Dear Minister @MthuliNcube
I read the above cited article in Tuesday’s Herald newspaper with great interest.
There is a historic reason with important lessons for the global south why China undertook comprehensive root and branch reforms to adopt a socialist market system in the last century and is doing exceptionally well today, with even better prospects for all its people beyond the horizon.
Since the dawn of decolonisation, textbook theories of unbridled market centred economies have not worked for developing countries, especially for those in the eye of intrusive and meddlesome geopolitical storms from Western powers.
In the early 1990s Zimbabwe uncritically adopted a World Bank sponsored economic structural adjustment programme – dubbed Esap- and sought to use the ill-fated programme to recklessly liberalise the economy leading to major structural dislocations and policy gaps that had disastrous consequences, which spiked between 1998 and 2000 and got worse in 2008, from which the country is yet to recover.
In the recent past, Zimbabwe’s economic direction has basically been the injudicious pursuit of a policy of appeasement of some vested Western interests, under the veil of market-centred mantras.
It is therefore little wonder that, instead of getting the country out of the hole it dug itself into when it uncritically adopted Esap in the 1990s, Zimbabwe has fallen back into its 1990s hole to the depth of its horrifying 2008 levels to now dig itself even deeper into it.
As a country, after some 23 years of hard times we have learnt enough from treacherous experience that by their very nature, structural dislocations and policy gaps cannot be resolved by pointing accusatory fingers at persons or groups who are either convenient scapegoats or are political opponents, but only by undertaking thorough going root and branch reforms for everyone and everything to fall into place, as amply shown by the instructive lessons from China’s reform experience.
Professor Ncube, there is no need for a rocket scientist to tell you that the business community now being blamed for the current pricing and currency mayhem across the economy really has no horse in the forthcoming harmonised general election.
If anything, Zimbabwe’s business community knows the country’s power dynamics and how they work, only too well. Besides, memories of November 2017 are still very fresh across the economy and society.
In the circumstances, I have two suggestions for your consideration.
First, your silence while prices and currency markets go haywire is too loud.
Everyone knows that you are the designated pilot of the situation that has now hit turbulence. The pricing and currency markets need to hear something substantive from you, something believable which they can trust and act on its positives and strength.
Second, and as former finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and some captains of industry in the know will tell you, in times like this shouting matches and open brawls between government voices with discordant messages and the business community benefit neither party, but only serve to make the bad situation worse for everyone, and particularly for ordinary people who have no means of navigating the economic turbulence that’s threatening their livelihoods.
And to be clear Prof, there is no sabotage going on here, none whatsoever, there are only problems with no solutions, when they are in fact solvable. Claims of sabotage are the refuge of people who have no solutions to problems that have solutions.
Consequently, consider quietly getting everyone who needs to be there into one room, put everything on the table, have cash-talk, and come out speaking with one message in many voices on what is going to be done immediately, intermediately and over the long term with government and business acting with a common purpose.
Just the message that government and business got together to address the pricing and currency volatility in the economy, will go a long way to restore hope that the turbulence will not get worse, but will be arrested.
Last but not least, it would be remiss of me not to wish you well Professor Ncube in your campaign for the Cowdray Park parliamentary constituency in Bulawayo in the forthcoming harmonised general election. So far so good and ceteris paribus, you are on course for a resounding August victory.
But because you are the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, one of the top and key portfolios in government – and you are thus everyone’s finance and economic development minister who manages everyone’s national purse – seriously consider spreading your solution-based campaign message and replicating your inspiring interventions and campaign projects beyond Cowdray Park to Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and indeed nationally.
When you win in Cowdray Park, as I pray you will and as the writing on the wall says so, everyone should win.
So long for now Prof Ncube and kind regards.
@HeraldZimbabwe 23 May 2023