Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, The Movement For Democratic Change (M.D.C.) has come out of its self imposed exile/boycott they began two weeks ago. The meeting in Maputo Mozambique by the Southern African Development Community (S.A.D.C.) to resolve the ‘outstanding issues‘ that have made them recoil into their shell.
The M.D.C. has been in a power sharing government since February 2009, and whilst there have been some improvements in the country, the credentials of the M.D.C haven’t matched up to the rhetoric they have had for the last 10 years in opposition. Firstly, it wasn’t a major idea to adopt the use of multiple currencies and abandon the Zimbabwe Dollar that had fostered inflation that ensured prices doubled every 25 hours (second worst in history behind Hungary 1946 where prices doubled every 15 hours), there was already a thriving parallel economy where the US$ reigned supreme, so it was a logical decision. Allied to this advent, it is puzzling why they still press for the removal of the Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono who is widely regarded as the source of the hyper inflation since 2003, legally, without a Zimbabwe currency, he has no impact on the economic performance of the country.
Secondly, the vast travel campaign by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to raise funds during the summer was a disaster. The government estimates it needs US$ 5 billion in aid to resuscitate the economy, instead, he raised less than US$250 million, a big gap indeed.
Thirdly, the M.D.C. haven’t addressed the core needs of the people. Whilst they campaign for the liberty of deputy agriculture minister designate, Roy Bennett, there are many still incarcerated in jails when they should have been released. The people of Zimbabwe require jobs, if they worked with as much vigour as they do on calling for resignations of the ruling Zanu PF, they would have made greater strides forward than they have at the moment.
So what can Zimbabwe learn from Rwanda? Next week Monday, Development Afrique will have investigate the success of small nation in turning its fortunes around, but Zimbabwe needs to get its priorities right. They need to serve the peoples needs, not just giving them food today, but ensuring they export food tomorrow, not just giving daily employment today, but ensuring employment for the long term. The desire for foreign assistance and aid, as shown by Dambisa Moyo on the dependence on aid being negative in the long term, the government instead needs to make reforms that ensure the local entrepreneurs can lead the growth strategy. Zimbabwe has one of the most regulated economies in Africa, with many State parastatals still in operation that are loss making, liberlise these and you have growth, and with only 2 million mobile phone lines in a country with a population of 12 million shows there is big scope for growth in this key development technology.
There is still a long way for Zimbabwe unless they find home grown solutions compliant with the 21st century as Development Afrique will show is being done by Rwanda.