“My preference is a fiscal shock, but there is what you call the political collar or the politics of policy making, which then slows you down. My preference would be more of a big bang approach because every day counts in terms of cost,” Ncube told journalists on the side-lines of an investor conference in New York, the United States.
There is no doubt that getting Zimbabwe’s economy back on track is not going to be a walk in the park. The minister’s “big bang” economic reform programme will meaning people being asked to tighten the belts; the bigger the bang the tighter the belt!
The people of Zimbabwe were asked to go through two five-year Economic Structural Adjustment Programmes (ESAP) in the 1990s and they were asked to tighten their belts and they did, at least the poor did. The ruling elite did the exact opposite, they loosened the belts and started to grow pot-bellies and piling up the pounds in weight and wealth. The economic recovery the nation was promised never materialized for obvious reasons.
Zimbabwe’s political set up was cast in the 1990s and has existed to this day; the ruling elite have absolute political power and with it unfettered access to the nation’s wealth and resources, they have grown filthy rich. The ruling elite have ridden roughshod of the masses, denying them their freedoms and rights including the right to free, fair and credible elections and even the right to life itself. The poor have grown filthy poor.
Zimbabweans have fallen from their perch of being in the top five rich nations in Africa in 1980 with very prospect of being the South Korea of Africa to being the poorest nation on the continent. 75% of our people live on US$1.00 or less a day!
There is no doubt that Minister Ncube’s “big bang” reforms will, one way or the other, affect the poorest of the poor. Load shedding the bloated civil service, army, parastatals, etc., for example, which many agree is necessary and long overdue, will mean the hundreds of their poor dependents will be force to live on US$1.00 or less a week! After making such a life and death sacrifice it would be outrageous to then discover it was all for nothing, the expected economic recovery never happen because the fundamentals were all wrong as happened in the 1990s!
The tragedy with people like Minister Ncube is that ever since their promotion to the post of Minister of Finance their have become big headed so much so they cannot see the trees from the woods. He is one character who has refused to accept that this Zanu PF junta’s failure to keep its promise to hold free, fair and credible elections has very serious economic implications.
Like it or not the much hoped for flood of investors whose financial input is key to in helping to kick-start the economy will never materialize. Investors do not like to invest in a pariah state whose next regime change is another military coup or worse, a blood bath.The regime has already shown that its thirsty for shedding innocent blood is unquenchable and it is also clear that the people’s anger at the inhuman conditions there are forced to live under, bottled for all these years, will burst out sending a tsunami wave that even the soldiers with their “shoot to kill” orders will fail to contain.