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Friday, 4 September 2015

Can Dangote save Zimbabwe?

By Blessing Vava
I recently interacted with ZANU PF political Commissar and Zimbabwe’s Minister of Local Government Saviour Kasukuwere on twitter.
He had tweeted about the State of the Nation Address recently presented by President Robert Mugabe in Parliament:
#SONA emphasis is 'Let’s get involved ‘&build our economy. ME’s should be facilitated. A new economy is emerging & which we will be proud of, he tweeted.
But I challenged him by stating that Mugabe’s government, which he belongs to, has been making empty promises since independence with little or rather no fulfilment at all.
Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, a political flip flopper whose current allegiance is with Mugabe, quickly joined the discussion defending his party.
I however lost patience in responding to Moyo, because he was just arrogant and I continued engaging his colleague. We kept on arguing and disagreeing until midnight.

Zeal

However, what struck me the most is the zeal, or rather the optimism, exhibited by these two as they defended their party position.
On the same platform, Kasukuwere was praising Africa richest man Dangote, portraying him as the saviour for Zimbabwe’s economic woes.
now pinning its hopes on one Nigerian tycoon
It is alarming that the entire country is now pinning its hopes on one Nigerian tycoon, who promised to invest in power generation, cement and coal mining, among other deals we are told.
For me this is just one but the numerous ZANU PF propaganda machinations meant to divert attention from the real issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe.
It has become a regular ritual that, whenever a major event happens, we are told about multi-billion dollar deals to resuscitate our economy.

Economic recovery

Headlines from the state media will be screaming that Zimbabwe is poised for economic recovery terms that I have heard since I was in primary school whilst in actually reality nothing comes to fruition. It is all just a babble of promises, and deals that will never be implemented.
mega deals with the Chinese government
Zimbabweans should never forget that just barely after the 2013 elections, we woke up to screaming headlines that Zimbabwe has signed nine mega deals with the Chinese government and that it was a ‘boost’ to the implementation of the failed Zim-Asset.
Up until now there is nothing tangible to talk of the deals, save for dosages of propaganda that there is massive progress. 
And the Dangote deals are coincidentally coming just after Mugabe’s State of the Nation Address. Again the headlines were screaming that the economy was on the path to recovery. Seems we are always on a recovery path.

Desperation

Surely, have we become that desperate to pin our hopes on one wealthy businessman? The truth is that ZANU PF wants to act as if they are doing something with the economy, and that Zim-Asset and the ten point plan are being implemented. Zimbabweans will never be enticed by this cheap politicking.

The Dangote deals are nothing new, we have lost count of the many billion dollar deals signed in the last ten or so years, producing the same results-hot air.
These are just desperate attempts by the government and we know that the so-called deals will remain a pipe dream. I will remain sceptical about all these deals because they have failed to bring food on the table of many Zimbabweans.

Mortgaging the country

The sad reality of pinning our hopes on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), like what our desperate government is doing, is that we are parcelling out our country to foreigners, never mind about the 51% indigenisation policy. I even doubt if the same requirement applied especially with the Chinese and the Dangotes.
modern day economic colonialism
There is no country the world over, especially in the developing world, that has prospered only through FDI, which some scholars described as a form of modern day economic colonialism.
With this route, we are continually exposing our country and making it vulnerable to exploitation by capital. At this rate, it is undeniable that ZANU PF is mortgaging our country for cheap pieces of silver.
Maybe what our leadership is failing to realise that Zimbabwe want to hear about food security, they want good education and better health facilities. Unless they start doing something about it the better otherwise all this talk about mines and cement production remains void, unless the issues of the stomach are addressed. 

Skeptical

Over the years as these ‘mega deals’ are being signed, no-one knows what was agreed, what were the targets and timelines and what is our country gaining out of it, and this is why I remain sceptical that there is something not good about these deals.
In this light I would argue that the media has been doing a great disservice in fulfilling its mandate of informing and educating the masses.  Quite telling is the lack of proper details concerning these mega deals.
The reports in the media are just scratching the surface without giving indepth reportage of the nitty gritties involved.
It would equally be interesting to do follow ups on the previous deals that were being reported in the past. What happened to them, were they implemented?
And I think in that way we would bring the government to account, so that they stop taking people for granted by selling them dummies.
The question will remain, is the media doing enough to inform the public? Equally, apart from us hearing about the billions of dollars that Mr Dangote is worth, I’m sure most Zimbabweans would want to who exactly is this guy what has he done before? And where is he coming from? What is the connection with our government?
If you were to ask it won’t be surprising to discover that many Zimbabweans only knew of this guy after reading the Herald.

Blessing Vava is based in Chipinge and can be contacted on blessingvava@gmail.com