Election talk crippled unity govt

HARARE - It was not so long into the inclusive government that its adversaries and at least those who seem to have lost it started agitating for a do-or-die election.

This election talk is militating against the performance of the inclusive government. This in turn affected the performance of the economy in many respects.

Firstly, the call for elections since 2009 has scared both local and international investors to put their money into the Zimbabwean economy.

The fear came partly from people’s recent memories about odious experiences with elections in Zimbabwe and largely from uncertainties.

Considering the first assumption, it is important to note, elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by violence. With the fear of imminent repeat of what had happened before, potential investors (both local and foreign) adopted a wait and see attitude.

Long term projects were suspended in favour of make-shift ones. The sad result is that, the economy remains largely crippled and the more startling development is that the majority are misled as to why the economy remains in a perpetual stagnant position.

The election talk indirectly promoted unprecedented levels of corruption. I would like to agree with many analysts on the fact that the next polls are going to be a landmark in Zimbabwe’s post-colonial history.

The two most influential political parties separately will view them as a way to attain second liberation.

There is no guarantee as to which party is going to win the election.

The same applies to those who are in government by virtue of appointment.

Therefore, those who are certain about the uncertainty of their future are resorting to looting and unorthodox methods of amassing wealth.

This applies to all political parties. Thus from councillors to Cabinet ministers the chorus is the same — “make hay while the sun shines”.

This is because the continuous call for elections makes the opportunity for those whose continuation in government largely depends on elections to be brief. This could be an opportunity to transform their way of life and economic wellbeing. As a result being loyal and faithful to the whole nation becomes irrational.

Again, long-term economic programmes were pushed to the peripheries of some elected and appointed government officials’ agenda.

The manner in which the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was utilised attest to this. As such, election talk is fast becoming an anathema to economic transformation.

There is strong evidence to the fact that the majority of politicians have been focusing on those activities and policies with quick results.

As such, long-term government programmes and projects are receiving insignificant attention.

An early call for election inadvertently plunged the nation into a serious political impasse. In fact, the fear of elections invigorated the political standoff that characterised the Zimbabwean political landscape in the last decade.

This is in stark contrast to strong expectations the nation had about the inclusive government.

Almost all Zimbabweans thought the inclusive government was to usher in an environment where all citizens would work together irrespective of their political affiliations.

This impasse, in turn affected the performance of the economy negatively. In short, the political impasse resulted in serious disagreements over policy issues and government programmes.

Although, disagreements in politics are not peculiar to Zimbabwe, it is the level and nature of misunderstandings that boggles the minds of many.

Misunderstandings over the indigenisation policy, major projects such as Bio-Fuel, Bulawayo Water Project and extraction of diamonds clearly indicate a nation that is sharply divided along sectorial political interests.

The sad result is that brilliant projects are being put off the rail due to the fear that they might end up cultivating electoral support for those who are behind them.

What is clear therefore is that the on-going election talk in Zimbabwe though necessary and inevitable, it came at the wrong time.

The inclusive government was not given the chance to settle down.

A divided nation was also denied the chance to heal its social, political as well as its economic wounds. - Shakepear Hamauswa

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