With Robert Mugabe at the helm, Zimbabwe is beyond redemption

Political legitimacy underpins socio-economic development for any government anywhere in this world. Put differently, it is virtually impossible to reconstruct and grow a shattered national economy in the absence of a credible and legitimate political superstructural and infrastructural dispensation. Zimbabwe is currently trapped in a crisis of political legitimacy; more so after the harmonised elections of July 31, 2013 that were controversially “won” by Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF political party.

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By Obert Gutu

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President Robert Mugabe

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Thus, no matter how hard the Zanu PF spin doctors might try to mislead the nation, the ghost of July 31, 2013 is still out there; haunting and ravaging the nation. Unless and until this ghost is exorcised, it will be a futile attempt to try to extricate the Zimbabwean economy from the comatose condition in which it is currently domiciled.

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The Zimbabwean economy is on a free fall. That is fact. Between July 31, 2013 and the end of August 2015, no less than 650 000 workers had lost their jobs in the formal sector.

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In the same period, about 9 000 companies have either collapsed or gone into voluntary liquidation. At least nine financial institutions have closed in the past two years. The government will have to import at least 800 000 metric tonnes of maize within the next few months if Zimbabwe is to avert the impending humanitarian catastrophe; particularly in the southern provinces of the country.

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The power generation capacity at both Kariba Hydro-Electric Power Station and at the Hwange Thermal Power Station has been reduced by half in the past few weeks. The water levels in Kariba Dam have gone dangerously low and as a result, the electricity generation capacity has had to be drastically reduced.

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Hwange Thermal Power Station units are old and largely dysfunctional and as such, there are frequent breakdowns and shutdowns as Zesa Holdings desperately fights to prevent a total and complete black out in the entire country. These statistics are pretty depressing, but they very true and accurate.

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Going forward, the economic situation is looking very gloomy and bleak. The prevailing liquidity crunch has made it virtually impossible for most, if not all, financial institutions, to lend money to both individuals and to corporates.

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Any one with a rudimentary knowledge of business will tell you that if banks are not lending money, the economy cannot grow. If money is not circulating, it basically means that there is stagnation in industrial and agricultural growth.

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This, therefore, means that new jobs cannot be created and as a result, workers will have to be retrenched as businesses continue to downsize or to close completely. Little wonder, therefore, that at least eight out of every 10 adult Zimbabweans of employable age are now vendors or informal traders of one form or another. The situation is not looking good. And something simply has got to give.

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President Robert Mugabe paid a very highly-publicised State visit to China in August 2014. He took along with him at least eight Cabinet ministers on this historic visit.

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State media was awash with news to the effect that numerous “mega deals” had been clinched and sealed during this visit. More than 12 months after this historic State visit, the ordinary Zimbabwean is yet to experience the benefits of these so-called “mega deals”. The 2,2 million jobs that Zanu PF promised to create have just been a pie in the sky. In fact, there is a real possibility that by 2018, at least 2,2 million jobless loafers would have been created. Somewhere, somehow, things are simply not adding up. It cannot, therefore, continue to be business as usual. We now have to think outside the box. Desperate situations certainly call for desperate measures.

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This is a clarion call to Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF regime functionaries. It is pointless to bury our heads in the sand and hope that, somehow, the economy will pick up as the so=called “mega deals” come to fruition. We cannot continue selling the desperate and poor people of Zimbabwe a dummy. If we are indeed, patriots, this is the time for everyone to bite the bullet and call a spade a spade.

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Mugabe is not a young man any more. He is 91 years old and of late, he has clearly been displaying signs of fatigue and weariness. To expect a 91-year-old to spearhead the turning around of a collapsing economy is to expect too much.

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Please, let us give the old man a break. He has done his bit for Zimbabwe and it is high-time he retreats to Gushungo dairies and also start to compile and write his memoirs. As I have suggested before, I am very willing and able to ghost write the old man’s biography at absolutely no charge.

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With Mugabe at the helm, Zimbabwe is now simply beyond redemption. That is the cold, hard fact.

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Of course, the Nigerian billionaire, Al Haji Aliko Dangote was in town the other day. He is a smart and shrewd businessman who, I strongly suspect, is also positioning the Dangote Group of companies for a post-Mugabe era. Surely, everything has a beginning and an end.

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Mugabe can only be approaching the end of his very long political career. As patriotic Zimbabweans, let us all of us humbly call upon the old man to retire and call it a day. He will not be harmed. Why should he be, anyway?

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●Obert Chaurura Gutu is the MDC–T national spokesperson. He writes this piece in his personal capacity.

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