Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ushering In a New Zimbabwe

Editorial Comment: Ushering in a new Zimbabwe

January 1, 2014 Opinion & Analysis

The period from the July 31, 2013 elections to January 1, 2014 has been dominated by a nasty inclination in some sections of the media: fear mongering. But really, it is an inclination that has been consistent with the doomsayers who believe Zimbabwe without the West — or without the rule of the West’s preferred politicians here — will die.

They had this inclination in 1998 when Zimbabwe decided to go into the DRC to assist a fellow African country. Zimbabwe did not die.

They had this inclination in 2000 when Zimbabwe decided to take back its land.

Zimbabwe did not die. They had this inclination in 2002 and 2003 when the European Union and then the United States imposed their economic sanctions on Zimbabwe. Again Zimbabwe did not die.

They had this inclination in 2008 /9 when Zimbabwe embarked on the road to economic empowerment and indigenisation. Zimbabwe did not die.

Now they are singing the same discordant tune after the July 31 elections because their preferred horse once again came up short.

We are getting sage-like premonitions from the fear mongers about how bad 2014 will be. Some are even dreaming of an election this year because Zanu-PF will have run the economy into the ground. Naturally, these merchants of disaster will not tell you that perhaps they are predicting economic collapse because they are actively working towards such a scenario, never mind that they will in all likelihood not win an election in the snowball’s chance in hell event that a poll is called thus year.

What they are trying to do is create a sense of despondency, to breed malaise and lethargy that will sit well with their desire — and efforts — to collapse Zimbabwe.

But Zimbabwe will not die. It did not die in 1998, it will not die in 2014 and it will not die any time after that. Not in this generation and not in the next. This is because Zimbabwe has discovered a resource that no amount of screaming headlines or machination by any doom monger can erode. That resource is self-confidence.

Yes, we have stuttered and stumbled. But we have not fallen. If anything, as a nation we have managed to always regain our bearings and move on stronger than before.

When fast-track land reforms started, some predicted that half the country would die of hunger. They said agriculture in Zimbabwe had been sent to hell in a hand basket.

And now we have eminent scholars telling us that Zimbabwe’s much-maligned “peasant” farmers are producing in remarkable quantities. Not that we need anyone to tell us how our revolution is progressing, but it’s just nice to know that other people around the world can see what is happening on the ground. Indigenisation and economic empowerment has been met with the same unquestioning derision of the fear merchants. But not one foreign company has declared that it has pulled out of Zimbabwe because it is not happy with owning “only” 49 percent of the business.

People all over Zimbabwe are in their own ways contributing to this revolution.
The woman who grows tomatoes and sells them at Mbare Musika, instead of waiting for produce from a foreign farm to take the market through a supermarket, is putting her own nail into the coffin of the old, dying Rhodesian enclave economy.

The young man who is innovating in Internet-based solutions for the services sector rather than being a mere user of what the techies in Silicon Valley throw our way is digging the grave of that old economy.

And the indigenous executive who has thrown away his title of commercial director of a large multinational miner and has opened his own gold mine somewhere in Midlands province is planting the seed of the new Zimbabwe.

It is a Zimbabwe that can boldly face the world on its own terms, a Zimbabwe that knows that it is no less a nation than any other just because it is small and is in the heart of Southern Africa.

Yes, there will be birthing pains, there are birthing pains. But the experience of the last 16-odd years — much like the experience of the 14 years of armed struggle — show us that together we can overcome.

Let 2014 be the year.

We have conquered before, and we shall conquer again.

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