Mugabe needs help

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s government urgently needs to engage external parties and well-wishers to help fix the economy, economists and a British-based think tank have said.

This comes as opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called for a multi-stakeholder national dialogue on the economy and also growing concerns about the 90-year-old president’s health — key in driving these national programmes.

In a report titled “Zimbabwe’s international re-engagement: The long haul to recovery”, London-based Chatham House (Chatham) says that the Zanu PF government cannot single-handedly resuscitate the economy.

“The government… cannot reinvigorate the economy and this will require a truly national effort that — even if is temporarily — brings together political parties, economic and social stakeholders in a collective effort to address the economic crisis. Otherwise, all the parties will lose credibility,” the independent policy institute says.

On the other hand, Chatham says while the country’s economic problems were daunting, they were not insurmountable and could only be solved or addressed through cooperative efforts with donors, and such other stakeholders.

Crucially, the United Kingdom-based organisation says Mugabe should work towards “consensual or bipartisan politics” in a bid to arrest the terminal decline and hopes to cure the myriad socio-economic challenges facing the country.

However, Zanu PF has outrightly dismissed calls for dialogue to save the economy — describing Tsvangirai, who was in a four-year uneasy coalition with Zanu PF until last year, as a “daydreamer” desperately trying to worm his way back into government and enjoy the attendant perks.

Godfrey Kanyenze, a local economist, told the Daily News yesterday that the idea of a national dialogue was a powerful tool that could yield positive results.

“That is a very creative method… (and) that (could) help us to celebrate our diversity in a polarised environment such as ours. It is a plausible approach… to determine our future together. So, it is important for all stakeholders to get involved in the national discourse,” he said.

Another socio-economic commentator John Robertson says the country would improve its credit rating and reduce political risk by re-joining such elite clubs as the Commonwealth.

“The Commonwealth is a linkage of people who have set guidelines and look for a behaviour pattern considered good, and worthy of praise,” he said.

“It would be an advantage for Zimbabwe if the country is considered worthy to be a member. If we want to be taken seriously by the international community, then we have to associate with serious countries as well,” Robertson says.

However, others believe the country’s economic fortunes cannot be tied to good behaviour and policies as well as associations with groupings such as the Commonwealth.

Christopher Mugaga, an economist, argues that Zimbabwe should actually seek to strengthen ties with other economic blocs such as Brics, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and Southern Africa Development Community since it has won more investment from these regions when its relations with the West soured.

While Chatham urges the Western countries to re-engage Zimbabwe and not to wait for a change in the country’s stewardship, it also says Mugabe’s Zanu PF must swallow its pride and seek re-engagement in international business, and diplomatic forums.

Essentially, the London-based institution says the former guerrilla movement must learn from its mistakes and acknowledge that “the country’s future will be increasingly determined by its own tactical decisions”.

And just as MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti has warned the current malaise was fertile ground for upheavals, Chatham also says the current situation was potentially problematic if government does not speedily move to resolve these problems and institute reforms.

“Zimbabwe cannot be examined in isolation from its regional context. There is a growing underclass in southern Africa and, if the crisis of poverty is not speedily addressed, this could increase political instability.

“Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries are advocating a regional ‘renaissance’ and promoting the region-brand,” it said.

The report also warns that government, opposition political parties and civil society risk losing credibility if they do not reform and renew themselves in the post-inclusive government era.

“The post-GNU political landscape has changed, and Zimbabwe’s opposition and civil society will have to undergo a period of reform and renewal to remain effective,” the report says.

Chatham observed that the real challenge for Zimbabwean politics is not simply electoral democracy but to create an atmosphere for genuine participatory democracy, “failure of which will result in an increasingly apathetic public withdrawing from electoral processes which they see as irrelevant.”

And to avert an economic collapse, Zimbabwe should adopt policies to build international business confidence, improve its human rights record and reform electoral laws that have been a source of friction between Zanu PF and opposition parties, it said.

And even, though, Mugabe and his 50-year-old party remain defiant, concerns abound regarding the 90-year-old leader’s health, especially in the wake of his problematic eyes.

At the Independence Day celebrations last Friday, the Zanu PF leader appeared to be struggling with his eyes and this coming after a cataract operation in Singapore in February.

Even before the latest setback, Mugabe’s future has always been the subject of debate in Zimbabwe.

The Zanu PF strongman is stubbornly confronted by a slowing economy and the latest scare has raised new questions about his ability to lead the country.

As such, jockeying for his post — by new and old factions — has intensified.

Comments (23)

Of course the ZANU PF govt needs help but they won't seek it. Help can only come once we pursue good economic and political principles. With ZANU PF at the helm this will never happen. The governing party is so steeped in corruption and if the situation is normalized they would lose their looting advantages.

Fokoro Nyati - 24 April 2014

Message for MDC-T Esther 4:14 NIV For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Zimbabweans will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Boterekwa - 24 April 2014

Dictators are very difficult to deal with and one has only to look at the sad Syrian situation to appreciate what we are up against. Though unpleasant, the only way out of this is a Gadaffi type of exit for Mugabe. We were all horrified when we saw Gadaffi being pulled out of a drain and gunned down mercilessly but now we can all understand why people resort to such drastic actions. Mugabe's intransigence will cost the economy a lot and it will be another long and painful road to recovery once we get rid of this evil.

Zvichapera - 24 April 2014

I don't support the opinion that we have much to gain from the BRICS countries. If you take a close look at all of them they have huge problems of their own which they need to fix immediately. There are violent strikes and demonstrations in South Africa and Brazil over wages. There is the Ukraine/Crimea issue in Russia. And without looking far just take a look at what the Chinese are doing here. They come here to exploit our resources and they leave no infrastructure behind but damaged landscapes ,they also ill-treat their workers. A change of policies, respect of private property, observation of human rights and rule of law is our only salvation.

Dr Know - 24 April 2014

ZANU-PF needs no ecomical help from anybody -period. They thrive on the poverty of the masses. Poor people are easy to control and intimidate. “The apathetic public withdrawing from electoral processes which we see as irrelevant.” is a ZANU-PF master plan. This what is already there by ZANU-PF design. If ever people go and vote it should be in their favour. The only problem is that soon or later we all going to have nothing to loose and that is explosive. It is coming!

Mbareboy - 24 April 2014

Daily news should have space for replies to a particular comment

Wings of change - 24 April 2014

pliz dailynews can remove Mugabe birthday pictures bcoz it reduces our will to read yo paper thank u

gakachu or damage controller - 24 April 2014

They do not need any help to govern they are doing a stellar job living up to their legacy as Guerrillas in the 21th century

protestor - 24 April 2014

Dr Know there are strikes in those countries because the people there would not tolerate the nonsense as Zimbabweans have done for this long. They have the balls which are lacking to the Zimbabwean. Vakangoudzwa kuti I can pack a 90 tonne pound fist votomhanya kundotengesa havo ma banana. This is not sustainable. I agree that ZanuPF does not want a normal situation because it will end their looting spree so they would rather have this casino economy forever.

Maita Manyuka - 24 April 2014

2 Chronicles7 vs 14. Ngatinamatei tireurure zvitema zvedu zve Corruption. We take Independence to be more important that Good Friday ??? forgetting Independence came from God?

Tatenda - 24 April 2014

Thank you so much dr know for your analysis and comments, I found your contribution so interesting to read perhaps let me say you are dr know zveshuwa,i also found comments by maita manyuka worthy reading ,keep contributing like so guys , it keeps me wanting to read more of your comments .all others analysis and contributions are ok.keep doing a sterling job ,I have nothing more.

chamutengure - 24 April 2014

Before we think of the international community, we have to start pulling together as Zimbabweans. The polarised political environment has created very strong alignments to the extent that whatever Zanu PF govt does, it doesn't matter how good, anyone who is MDC or sympathize with, will always criticise and vis-vesa. This is our real problem. The existing political parties have done a big disservice to this nation. They have been in the inclusive govt together for almost five years but still with a discord. We need maturity and tolerance among ourselves then we can start talking of resolving the economic problems,.

kollen - 24 April 2014

For Zimbabwe to progress economically the following conditions have to take place: 1: The percentage of corrupt civil servants must be brought down from 85% to less than15% 2: The rule of law has to be put into effect, Political, criminal religious thieves have to be punished. 3: The judiciary, army, police and intelligence services have t be divorced from ZanuPF 4: Politicians have to be taught that only by placing everyone under the law can a third world country like Zimbabwe progress 5: The chances that Zimbabwe degenerating into chaos after the president passes on are 99%. 6: Dear ZanuPF dreamers, Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front (RF) fools used to tell us " The RF will rule for a thousand years" iko zwino warwekupi?

Sekuru Ndaronga - 24 April 2014

I am surprised today commentors aint trading hard words. And delighted too. However the manner of our discussions other than in this only instance to me is both frightening and frustrating. I have never been been to CAR, but I served in Chibavava in 1987. And saw back vs black. I know for certain that when Mugabe ,Tsvangirai and Mutambara came to work together, all Zimbabwean were happy. We really do not need a rocket scientist to tell us that the very next moment Mr Mugabe ditched Coltart and Biti, we are now cryng. To me it's less an issue which party calls the shots, but rather a matter of the children who are neither Ndonga nor Zapu. Zimbabwe, let's differ as one.

david maombo - 24 April 2014

Boterekwa I agree with you. Time to put aside differences for the good of the nation. Nyika yapondwa, yavekutoda vakachena , vasina ropa mumaoko avo, and varume vanotya Mwari chete!

gondo - 24 April 2014

Sekuru Ndaronga,spot on ! This gvt needs urgent&serious help if it wa nts the country's economic turn-around. People,be they ZPF or MDC-T supporters are suffering exactly the same.The GNU gvt may have failed in a way bcoz politics was overplayed to the detriment of development.Another GNU may be a good option but we must learn from our past mistakes. ZPF's blind arrogance won't help anyone.

Musorowegomo - 25 April 2014

I do agree with Musorowegom. We were better off during the GNU. I am sure we can handle it differently as a nation and learn from our mistakes. Each and every one of us has something to contribute.

ndizvo - 25 April 2014

Who will invest in a country that is ruled by a 90 year old? where the militia do as they feel, where there is no freedom of speech. Munoti ma Investors zvirema, remember the we are not the only country with diamonds, gold and rich land saka we should come up with investor friendly policies just now im on my way to submit a $200m tender in Zambia for a New University. imi munenge muchingohumana, stealing state resources nxaaaa. Zimbabwe inondirwadza moyo

Garwe - 25 April 2014

Waaal! What a collective of constructive ideas guys on this topic? I am enjoying the way Zimbabweans are sharing and contributing ideas for the good of our "butchered" economy. Let's hope someone is reading this comprehensively.

lloyd - 25 April 2014

stop with the bible verses people! do bible study on your own time.

dnewscensorsposts - 25 April 2014

TSVANGIRAI IS THE ONE WHO NEEDS HELP AS HIS POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IS UNDER SIEGE FROM MANGOMA AND OTHERS. HIS FORMER WESTERN BACKERS WOULD LIKE HIM TO STEP DOWN FROM THE HELM OF HIS SELF-STYLED PARTY. MUGABE MAY HAVE HIS CHALLENGES, THE TRUTH IS THAT TSVANGIRAI IS A WEAK LEADER AND IT IS CLEAR THAT TSVANGIRAI WANTS POLITICAL RELEVENCE. ANOTHER ISSUE IS THAT TSVANGIRAI'S PARTY IS VIRTUALLY FINANCIALLY BROKE HENCE HIS POLITICAL WEAK.

Rabison Nyundo ( THE HAMMER) - 26 April 2014

Zanu is doomed without MDC. They can sow divisions in the opposition but this does not solve the country's economic wooes. Mugabe is giving himself sleepless nights thinking that it is Tswangirai who is against him. Its the spirit of the masses Bob. Why are you fisinsing your little left energy over nothing. Obviously Jono and Kasukuvere (dont mind spelling - its deleiberate) who continue to ill-advise. Zimbabweans will be free one days and life will flourish again. Dont think we are fools like your political scientist who knows only one scientific equation in life- cheating and nothing else. Zimbabwe will be be free without Biti and company. Lawe Siphepha Nkomo to go so low in support of Biti. What support does he have. If he addressed a rally with 10 people he will be lucky. Siphepha if you want to know about the poilitics of Byo ask Dabengwa, sIKHANYISO and company bazakutshela. You made a big blunder. Welshman will never taste a parliamentary seat in his life.

tavonga gwekwe - 30 April 2014

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