Why Zimbabwe needs a national think-tank
Economic hitman John Perkins opened a can of worms on the West’s machinations with his “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”
A think-tank is defined as an institution that carries out economic, social, cultural political and environmental analysis and comes up with a national strategic plan which focuses on national interests and the positioning of any nation on the global economic stage. It is also an independent research institution that carries out thorough research work on political, economic, social and cultural issues with the sole objective of improving the living conditions of the general public as well as giving sound advice to the government on all matters of domestic or foreign policy in response to current and future challenges.
A think-tank safeguards national interests and promotes economic, social and cultural growth, using an agreed national vision as its trajectory. It is an institution that comprises a hybrid professional experts who believe in upholding their country’s national interests and are guided by ethical behaviour which is governed by the state’s constitution, national values and principles.
The individuals must be highly impartial and open-minded and must never be governed by any political institution.
What must guide these individuals is the need to advance a national ideological philosophy; a philosophy characterised by a high sense of patriotism.
Patriotism is a phenomenon that transcends individualism, tribalism, nepotism and ethnic practices but a belief of loving one’s country.
Patriotism entails serving one’s country in an uncorrupted or non-treacherous manner. No one should ever preach asymmetric nationhood while his/her objective is to advance foreign interests.
If Zimbabwe had an ideal think-tank, it would be easier to anticipate challenges to contend with economically, socially and politically.
That includes the economic structural adjustment era and the fast-track land reform exercise and their attendant challenges and opportunities.
Research from the think-tank would have provided Zimbabwe’s regional and continental partners with advance information on how demonic Europe was going to react, for example, post-land reform.
Again, it would have been easier for the Zimbabwean Government to craft anti-sanctions strategies well in advance as to mitigate the impacts of these ruinous and evil sanctions on the general populace as well as on the country’s economy.
A think-tank guided by national interests would have advised Government on which countries to engage with and what strategies to implement as to help the targeted audiences and constituencies.
The think-tank would have co-ordinated the captains of industry to rally behind issues of national interest.
They were supposed to have remained focused on productivity rather than joining in regime change politics. The majority of them got themselves entangled in destructive management-driven industrial action which later resulted in economic collapse. Today, the economy is in a sorry state as management and employees have both lost their jobs due to the effects of their own actions.
The stayaways that were engineered by opposition politicians killed the productive vibrancy of commerce and industry.
These stayaways that were engineered by some politically corrupt management at the behest of the Western brown envelopes which the employees ignorantly undertook and religiously followed destroyed our great nation’s industrial hub in Bulawayo and Harare. This manipulation of the captains of industry was the work of Western think-tanks on behalf of their governments.
The presence of a national think-tank such as those in Europe, America and Russia would have helped counter such a strategy.
In Rhodesia when the UN legal sanctions were imposed on the colonial government, it established a think-tank that crafted sanctions-bursting strategies.
The Ian Smith regime relied heavily on the advice and focus of the Rhodesian “think-tank”.
The Rhodesian think-tank opened three major fronts, namely the diplomatic front, the political front and the industrial economic front. The diplomatic front was charged with mobilising the white Commonwealth to stealthily support Rhodesia to bust sanctions using apartheid South Africa.
The political front was charged with crafting programmes and recruiting black Zimbabweans to fight on the colonial side.
The political front was also the home of asymmetric and counter-insurgency warfare.
The economic front was charged with research and development that engineered economic strategies which resulted in some industries manufacturing Puma vehicles and Rothmans manufacturing cigarettes that were branded “Made in South Africa”. The Rhodesia think-tank survived from 1964 to 1979.
Europe and America’s imperial hegemony has survived this far because of the establishment of think-tanks such as NED, USAID, Chatham House and so forth.
Ironically, all the above mentioned think-tanks are heavily peopled by military personnel drawn mainly from security organisations.
These security men help in analysing various domestic and foreign issues gained from training as well as experience in the field and this is usually the norm in military organisations the world over.
Sadly, in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular, such employment or secondment of military personnel to strategic institutions is viewed as militarisation of such institutions. However, Zimbabweans must know that if you want to counter missiles you deploy missiles.
Surprisingly, Western governments are quick to denounce such practices of establishing such think-tanks with a military flavour as undemocratic and inhuman because they know the abilities of those military men in countering their strategies.
Most civilians that are deployed in various Western think-tanks would have gone through thorough drilling at Western “National Defence Universities” (NDUs).
Western NDUs are organisations that focus on institutional memories, nation heritage, national interests and national strategic formulation, analysis and planning.
Academic freedom is limited to those facets only. Academic freedom in any NDU is centred on national ideology, national interests, national heritage and patriotism. Anything outside these principles, values and ethics of statecraft is excluded. Any academic freedom at NDU is state guided on how ethically it responses to the values and principles of that nation.
Graduates from such universities are then targeted for recruitment into national think-tanks.
American economic growth is sustained by its concept of corporatocracy where economic hitmen (EHM) are deployed as consultants throughout the world.
In the Middle East and South America, American EHMs are deployed to secure oil resources.
In Africa and Asia, American EHMs are deployed to secure raw materials for American industrial growth. Western consultants especially those from America deliberately overvalue projects in order for the host country to remain indebted to the West, thereby guaranteeing the West both financial capital gain through interest charged on loans and raw materials used by host nations to generate capital to service the overvalued debt.
The Book “Dead Aid” by Dambisa Moyo explains how donor aid has kept Africa poorer. This claim is vindicated by lack of evidence to show a single country in the world, particularly in Africa, that has managed to unshackle itself from poverty through donor funds. Ironically, the use of corporatocracy as a concept of economically hostaging of developing countries is clearly exemplified in the book “Confession of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins.
Thus developing countries in the world must be suspicious of donor funding and Western consultancy which use the concept of corperatocracy to continually keep the host nations indebted to Europe and America which largely grow their economies through manipulative imperial economic strategies.
Africa should not wait to be told of its strengths and weaknesses by foreign think-tanks but must have its own think-tanks that formulate African strategies from an African perspective.
Panganai Kahuni is a political socio-economic commentator.