Editorial Comment: Heed Chinamasa’s wise counsel
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has made an important call and challenge to all Zimbabweans to work towards reviving the economy. He lamented the energy wasted by Zimbabweans on the politics of succession in the country, warning that this focus was misplaced. Instead, he made focus on the economic recovery a priority which should concern every Zimbabwean regardless of political affiliation.
Minister Chinamasa’s call for unity of purpose is very pertinent because both politicians and the media are spending too much time discussing succession politics and party infighting while portraying the investment situation in the country in bad light. The Minister expressed regret that visitors appeared to have “a better perception of our country and ourselves than we ourselves”. As a result, he pointed out, Zimbabweans were not able to take full advantage of the potential the country had.
Last week EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia also deplored the level of polarisation in the country and the negative focus of civic society groups and local intellectuals who were still caught up in the politics of “leadership change” instead of making positive contributions to the successful implementation of Government programmes.
Because of the polarisation in the country, Zimbabweans often talk about the country as if they were immune to any negative developments in the economy. In fact, the debate seems to suggest that the economic challenges facing the country are a creation of Zanu-PF and its supporters and have no impact on the rest of the population, who are therefore free to comment from the sidelines. Minister Chinamasa made it clear that this posture was an illusory one. We are in this together and it is everyone’s duty to work for our economic recovery. We suffer together in a depressed economy and prosper together in a vibrant one.
He stressed that for the Government’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset to succeed, it was important for ministries, agencies and the private sector to work in tandem than pull in different directions, while pointing out that indigenisation was not unique to Zimbabwe. The private sector has often criticised the Government’s indigenisation policies and land reform as a deterrent to foreign investment.
“What we are merely saying is that until the local population has greater participation in the economy in terms of ownership, in terms of management, we have no economy,” he said.
He also allayed investor fears of an immediate reintroduction of the local currency, saying conditions were not ripe. The issue of the local currency was used as a scarecrow by opposition politicians, some sections of the media and business community last year to discourage people from voting for Zanu-PF.
Minister Chinamasa did not have kind words for the media for its negative portrayal of the political and economic situation in the country. He said while the media in general had a very important role to play in the development of any country, there was too much negative reporting on Zimbabwe.
“What you write negatively about our country is amplified outside and wherever I go instead of talking and discussing business I am made to explain stupid reports which have no basis in fact,” he said. “In fact, that is what bleeds my heart. We should all realise that we are all Zimbabweans.”