Here we invite Zimbabweans and all concerned friends of Zimbabwe to post their view directly! THE QUESTION IS... "WHAT, IN YOUR VIEW IS THE WAY FORWARD IN ZIMBABWE??????".....POST IDEAS TO mufarostig@gmail.com. THANK YOU!!!

LIONEL RITCHIE!!!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"TO QUIT OR NOT TO QUIT??????" BY MUTUMWA MAWERE!



LINK!
IF THE Labour Party was an African party and Tony Blair was its leader, would the party's interests, and indeed, national interest have overridden the leader's personal interest to remain in power?
 
The succession debate is not unique to Africa but what makes Africa unique is that personal interests of incumbents appear to be more important that even national interests. This is not restricted to the Heads of States but even to functionaries like Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono in the case of Zimbabwe.
Last Thursday, it was reported in that Gono was under pressure to quit against a background of an acknowledgement that Project Sunrise has left most of Zimbabwe in darkness and condemned the country to unprecedented inflation.
Notwithstanding the fact that the wheels are off in Zimbabwe, Gono hit is reported to have hit out at his critics in parliament and the ruling Zanu PF party.
 
At the centre of the apparent dispute between Gono and the Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance chaired by Guruve North MP, David Butau, appears to be the management of the national foreign currency resources by one man and the opaque quasi-fiscal activities of the RBZ. This is not the first time Gono has been criticised for monopolising the management of the national loot.
 
 Zanu PF at its national conference held in December 2006 passed a similar resolution to no effect.
 
It is now clear that President Mugabe will not exit as anticipated by his critics. The position taken by President Mugabe is not unusual and, in fact, he has many friends including the outgoing President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, whose initial reaction to the scandal that has rocked the World Bank was to say that he will not quit only to then succumb to sustained pressure from within and outside the institution.
 
 Even when there is overwhelming evidence that the continued stay in office of a leader is not in the best interests of the institution they serve there appears to be a universal attitude of leaders to continue to cling to power at all costs.
 
To the extent that the behaviour is not unique to Africa, it is important that we interrogate the issue of leadership response to internal and external shocks and crises so that citizens can find better ways of convincing stubborn leaders to vacate office to allow the mission of their institutions or nations to be advanced.
 
 Any observer who watched how the Labour Party and presumably Gordon Brown outmanoeuvred Tony Blair would agree that there are important lessons to be learnt on how an institution can democratically remove obsolete and irrelevant leaders.
Even in the Wolfowitz case it was clear from the beginning that his days were numbered but what was instructive is how the Staff Association of the World Bank and other external stakeholders as well as the media worked constructively to remove him. At the end, he conceded on Thursday last week the same day that Gono vowed that he will not quit by saying that he was resigning in the "best interests" of the bank, thus ending a protracted controversy over a generous pay and promotions package for his girlfriend, Shaha Riza.
 
My focus is not to dwell on the Wolfowitz case but to demonstrate how it is possible to make the necessary leadership changes in the face of recalcitrant leaders who become married for life to the offices they hold. Mr. Wolfowitz said something profound in his resignation statement. It read as follows: "I have concluded that it is in the best interests of those whom this institution serves for that mission to be carried forward under new leadership."
 
Why is it not conceivable that persons like President Mugabe and Gono will not see it in themselves to allow the destiny of Zimbabwe to continue to be written by other leaders when there is evidence that the patient i.e. Zimbabwe remains brain dead in the intensive care unit? Some may argue rightly or wrongly that it would not be in the national interest for a President to throw the towel in the face of problems instead of solving the problems in as much as President Wolfowitz, Blair and even the late Nyerere could have advanced the same self serving argument.
 
Some have said that "attitude determines altitude" and Zimbabwe's possibilities can be as elastic as Zimbabweans are realistic enough to appreciate what works and what does not work. In the case of the RBZ, it does not take any genius to understand that any economy that is as micro-managed by a single unaccountable individual is doomed to fail. What is scarier are the justifications advanced to rationalise the destructive policies and actions. Having read what Gono had said to Zimbabwe's elected representatives; I thought it was important to revisit Gono's statements to highlight the dangers inherent in the continuation of the current economic strategy if it exists at all.
 
This is what Gono is reported to have said: "They say the governor is big-headed, he has got ambition. Some hide behind the camouflage of the legislature and bring out their spears so that the governor can be moved. Not before my term is finished!"
 
"We offer no apologies for interfering in all spheres of the economy. We offer no apology for doing the unorthodox. Those who wrote economic textbooks never experienced Zimbabwe's land reform."
 
"I hardly have a good sleep at night. I sleep facing the stars…why should we be importing food when the RBZ has printed trillions and trillions? We are being told that we cannot produce because we are susceptible to drought.
 
"It is therefore, illogical and misguided for some sections of society to recommend to government the formation of foreign exchange allocation committees thinking that this would in itself solve the prevailing foreign currency shortages."
 
If it is common cause that the Gono medicine is not helping the patient, why would he want to remain in office giving the same dosage to a dying patient? If the Parliament of Zimbabwe is an address through which citizens express their views about the state of the nation, why would Gono adopt the attitude that the Parliament of Zimbabwe does not have a right to know about the allocation of the resources of the nation? Who should have oversight on the operations of the government? Is the budget still the vehicle for allocating resources in Zimbabwe?
 
Why would Gono have the courage of not offering an explanation for doing what he terms as the unorthodox?
 
 Is it Gono's position that because of the land reform program, democracy should be suspended?
 
 Gono's argument seems to suggest that institutions that should ordinarily inform any democratic society should be suspended in Zimbabwe. If this is accepted, then does a Zimbabwe that is implementing land reform really need a transparent and honest government?
 
The RBZ is an organ of the state of Zimbabwe and, therefore, it is unprecedented for a Governor to publicly ridicule the Parliament when he is not the Head of State. Even the Head of State would not dare make such statements to a Parliament if the doctrine of the separation of powers is applicable and operational.
 
Any reasonable Governor should ordinarily have no problems with the recommendation of the portfolio committee for the government to put in place institutional arrangements that would allow a multi-stakeholder framework to be responsible for allocating national resources. Why would Gono be afraid of a foreign exchange allocation committee? Does he have anything to hide? Could it be that one of the unorthodox measures being implemented by the RBZ is corruption?
 
The probability exists that in an environment where there is no transparency; corruption becomes the order of the day and the perpetrators benefit by pointing the fingers to other people like NMB officials when in truth and fact the worst transgressions may be the order of the day at the RBZ. Is it not possible that the citadel of corruption may now be the RBZ?
We have seen the drama associated with the so-called NMB's second forex scandal. Could it be the case that the NMB officials were fully aware of the modus operandi in Zimbabwe i.e. the unorthodox where anything goes and with this in mind they proceeded to construct their own external bridge by remitting funds in the same manner that officials of the RBZ may be doing for personal gain?
 
It is evident that the attitude of President Mugabe to textbook economics is no different from Gono or the other way round. If theoretical economics is no longer relevant in Zimbabwe, then surely trained economists have reason to worry. If the attitude is as expressed by Gono then surely the 2008 elections would be nothing but a sham.
 
 Why would President Mugabe bother to get the mandate of the people when his Governor has the courage to tell the representatives of the same people to take a walk? This begs the question of whether a Zimbabwe that is implementing land reform and is under sanctions still needs a democratic dispensation.
 
 It is clear from Gono that if he were the President of Zimbabwe, it would be in the national interest to suspend democracy.
Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column appears on New Zimbabwe.com every Monday. You can contact him at: mmawere@ahccouncil.com


 

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