Candid talk is the way


HARARE – A few days ago, prominent businessman Shingi Munyeza critiqued and proffered solutions, in his view, to problems bedevilling Zimbabwe.

It was unusual, forthright and candid.

Rarely do we have people of his profile openly speak out their mind in Zimbabwe, especially when it comes to governance issues.

Most would prefer minding their own business. It surely took some courage for Munyeza to tackle President Robert Mugabe and his administration head-on. It is commendable.

The entrepreneur and former African Sun chief executive — now running upmarket restaurant chains — was blunt in his 10-point strategy.

Among his prescribed solutions, Munyeza said Mugabe’s government must immediately cut its expenditure and “begin to live within its means”.

Added to that, he said loss-making State-run enterprises must be commercialised and a major retrenchment exercise is overdue.

He also touched on the land issue, suggesting that an audit be conducted to allow issuance of 99-year leases that would make the resource qualify as security.

His remarks come as since Zimbabwe’s economy went off rail more than a decade ago, those expected to honestly and frankly advise government, particularly executives and business leaders, have not really done so.

This is not to say that business leaders should fight or be antagonistic with government. No! Neither are we saying that Munyeza’s prescription is the best solution to Zimbabwe’s woes.

The onus remains on government, however, to adopt or ignore suggestions from stakeholders.

At times some of these suggestions may need slight fine-tuning and can be adopted for the good of the generality of the population.

In any functional society or market, business leaders, executives and investors are critical stakeholders and their voices must be heard.

And this includes institutions like the Chamber of Mines. Their views help government in making informed decisions and crucially, they guide policy formulation, which has an effect on business.

But it is up to them to be honest and frank to the government. They need to gather the courage to tell government the truth — call a spade a spade.

However, this is not really the case with Zimbabwe. We have that “do not rock the boat” or “do not ruffle feathers” approach.

There seems to be that diplomatic and hesitant approach, which is unnecessary and has been costly to ordinary Zimbabweans.

It is time Mugabe and his cronies are told the truth. 

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