Zimbabweans need to stop fighting over who will drive us into the future



What does frustrate me, and I guess I am not alone, is that there are solutions to all our problems. The Bible says that ‘a people, without vision, will die’ and a ‘house divided, cannot stand’ ancient words of wisdom from the very roots of our culture and faith. We need to follow their advice closely.

When you are in a crisis situation like ours, it is important to maintain perspective. In that respect from a political stand point I look around me and I see Britain moving towards a massive crisis of its own – both economic and political. I cannot see Europe conceding any significant changes to the Brexit deal, I cannot see the British Parliament accepting a no deal exit, and if not then I see Britain going into an election with the Conservative Party hopelessly divided, perhaps even split with some sort of political coalition or even a new Party fighting both the Conservative Party and Labour.

Economically I have never thought Brexit was workable – how can a country with half its total trade going to and from the EU and an economy that is 80 per cent services, cut its umbilical cord and drift out to sea? Not without serious damage to its economy and even living standards. I find the optimism of the Brexit team completely unconvincing. Even if we discount these possibilities – Scotland and Ireland breakaways and staying in the Union make this prospect a nightmare for everyone.

Cross the Atlantic and your into Trump territory. As people know well, I am no fan of Trump – never have been and as his tenure winds down to the next Presidential election my opinion has, if anything hardened. I know full well that many do not share that view, but hey that’s democracy and freedom of speech. But one President does not make America and I know from long experience that the USA is an amazing place. Never underestimate the American people!! Remember when the Vietnam war was raging – longest conflict in American history, 50 000 casualties and a divided Nation. Then I watched them pick it all up and get back to business, reconstructing their society and politics.

But can they hold an election and get some sane leadership in place? The USA is deeply divided and it’s not pretty, the right has emerged and is still racist and bigoted. I thought those days were long gone. The Democrats after Obama are divided and fragmented and although I like some of the prospective candidates getting that whole gaggle sorted out is going to be very difficult. But in a country like the USA, the Government is not so critical in national life – the US economy is strong, employment at an all-time low and showing no signs of slowing down. Trumps trade war with the rest of the world is creating problems for all of us – slower global growth, increasing conflict between old allies and making the USA more isolationist – we have been there before.

Then we look south, they buried Johnny Clegg yesterday, I wonder if they mentioned his Mom was a Zimbabwean and that he spent his early years here? A symbol of everything that is good in that conflicted society. But, like us, Zuma has left an awful mess behind, massive corruption and state capture by criminal elements, broken State institutions – SAA, Transnet, Eskom, the list goes on. A political scene that is deeply divided and national leadership that is in the minority in the ruling Party and therefore precarious. Nonexistent growth, widening disparity between the rich and the poor, rising unemployment especially among the young and worst of all no common vision of where they are going. We all know what the adage means ‘the bigger, the further and faster they fall’.

And then climate change, I am not a scientist and make no pretentions about understanding the issues, but what I see is more climate extremes and less predictability. In Zimbabwe the south is drier and more subject to drought. Parts of the south are becoming desert with even sand dunes in parts. Frightening because it is so hard to reverse. Poverty, an ever present aspect of life in rural Zimbabwe is now even more stark and is deepening so fast that people are abandoning their homes and emigrating – either to more hospitable regions or to other countries. Mass migration is a continuing feature of life here – perhaps not driven by political violence but simply survival.

Continued next page


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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