Zimbabwe is not poor. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa was told this last week by International Monetary Fund representative Domenico Fanizza who said that the country did not qualify for debt relief because it was not poor.
Zimbabwe’s political leaders have always boasted about the country’s vast resources, and how rich the country is, but Zimbabwe has nothing to show for all this wealth.
Now comes President Robert Mugabe on his return from the United Nations, and the 90-year-old asks a very pertinent question: Why do we need investors from the West? “Muri marema here?”
“Kana muine mafuta ari pasi apa, zvicherwa zviri pasi apa, ivhu riri renyu, ko hupfumi hwamunoda kune ava (Western countries) ndehwei. Muri marema here?
“Vanouya vachiti tiri kukupai tumari utwu, asi mafuta ndivo vanenge vachiapedza………zvino isu takati kwete, maBritish muri kwenyu, ivhu nderedu, zvicherwa ndezvedu, mazano ekuzvichera ndeedu, garai kwenyu, tinogara kwedu,” he was quoted by The Daily News as saying.
Nice talk, one would say. But how one wishes Mugabe was asking a genuine question. We have diamonds but nothing to show for it. Platinum, nothing to show for it. Gold, the same.
The Chinese are coming. The Russians are coming. The Indians are coming. The British and the Americans are already there, and so are the South Africans.
They all that know the country is rich. And no one is coming to help the country but to help themselves.
One is tempted to ask President Mugabe the same question: Ko tiri marema here not to see all this?
If not, why are we not exploiting our own resources?
Zimbabweans, ordinary Zimbabweans, have got a lot of money. The cars on the country’s roads, almost all imported, for cash, testify to this.
The government is the problem. It behaves as if it has a lot of money and can do anything. Mugabe and his lieutenants have become too arrogant. They are not inviting locals to invest and assuring them that they can make money from these resources.
The major stumbling block are the politicians. They want everything for themselves first.
People, ordinary people, even villagers, have the solutions to the country’s and their own problems. All they need is to be given a chance. But so far no one has asked them.