It is my contention that a link clearly exist between economic performance and the respect of the rule of law. The imposition of the will of the former ruling party on the country has taken many forms including the passage of laws that promote and entrench partisanship and the use of state power to interfere with the bill of rights enshrined in the constitution of the country.
This has resulted in widespread violation of private property rights which is the cornerstone of any market based economy. Through-out human history there has never been a lawless society that has economically succeeded. Its unlikely Zimbabwe will be the first one to succeed in an environment characterized by property and human rights
being non-existent .Lawlessness breeds poverty and unstable economic environment.
The separation of powers doctrine, a fundamental requirement in any constitutional democracy, is no longer applied in contemporary Zimbabwe.
The selective use of the law to punish and reward targeted persons undermines the rule of law, which reduces investment in the economy. The shocking breakdown of the rule of law has had its own adverse effects on economic performance.
The break down of the rule of law was particularly apparent in the destruction of the Agricultural sector which led to Wide spread disruptions on Agricultural production. Whilst land reform was absolutely necessary its implementation accompanied by law
breaking and court orders being ignored and the Ministry of Home affairs mostly doing nothing exacerbated the economic decline. Confidence building critical to attract investment and restore Economic growth .There is need for new investment to increase
production and tame Zimbabwe?s record setting hyper-inflation.
Law and order is a basic requirement of any functioning modern society. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Home affairs which has the responsibility of maintaining law and order has done such a bad job that the former ruling party cannot and should not be entrusted with
this critical ministry if Zimbabwe is going to re-join the international community and regain lost glory due to the reputation acquired by due to the failure of this ministry to uphold the law.
From around year 2000, Economic slide was accompanied by the break down of the rule of law starting with invading productive farms most of which had not even been gazzetted .And during that period Company invasions increased. During that period Company invasions increased this led to the resignation of the then Minister of Industry and
Commerce Dr Nkosana Moyo. It was clear then that without rule of law there won?t be any economic prosperity and it?s clear now that the Ministry needs fresh ideas and focus and direction and it has to be made aware of the critical role it will play in Zimbabwe?s Economic recovery by creating conducive business environment by fair application of the rule of law.
Foreign Direct investment will not increase if there is no rule of law. Foreign aid which has been critical in various sectors is unlikely to come if there is no culture reform and a serious attempt to rebuild confidence in the law enforcement agencies which are part of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Brain drain has resulted in massive loss of skill and experience .Its unlikely this will be reversed if the conditions that have been allowed to make Zimbabwe very hostile to skilled and experienced employees are not addressed.
Capital flight will continue as long as there is perception of lawlessness and selective application of the law. This means the Ministry of home affairs needs a culture change and has to be under a different party to manage that change and improve perception that the
law will be applied uniformly.
During the stage managed anti-graft campaign of 2003-4, the Ministry of Home affairs through the Zimbabwe Republic Police (an institution whose credibility is in tatters) facilitated and enabled a massive wealth transfer with several business people either arrested, threatened with arrest or haunted out of the country .Whilst this was hailed at the time it had a negative impact on the Economy, investor confidence and caused brain drain and partially reversed economic gains.
The ministry of Home affairs through ZRP instead of investigating first, they proceeded to arrest so as to investigate .Whilst these arrests were going on a record number of businesses changed hands under controversial circumstances .Such events affect investor
sentiment and confidence .Below is the partial list of the Businesses that changed hands courtesy of the Ministry of Home affairs.
1- Royal BANK from J.Muzwimbi to Government of Zimbabwe
2 – Barbican Bank Dr M.Ncube to Government of Zimbabwe
3 – Trust Bank
4 – Shabanie Mashaba Mines from ARL to Government of Zimbabwe
5 -Kondozi Farm
6- Century Bank Holdings from ENG Capital to RBZ Governor, Dr Gono
and Mr. Sean Maloney
7 -First Mutual Life
8 – CFI Holdings
9 – Intermarket Holdings from Transnational Holdings to Government
owned ZB Holdings
10 – Zimre Holdings
This made global news headlines, whilst it seemed normal, it wasn?t in that it highlighted the lack of uniformity in application of the law. This generally fed into the perception that it?s risky to invest in Zimbabwe because there is no rule of law. And to change this perception it?s imperative that the law enforcement function be reformed and be under an untainted custodian.
Gilbert Muponda is a Zimbabwe-born entrepreneur. This article appears courtesy of GMRI Capital. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. More articles at www.gmricapital.com