeded to make the point that: “Even our farmers have not been getting Government assistance with inputs and farm implements, businesspeople also cannot get money. The same is the case in our hospitals and schools, which are struggling.” Mugabe must know and appreciate the limits of a bankrupt and isolated state.
Such a state cannot be expected to be a Salvation Army to farmers and institutions of State.
The income that the state needs has to come from a source.
The principal culprit in preventing funds from being generated and accessed is the very same person who asks the questions.
The world has already spoken that it is ready to re-embrace Zimbabwe in the Commonwealth of Nations only when a credible, free and fair election is conducted and it does not take a genius to know that the expectation is that the elections can only be free and fair if Mugabe loses.
What is being said loudly is that Zimbabweans have the obligation to do the right thing otherwise the economic woes that the country faces will not end.
The president then went on to say that Zanu PF had since crafted plans for raising capital towards revitalising the economy and improving service delivery as espoused in its election manifesto.
If credible plans existed to turn the fortunes of the economy around, then surely such plans would not need to wait for 33 long years to be implemented.
The president would do better by looking himself in the mirror and ask the question whether the world is wrong in concluding that the major problem is with the man in the mirror.
The man has failed to change himself in 33 years and if it is the case that the man does not see any need to change, then surely it is up to 6 million Zimbabweans to remove the mirror and do justice to what needs to be done on July 31, 2013 to herald a new error of responsibility and accountability.