Postcolonial Zimbabwe has witnessed the proliferation of pseudo pro-poor and neo-populist policies by ZANU PF, a distant observer of the economic policing and strategy would concede that there is nothing which fails more than success itself, thus submitting to the belief that ZANU PF economic policies are not bad but that there is distraction by imperial forces, thus to some extent ZANU PF is a victim of western conspiracy.
After Zimbabwean's have become perpetual victims of failed economic policies they must ask themselves, what ideological construction informs economic strategy and planning in Postcolonial Zimbabwe?
It is a widely accepted populist view that the poor are victims of the scheming of the rich, implying that the rich are responsible for perpetrating poverty among the poor. The understanding is centered on the state projected belief that private entrepreneurship and profit are sinister.
The purported sinister agenda of the private individuals in postcolonial Zimbabwe are reflected in increasing unethical business conduct, illegal deals and a thriving black market, which is just a euphemism of trying to incriminate rationality.
Under this scheme of propaganda war, new crimes have been invented i.e. externalization, which was purely a civil matter since time immemorial, has had stakes raised higher and redefined as a crime worth a custodial sentence (yet the truth is that no one who is sane and rational, even the Ministers, can transfer wealth to the state by converting foreign exchange using an over-valued exchange rate).
These crimes then become the purported bases for which the state must intervene to protect the poor from the rich or private capital.
But however a closer look reflects the government is into state capitalism a euphemism for self-enrichment of the government; the true ideology is self-aggrandizement and economic appeasement of rulers, Ministers, party leaders, public civil servants and party supporters.
The national character of the ruling elite is deep in negative nationalism and negative socialism, the socialism is anchored on the state as an entrepreneur and controller in the economy under the false ideology; the government is protecting the people.
The negative nationalism is based on the obsession and indifference to reality, by pretending to be pursuing national preservation for an increasingly isolated country, whilst pursuing prestige and power for the ruling elite at all costs.
Nationalism and socialism are strong ideologies because their function is to oppose international capitalism; because capitalism has failed to articulate the concerns of the poor thus nationalism and socialism remain popular despite not offering a hope to the poor but only because of the functionality of opposing capitalism.
The economic rationale is that the poor and the less developed economies for which Zimbabwe is included must be given a big push in order for it to make a take off. This is the base for the justification of the unfettered state interferences. Why is it then that names of popular and politically connected cronies crop up when ever there is massive looting or asset stripping?
The answer lies in the excesses of the Hobbesian social contract propounded by Thomas Hobbes, whereby the people give up some rights in trust (in fact economic rights) to authorities in exchange for the perception of basic protections, including welfare issues and defense. This then provides a mechanism for the transfer of wealth and resources from the masses to the ruling elite and cronies.
This notion clearly defines what President Mugabe on the eve of the ZANU PF extraordinary 2007 congress summed up; when he ironically complained that the very same beneficiaries of government economic empowerment and indeginisation are the same people behind profiteering and the black market.
I then asked my self, to what extents are we engulfed in a state enmeshed in Kleptocracy? Given that we are also under a fully-fledged dictatorship. The over involved nexus of the evil between decision makers, economic planners and kleptocrats implies that the economy and any future economic planning is subordinated to the interests of the kleptocrats, and state funds are just siphoned from state coffers ostensibly to assist the poor, who we are told require a big push in order to make a take off.
The dilemma in Zimbabwe is that there is a fertile ground for proliferation of kleptocracy because there is no free platform for contestations of leadership, no free market of ideas (an information asymmetry), no rule of law, no vibrant civil society (often suppressed) and the population lacks the means and capacity to properly identify kleptocrats and remove them from office.
And as a result this kleptocracy powered by dictatorship, typically has resulted in economic decadence, massive hardship and suffering of the masses. In addition like all other kleptocrats they routinely ignore economic and social problems in the quest to amass even more wealth and power.
A persistent feature of the economic planning has been to appease and reward along patronage lines, so as to always power dictatorship with a strong production and financial structure hence the shocking donations on ruling party fund raising programmes, the unveiling of the 220 high powered, top of range vehicles for campaign purposes at a time when the masses are enduring economic suffering and hardships should be viewed in that sinister dimension.
A probe into the issue will reveal that there are from party donations, this then confirms the existence of an unholy alliance between the ruling elite and cronies.
I aver that we are now caught up in a serious kleptocracy powered by dictatorship, which is running down the economy to levels never seen before in modern days. The greatest risk which we face comes by every new economic policy and strategy which is unveiled, which is hurriedly announced as a redeemer of the poor and implemented ostensibly for the poor masses whilst the irony will be that kleptocrats will have in fact invented a new technique to illegally and illegitimately siphon from state coffers.
Why is it that Operation Garikai, the Mechanisation programme, ASPEF, Operation Maguta, Price controls, Bio-diesel Programme, Land reform programme and just recently the new baby on the block, BACCOSI, have all failed to yield the publicly purported goals? The answer lies in the sinister ideological construction that informs economic strategy formulation and planning, Kleptocracy!
Hillary Kundishora is a scholar of strategic management. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
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